Dinner 12

Dinner No 12 hosted by Jo: February 2013

“OMG it’s my turn” was the thought that hit having enjoyed another gorgeous dinner at Ellie’s! Having put 8ate to the back of my mind, suddenly the date had been set, the guests invited & my chef’s hat dusted off to come up with a menu for a wintery February night. Recipe books researched, old recipe files found & flicked through, friends consulted & finally the menu began to take shape. Being a foodie & having had a brief time as a chef on a yacht where I loved searching out the local produce ashore, ‘Going Local & Seasonal ‘was a natural theme. We’re lucky enough to live in a plethora of delicious produce it seemed silly to not make the most of it. Local Adsdean & Funtington Farm Shops were visited; friends’ allotments, neighbours garden’s rummaged & hen’s eggs pinched! Alongside this two of my oldest & best friends provided the pheasants & award winning Milton cider for the main dish – making it a brother & sister Perryman act: Beater Jane chatting up the game keeper for a few braces on Elsted’s last shoot of the season & brother Ian bottling up his award winning cider brew!

CANAPÉS:

Parmesan Lollipops

See: Red Online.

Goats Cheese & Sundried Tomatoes Profiteroles

Served with Winter Champagne Cocktail (Cointreau, sugar cube topped with bubbly)

I’ve wanted an excuse to make these lollipops since I saw Lorraine Pascal do them! They were great fun to make & sooooo simple & quick to do. They also only take a couple of minutes in a high oven making it a wholly satisfying delight to make for an impatient blonde!

Having not made profiteroles before, this was slightly more challenging (Lorraine said they were easy, hmm), however following her top tips made it easier & was pleased with the outcome. They also keep for a while too – I just popped them in the oven quickly before filling them on the night so that they were nice & fresh. I don’t normally eat savoury profiteroles & prefer sweet ones slightly less crisp, but they seemed to work well with the filling. The filling was just a Jo T concoction – forking soft goats cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes & some of their oil & a sprinkling of basil to bring some more colour to it & bobs your uncle. I did this a couple of nights before putting it into a sealed piping bag in the fridge ready for the night, making it really quick & easy to assemble. Great!

STARTER:

Ham Hock Terrine, Beetroot Relish with Ham Hock Veloute

(Asdean local pigs, beetroot relish made last autumn with beetroot from friend’s Southsea allotment)

See: Delicious Magazine (from experience I have yet to have a duff recipe from Delicious Magazine).

Served with a delicious crisp white wine kindly supplied by Ellie.

I’ve never made a terrine before, but thought this sounded tasty & could look good on a plate. Regularly walking Pemba – my lab – at Kingley Vale means that I see the pigs & Bruce who looks after them so it was on such a walk that I thought it would be daft not to include the pigs in the menu selection (best meat selection ever – www.adsdeanfarm.co.uk)! I would definitely do this again, it was a pleasure to make & delicious. It also keeps for a week in the fridge or you can freeze it, so you can make it way in advance if you need to – brilliant! Added to which ham hocks aren’t something that I’ve used before & I was amazed how cheap they were yet a super piece of meat. The actual recipe means you can start if off with the hocks on the hob for four hours until it literally falls off the bone (the bone being a treat for a very happy black lab who hadn’t left the kitchen whilst this was cooking!). The stock was really tasty & not overly salty – though I didn’t add any salt at any point to this recipe. Putting it all in a loaf tin wrapping it up with satisfaction knowing it was done well ahead of the night was great. The veloute sounded posh but was a doddle. A simple roux with the strained stock (thru’ a muslin) being added to the right consistency made a nice warm dipping espresso cup for the toasted ciabatta bread & salad. Plating it up on the night meant slicing the ham hock, salad garnish with drizzle of homemade mustard dressing, spoonful of beetroot relish that I’d made last autumn, veloute in espresso cup & two slices of toasted ciabatta looked good on the plate & luckily was good to eat too. Leftovers for lunch the next day were an added bonus!

SORBET:

Apple & Sage Sorbet

(Funtington Farm Shop apples)

(Recipe amended from old friend & private chef – I went to his chef graduation ceremony years ago! – Luke Hackman’s tomato & basil sorbet recipe.

