Tag Archives: Cheese

Fondue Nights at the Bicycle Bakery…

We are back in Tunbridge Wells on the 22nd & 23rd February for a pop up at the infamous Bicycle Bakery… Makers of some amazing Sourdough Bread and classic pastries. We thought how could we showcase their expertise and we thought why not use their Sourdough bread with a classic Swiss Cheese Fondue and a dessert inspired and produced by owner Jamie Tandoh – A yummy sounding Warm Coconut Arancini served with a fresh pineapple & cardamon salsa.

To kick the evening off we will serve a welcome drink with some simple nibbles and the first course will be a simple leaf salad garnished with “Kent Collection” cured Salamis and toasted walnuts whilst for vegetarians we will substitute with goats cheese & beetroot.

The fondue shared on each table (8 persons) will be made with an amalgamation of three Swiss Cheeses. Emmenthal, Gruyere & Appenzeller slowly heated with white wine & garlic and if the whole table are in agreement we will add some dried cepes to the fondue to give it a woody & earthy flavour much loved by the Swiss.

We recommend to drink with the meal you pick a dry white wine or a chilled beer as red wine with its tannin’s can cause the cheese to knot in your stomach and cause cramps. We will provide Ice Buckets and Glasses on the tables.

Just sixteen places each night (two tables of eight so you will need to share) will keep it intimate and a great way to meet new people.

To book your places please complete the form below and we will email you an invoice for a booking deposit of £5 per person (refundable if the event is cancelled) This will need to be done to secure your places.

We ask guests to arrive at 7;30pm and we will serve up at 8pm

Dates: Friday 22nd February & Saturday 23rd February

Time : 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Price: £30 Per Person (service not included)

Menu

Welcome Drink & Simple Nibbles

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Leaf Salad with Kent Collection Cured Salamis & Toasted Walnuts

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Swiss Cheese Fondue with Bicycle Bakery Sourdough Bread (addition of dried Cepes if all in agreement on the table)

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Coconut Arancini with a Fresh Pineapple & Cardamon Salsa

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Coffee or Tea

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability 

 

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We are back…

OK it has been a hard slog but we are pleased to announce that we are now ready to start offering our home venue for Pop up events once again and our first one is now scheduled to take place on Saturday January 26th.

The leg gets stronger everyday and we are excited to be back at the stove and hopefully cooking up a storm.

We will kick this first event off with a four course menu for just the one night. We will start with a welcome drink and some simple seasonal nibbles on arrival and then the first course will be a homemade Pork and Apricot Terrine served with a homemade chutney.

Next we will serve a roasted Duck Breast served with a “Pepper Club” sauce… this is a cream based meat sauce flavoured with piquant green peppercorns and sherry soaked golden raisins. We will serve this with appropriate vegetable garnishes according to market purchases.

Our ubiquitous cheese course will feature on of our favourite seasonal cheeses as it only produced during the winter months  – a Vacherin Mont D’or which is an unpasteurised soft cows milk cheese from the Jura region that is wrapped with spruce bark.

Finally to finish the meal off we will reproduce a dessert we first learnt over forty years ago when working in Switzerland. A gateau “Audrey Hepburn” – this cake was allegedly one of the film stars favourites and is fundamentally a light flour less chocolate cake served with whipped cream and then my addition of some tart raspberry compote helps to cut its richness.

Coffee or Tea served with some petit fours will complete the meal. We will have just twelve places up for grabs so please book quickly as we suspect this will be a popular event considering this will be our first event since June 2018 !!!

Just complete the booking form below and we will email you a secure link for a £5 Booking Confirmation Deposit payable on line. We then request you to pay the balance owing on the night in cash. We will provide water and glasses on the table . Bring your own drinks to have with your meal.

