Game on… February 2011

Game On Menu…

Welcome aperitif and nibbles


Wood Pigeon Breast served “Two ways”

With a Green Bean and Kent Cobnut Salad

and a Chinese Black Bean Sauce


Butternut Squash Risotto topped with pan-fried Venison Liver


Supreme of Pheasant with a cider jus bacon and baby onions

Braised Red Cabbage

New Potatoes


Chocolate Cardamom Bread & Butter Pudding

served with a glass of dessert wine


Coffee & Petit Fours

Phew… that’s our January dinners done and dusted and well it has been a bit of a busy month for us… Firstly we did a special dinner for the winners of the Slave Auction that took place in Tunbridge Wells last July…. The Wilkey household had bid and won dinner for four and on a cold dark January night we fulfilled our obligations and provided a dinner in their home…they chomped their way through four courses. They kicked off with a butternut squash risotto topped with scallop and chorizo and followed it with a roasted Barbary duck breast with a blackberry & red wine jus and then some Winterdale Shaw and Stichleton Cheeses with our porridge oat biscuits. Finally a decadent chocolate torte served with a red berry compote completed the meal.

Quickly following on from this I then spent a day with Robin & Carla Betts at Winterdale Shaw assisting in the production of a batch of cheeses (where some will be used later in the year at a special dinner we are planning… more on that at a later date) A 1000 litres of their morning milk straight from the cows went through the process of cheese making to produce eight 15kg cheeses… it was a labour of love and will post more details on this in the future.

So for this months dinners it was a theme of “Game” and we decided to showcase this with the use of wood pigeon, pheasant and then some rather rare but tasty Venison liver.

To kick the dinners off we served some varied nibbles, a classic black olive tapenade on toasts and some Parmesan Lollipops flavoured with black mustard seeds and caraway seeds. We also served some shot glasses of pea and curry cappuccino that seemed to go down well with a welcome glass of bucks fizz

The first course we served was a pink roasted wood pigeon breast served with a green bean and cobnut salad dressed with Kent cobnut oil and the other half of the breast we served a classic Chinese black bean sauce garnish with some pea shoots.

To follow we then served a creamy roasted butternut squash risotto that was garnished with slivers of pan fried venison liver. The liver having been soaked in milk was still slightly pink and had a great earthy flavour against the sweetness of the risotto. The liver is something of a rarity as normally it is the reserve of the Gamekeeper but my butcher EC Wilkes in Cranbrook came up trumps… it was akin to eating calves liver but slightly more earthy.

So the meat fest progressed to the main course of roasted breast of Pheasant that came garnished with bacon lardons and roasted onions and a delicate crème fraiche and cider sauce. Simply boiled new potatoes were chosen to accompany this as after such a rich meal it was felt something plain was needed and the deep ruby red braised red cabbage was the vegetable garnish.

To round it all off we then served individual warm Chocolate and Cardamom Bread & Butter puddings that had a heavenly scent of chocolate and almost as one guest commented a citrus flavour to it. Some fresh Greek yoghurt was served to cut the richness of the pud.

It was a challenging menu to prepare as so much was “a la minute” cooking and the balance of flavours and richness of the meat meant it was a challenge for diners to eat it all.. still they all seemed to manage and we now move onto our next dinners in February.


Hari Covert

Covert by name, covert by nature


And the winner is…?



Well now, we are pleased to announce there is an upcoming event that is designed to tickle and chill your palate.

The owner of Taywell Ice Creams – Alastair Jessel based at Paddock Wood is opening his doors for a very special taste off.

Taywell Ices are creating some new flavours to enter in the 2011 Great Taste Awards. This is your chance to pass judgement & give your opinion at an organised taste off. You will also have a tour of their production facility and learn more about the making of bespoke ice creams.

