Tag Archives: French Food

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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A Bon Evening at the Manor!

Last weekend we invited 11 guests round our table to indulge in a bit of French frivolity at the Manor. We’re off to France shortly and what better way to get ourselves pepped and ready to go than with a delicious eight course menu celebrating all things French. Using Rick Stein’s French Odyssey as our guide (which is twenty years old this year!) we served up a delightful array of dishes.

Our cocktail was le diner au manoir, an unusual concoction of orange, gin, pernod and sparkling water with a dash of grenadine for colour and sweetness. We served this from our retro punch bowl.

This delicious aperitif was paired with three canapés. Firstly little puff pasty parcels filled with roasted butternut squash, thyme and goats cheese, an adaptation of a pumpkin soup recipe from the book.

This was swiftly followed by little crunchy croutes topped with tapenade and a baked mushroom. The earthy mushroom paired surprisingly well with the salty, umami flavours of the tapenade. The third canapé were flash fried queenie scallops served up with a delicious tomato and herbes de Provence dressing.

After canapés came the amuse bouche, little cups of vichyssoise, or cold leek and potato soup to you and I! This is a decadent creamy and smooth soup with the unmistakable savoury notes of leek and white pepper. These came topped with fun little garlic chives.

Next up was the starter which was Dan’s take on a bouillabaisse, a French fish stew. Dan’s summery version came spiked with the flavours of orange, anise, tomato and pepper. The fish, fresh from Leeds market, was squid and crab. The squid is cooked long and slow to make it mouth-wateringly soft. Just before serving a rouille – which is a spiced garlic mayonnaise – was stirred through to add even more depth of flavour. These came served with a little baguette crouton and a further smear of rouille.

After a bit of respite of our guests, the main course was served. This was bavette steak (beef skirt from the brilliant Keelham Farm shop) cooked pink, accompanied with a rich, glossy Bordelaise sauce and a shallot and parsley “salsa” to cut through the richness. This was paired with pommes coq d’or – sliced baked potatoes in stock and a Cheesemaker’s salad, which doesn’t actually contain any cheese! Tender leaves and pink pickled shallots tossed in a tart mustard dressing. Again, this did a great job of cutting through the richer elements of the dish.

To cleanse the palate, next up was little scoops of Normany cider sorbet. This was fresh green apples pulped in the juicer and strained before being added to a sweet cider syrup and churned to make a bright green and refreshing sorbet that had the unmistakable taste of tangy apple and cider!

Our final flourish was Dan’s Trois Petit Desserts, which actually turned out to be four! Dan put his patisserie skills to the test making nearly every single dessert in Rick’s book! First up was a caramel mousse, which is a light and airy mousse flavoured with buttery salted caramel. This came topped with fresh strawberries and crunchy almond brittle. It wouldn’t be a French meal without some form of crème brulee, and this time it came in the form of a passionfruit brulee. Passionfruit puree was mixed into the custard before being baked to produce a subtly flavoured creamy delight. Interestingly Rick uses icing sugar for his burnt top, and it works a treat! You have to work quickly before the sugar dissolves but it melts easily and cracks up a treat. It did mean we had to get out Dan’s scary, industrial sized blowtorch, which had us all running to protect our eyebrows! The brulee came paired with a passionfruit shell filled with passionfruit jelly. This was a really cute addition to the plate as it looked just like a passionfruit and was really effective and pretty. Finally to ensure there was some pastry to munch on Dan concocted a mini pear tart. Crisp puff pastry was filled with poached pear and topped with a red wine glaze, chopped pistachios and a dollop of crème fraiche.

Finally, our petit fours for the evening were little honey and lemon madeleines, light and fluffy, but may have tipped some of our guests over the edge!

To sum up, this was a very enjoyable event, as usual our guests were a lovely bunch who were well up for tucking into the huge amount of food we threw their way! Rick Stein’s book is a classic, with all of the dishes flavoursome and relatively simple to make using very simple ingredients. Vive la France!

We’re taking a bit of a break in September, but we’ll be ready and raring to go in October for our 4th birthday (gulp!) event – Japanese soul food paired with delicious Beavertown Beer!

August Menu – French Odyssey

It seems like as age since our last event, nearly two months in fact! We’re fully recharged and rested from one European trip to Spain, and this event is in homage to our next one, en France!

Using the wonderful Rick Stein’s French Odyssey as our guide, we’ll be taking you on a journey across France, cooking up traditional dishes bursting with flavour.

We think this menu c’est magnifique and we hope our guests and blog readers think so too!

August 2015

Spaces Available for August’s French Supperclub!

Due to a cancellation some last minute spaces have become available for our French Odyssey event on Saturday 15th August (7pm-11pm). There are 3 spaces available at a cost of £35pp which gets you the full Manor feast and a welcome cocktail. The menu is just being finalised now and will contain lots of classic French meat and fish dishes, so would suit diners who do not have aversions to these ingredients!

A fellow supperclubber is selling these spaces on as they are unable to attend. If you’d like to grab them quick then email ally@digital-diva.co.uk

French Fodder!

Last month was our Rachel Khoo inspired French event. We’ve now done a few events using recipes from the ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ book, including a private supperclub and an afternoon tea. We like Rachel’s peasant style recipes paired with her stunning patisserie (she trained as a pattisiere). We found that the recipes don’t always work, as Rachel cooks in such a small oven at home where she created her recipes, and so we had to test everything thoroughly in advance.

Our guests were welcomed with a classic Kir royale, it couldn’t be any other cocktail for a French theme could it?! These were joined by canapes of lettuce cups, filled with crunchy nicoise style veg, creamy egg and lemony dressing; quail egg mini croque madame muffins (now a firm Manor favourite!); and crostini topped with a fresh and punchy ratatouille. Our amouse bouche was shots of Rachel’s creamy potato and cauliflower soup. This soup can be served hot or cold and the cauliflower makes it the silkiest soup I’ve ever tasted.

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