Dates: Saturday 26th January 2019

Time : 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Price: £40 Per Person (service not included)

Menu

Welcome Drink & Seasonal Nibbles

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Homemade Pork & Apricot Terrine with a homemade chutney

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Roasted Duck Breast “Pepper Club”

Seasonal Vegetables & Potatoes

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Vacherin Mont D’Or with Crackers

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Chocolate Gateau ” Audrey Hepburn”

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Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability 

Please use the form below to make your booking – we will email you a secure link to pay your £5 per person confirmation deposit. Balance payable on the night with cash.

Review of 2017…

Well it has been a hectic year at “Covert Towers” during 2017 with a variety of dinners and an assortment of functions throughout the year along with some pretty impressive dining out experiences as well as the odd humdinger as well! Less said about them the better!

We kicked the year off with a new concept for our dinners where we did a “Pot Luck” menu where we literally decided the menu at the last minute and suggested a minimum donation of just £10 per person. We were amazed over two dinners and one lunch we managed to serve a total of 48 diners – a record for us and a great way to kick the year off.

Next up was our Game On dinner where we featured some amazing Game – from venison Pigeon and then Guinea Fowl and this was quickly followed by what we termed our Quirky Dinner as we were deemed a “quirky” food venue on the newly launched Quirky Kent website.

May saw us do an event in a new venue for us on the “Mountain of Crowborough” in the Community Centre where we took over their cafe for the night and popped up with a special four course menu.

We were back there in the summer when we also did another night where we served up our infamous Paella from a single large pan! In fact during this year we managed to serve up Paella a number of times with the biggest challenge, doing a party of 100 using some four separate pans.

Other private functions saw us doing Moroccan Chicken in the pans and even one where we did bubble and squeak so we could serve up Sausages with an onion gravy to about 80 guests enjoying the Tom Carradine Cockney Sing-a-Long. If you are are planning an event in 2018 check out our Man with a Pan service or our @yourhome offer as well.

We also saw events in the Autumn period ranging from our “End is Nigh” dinner to our “October Fe(a)st” and finally just before Xmas our “Ding Dong – Ho Ho Ho” events – one pair of stalwart guests who came along each month commented in our guest book “Turned up trumps again and consistently excellent… delicious food as ever” … makes it all worthwhile for us – thanks David & Brenda!

Our own dining out high has to be the WasTED pop up in Selfridges back in March 2017 whilst we really enjoyed a lunch at Adam Simmonds year long pop up in Soho “The Test Kitchen” and then a new discovery of an Asian Fusion place located in the heart of St Katherine’s Dock run by chef Neil Wager called Dokke – a meal literally just before Xmas was awesome in so many ways – I will return and post a review soon in 2018!

Now we are busy planning 2018 dates and themes. We are already excited about a week long gig in the French Alpes in early February for a long standing Hari customer.

We also have something a little different planned for April – we will publish details soon and we are also hoping to persuade some other guest chefs to join us during 2018 so you can all experience some different styles and unique experiences. We are also hoping to offer a special charity night at some stage as well.

Our first event of 2018 is a joint venture with wine tasting guru Rowena Hawtin so check out the Discover the Vine and Savour the Curd Event for more details… we only have limited spaces left so be quick and reserve your places now.

What a great year 2017 was and wishing you all the very best for 2018…

Cheers

Hari

Discover the vine & savour the curd…

We will kick off our 2018 series of events with a new style event for us. We have done a full blown dinner with associated wines, we have also done a Chinese dinner with specially selected wines included.

This time we will offer a special night of a wine and cheese tasting… We will be joining forces with Rowena Hawtin the brains behind the Discover the Vine, a company that specialises in tutored wine tastings and yours truly who will be selecting a range of cheeses that we will source for this occasion from Maitre Fromagerie Phillipe Olivier based across the channel in Northern France.

Why French cheeses? I hear you all cry, well for me they have a diverse selection and an enviable tradition and history of cheese making and we hope we will enlighten you to some more unusual and lesser know curds…It also leaves us the chance at a future event to showcase our own indigenous cheeses. We will not be biased we promise!

