This weekend the Manor went al-fresco for our River Cafe themed event. This book really appealed to us as we both love Italian flavours and we thought it would be fitting for a summer event. However, the days leading up were fraught with worry due to the unpredictable weather we’ve been having. Would it be a wash out, or would British summertime actually make an appearance? As luck would have it, it did!
Whilst there was a lot of advance prep involved for this one, many of the elements required fast cooking there and then on the night – added pressure, that we were quite worried about! In addition to this Nick, who normally takes the helm behind the camera unfortunately had to work, so I had to double up on this role too! (He did help post edit though!)
We changed the format up slightly for this one – the River Cafe cookbook has an array a delicious dishes and we wanted to showcase as many of these as we could. We merged the canapé / starter element for the evening, and served an array of substantial tasters in the Manor’s Garden – this gave an opportunity for our guests, some old, some new, to get to know each other.
We kicked off proceedings with our refreshing pear wine (vintage 2011!) and elderflower cocktail – perfect for the humid weather. First up was a shot of courgette soup, packed with fresh herbs and topped with an olive tapenade crostini. This was swiftly followed by a slow braised fennel bruschetta, soft and aniseed in flavour it contrasted well with the crunch of the toasted bread.
After a short break, Dan followed this up with his freshly made red wine risotto – puce in colour and deep in flavour, a real treat! Even more carbs followed in the shape of Panzanella, a traditional Florentine salad of bread soaked in tomatoes and olive oil, amongst other flavours.
Guests’ appetites suitably whet, they moved into the dining room to await the main course. This time there was the choice of either a griddled rose veal chop rubbed with lemon, garlic and sage, or grilled snapper (A last-minute change to the menu, we couldn’t get hold of the advertised red mullet from Leeds market that morning). The rose veal was pink tender and juicy – cooked on the bone, it added an extra depth of flavour to the meat. The fish was fresh delicate – similar to bass or bream. The book advised to serve a whole fish per person, but we opted for fillets. Both of these were served with either salsa verde or grilled chilli sauce, roasted red pepper salad and polenta chips. I personally loved the polenta chips – crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, they were seasoned with a fresh chilli and parsley salsa for extra freshness.
Our guests were almost full to bursting and true to form we whipped out a Campari sorbet to cleanse the palate and perk our guests up for dessert. After another short break we brought out the dessert, which was grilled peaches with amaretto, served with zabaglione ice cream and toasted almonds. This was a light way to end the meal – the peaches were soft and juicy, served warm and the contrast between this and the cold ice cream was a delight!
To end the cupcakes made a comeback, this time of a tirimisu variety – infused with Kahlua, coffee, and amaretto! This event was a nice change to the norm, and we thought the outdoor element worked really well, it’s a shame we’re now heading into Autumn but I’m sure we’ll go al fresco for a future summer event! We hope our guests enjoyed it as much as we did, many of whom had never been to a supperclub before, so I hope they’ve now caught the bug!
Next up is our 1st birthday bash in October, where has the time gone?! Don’t forget you can influence what we cook for our guests here!