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Summertime Suppertime!

Last Saturday was our second supper club event, embracing everything the British summertime has to offer including the day long downpour!!

We kicked things off with a gooseberry and star anise fizz – gooseberries heated and infused with star anise and then strained to create a delicious pale syrup. Served with prosecco it creates a refreshing drink, slightly old school, sweet and spiced but not overpowering.

Our canape was a Vietnamese ‘summer’ roll - mooli, courgette, peas, cucumber and spring onions marinated in a Vietnamese sauce of rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, lime, sesame oil and sugar, strained and then wrapped in rice paper. Simple, but a real hit to the palate and surprisingly good with the fizz!

Next came the beetroot risotto, one of my favourite dishes inspired by Tom Aiken from his Easy cookbook. Sadly, our beetroot didn’t make it this year. Not even a seedling poked through so we bought some lovely local stuff from the veg shop in Chapel Allerton instead. Roasted in the oven for an hour, skins removed and then chopped into bite size pieces and added to the risotto along with all the roasting juices and a good splash of port. The risotto was topped with some Ticklemore goats cheese from George and Joseph. This is not a shy cheese!

Then we served a herb salad; light, fresh and palate cleansing, with nasturtiums, rocket, coriander, mint, tarragon and our new discovery – onion flowers! Beautiful white flowers produced because the onions have bolted! Not great for our onion harvest but a great addition to the salad, and so pretty!

If you have been keeping track of us on our Instagram (@moortownkitchengarden) you will have seen the pork belly we cooked a few weeks back after a hard days grafting on our hallway. Well, it was so good we did it for our guests. Infused with lemongrass and thyme and roasted on a high heat to get the crunchiest of crackling, then a slow roast for a few more hours. We had a minor panic when there was a power cut at 4pm and Tom was ready to light the bbq, but our faith was soon restored in the northern grid and the oven pinged on again! We served the pork belly with some pickled mooli and an apple and walnut salsa (Ottolenghi NOPI cookbook) plus a couple of heritage carrots for some colour and sweetness on the plate.

A strawberry sorbet followed with some of the borage granita (#experimental) I wrote about previously. Verdict: strawberry sorbet amazing/ granita mixed reviews! Oh well, had to give it a try and the borage flowers do look so pretty even if they aren't as tempting to eat!

Dessert was Tom’s domain. A light, crisp, sweet pastry case filled with a mascarpone cream and topped with loads of summer fruits and a little mint. Really simple but a crowd pleaser and very glad there were a couple of spares for us to devour at the end of the evening!

The brilliant George & Joseph provided a great cheeseboard once again with some Shropshire Blue, Yorkshire Pecorino, Summerfield from Botton Creamery similar to a gruyere, a camembert like Waterloo and an absolute stonier of a goats cheese, Hebden Goat from Hebden Bridge. Served with homemade gooseberry chutney and fennel crackers (definitely a theme appearing here!)

Lastly, with coffee came a lavender and fennel dark chocolate ganache truffle. In all honesty I had never made these before (they were fun and messy to make) but everyone seemed to love them – there was even a stand-off over the last one!

End of the evening....bagsy not doing the washing up!

Grown by us: Gooseberries, mooli, courgette, peas, coriander, tarragon, parsley, mint, nasturtiums, onion flowers, apples, strawberries, borage, raspberries, lavender

Since then we have been in the garden assessing what we will have to cook with for our next event. Currently looking good are white currants (same as red but…you get the gist!) Onions – not all of them have bolted and they are just about ready. Cavelo nero is looking as handsome as ever and we may, for the first time ever, look like we are going to get some sweetcorn.

So watch this space, we will share our cooking highs and lows over the next few weeks and let you know when our next event is very soon!

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