Over forty years ago I worked in a restaurant famed for its cheeseboard of over 40 plus cheeses and the patron was so passionate that every time he reeled off the names and back story of these curds it would sometimes take him over twenty minutes to complete the explanations, only to then be told by the diner they will have the “chocolate mousse”. He would spit feathers at me as he placed the order in the kitchen!

For me though I learnt so much about the diversity of cheeses and the marriage between the curd and the vine is one that is well and truly made in heaven and pleasurable to savour.

So for these two nights we will select 6 to 8 seasonal cheeses that we can then match to appropriate wines and grape varieties to complement them. Whilst the cheese will be French we will select wines from across the globe to go with them and Rowena will provide instruction and insight into the wines chosen and I will provide the back story to the cheeses.

We will feature everything from Goat, Cow and Ewes milk and from mild to strong flavours. We trust you will all embrace this whole experience with an open mind and enjoy the wines we select to go with these cheeses. We aim to open your mind to new sensations and hopefully enlightenment.

Come and be surprised, come and be entertained and also meet like minded gastronomes keen to experience the vine and curd!

Dates: Friday 19th & Saturday 20th January 2018

Arrival: 7:30pm – Welcome Drink & Cheese based nibbles

Cheese & Wine Tasting: 8:00pm – A tutored Wine and Cheese tasting comprising of 6 selected wines and subject to market purchases 6-8 specially selected cheeses from Phillipe Olivier in France.

Suggested Donation: £25 per person  – a £5 Reservation Deposit to secure your place. We then request the balance of £20 cash per person on the night  (N.B. service not included)

HP (Hari & Peter) Sauce… the cheek of it…

Well for the July dinner event we are doing something just a little bit different. Hari will be joining forces with Chef Peter Pickering.

Peter is a London based chef who has a veritable who’s who of a culinary training. He has trained under Michelin starred chefs the Galvin Brothers and was part of the opening teams at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Café Royal and also with chef Nuno Mendes at Chiltern Fire House.

Hari and Peter will for one night only be planning and cooking a 4/5 course menu (dependent on purchases) that will & can only be revealed on the night for a very good reason…

wastED – Selfridges London

The inspiration behind this dinner was a very thought provoking lunch that Hari & Peter were lucky to sample together at the “WastED” concept earlier in 2017 that was a pop up on the roof of Selfridges department store in London.

We also plan to highlight produce from local producers and utilise often neglected and forgotten items such as fish scraps, cheese whey along with misshaped fruit and vegetables as well as excess supermarket stock that would just be wasted and disposed of.

This concept is the brain child of the American chef Dan Barber that wowed packed houses of diners for a five week pop up residency of innovative food following over a year of planning by the Selfridges team putting it together.

Hari & Peter (HP) will also look to source (pun intended) as much local produce that is deemed to be waste by the food & retail industry (you will be surprised what this entails) and create an innovative and tasty menu.

There will be an inordinate amount of planning and cajoling of suppliers that will go into this event and the menu we will be able to cook will be subject to what we can eventually find.

Peter Pickering

There will only be thirty dining places up for grabs. Plus we can only proceed with this event if all these places have been reserved/sold by 5pm on Wednesday 21st June.

If not all sold by this date then the event we are sorry to say will have to be cancelled…there is too much risk and uncertainty to rely on late or last minute bookings.

Please note if we unfortunately have to cancel then full refunds will be made for the booking deposits made so there is no risk on your part to make those reservations!

We do hope you will support us with this very unique and exciting event… our culinary brains are already working overtime to come up with dishes that will excite you and provide much discussion.

Go on be brave and join us for a “journey of culinary discovery”

Date: 1th July 2017

Time: 7:30pm Arrival with Welcome Drink Dinner from 8pm

Venue: Crowborough Community Centre , Gallery Community Café

Cost: £10 Reservation Deposit via our Ticketing Site Here  £30 Balance payable on the night (service not included) cash preferred.