See: Square Meal

Sorbet – don’t know why I’d thought these were a phaff! I gently softened the cooking apples with lemon juice, whole sage leaves & water on the hob. Then removed the sage leaves, pushed it through a sieve to give it a smooth consistency, then did the normal water & sugar mix the night before, added the apple & put it all in an ice cream machine. Done! Served piped into shot glasses, with deep fried sage leaf – though needed a good 5 mins out of the freezer before a spoon could go through it, for a not overly sweet, cleansing sorbet. Happy with that.

MAIN:

Perryman Pheasant with Cider & Shallots, served with purple & curly kale, mash & streaky bacon

(Pheasants from Elsted Shoot Friday 1stFebruary, award winning Pompey Cider)
Recipe amended from BBC Food

Served with a robust, smooth red wine kindly supplied by Lucinda.

This was a real education. I’ve never skinned & removed the breasts from pheasants before, but with careful instruction & a giggle we did the birds on Saturday afternoon, so that they had only been hung for one night, making them less gamey. Added to which the hens are tenderer than the cocks (no comment!), so chose hen breasts for the night. They were then checked for shot, washed & ready for prepping when I needed to.

The night before I sliced the breast to put a good slither of butter inside, wrapped them in two slices of bacon each & then into tin foil so that they were a good tube shape, poaching them in hot water for 5 mins before popping them in the fridge ready for finishing off on the day. The kale was also cooked then plunged into cold water ready to be fried on the night to heat up, same with the mash for easier evening. (Veg from www.grangefarmshop.com)

The sauce was an easy one to do & prepare the night before too, making it less hassle on the night to do. A quick fry – keeping them moving to ensure the bacon doesn’t stick – to give them some colour, placed in oven proof dish, covered in cider & shallot sauce & put in oven for 45 mins to cook, then turned out tender, not dry & very tasty much to my relief.

My only disappointment was that plating up – cutting each end of the pheasant off so that it has a flat bottom & then slicing it diagonally so that it stands on the plate giving it some height, then adding kale, mash & sauce – so that it wasn’t as hot as it should have been by the time it got to the table. Bother.

DESSERT:

Rhubarb parfait with meringues & ginger, served with ginger biscuits & crushed honeycomb

(Rhubarb from neighbours, eggs from next door’s hens: Queenie, Molly & Gwendoline!)
(Rhubarb parfait from good old Hugh, Ginger biscuits from the ever reliable Delia’s bible ‘Complete Cookery Course’ & Honeycomb recipe from Luke)

Served with a really yummy dessert wine kindly supplied by Tanyah.

A lover of rhubarb, this sounded like a good option, plus again could be done in advance. In fact it was a bit of a phaff to do but worth the little bit of effort & makes loads so still can serve some up in the future too – all good! There were four main components to this recipe – meringues, egg yolks mixed with sugar syrup, whipped vanilla cream, roasted rhubarb puree all finally mixed in together. I was really pleased with the end result though; it was light, not overtly creamy & looked pretty on the plate.

The ginger biscuits were so easy & a success that I’ve no idea why I ever buy them! Having also never made honeycomb before, but always wanted to, I thought this was my chance to give it a go. It’s brilliant, I felt like a GCSE chemistry student again adding the bicarb of soda & watching it bubble away, food fun! The honey was really noticeable which gave it a pleasurable homemade taste & as it keeps for ages I’ve still got quite a jar of it to rot my teeth daily on!

PETIT FOURS:

Bailey’s Chocolates & Little Lemon Tarts

(Bailey’s chocolate recipe from Luke Hackman, Lemon Curd recipe from best mate Jacqui Orange)

I was slightly disappointed with the chocolates as they turned out rather large & as they were so rich – it was like making lard cakes for the filing, seriously when do you normally have the excuse to add equal amounts of butter, chocolate & cream to Bailey’s to mix up heart attack heaven?! – I felt they needed to be smaller. Luke said to pop the filling in the freezer quickly to ensure they were firm before dipping them in the chocolate, which was really useful as I think they might have found their way to the bin without that. Drizzling the white chocolate over the top made them look really professional & more delicate though.