The date is Wednesday March 2nd  and spaces are limited to the two time slots of 6:30pm and 7:30pm and your places can only be reserved via the Twuddle/Twuttle web site… please book your spaces here and make sure you state which time you require.

food for lovers & lovers of food…feb 2011

Well that is our February dinners done and dusted… the theme as we were close to Valentines was loosely followed and we found we had a full house on both nights and I am glad to say the challenge of a last minute cancellation was also filled quickly… The cancellation was the first one we have ever had to deal with that close to a dinner and we had already purchased food and started our prep so this meant we had to use all our means of contact to fill the space.

This web site is self built using a template on WordPress and I am by no means an expert and it is all self taught but I have recently discovered how to place a form on the site so am now trying to use these to gather information from our followers and punters… For example if you want to be made aware of a last minute cancellation why not fill out this form below and we will create a specific mail list to let you know.

I have also recently transferred my email list of addresses to an internet mail service called mail chimp… this enables me in one click to send an email that is specific to a special list and also see statistics who might have opened the email and gauge also what formats work best… again something to play with in the future and a lot less time consuming in keeping you all up to date.

The format of this site will also change slightly and I will start using the blog aspect more as it is a much quicker and an easier way of reporting what is happening and updating you all of some exciting developments that will be happening over the next few months. The pages will be more informative of what we do but effectively our home page will be the news and musings of yours truly…

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Warm Roasted Aubergine, Red Pepper & Cumin Terrine


Chicken Breast Roulade stuffed with Spinach, Pine Nut & Feta Cheese

served with a light sherry jus.

Pommes Lyonnaise

Green Beans wrapped in pancetta


Hari’s Selection of Cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits


Roasted Rhubarb Tart with Walnut Ice Cream


Coffee with petit fours 


So back to this months dinner… well we kicked off the dinners with some assorted nibbles that we think went well… the Friday night guests were served some Parmesan Lollipops that are just grated parmesan thinly spread on baking parchment and with the addition of some caraway seeds then baked. Once lightly golden and removed from the parchment and cooled they crisp up nicely and look impressive on the tables…The Saturday night guests were due the same but somehow I managed to mix my cheeses and added cheddar to the mix and when I started to bake them they went all greasy and horrible!!! So a minor alteration was made and the use of some butter puff pastry turned my cheese mix into some baked cheese Palmiers… We also on both nights served a little shot glass of mushroom cappuccino, simply a homemade mushroom soup topped with a milky foam… it seemed to be well received and will see what else we can dream up for these shot glasses in the future…

So our first course was a fairly ambitious one… a warm terrine of Aubergine that is set in a red pepper egg custard flavoured with cumin. I have to admit this was not all my own idea but one gleaned from a chef demo I had seen many years ago at a cookery demo in the Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School, London. It was Moroccan inspired as this accomplished chef had spent some time cooking at the La Gazelle D’Or in Taroudant and the marriage of aubergine, red peppers and cumin is a classic north African one. It was not till I researched a bit about the Cumin a spice that I realised it had some great “lovers” connections as well. It is the second most common spice used throughout the world and this terrine for me was a challenging one to serve warm to bring out the cumin flavour. It was a long process as the aubergine required a little salting initially (having been sliced length ways) then grilling and then when cold layered in the terrine moulds with the egg custard mix added. The cumin initially dry roasted and pounded in the pestle and mortar was added to the custard mix and when baked slowly emanated a truly wonderful aroma. The terrine was then sliced last minute and reheated in the oven to warm it up and help bring out the flavours. A simple salad garnish made this a great starter that was also very vegetarian friendly as well.

Next came our main course… the roulade of chicken, here we beat out a chicken supreme (the skinless breast) thinly and then before rolling it up tightly we placed some sautéed spinach, crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts as the filling.

The roulade rolled in cling film meant the best cooking method was to then gently poach them in chicken stock so ensure the meat remained succulent. A light jus with the addition of sherry and chopped sun-dried tomatoes proved an extra dimension and the clean plates that all came back seemed to be an approval of our efforts!