Drinks: Bring your own drinks to consume with the dinner – water and glasses will be provided on the tables.

N.B. Reserve by 5pm 21st June (all 30 places will need to be sold) otherwise the event will not take place.

Flaming June…

Well with the weather warming up we are thinking about our June events and the menu we are going to produce. We have decided to reprieve some of our favourites and we hope you will like them…

We will serve a selection of seasonal nibbles to kick the evening off along with a suitable summery drink. We will then as the first course serve a South American inspired starter of a “Ceviche” a mix of smoked haddock and raw prawns that are marinated for a few hours in a citric marinade and then served shaped like a tartare with a celeriac remoulade (dressed in a mustard mayonnaise)

Main course will be a roasted fillet of beef served with a mixed wild mushroom sauce a rosti potato cake and our veritable “haricots verts” (green beans).

For our cheese course we will make it a selection of suitable cheeses served with our infamous Porridge Oat Biscuits and home-made Banana Jam.

To complete the meal we will serve Damian Allsops “Water” Chocolate Mousse. A really light and flavoursome chocolate mousse that allows the true flavour of the chocolate to shine through as it contains no cream!. Some local summer berries and also serve up a cold pressed iced coffee to help wash it all down.

It will hopefully be a warm and sultry night and we look forward to welcoming old and new guests to our secret venue (well to the newbies at least)

To Book please complete the booking form below and we will contact you normally with 24/48 hours to confirm your booking with a credit card number.

Dates: Friday 10th & Saturday 11th June 2016

Time:  19:30 Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 20:00 Dinner Served

Suggested Donation: £40.00 Per Person (Service Not Included) 

Menu 

Ceviche of Smoked Haddock & Prawn with Celeriac Remoulade, served with corn bread 

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Roasted Fillet of Beef served with a Wild Mushroom & Cognac Sauce, Crispy Rosti Potato Cake, Haricots Verts

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses served with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam

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Damian Allsops “Water” Chocolate Mousse, Summer Berries & Cold Pressed Coffee Milkshake

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Coffee & Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availabilty

Tapas, Meze, Light Bites… little morsels of loveliness

I have always enjoyed the idea of small plates of food that you can share so that you can sample what a kitchen has to offer and also a great way to share a meal. I have recently sampled a few meals like this in the last month or so. Firstly on a recent hook up with world renowned chocolatier Damian Allsop in Girona Spain we sampled some beautiful tapas in a back street establishment called Restaurant Curcuma. It was right in the city centre and had a modern simple decor but some great tasty and innovative tapas.

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Cod with Sobrassada Sausage
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Turmeric scented Croquetas

Highlight for me were the turmeric (the name of the restaurant) scented croquetas, crispy cased and soft unctuous centres and some steamed cod topped with roasted onions, honey and Sobrassada sausage. Innovative flavours simply presented and reasonably priced.

Then more recently we found ourselves back in the town of Whitstable at one our favourites – the infamous and highly popular Jo Jo’s Restaurant where they specialise in Mediterranean meze, – large sharing boards of assorted well sourced cold meats, cheese and small bowls of Hummus, Tzatziki etc as well as small plates of other ever changing specials and regular favourites. The cod or haddock goujons in a beer batter highlight the fresh fish that are ever so popular.

Crispy Pigs Ears...
Crispy Pigs Ears…

I also quietly ordered one of the blackboard specials of  the day… Crispy Pigs Ears with a Remoulade sauce. This was a very generous portion of crispy crumb coated slivers of porcine goodness that were to put it mildly rapidly devoured by even the youngest of our party ( a 4 year old) with gusto.

All that sharing ensured a very respectable and celebratory lunch was had by all.

Then most recently I was invited to a restaurant in the centre of Canterbury that was not on my radar or I had any idea of its existence. I was joining a friend who had been invited for a lunch at Deesons Restaurant where head chef Ross Barden was keen for us to try their newly launched “British Tapas” dishes in this quintessentially modern British restaurant.