The lemon tarts were fine, again done in advance, then piped into the pastry on the night with the adding of sliced syrup kumquat were my favourite petit fours. I polished off a few more doing the washing up!

All in all I was really pleased with how the dinner went, the menu selection & the fact that I’d learnt some new tricks, recipes & cooking skills, plus had a lovely time immersing myself in food again. Bliss! All the fun finishing touches of pheasant leaves in vases, around tea lights & on napkins were a joy to create & distraction from the mundane everyday life. It was also really cool to dress up, spruce up the cottage, get the fire roaring & have a good girlie banter mid week. Lovely guests & was spoilt rotten with gifts (THANK YOU). It was a real honour to be asked to be the fourth ‘chef’ for the 8ate Club 2012/13 and I’ve enjoyed the meals, the new recipes, the chats, the nights out & the food feasts. If you’re lucky enough to be asked as a guest or ‘host’ for then don’t panic just jump in & get immersed in foodie heaven.

  1. T

    The wonderful thing (and the awful thing for the person cooking next) about this little venture is that the standards keep getting higher and higher. This was, without a doubt, restaurant quality food and not just any restaurant ~ a fabulous restaurant that would be booked up for 6 months!

    I was drooling when I read the menu and every item on there was something I would order from a menu gleefully.

    So to start a gorgeous but simple champagne cocktail ~ it's a good thing I was driving or I would have had to be rolled to the table, was a bit gutted to only have one!

    The canapes looked so fabulous, inviting you to dive in ~ just perfect! I had a touch of canape anxiety about the parmesan lolipops fearing they would crumble after the first bite, but they held firm. Totally delicious and special. A conversation piece as well which is nice, as canapes are often one of the dishes that are the most labour intensive and often get scoffed down without too much thought as you are busy chatting at the beginning of an evening. I would love to make these but fear I would fail dismally. I liked the profiteroles very much ~ I adore goats cheese and sundried tomatoes. They were just the right size too which is a skill in itself, my profiteroles often come out the size of a snowman's head.

    Coming to the table was a total delight, everything looked so beautifully presented ~ it makes such a difference as your eyes get in the mood too. I loved *everything* on the gorgeous slates, the terrine, the relish and the super cute cup of veloute with the toasted artisan bread. It was a perfect starter.

    *loved* the sorbet. Again looking so super cute too, but the taste was delicious. A delicious bonus.

    The pheasant was superb, not dry at all, I know it is so hard to plate up and look as lovely as it did, so I think warming plates up is probably a good idea. It was lovely to have some kale too, a nice strong flavour which I don't get to eat at home as all my boys refuse to eat it!! Loved the super crispy bacon too. Knowing the birds were as fresh as could be made me enjoy it that much more ~ it beats any intensively farmed meat any day.

    The pudding. Good grief, it was insanely delicious and I was really pleased to hear the complicated process in making it so we could appreciate it that much more. I can only say it looked completely professional – proper masterchef stuff, the perfectly round ginger biscuit with added stem ginger and the gorgeous home-made honey honeycomb.

    And finally to finish us all off the chocolates that looked like they had been taken from a Parisian window and those gorgeous sharp lemon tarts, perfectly balanced with sharp and sweet.

    I would love to eat the entire meal all over again.

    Thank you for being such a warm and relaxed host and inviting us into your beautiful home.

  2. Anonymous

    Hi jo, this is Ellie, firstly I want to say a huge thank you for inviting us all into your beautiful home. You are an effortless hostess, and I enjoyed the evening so much.
    The canapés looked fantastic and tasted great, light and savoury, not filling at all which is perfect for a canapé.
    The ham hock terrine for starter was my favourite part of the menu, an absolute winner. I have never ordered pâté or terrine in a restaurant as I've always thought of it as something that I don't like, but this was completely different. The meat was light and tender, the flavour from the parsley and cornichons was fresh and clean, and the gelatine holding it all together was so light. This would be my husbands favourite starter and I have never cooked it, but I plan to do so as soon as I get your recipie!
    The main of pheasant was perfectly portioned and the colours looked great on the plate. It is hard to plate 8 and keep it all hot, you did well. The sauce was lovely and really complemented the meat, which again was very light, not heavy and 'gamey' as pheasant always tasted when I was growing up!
    The rhubarb parfait was really an accomplishment, especially as it was accompanied by such fantastic honeycomb and biscuits. The honeycomb was the first thing I remembered of the meal the next morning, and definitely something I will try making with my girls.
    I thought you planned your menu very well, each course complemented the next perfectly, (and I haven't even mentioned the sorbet or petit fours!), it was light, seasonal, unique and interesting, and if I hadnt had to rush off for the babysitter I would have happily sat polishing off the leftovers!
    Thank you jo for all your efforts, you have been a great addition to the 8ate, it would be really lovely to have you back next year!
    From Ellie.