Next our ubiquitous cheese course was made up of a selection… we had marinated some fresh goats cheeses in an olive oil mix of dried chilli, chopped chives and basil for a couple of days, then a small wedge of Gorgonzola was the blue addition and a soft French Pié d’Angloys. We then also included as the hard cheese our local Winterdale Shaw but this time the standard one and a sliver of their smoked version, this is the matured cheese that is then halved and taken off to the Weald Smokery and smoked naturally over oak wood chips. One guest remarked how it took him right back to an earlier food memory so it certainly did its job!!!

Finally the dessert we served was a warm Rhubarb Tart that was served with some walnut ice cream. The pink rhubarb sliced and being placed raw on the puff pastry bases was then baked with addition of sugar and cinnamon.

Finally it was coffee served with an assortment of chocolates including some rather good Spanish Turron, it was a nightmare to cut but the broken bits that kept falling off found a good home!

The atmosphere of both nights was great and first night seemed incredibly loud with a constant background chatter, then the second night guests were treated to a firework display by one of neighbours so an added bonus… at no extra cost as well!!!

So that rounded up the dinners and we now start planning our next one…it will be a fish theme and will I am sure will be over subscribed once again…menu coming soon so watch this space…



Twuddle Personality of the Year 2010…

Well it was with some trepidation I arrived at the award ceremony held at Sankeys Wine Bar and Restaurant… There had been enormous twitter banter before the award ceremony and much canvassing of votes.

Well to say I was amazed to be awarded this honour was an understatement and was much appreciated to feel the warmth and good wishes within the room…

I hope I live up to the reputation bestowed upon me…


Gift Vouchers…

Something extra from Hari Covert…

Hari Covert Gift Vouchers…

Looking for something different and unusual to give a loved one? Not certain what to get that awkward friend or relative well why not treat them to a “Hari Covert Gift Voucher”.

We can now offer Gift Vouchers in £10 denominations that can then be redeemed against future events at Hari Covert’s Underground Restaurant. Vouchers will be valid for a six month period from their date of issue and can be used as payment against the dining experience of their choice. (subject to availability) Each voucher will come personalised with the recipient’s name and who they have been purchased by.

The Hari Covert “gift vouchers” may only be purchased by a credit or debit card. To do so please just contact us at with your contact details and we will call you to take payment over the phone.

You can also follow Hari Coverts musings and thoughts on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook just click the links below

If you wish to be added to our mailing list please complete the following form


Hari Covert

Covert by name and nature…

Chocolate Fest…


Well we had a reasonable turnout for our latest dinner but more are always welcome…

The menu was based on chocolate… with Easter around the corner we felt this food needed showcasing as to its versatility. A menu dedicated to a plant seed that has been cultivated for at least three millennia was challenging, as some dishes were a marriage made in heaven whilst others were more experimental…

We kicked the evening off with a smooth chicken liver parfait… no chocolate here but we moulded this rich and buttery pate into what basically looked like a chocolate truffle… the parfait was rolled in roasted hazelnuts and toasted sesame seeds as you would a chocolate ganache…serving this with a redcurrant sauce to help cut the parfaits richness and some simple melba toast… the culinary heritage of the toast is well documented as it was inspired by chef Auguste Escoffier whilst cooking at the Savoy and named in honour of Dame Nellie Melba an opera singer of the Victorian and early 1900’s. Many classical dishes are so named and a fuller list can be checked outhere

We then moved onto a slightly more experimental dish of a basic risotto that was cooked normally using a vegetable stock made from the cauliflower trimmings. Cauliflower florets were browned in butter to garnish the risotto, a cauliflower puree added to enrich the risotto and also deepen the cauliflower flavour and then just before serving some freshly grated white chocolate over the top. A simple and quite effective dish.

The main course dish was then an amalgamation of another classic French dish known as a Paupiette de Bouef or Beef Olive. A thinly sliced piece of beef topside is then filled with a sausage meat stuffing and on this occasion was then slowly braised in a Mexican inspired Mole (Mo-Lay) Sauce. The richness of this chocolate laden sauce and fiery chilli notes produced a warming and filling dish. It was served alongside Spatzli a southern German / Swiss pasta to soak up the sauce… all served with our signature dish of Green Beans… To check out the way the Spatzli is made check out our blog here

To complete the meal we named the dessert as chocolate overload as here we served three different chocolate desserts.

