This weekend saw Dinner at the Manor launch into another Middle Eastern Feast! We’ve run a few previously, using Ottolenghi as our tome. This time we took inspiration from Lebanon and used the beautiful Lebanese Kitchen by Salma Hage as our guide for the evening. We love Middle Eastern flavours and playing with spices and we were looking forward to sharing some unique dishes with our lively bunch of guests. The weather was on our side this weekend and the sunny weather was reflected in the food.
We kicked proceedings off with a zesty apple, mint, lemon and ginger cocktail – the base for this was Dan’s homemade lemonade, spiked with spicy ginger and topped up with apple juice and vodka. A real refreshing drink to get those tastebuds ready for the rest of the meal.
The canapes were a trio of tasty morsels. We had to get some falafels on the menu and this time we whipped up a carrot and cumin variant. In its raw state the mix seemed very different to the ones we served up at our Ottolenghi event, very wet in texture, but once fried they were soft yet crisp, offset nicely by the sweet pumpkin hummus and toasted pumpkin seeds.
The second canape was a thyme and sumac flatbread topped with crab. The creamy, sweet crab was given a dressing of lemon, tahini, yoghurt, herbs and spices, which paired wonderfully with the salty crispness of the homemade bread – a delicious mouthful!
Finally, Dan turned out some soft and tender home made lamb sausages. flecked with orange and a mixture of spices, this was a kofta like no other! Definitely one I’ll be making at home.
The amouse bouche was a deliciously smoky burnt aubergine soup, which was topped with nutty giant couscous and shreds of basil – a burst of flavour to get our guests ready for the rest of the meal to come.
The starter was a Lebanese spin on a classic pear, cheese and walnut salad, however the cheese in question wasn’t the usual blue, but salty, squeaky halloumi. The cheese was marinated in sumac and garlic, then griddled and served with a lime dressing. Accompanying this was a bulghar wheat flatbread topped with olive oil and z’atar. Hilariously on both nights I managed to send out the salads without the bread and had to rush into our diners with a platter of the stuff! Note to self – make more notes!!
Our guests still hungry (where do they fit it all in? :)) it was onto the mains. This time we had two dishes to choose from. First up was the sumac crusted salmon. This was drizzled with a ginger and coriander dressing and came with a fruity red pepper puree. There was something about the puree and the sumac that really lifted the savouriness of the fish. Something that shouldn’t work (fish and fruit?) but so did.
The second main was vegetarian koftas (made from spiced beans and chickpeas) in a seven spice sauce. the sauce was deep and tangy with a nice kick of heat. Both of these dishes came with a caramelised onion and green lentil pilaf and roasted sweet potatoes with chilli and cumin.
After a short break, palates were cleansed with an orange, peach and ginger sorbet and then it was onto the final straight – dessert. Again, there was a choice of two options, The first was griddled apricots in a pomegranate syrup with pistachios, blackberry coulis and soya yogurt. The lighter choice of the two that was perfect for our vegan diners.
The other was a fig tart – crisp short pastry filled with fig jam, frangipane and fresh figs. This was pretty much a Middle Eastern spin on a Bakewell tart! This was accompanied with creamy pistachio ice cream and a blackberry coulis.
To fill the little space that was left in our guests’ bellies, the final treats were some home made Turkish Delight. Rosewater flavoured jellies in the most shocking pink hue (I may have put a drop too much food colouring in!).
This was an exhausting event for the both of us – we literally didn’t stop from the moment moment we woke up on Friday morning until our last guests left at the end of the second event. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the whole weekend! We love the sense of achievement the supperclub gives us and its so satisfying to see clean plate after clean plate come back – we must be doing something right!
Thanks to our fabulous 22 guests who came through the Manor’s doors over the weekend, it was great to see so many guests, old and new.
Coming up in 3 weeks (eek!!) is our 2nd Birthday event. We’re pulling out all the stops for this one – we’re nervous and excited at the same time. The menu will be on the site soon…