The tapas idea here was both innovative and at time quite unexpected and as a whole worked well with some good skilful thought out dishes but then some not so well executed ones.

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We actually sampled the entire menu and were generally impressed but did feel the kitchen was trying just a shade too hard. Dishes that worked really well and were outstanding were a twice baked “Old Winchester” cheese soufflé with a carrot pureé that needed a little more seasoning and sweetness to cut against the savoury nature of the cheese. The Confit hen’s yolk with buttered leeks and crispy chicken skin soldiers was inspired. The Crispy Haggis with a poached egg and parsnip crisps was also flavoursome but technically the haggis was a tad dry from over frying/baking so needed the soft egg to add liquid!

Cider Braised Beef Shin with apple juice and ginger with mash and cabbage was a wonderful unctuous dish but again lacked in seasoning. The Spring Greens with wholegrain mustard worked beautifully as did the charred broccoli with cheese sauce and flaked almonds whilst  smoked mash potato was less popular than the the plain one – it did need more butter, cream and salt.

In fact the seasoning overall throughout the meal did raise the question did “Chef” smoke as a lot of the dishes seemed under seasoned. This is a common situation in many a kitchen and for me something that was drummed into me in my formative years how important it is to season the food correctly and also taste it.

We also sampled a couple of croquette style dishes that when compared to a “Spanish croquetas” sadly missed the mark. The Smoked Cod Kedgeree was a good idea but the large cake like croquette was just to big and clumsy, a good livid coloured curry mayonnaise was much needed to moisten it.

The Pork and Potato Croquette served with an an apple butter was also oversized and would have been better smaller and perhaps served as a threesome. The apple butter on the tapas version did not pack the same punch that it did when served with the a la carte main course of Pork Tenderloin along with Black Pudding crumb and candied walnuts and a cider jus (to die for)

So overall this was a highly enjoyable delve into how we can equally compete with our continental partners and it can well showcase our own culinary heritage.

Deeson’s is a a little gem and I look forward to a return visit as I think if Chef Ross can sort out the issues we encountered he will be a place to watch in amongst the plethora of those  uninspiring tourist eating establishments of Canterbury.

Deeson’s British Restaurant
25-26 Sun Street
Canterbury
Kent
CT1 2HX

“Cuckoo Cuckoo” its April…well nearly!

Well things are getting warmer and we seem to be enjoying longer daylight hours as the clocks are about to change… Spring really has sprung and we are keen to reflect that further in this next month’s menu and event.

cuckooAs the 14th April is deemed to be “St Tiburtius’ Day” when cuckoos start to sing we will be celebrating this event with a suitably seasonal menu!

Following a welcome drink on arrival – “a glass of sparkling perry with the addition of creme de cassis”  served along with some seasonal nibbles we will then as a first course be serving a classic wild garlic pestocombination of wild garlic pesto spiked risotto garnished with some sweet tasting crab meat. I really love making a risotto and the challenge is always to get it creamy and unctuous with a full flavour.

We will then move onto the main course of a pink roasted Rump of Lamb that will be served  with a piquant tomato and ginger sauce and a compote of spring onions. The vegetables served with this will be Green Beans (Haricot Verts) and duck fat baby roasted new potatoes.

Our cheese course next will reflect our market purchases and we will also serve our porridge oat biscuits infused with Ile de Re Sea Salt along with our homemade Banana Jam.

Finally we will complete the meal with our pudding… a Vanilla Panna Cotta, a lightly set cream that will be topped with a compote of fresh Rhubarb and then more than likely we will serve some warm fresh out the oven Butter Shortbread biscuits. A great combination and we hope a fitting end to this month’s meal.velo

Coffee this month will be courtesy of Velo Coffee Company  of
Bearsted – we will be showcasing their freshly roasted single origin coffee from Rwanda. More about that in another post!

