My first Supper Club!
Last night Battenburg Towers was the venue for the inaugural Naughty Habits Supper Club @ the Nunnery (a big thank you to the chum who came up with that inspired name).
Because we do indeed live in a bit of an old convent. Jenny was my wonderful sous chef and of course donned full nun’s attire. Missy B and I just went for the scapular (thanks to guest David for looking that up and correcting us when we thought we were wearing wimples). I over-heated, so didn’t wear mine for long (and, frankly, the photos were not good).
Decided to experiment on friends for the first event, but will be extending the invitations more widely next time. I went for a menu I was fairly confident with, as it would be embarrassing to charge folk to eat at my house and then serve up some kind of disaster.
Spent a jolly couple of days in the kitchen so I was fairly well ahead by the time Jenny arrived. We took the advice of Ms Marmite Lover in her Supper Club book and steered clear of the wine until the cheese course was served, in the interests of retaining a vaguely professional air. First up were some olive and pecorino breadsticks, with posh olive oil and balsamic vinegar – always popular and I already knew David and Andrea liked them, so I thought I’d get them on my side from the outset. Next was tea-smoked salmon, served with a lovely beetroot relish and some horseradish cream.
I was very pleased with this and particularly enjoyed the extended debate on how horseradishy a horseradish cream should be. Mike was all for a totally kickass version and the upshot was that what was required was three dishes of differing strength. That won’t be happening.
I did take a bit of a risk with the main course, as I did the slow roast leg of lamb that didn’t quite work out according to plan when the whole extended Battenburg family came for lunch a few weeks ago. But I had concluded that the problem that time was trying to cook too much lamb in too small a dish. I was right – this time the lamb did fall off the bone as intended and was divine – it was cooked with much onion, garlic and rosemary and served with some feta and a lemony herby sauce.
Accompanied by my favourite pilaf made with rice and orzo pasta, a good old-fashioned green salad and a cucumber salad. My sous chef and I didn’t dine at the table, what with us trying for that professional air. In fact, we barely dined at all: the guests wolfed ALL the lamb and most of everything else too. Fortunately Angie, who took some great photos on my camera, didn’t catch us picking at the lamb bones like we hadn’t eaten for days.
Took a pic of the lovely cheeses from the Muswell Hill Cheese Shop (http://www.cheesesonline.co.uk), but omitted to take one of the homemade spelt crackers, which were a bit of a crowd pleaser. Jenny and I did managed to get a couple of those each (with some of that very runny and delicious brie de meaux). Forgot to serve the homemade tomato chutney dammit.
Finally, before sending them all on their way, I served drunken prune tarts – little tarts with rum-soaked prunes and pate d’amande (or frangipane if you want to be less French about it).
Missy B told me this morning that she was thought she overheard Tracey say she didn’t much like the sound of these when she perused the menu on arrival. Ha! She loved them… As, I think, did everyone. I fear I didn’t give them quite enough ice cream (a basic vanilla one), but as they had all had quite enough wine by this stage, I think I got away with that.
I’m pretty sure my guests had a good time. I certainly had a highly entertaining evening and I particularly like the fact that it is a cross between a restaurant and a dictatorship – I can just make them eat what I decide to cook and they pay me for the privilege!