Author Archives: Susie Barker

About Susie Barker

Wine loving, food obsessed geek. Spend most of my time experimenting in the kitchen, attending food type events or planning supperclub evenings for Dinner at the Manor with my good friend Martini Man.

April 2016- Menu

Our next couple of events are coming up thick and fast. At the end of April we are hosting an evening event inspired by Rick Stein’s most recent book, From Venice to Istanbul, taking in a number of cuisines from the eastern Mediterranean. Think fresh, clean flavours, to punchy, spicy, aromatic dishes.

So, here’s the menu, we’d love to know what you think.

April 2016

Simply Nigel

Last weekend we served up a lovely small plates lunch to some of our wonderful guests. Using Nigel Slater’s beautiful Kitchen Diaries III as our guide, the food was simple, yet with stunning flavours to really awaken those tastebuds.

First off, our guests were greeted with our Raspberry Cooler cocktail, a delightful mix of gin, Chambord, muddled raspberries and bitter lemon. To accompany the aperitif were our canapes. First off were Dan’s Nduja bruschetta. Nduja is a rather filthy, spreadable spicy Italian sausage. The spiciness was paired with creamy goats cheese and piquant olive for a lovely little mouthful.

The other canapes were described as “apple and stilton dumplings” which were in fact little apple and stilton pies. Apple puree and stilton, encased in puff pastry – these were served with a sweet and spiced red onion and golden sultana chutney. A truly delightful morsel.

The next course was my citrus cured salmon with fennel and orange. Salmon was cured for a couple of days in salt, lemon and orange zest, dill, mint and gin and then thinly sliced. A crunchy  tangy, acidic fennel salad and sliced of in season blood oranges created a dish full of contrasting flavours and textures.

Griddled lamb with tomato, ginger and basil swiftly followed. This was an interesting dish where the lamb, once griddled pink, is then steeped in a marinade of the above ingredients blitzed up with lots of mustard seeds.  The result is a fragrant pesto fusion which combined with the meaty lamb was a delight. This was served with a simple pea shoot and radish salad.

We then moved onto some of Nigel’s more gutsy dishes. The next course was Dan’s Smoked mackerel and tender stem broccoli gratin which was creamy, warming and full of interesting textures and flavours.

The final savoury course was a flavour sensation – beef short rib slow cooked for hours in ginger, anise, soy and apple juice. The soft meat came with a smooth cauliflower puree and lots of the delicious cooking liquor. A tangy chive puree was used to cut through the intense, but enjoyable richness of the dish.

Dan’s beautiful dessert was a take on Nigel’s walnut meringue. Nigel made his as a giant tray bake with apples and custard. The walnut meringue mix made lovely, chewy, nutty meringues but was quite hard to work with and so Dan deconstructed the dessert. Little bowls were filled with a delicate, chilled, vanilla custard topped with gently poached forced rhubarb and then finished off with the walnut meringue, a rhubarb curd and fragrant rhubarb syrup. This was light, fresh and full of spring flavours – perfect after a heavy meal.

Our final flourish were my not so petit fours of maple and hazelnut shortbread biscuits, crumbly, nutty and moreish!

All in all this was a fun yet really relaxed, calm affair – just like Nigel himself. If you don’t have the book, then I would recommend it, rather than a straighforward cookbook, it’s a beautiful memoir and ode to food.

Thanks to our lovely guests who bought us gifts of a bay tree, sourdough starter, raw brownies and wine – you are all very kind!

Our next event coming up will be our Rick Stein inspired Byzantine dinner. We cannot wait, see you soon!

March 2016 Menu – Kitchen Diaries III Lunch

Next week will see our next event being held over at the Manor. We love a bit of Nige so we’re really excited about using his beautiful book, The Kitchen Diaries III, as inspiration. Here’s the menu, we’ve gone for an array of small plates that are a diverse mix of delicate and robust dishes, with simplicity at its core. Let us know what you think!

March 2016

February 2016 Menu – Latin American Lunch

No sooner have we hosted our January event, we’ll be welcoming our February guests into the Manor for our Latin American Lunch. We always enjoy this type of cuisine. The bold zingy flavours really waken up taste buds!

