Wow! What a year it has been. October 6th sees Dinner at the Manor celebrate our 1st birthday! When Dan and I began this little venture, we didn’t know what to expect – would anyone come? Would people enjoy the food? Would we enjoy it? Would we still be friends?!
12 months, 17 events and 231 guests fed, we’re still here and still enjoying ourselves.
We’ve created a menu which we think showcases some of the best things we think have cooked over the past 12 months. (Thanks to our blog readers for voting!). We’re looking forward to cooking these treats up again, and hope our guests are looking forward to trying them too! There will also be some surprise treats in store for our guests too, not mentioned on the menu, we want to keep some things secret!
We went all French and kooky this weekend when we held an afternoon tea inspired by Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. This was a private event for a gaggle of hens who were celebrating the impending wedding of bride to be Lisa. Following a can can lesson in town they joined us for a selection of savouries and sweets washed down with teas, coffees and the obligatory kir royale. There was not a willy deelie-bopper in sight, and very well behaved they all were too!
This was a private event and we only do afternoon teas every now and then, on request. We like the fact that we can do far more in advance, plus it means we get to break away from the norm we have established with our usual Manor menus. We both love baking too, so it’s great to have a chance to challenge ourselves in this area.
Once again, we were without expert photographer Nick, however Susie did manage to take some snaps with her phone!
In terms of savouries we served up a range of treats inspired by Rachel’s book. I adapted the Nicoise wraps, stuffing the salad inside tortilla wraps instead of the suggested lettuce leaves, to make them a bit more substantial. I was impressed by the flavours of these – which consisted of sweet and crunchy green beans, radish, spring onion and tomatoes; piquant black olives and capers; and creamy free range egg – all bound together with a yummy red wine vinegar and lemon juice dressing. Atop homemade bread was a choice of radish with salted butter or a decadent fig, goat cheese and walnut option.
Susie’s offerings included gigantic platters of roasted root veg (including carrots, parsnips beetroot and apple). This was accompanied by a luxurious and creamy goats cheese mousse and was a popular addition to the table – only a few smears of beetroot and mousse were left! Susie also adapted the croque madame muffin recipe, making mini little bites of loveliness from quail eggs.
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!)
In October Dinner at the Manor will celebrate our one year in supperclubbing and what a year it’s been. We have cooked some fabulous stuff over the past 12 months to 174 guests and we’d thought we’d give you the chance vote for what we cook at our birthday supperclub on Saturday 6 October 2012, which will be a special celebration dinner for us! We will, of course, we will be keeping some surprises for the night…
Pick one choice from each of the courses below to control the menu for the night, which will become part of our traditional 6 course extravaganza!!
We’ve had a bit of a break from our supperclub duties as of late, but were back with a bang this weekend for the summer. The inspiration for our latest feast was Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Does book, which sees him travel all over Europe putting his twist on local cuisine. This book appealed to me as it’s so colourful and introduces some really exciting ingredients and dishes that you don’t always find in Jamie’s other books, which are accessible but sometimes a bit predictable. We’re both working full time again now so we’ve stopped our double weekender events to make sure that the hosting experience is an enjoyable one for us!
The menu was a good one to prep for in advance which meant that cooking on the night was calm and serene! We welcomed guests with a summery cocktail of our homemade pear wine mixed with homemade elderflower cordial and sparkling water. It was fruity and fresh and seemed to be enjoyed by everyone. Our canapes, served in the library as usual, were an exotic mix of treats from Spain, Morocco and Sweden. They included slivers of hot chorizo cooked with garlic; briouats – filo pastry wraps of a spiced ratatoille; and home made rye crisp breads topped with a salmon and beetroot gravadlax and creme fraiche. These were colourful and full of flavour – a great start to 6 course meal!