Hogget Feast

On Saturday the 27th May and June 3rd, I am hosting a hogget feast. Numbers are strictly limited but we will try to put on additional nights as they fill up. UPDATE: July 1st added as an additional date. Book here

First question: what is hogget?

Hogget is yearling lamb – lamb that has had an extra spring grazing season. These slightly larger animals have had a bit more time for their meat to develop in flavour and complexity, but still maintain the tenderness of lamb. This meat is prized by chefs and restauranteurs the world over, but is all but unknown to the home cook. I had been dimly aware of hogget and had the idea of doing something with it at the back of my mind for a long time when I met Emma at the Cultivate Veg Van last year. Continue reading “Hogget Feast”

Greenmarket tasting menu

IMG_9364UPDATE: View the full menu with photos here

Announcing a new upcoming event from Smoke and Thyme: The Greenmarket Tasting Menu. A seven course tasting menu based around local & seasonal fruit and vegetables. Over 90% of the produce for this night is grown within a day’s walk of where it’s being served, selected at its peak and cooked in the way that shows it off at its absolute best.

In a world where supermarkets can ship your asparagus from Peru and your strawberries from Spain, there’s no need to follow the seasons anymore. But constant availability comes at the cost of losing touch with what grows close to us and when it’s at its best. A sad result of the loss of quality that comes from picking produce for its ability to travel instead of for its taste, is that too often, vegetables get treated just as a supporting player on a plate where meat or fish is the star.

IMG_9352This tasting menu is completely suitable for vegetarians, and includes vegan alternatives for any dish that isn’t vegan already. You may have read my blog post about why I love cooking for vegetarians, and this night has definitely been inspired by the fantastic experiences I’ve had developing meat-free dishes for my supper clubs. It’s not just for vegetarians though – it’s for anyone who wants to celebrate the fact that during the summer and autumn, we have loads of amazing produce grown in allotments, gardens and farms all within a handful of miles of Oxford. 

I’m planning to run several dates with this menu throughout June and July. Click here to view available dates, or sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know about all new events. 

April and May Supper Club Menu

Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soupTo begin: Asparagus, broccoli and blue cheese soup
Every year as I wait on tenterhooks for the beginning of asparagus season, this is the recipe I’m waiting to make. A lesser blog might give you the useful tip that you can use the leftover hard woody ends of asparagus to make the soup, but to be honest, I buy asparagus to make this soup out of the ends, and have to come up with uses for the rest. 

Main course: Slow braised lamb ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
My search for the perfect slow-braised lamb came complete with this dish – 48 hours of sous vide cooking at a low temperature leaves the lamb meltingly tender but without having lost any of its flavour to the sauce. For this Supper Club I’ve paired with a pile of pillowy, buttery gnocchi and ribbons of seasonal asparagus.
or
Wild mushroom and truffle ragu with gnocchi and ribboned asparagus
The wild mushroom ragu “alternative” is a creation that won over one of my most ardently carnivorous friends at a recent dinner party, who swore that while eating it he forgot that it was vegetarian. The depth of flavour comes from the variety of different types of mushrooms used, and is punched up by a good dash of truffle oil right at the end. 

Dessert: Salt caramel custard tart
In my kitchen, scraps of pastry and leftover crumbs get saved up in a jar, and when the jar is full, I mix them with melted chocolate and press them into a shell to make the base for this tart. Salt caramel custard, baked until set inside a chocolate pastry case, bruleed until the top is a crunchy, glass-like shard of caramel. Decadent. 

All dates for this menu are sold out, to be added to the waiting list for April or May message me via the contact page.

 

March Supper Clubs roundup

March Menu

Cauliflower Soup
Cauliflower Soup

To begin: Curried cauliflower soup with crispy leek bhaji
Roasted cauliflower is a real winter treat, and its nutty flavour goes great with the blended Indian spices that remind you of warmer climes. I was challenged by a friend to come up with a meat and dairy-free soup that needed no apologies – this was the result, and I was proud and delighted to be able to serve it along with the crispy leek bhajis. Continue reading “March Supper Clubs roundup”

Buttermilk Onion Rings

Onion RingsSoaking in buttermilk makes these onion rings meltingly tender, and the polenta gives them a nice crunch.

I’ve also found that replacing the plain flour with gram flour is a pretty cheap and easy way to win you the love and adoration of gluten-free friends and family, without making the onion rings any less delicious.

What you need

  • About 1 large onion per 2 people
  • 300ml buttermilk
  • About 150g of plain flour or gram flour
  • 1 tsp polenta
  • Generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • Cayenne powder to taste (optional)

Continue reading “Buttermilk Onion Rings”

Pictures from March Supper Club

Cheese Tasting Supper Club at Umami

I’m delighted to be able to announce an upcoming Supper Club & cheese tasting in collaboration with Umami Delicatessen in Wantage on 15th April.

deli imageUmami is a fantastic deli in Wantage run by Michael and Annette. They serve cured meats and homemade sandwiches, coffee from the award-winning Union Hand Roasters, but most importantly (at least for me) – they have the best selection of cheeses of anywhere I’ve ever been, curated by an international cheese judge (Michael himself).

Continue reading “Cheese Tasting Supper Club at Umami”

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower SoupA definite hit at March’s Supper Clubs, this soup is a winter treat teaming nutty roasted cauliflower with Indian spices.

What you need:

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • About 200ml of neutral oil (eg rapeseed or sunflower oil)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric, finely diced (or 1 tbsp turmeric powder)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, finely diced (or 2 tsp ginger powder)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp onion seed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Continue reading “Curried Cauliflower Soup”

March Supper Club menu

It’s finally time to give you a preview of what to expect at next month’s Supper Club. March is a lean season for fresh produce. There’s not a lot growing in the frosty fields, but among the few things that are available are some absolute gems.

 

Cauliflower SoupTo begin: Curried cauliflower soup with crispy leek bhaji
Roasted cauliflower is a real winter treat, and its nutty flavour goes great with the blended Indian spices that remind you of warmer climes. I was challenged by a friend to come up with a meat and dairy-free soup that needed no apologies – this was the result, and I’m proud and delighted to be able to serve it to you this month along with the crispy leek bhajis.

Main course: Dry rub pork ribs with buttermilk onion rings and rainbow coleslaw
or
Dry rub slow-roast veg with buttermilk onion rings and rainbow coleslaw
“Dry rub” – where a mix of ground dry spices, salt and brown sugar are rubbed into the meat before cooking – is my favourite kind of barbecue. The spice mix I use is based on the regional style of Kansas City, but I’m keeping my food miles down by walking the 50 yards across Cowley road to Alder’s butchers for some racks of baby-back pork ribs. The ribs are cooked for 18 hours, and I’m serving them with buttermilk-battered onion rings and my award-deserving rainbow coleslaw.
For vegetarians, the same Kansas City spice rub will coat meltingly tender staves of a selection of slow-roast vegetables.

 

rhubarb tartDessert: Bruleed custard tart with forced rhubarb and blood orange
This almond shortcrust tart is a favourite of mine all year round to serve with whatever vibrant red fruit is in season. In March, that means lightly poached rhubarb and segments of blood orange, but last summer you may have seen it when it was a strawberry custard tart.

 

Plus secret extra(s) TBA

As ever it’ll be pay what you want on the night, so head to our booking page to reserve your places for 4th or 11th March.