The past weekend saw the return of Mexican flavours at the Manor – it may have been chilly outside, but we brought some much needed warmth, spice and sunshine! We didn’t quite get through a hundred limes, maybe around fifteen, but we did use thirty six eggs, thirty eight passionfruits and made over fifty tortillas! Hard work, but worth it! As soon as we held our last Mexican event in 2012, we were keen to make a return. This time we used Thomasina Miers’ second Mexican book, Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home, another book that has been a favourite of ours in 2012, which we both cook from regularly as unfortunately there are no Wahaca restaurants north of the M25 – Boo! Fresh, punchy flavours were the order of the day and our lively guests, some returning diners, some new to supperclubs as a whole, seemed to love them too!
The first of the canapes to be served up were mini pots of black bean stew – warm, spicy, hearty and comforting, just what our diners needed coming in from the bitter cold! These were swiftly followed by chilli baked feta on crostini. Creamy, salty, hot and crisp – very moreish! We definitely had to include chorizo in there somewhere, and we chose Miers’ plantain and chorizo skewers. Delicious!
Our amuse bouche was a creamy grilled corn soup which was topped with a chipotle cream, this was sweet and smoky and a good introduction to the types of flavours we wanted to bring to the table.
Tastebuds suitably whet, our starter was a trio of tacos filled with pork pilbil, queso fundido and prawn enchipotlada. The pork was slow cooked with a special paste made from the achiote berry, which Dan imported especially! It gave the slow cooked pork a sour, smoky flavour. Delicious! We had to add more chorizo into another course, and the queso fundido was what can only be described as a chorizo fondue! The prawns were garlicky and tender – the whole room fell silent as they tucked in – which we hoped were a good sign…we need not have worried as the plates came back clean! (Unfortunately we didn’t have time to take a picture of this course on the night, but to give you an idea, here’s a picture of a pork taco we had for breakfast…dirty, yes I know!)
Duck was the order of the day for the main course – definitely not a meat one would immediately associate with Mexican food! It was served with a tomato, jalapeno and green olive sauce a sweet potato and chipotle gratin and a Mexican winter salad, made with fennel, radish, orange, and chilli. The salad cut through the richness of the meat perfectly.
We used duck legs for this dish instead of the suggested breast – the crispy skinned, slow roasted leg which was almost confit and meltingly tender really complimented the robust flavours of the sauce, something which we felt breast couldn’t stand up to.
Not sure where our guests fit all of this food, but yet again all plates came back clean – We’re sure even some of the bones were eaten!
After a short respite, the onslaught of food continued! We served up margarita sorbets to cleanse the palate before quickly moving onto the puddings. We know the Mexicans love a custard, and we definitely didn’t stray from this for our dessert – passionfruit creme brulee. The sour, sweet fruit paired beautifully with the cold, creamy custard and crunchy sweet top! This was served alongside a boozy (yes, more tequila!), rich chocolate and cinnamon parfait and also a passionfruit curd.
Happy, and full, the night ended with the return of cupcakes, salted dulche de leche to go with teas and coffees.
Thanks to our diners for a great night – hopefully they will want to return to the Manor! We celebrated with a margarita or three and a sneaky midnight feast of leftovers! We’re just finalising the menu for our February veggie event which is looking very tasty!
If you’d like to join us for Dinner at the Manor, please keep your eyes peeled, we’ll be announcing new dates and an opportunity to bag your place here on Wednesday 16th Jan! We have some wonderful themes lines up, so don’t miss out!