  3. Hi Jo

    I am so pleased Tanyah invited me as her guest at the 8ate Club dinner in your beautiful home. It is such a brilliant idea and it was wonderful to be included as part of it.

    The food was outstanding, absolutely to die for and I came away feeling desperate to try all your recipes and become more adventurous in the kitchen. I also suddenly longed to find a chef that I could become friends with 😉

    I actually spent the following weekend making the Parmesan Lollipops for a birthday party I was going to. I had an interesting visit to Lakeland where I spent £1.99 on the sticks and another £58 on other things that might also work well suspended on a stick, like the lollipop cake tin. I’m sure loads of people walked past Lakeland’s window and wondered who on earth would by such a thing, yep that was me! When I made the Parmesan Lollipops I did ditch Lorraine’s idea of doing the lollipops on greaseproof paper, they stuck like glue and I was ready to throw the whole lot in the bin along with my aspirations of becoming a domestic goddess. I actually opted for a non stick tray which worked perfectly.

    I’ve not been to a party before where someone’s opened the door to me and said “wow” but the parmesan lollipops did look amazing. Not wanting plagiarise your experience completely, although I was enjoying the attention, I talked about the 8ate Club which inspired some great new conversations.

    I am very much looking forward to making the Ham Hock Terrine, I think that was my favourite part of the meal. The meat was so tender and succulent, it was a really gorgeous starter and so beautifully presented. Actually, several times throughout the meal I did think that I seriously need to give a lot more thought and attention to detail to my table accessorising, followed by a big trip to John Lewis to get an assortment of tableware that would enable me to make any more of the menu you served. That or fill my kids up with Marks & Spencer’s deserts so I can collect small glass pots!

    The other guests have written so much about the meal, how fantastic the food was and what an amazing hostess and chef you are, to which I couldn’t really add anything and all of which I so completely agree with. However I would just like to add that it is what I came away with that evening that has meant the most to me, because your cooking certainly has inspired me to want to improve my own, to try lots of new recipes and get more out of my kitchen. So thank you for renewing my interest and enthusiasm in cooking, I am excitedly looking forward to it.

    Thank you Tanyah for inviting me and to all the other ladies for being such lovely and interesting company.