Firstly a classic dark chocolate mousse made with 70% cocoa solids chocolate, cream and egg whites that when set was spooned onto a sauce made from melted white chocolate, coffee and some sea salt…

Then a decadent chocolate torte I am unashamed to declare was a very easy recipe from chef Phil Vickery’s book called a Passion for Puddings it uses an oft forgotten ingredient Carnation Condensed Milk (the whole book is sponsored by them and I have done a whole series of puddings from it). Garnished with fresh raspberries the raspberry wheat beer from Whitstable Brewery we served with the pudding went well with this torte.

The third chocolate dessert was a dish inspired from my training in Switzerland… a dessert we used to serve in honour of our local neighbour Dr Sprungli of Lindt & Sprungli fame. A freshly poached pear once cold is served atop a ball of vanilla ice cream then placed into a brandy snap basket. The pear is then coated with a chocolate kirsch cream. The chocokirsch made by melting 70% dark chocolate with best Swiss Kirsch and then added to whipped cream. It added a lighter more refreshing touch to go with the other two desserts.

Coffee served with little Easter chocolate eggs, bunnies and chocolate bugs were in most cases taken home…

This was a fun menu and I think it went rather well… now thinking about the April menu as Spring will have well and truly sprung by then… I think I might use as inspiration some of the dishes I had recently at The Sportsman in Seasalter a re-knowned establishment with a Michelin star…

Happy Eating

Hari Covert

Covert by name, covert by nature

All Loved Up…


Well we hosted a “Valentines” themed menu that we called “in the pink” The idea was to have each course with some colour co-ordination namely pink… simple really.

It was quite a challenge to balance the menu but we felt we did a pretty good job… we kicked off the evening with a Prosecco Royale – a glass of prosecco with a slug of cassis and served this with a shot glass of a pea and curry mousse… I know its not pink but well we had to be green somewhere!

The first course was a cold cauliflower terrine that was served with a chilled shellfish sauce that was laced with some chopped crayfish tails. A garnish of our ubiquitous green beans in a light lemon juice and oil dressing was enhanced with some toasted pine kernels. This was a dish that Hari once served to the crown prince of Norway at a private dinner, on that occasion he cooked the terrine in an Aga but it failed to set and so ended up being a bit of a mush. On another occasion at a luncheon held at Sutton Place outside Guildford the same dish was presented to Rudolph Nureyev and was much appreciated so a fitting start to this evenings meal.

Next came a roasted fillet of Scotch Salmon that was served on top of a bed of roasted winter vegetables, these included Grilled Aubergine, Beetroot, Butternut Squash, Red Onion and then some lovely aniseed flavoured fresh fennel. This was served with some green Mojo Sauce a Canarian speciality. The sauce is made using fresh coriander, ground cumin, garlic and olive oil. Papas arrugadas were the potatoes and this was baby new potatoes that had been cooked in very salted water to ensure the skins became salt crusted…

Next a classic Panna Cotta or “cooked cream” was served with some fresh poached forced rhubarb and some homemade thin shortbread biscuits, simple but classic.

To complete the meal a platter of cheeses was served to share “a deux” and this include thinly sliced vieux Mimolette, a fresh goats cheese and then a run away vacherin, a traditional cheddar cheese and a blue Shropshire. All served again with our now infamous oat “porridge” biscuits.

To go with the coffee Hari had once again made some heart attack peanut butter fudge and presented little bags to take away to the guests as well.

It seemed the guests all left pretty loved up and once again we look forward to welcoming the discerning diner to our next event planned for mid March.

The next theme is a chocolate fest as we will be celebrating Easter and here we plan to make each course served incorporate chocolate somehow or other so this could get a bit experimental.


Hari Covert

Covert by name and nature

Our First Dinner… 2010

First Dinner of 2010… 5th and 6th February 2010

Well we have had our first dinner of “twenty ten” and we thought it appropriate to post a bit about this last weekends goings on.