Inspiration from Peru, Argentina, Columbia and beyond will make this a memorable feast, so here’s the menu!

Feb 2016

January 2016 Menu – Eastern European Feast

Happy New Year!

We’re kicking off our 2016 events in just over a week and will be bringing you the delights of Eastern Europe using Olia Hercules’ marvellous book Mamushka as our inspiration.

There will be the usual, traditonal dishes you would expect, dumplings, borscht and dill, lot of dill! But also some surprising dishes that will delight you.

So, here’s the menu, we’re looking forward to serving this up!

Jan 2016

December 2015 Menu – Nopi Inspired Christmas Lunch

In a week’s time will be our last event of the year, and what a year it has been! We’ll be seeing 2015 out with a delicious Nopi inspired Christmas lunch for our guests. Bold, bright flavours from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s beautiful book that, despite not being at all “Christmassy” will get our gets into fun, high spirits!

We’re looking forward to it already!

Dec_2015

Sugar, Sesame, Spice and all things nice!

Last weekend we served up our last afternoon tea of the year, a warming event full of Middle Eastern flavours to bring some spice to a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Anne Shooter’s wonderful book Sesame and Spice was our tome for the afternoon, serving up an array of sweet and savoury delights for our guests

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To kick off proceedings, guests were welcomed with a welcome drink, our pomegranate fizz. Pomegranate juice and cava, with a dash of grenadine. Think of it as a take on a Kir Royale!

Up first were the savoury dishes – this included a beautiful aubergine tart, which had aubergine 3-ways at the core of it! Puff pastry was topped with baba ganoush, griddled aubergine slices and roasted aubergine wedges. This was baked before being topped with halloumi and a tasty drizzle of honey, pomegranate molasses, mint, chilli and peppery oil. Also on offer were fluffy little flatbreads topped with a salty and piquant black olive tapenade, air dried tomatoes and feta cheese.

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These were accompanied with mini bagels filled with lox and a schmear (or smoked salmon and cream cheese!) and garnished with red onion and capers. A very traditional sandwich, but one everyone has got to love! Another pastry element came in the form of spinach and cheese filo parcels. Wilted spinach, feta and egg, spiced with nutmeg. A cheesy spiced delight indeed.

A short respite later, we moved onto sweet treats. As a nice lead up to the cakes, Dan made some wonderfully short, halva and sumac biscuits. This is essentially a shortbread recipe spiked with nutty halva, sour sumac and fragrant rose sugar – a new taste sensation. Dan tested these out on his colleagues who had no idea what sumac or halva was!

Swiftly after this was my fig and frangipane tart – buttery shortcrust and soft juicy figs surrounded by nutty frangipane and topped off with a honey and orange blossom drizzle and creme fraiche.

Now it was onto the cakes. Firstly spiced pumpkin cake, which was almost like a set custard! The base of this cake was pumpkin puree, lots of sugar and almonds. It came spiked with fruity raisins and festive spices. It was surprisingly light but took an age to bake!

An afternoon tea isn’t an afternoon tea without chocolate and our offering did not disappoint. The chocolate mousse cake consisted of two layers of mousse, firstly baked at the bottom and then a cool, chilled layer on top. Rich, bitter and satisfying this was an extremely light cake but very naughty!

Finally, Dan’s pretty mini saffron, almond and orange cakes were another interesting take on the traditional afternoon tea. These little, moist cakes were heavy with saffron fragrance, almond nuttiness and zesty orange. They came filled with homemade orange marmalade and an extremely naughty saffron buttercream – the leftovers of which Dan is still eating now!

All in all,  this was a very enjoyable afternoon. Food wise, Anne Shooter’s book is so full of flavourful, interesting bakes that will (and have) become firm favourites and I think our guests felt the same way. It was once again great to see an array of old faces and new, a couple of our guests last dined with us over three years ago! Speaking of time, in less than a fortnight we’ll be hosting our last event of the year, based on Ottolenghi and Scully’s stunning book Nopi. We’ve already started testing recipes and the menu will be shared in a couple of days, can’t wait!