Suggested Donation: £35.00 per person (Service not included)

Dates: Friday 15th & Saturday 16th April 2016

Arrival: 7:30pm – Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm – Served

Menu

Crab & Wild Garlic Risotto

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Roasted Chump of Lamb, Tomato & Ginger Sauce

Green Beans, Roasted Baby New Potatoes

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses, Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb Compote,

Warm Butter Shortbread

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Velo Coffee or Tea & Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

To reserve your places please complete the booking form below – we will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to confirm your booking.

Ides of March, well nearly…

With Spring nearly upon us and also Easter just around the corner we thought we would celebrate the Roman calendar date of the “Ides of March”.

The 15th of March reputed to be the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC  is a couple of days before our next supper club event on March 18th & 19th. So we thought we would have a little bit of a Roman feel to the menu.

I make no apologies for borrowing as a starter a dish that I sampled at Sprig of London’s pop up in January – Cauliflower Romesco .  A roasted cauliflower that is then served with a   roasted and dried red

Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce
Roasted Cauliflower with Romesco Sauce

pepper sauce with the addition of almonds and olive oil that is renowned in the Mediterranean region of Catalunya  that is often served in spring time with those new season onions called “Calcots”.

Next we aim to serve a baked fillet of Sea Bass served on a bed of  crushed new potatoes and a classic beurre blanc (butter sauce) with lemon and capers. All served with a garnish of Purple Sprouting Broccoli.

Our Cheese course will reflect our market purchases and will be served with our now infamous porridge oat biscuits.

To complete the meal we are serving thinly sliced pineapple with pink grapefruit segments and a light local honey dressing and the addition of a Taywells Yuzu sorbet. A good citric finish to a spring meal that we hope will excite the tastebuds.

With Mediterranean nods what better way to celebrate the Ides of March… well nearly.

Dates: 18th & 19th March 2016

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £35.00 per person (service not included)

Menu

Cauliflower Romesco

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Baked Sea Bass Fillet, Lemon and Caper Beurre Blanc Sauce Crushed New Potatoes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli

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Hari’s Selection  of Cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits

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Pineapple & Grapefruit with a honey dressing Taywell Yuzu Sorbet

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Coffee or Tea & Petit Fours

Menu subject to ingredient availability and market purchases

Fondue Fancy…

I bet you thought the headline said a “Fondant Fancy”… yep that little garish coloured cake – alas not…something far better in fact!

fondueFollowing from the success of our pop up last year in Tunbridge Wells we thought we would offer a repeat of a couple of themed cheese fondue nights in our secret home location.

It is a classic time of year to enjoy this Alpine classic of hot melted cheese with bread dipped in and we felt it was very worthy of another airing.

We will have two tables of 6 people on each night – you will have to share but what could be more convivial than such a feast.

We will kick it all off with a simple bowl of lambs lettuce salad (Nussli in Switzerland) topped with walnuts and chopped egg.

Then the main event will be the hot melted wine and cheese fondue with bread cubes – some little extras like chopped ginger (an innovation and tip given by a local Swiss resident)  or a  smoked chipotle paste will give it all another flavour dimension.

To finish it all we will then serve a light Orange & Polenta cake with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt. A tangy  sweet finish after the excesses of the wine & cheese. We will provide a little glass of MuscatMuscat de Rivesaltes with this as well

Finally tea or coffee along with some Swiss Chocolate as a petit four will complete the meal.

It should be a convivial night and a great way to make new friends. Just remember it is important not to bring a red wine (it clots the cheese) or drink ice cold drinks (it will also clot the cheese) – a full etiquette on the whole procedure will be provided on the night.

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation: £30 per person (service not included)

To Book please complete the form below and we will confirm your spaces normally within 24 to 48 hours.

Menu

Welcome Drink and Nibbles

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Nussli Salat Mimosa und Baumnussen

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Cheese Fondue with suitable accoutrements 

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Orange & Polenta Cake with Greek Yoghurt

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Tea or Coffee, Petit Fours

Menu subject to ingredient availability and market purchases