Veggie Feast…a report

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Well we have just completed our January dinners and I have to say it was a real pleasure to work in conjunction with a couple of like minded passionate individuals to deliver what we hope our diners found to be an exciting and memorable event.

I must firstly say a big thanks to Sarah Crysell the owner of the Olive Stores in Brenchley who agreed to allow me to host the event here so that we could serve the alcohol we had planned to serve and incorporate with this special vegetarian inspired menu. Sarah opened this little cafe & deli in late summer 2011 and she has quickly established the place as a venue for “ladies who lunch” and also is keen to establish regular evening events with a difference. It meant we were able to offer more places as the venue is not only bigger but the set up provides an intimate atmosphere that lends itself to our covert theme. I am sure we will return for a future events and I look forward to attending one of her own events…

Having become aware of Moodley’s last year and helped to introduce founder and brewer Yudhistra Moodley to a few foodie contacts I have been keen to incorporate and introduce his beers to a wider audience and what better way than at one of our dinners.

Well this month we had a private dinner at our home venue on the Friday night and then decamped up to Brenchley for the Saturday night. We decided the menu this month would also since the excess of the festive period would be a recent memory so a good idea if we  went the route of a vegetarian theme. So this we duly decided upon and also with a unique selection of Moodley’s Beers to go with the chosen dishes.

We kicked the dinner off with a welcome drink of Sparkling Perry that we mixed with a shot of the Moodley’s Winters Solstice making a version of a “black velvet” and with this we served some nibbles, some black olive tapenade and some crispy cauliflower cheese fritters and some shot glasses filled with curried parsnip soup.

Well as guests settled in for the six course feast we served the first course, cold smoked tofu that was served on top of cold rice noodles and a julienne of cucumber. This was all coated by a peanut butter and sesame oil sauce that with the drizzle of chilli oil made up the the Bang Bang element of this oriental inspired dish. The beer we served was a Mr Toad’s Tonic a pretty effervescent brew that was lively as we pored it but slipped down well and got the party going!

Next came the freshly made roasted butternut squash risotto that was served topped with some crumbled goats cheese and deep fried sage leaves. With this dish we served a new beer that Yudhistra had brewed specifically for the night. This one had no name and we had run a competition to come up with a name… there were five names shortlisted for the night and voting forms given to guests resulted in a winning name being chosen.

I can now reveal the winning name submitted by Sarah Kennaird of Tunbridge Wells is “The Thirsty Bear”… so we will now invite her to attend a special tasting of the beer and a plate of the risotto.

So the next dish of this veritable feast was a mushroom and chickpea burger that we served with a mint,cucumber and yoghurt relish and a this we drizzled some olive oil and truffle balsamic vinegar over the garnish of pea shoots…. the Moodley’s Autumn Leaf was the beer we served for this course!

Then it was the main course… a mixed bean chilli that was in a rich tomato based chilli sauce, we served this with some rather special homemade bread, a simple beer bread made with some Moodley’s Penshurst Pleasure and then a simple side salad of green beans with toasted Kentish cobnuts and cobnut oil dressing. With this we served the second special beer of the night especially brewed for the occasion. This one named Olympic had a little citric tang that went well with the chilli. The use of overseas hops namely the Czech Saaz and German Halltauer  gave it a unique perspective.

With the cheese course we served four cheeses just some of the extensive selection the Olive Stores have for sale or use themselves for their cafe customers. We had a neat little selction of British and French… a runny ripe Somerset Brie, a black wax coated Welsh cheddar called the Black Bombardier, a classic Stilton and then a garlic & black pepper cheese from the Auvergne in France called Gaperon.

Finally it was the dessert, this we kept nice and simple and we had made a lovely dense gooey chocolate brownie that we served with a dollop of  creme fraiche. This we served with the Winters Solstice beer that seemed to go down very well indeed.

Some freshly baked shortbread biscuits with coffee rounded the evening off and we had completed yet another Hari event. It is always a bit daunting when we have an idea for an event and how are we likely to pull it off but I think I an say this one was a success and we had some delightful comments in our Guestbook that was circulated around the tables on the night!

Now we are busy planning for our February dinners – will be announcing the menu soon and then also some further news on some big charity/fundraising ones as well!!

Keep watching this space…