Vive la France

Back in mid July, we kicked off our summer run of events at the Manor with a French feast to celebrate Bastille day. We wanted to bring some familiar French classic flavours, but with a twist. We didn’t base the whole supperclub on a particular book, but many of the dishes did come from the likes of Rachel Khoo and Rick Stein.

Guests were welcomed with a refreshing Lillet and ginger spritz. Lillet is a French vermouth, quite sweet, tangy and floral. This longer drink came with lemon, basil, preserved ginger and sparkling water – very refreshing and tasty! Our canapés included  “pizza crackers” – mini cheesy shortbreads topped with slow roast tomatoes. The second canape was a delightful combination of queenie scallops and a zesty sauce vierge. The sweet scallops paired well with the tang of the tomatoes and the saltiness of the capers in the sauce.

The first starter was a French classic, onion soup – but with a twist! This version came with at least five onions (white, spring, shallots, garlic, pickled) and the slightly unusual addition of liquorice. The liquorice was not over powering but gave a smooth, salty, aniseedy finish to the rich soup. This was followed by a boudin noir croquette with celeriac remoulade – essentially a celeriac coleslaw made with creme fraiche and lemon zest, which cut through the soft, salty richness of the black pudding nicely.

 

Onto the mains, which started with a delightful dish of lavender, honey and lemon chicken. Floral food haters need not fear, the lavender was not flowery at all – and the chicken was marinated in a fair bit of it! In fact it imparted more of a deep, smoky flavour. The chicken came with a warm, mustardy potato salad and freshly podded broad beans.

The second main was a hearty “peasant” style dish of crispy pork belly, lentils and a sauce verte. Another hearty dish, with the soft and crisp belly, bacon and wine rich lentils cut through with a herby green sauce of parsley, capers, anchovies and mustard.

Hopefully our guests weren’t too full by the time we got to dessert, which was a sweet, nutty and crisp almond tart paired with merlot poached cherries, creme fraiche ice cream and toasted almonds.

Our final flourish were the petit fours which were home made caramels spiked with warming spices and sea salt crystals.

The was an enjoyable and laid back event to kick start the summer, with a wonderful array of guests old and new having travelled as far as the US! In a couple of weeks we’ll be hosting our vegetarian fine dining events. We’ve pulled together our menu and all it’s very exciting.

Also, we’ve just about agreed on dates and themes for our autumn / winter events for 2017 and they’ll be on sale soon…Get in quick as I’ll be off having a baby, so a short break, before heading back into hosting in Spring 2018!!

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