The menu was themed around what’s currently in season and what would balance well to make some interesting food combinations.

We kicked things off with a hot starter… this was ambitious and worked OK… but ever critical of my culinary prowess it could have been better.

The idea was to make a vegetable Subric out of fresh beetroot that would then be garnished by freshly poached mussels and some de stoned fresh lychees that were then all sauced by a light curry broth made from the mussels cooking liquor.

In principle it all sounded great but on the night the Subric whilst it had an amazing colour and flavour was a bitch to turn out of their moulds and some duly collapsed… it provided a slight panic moment however, the punters liked it and one even admitted they “hated beetroot and had not eaten it for twenty years” but loved this dish and the plates all came back clean.

We then continued the seasonal theme and chose to serve a breast of Guinea Fowl.

This is a very under rated fowl that has a mild game taste and is served either roasted or pot-roasted. Having removed the breasts from the carcass I then stuffed them with a forcemeat of game with the addition of some dried porcini and a good slug of Jack Daniels.

Wrapping them firstly in cling film and then silver foil I dry roasted them initially for about ten minutes before colouring them off in a bit of butter for a couple more minutes.

These breasts were succulent and moist (no comments please) and served with a shallot tart tatin that provided a sweet accompaniment to the slight game flavour. A red wine jus made from the carcasses of the guinea fowl just bought it all together. Along with this we served our ubiquitous signature dish of Haricot Verts… and a classic Gratin Dauphinoise… that all got polished off.

There were yet again some lovely clean plates that seemed to tell me something and comments ranged from “never had this before and loved it” to it bought back some “great memories”. It was certainly a pleasure to cook and has rekindled a whole feast of other ideas.

Next on the menu was for many the “King” of cheeses, a Vacherin Mont D’Or This had proved a little tricky to source locally to me in Kent so meant a trip to London was required.

A cheese emporium in the concourse of Victoria train station was the eventual supplier that at a somewhat inflated price supplied me with a cheese that was perfect for eating, runny and unctuous it spooned out perfectly. It was a good 40% more expensive than a supplier in France.

Well worth it in the end as the season for this cheese made with the winter milk (unpasteurised) of cows draws to an end.

With the cheese I had made some of my current favourite cheese biscuits. These were made from a batch of milky porridge that with addition of rock salt and crushed Szechwan peppercorns. The porridge is than poured out onto a silicon paper and worked to a thin covering. Left to dry out slightly I then baked them in an oven at 150 degree C to dry out totally and brown slightly. After this they can then be broken up randomly and made the perfect foil to the runny cheese.

To finish off the meal we then served the diners with a homemade lemon tart a classic that was glazed with sugar to hide some deep crevasses that appeared on the tart after its cooling!!!

A generous dollop of mascarpone and then some tart raspberry coulis made the final garnish.

With the coffee we served a little pot of homemade peanut butter fudge recipe courtesy for Waitrose Magazine and a Sophie Dahl recipe that was dead easy to make.

The guests departed promising to come back with more friends and one couple of ladies promised to bring their husbands next time. All in all it was another success and we now look forward to our next date.

We aim to provide good well-cooked food that is imaginative not necessarily ground breaking but at least when we can showcase some great ingredients and good seasonal produce.

Once again we were also rather pleased with the atmosphere we had managed to create and the dining area looked great, candlelit and bedecked with simple floral displays… it was hard work but worthwhile and we were on a high when we had wound down.

Now we have our next date looming as a “Valentines” night and have planned to do an “in the pink” theme… having recently attended another underground restaurant with the Saltoun Supper Club in Brixton we were impressed by a pasta dish of Potato Gnocchi served with blanched cauliflower and infused with white truffle oil and topped with freshly grated Pecorino cheese… it had inspired me to make use of the “white” vegetable head in a slightly different way so plan to make a cauliflower terrine – it’s a dish I once produced for a dinner in depths of Hampshire at a private dinner for some minor royalty… but more on that later…

Hari Covert

Kent's first Underground/Secret Restaurant…