    Lindsey X

  4. Lucinda

    Jo, thank you so much for a superb evening with the most fabulous meal!
    I thought you had planned your menu brilliantly, your choice of cold canapés and starter was such a great was a great way to ensure you were there for your guests. As the 8ate club dinners are just for the girls there is no other host to entertain your guests whilst your throw things around in the kitchen, I thought you hosted brilliantly and that was in part due to your menu planning, I have taken note!!
    I loved the local and seasonal angle to your evening, it's always great hearing where the produce came from, especially when they have names like Queenie and Gwendoline! I also loved the presentstion of both the table and the dishes themselves, for me that's very much part of the dining experience and you clearly went to a lot of effort theming it beautifully!
    Canapés
    I loved the Parmesan lollipops, they looked great fun and were very tasty with the addition of seeds. I was a little apprehensive as I took my first bite as I thought it might crumble, knowing that Pemba was on a sleepover I thought that this could be a problem but I was delighted to have been able to consume it all! The goats cheese profiteroles were very light and had a wonderful flavour, all my favourites. They were also an easy size to eat.
    Starter
    Yummy! I loved the ham hock terrine, full of flavour and meat. I am not a fan of terrines usually as they normally have a smooth paste in there somewhere or too much gelatine, this had neither and was delicious. I particularly enjoyed the beetroot relish that complimented it superbly. The velouté was a lovely idea as it was warm, I didn't quite finish mine as I thought it would be sensible to save myself for the next course!
    Sorbet
    It always feels so decadent to have a patette cleanser, especially if it is an unusual flavour. I thought the apple was simpley gorgeous and I think the sage worked well with it. I would have preferred just the apple on its own as it was such a refreshing flavour but that's just a personal preference!
    Main
    After being delighted by the presentation and having heard the wonderful stories about how these pheasants arrived on our plates it was a pleasure to taste it. The cider shallot sauce was an absolute winner, it complimented the pheasant perfectly and although the pheasant wasn't gamey it would also be a great sauce for a well hung bird. The kale added great colour and texture and the bacon was beautifully salty and crispy which I loved! I agree that unfortunately the dish had lost some of its heat, it is so difficult to plate up when you are going for presentation as well, or carving etc – we need to introduce the sanctioned use of a wingman during this crucial plating up moment!
    Desert
    Oh my goodness it just keeps getting better! I LOVED this desert, I love rhubarb and making it into a parfait was delicious and again a great way to be the perfect hostess! The honeycomb was also divine, I have never had honeycomb that tasted of honey and not a hint of bicarbonate from your science experiment!! The ginger biscuits were gorgeous and looked like they had come off a cookie production line (that's a compliment by the way as they were a perfect shape). It was a light desert which was so necessary as there were so many courses to enjoy and I wanted to sample everything!
    Petit fours
    Well these looked like they had just come from a gorgeous little French patisserie! The presentstion was exquisite and the flavours were awesome. Sadly I did find the baileys choc very rich and could only manage a nibble but the lemon curd was lighter and went down without hesitation, how did I manage that? The lemon curd was so glossy and the tarts were very dainty and easy to eat.
    Have I left anything out, I hope not. Not only a faultless meal but a gorgeous evening, if only I could pull that off every time we have a dinner party!! Well done Jo and thank you so much, you have inspired me to spend more time on planning my next 8ate dinner.
    Fabulous! Lou xx

  5. Anonymous

    Wow – What a treat! First, on a freezing cold night, was lovely to enter such a cosy, clearly loved cottage and be presented with a beautiful glass of champagne. On sighting the parmesan lollipops and profiteroles canapes creatively displayed in the corner of the room, I knew this dinner party was going to be special!
    Then I was presented with the professionally typed menu. I felt almost embarrassed about the effort that would have taken to produce such a menu and honoured to be invited! Thank you Lucinda.

    So onto the food…

    Parmesan lollipops:
    Fantastic flavour, Fun appearance, wonderfully crunchy and didn't crumble all over Jo's beautiful carpet when I bit into it which was a complete bonus!

    Profiteroles:
    Not a fan of the somewhat soggy texture of profiteroles, I was surprised how I enjoyed the savoury alternative. They had an almost melt in your mouth texture about them and.

    Ham Hock Terrine:
    Never say Never! When I have previously had terrines, I have not liked their coarseness, preferring a smoother pate or indulgent fois gras. Additionally, I am not a fan of beetroot. So I was a little skeptical with eating this dish. However, it was absolutely delicious, the ham was beautifully cooked and the veloute not only being delicious, took away the dryness that a terrine can sometimes have. Much to my surprise, I loved the beetroot chutney as I often find beetroot too bitter.

    Pheasant:
    Not being a country girl, I don't think I have ever eaten pheasant. It is lovely, good flavour and lovely texture. The warm wintery nature of this dish was perfect for a freezing evening. Hearty, without being too filling.

    Desert:
    OMG this has to be one of the most amazing dishes I have ever tasted. The refreshing parfait was beautifully complimented by the ginger biscuit and initially you may thing the honeycomb is more than you need, but once you tast it all…..AMAZING!!
    All I can say, is well done Jo, you introduced me to pheasant and have encouraged me to experiment with ingredients I would normally shy away from. What is incredible is when writing this, how fresh the flavours still are despite eating this delectable meal over a month ago! Time to stop salivating over the computer and get some lunch…..

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