Tag Archives: dinner

Chinese Master joins Hari for two special nights..

Chef But with Hand Drawn Noodles

We will be serving a sumptuous Chinese banquet to our twelve lucky diners on August 5th & 6th – each night this will be an exclusive chance to sample top end Chinese food prepared by a master chef with over 40 years experience.

Also part of the evening will be a demonstration of Hand Drawn noodles a skill that Mr But is famed for and a true master at…

We are putting final touches to the menu and will post this soon along with the expected donation cost for this very unique event…

If you are interested to reserve your place for these events we are now accepting bookings so do not delay.

ABOUT KAM PO BUT…

Mr But or ‘B’ as he prefers to be known was born in Shanghai, at the age of two he moved with his parents to Hong Kong. His father was also a chef and trained in the art of Imperial Russian cuisine and his brother Tony is also a chef who works along side him and continuing the family culinary tradition.

Nearly Forty years ago ‘B’ moved to the UK and initially worked at Mr Chow’s Knightsbridge. Then for a time at the Golden Duck in Fulham, the forerunner of the Chinese Brassiere before joining Chinese Cookery Book writer Ken Lo at Memories of China were he has worked for the last thirty plus years as the Executive Chef until his recent retirement!

‘B’ is recognised as a leading exponent in the art of Hand Drawn Noodles a magical culinary skill that he has been preparing for some thirty plus years. He has demonstrated the noodle making process on numerous occasions. He has appeared twice on the BBC TV ‘Generation Game’ and the BBC’s ‘Food & Drink’ programme, Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and also on various Children’s programmes from TV AM’s Wide Awake Club to ITV Motormouth Christmas Special. He has appeared on Belgian TV and been involved in many Food Promotions for specialist festivals throughout Europe and the UK.

He was the first and probably is the only Chinese Chef to cook in the Isles of Scilly (saving the residents of the islands considerable expense of having a take-away flown in by helicopter from Penzance!).

‘B’ is married lives in London and has two daughters.

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To Hot to Handle… the story unfolds…

Well we were smoking this weekend with our special BBQ themed dinners… we were also blessed with the weather that came with it as we managed to stay pretty dry throughout!!!

We had decided to go with a BBQ and make use of our fire pit and also having come back from a short trip to Germany we were also lucky to bring back some special goodies with us… More on that in a moment.

We found demand to be good for tables and we were booked out within two days of opening the bookings so please note do not delay if you want to secure a place at future events.

We had a large party of twelve book the Saturday night so we thought we would use just the one large table for the Friday night as well. The assorted parties sharing the table seemed to work well and all the guests seemed to get on…Dependent on the style of the dinner something we might try again in the future…

So the food this month was influenced slightly by the purchases made in Germany. Firstly I wanted to use some dried green beans…these I had specially purchased via the Swiss supermarket Migros to be delivered to friends in Germany that I could pick up on our visit. The beans are known as Dörrbohnen and traditionally in Switzerland served like you would Sauerkraut with smoked sausage and boiled bacon. I had decided to initially soak for 24 hours in water then poach in a vegetable stock and serve them cold mixed with some freshly blanched green beans and a sun-dried tomato & chilli dressing as a salad…

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We kicked the meal off with a classic roasted red pepper stuffed with tomato, anchovy and garlic served with some slices of spicy Spanish Chorizo and cured Black Forest Ham. We also served a freshly baked Cheese & Herb loaf that was a new addition to my repertoire…

Having lit the BBQ about forty minutes prior to the guests arriving to ensure they were not too smoked out we had nice hot embers in which to cook the range of meats!! I had purchased some Kassler in fact for the BBQ I used a similar cut known as Nackern as it had a little more fat to keep it moist. Some Chicken thighs I had marinated in Indian “tikka” spices and then a Barbary Duck breast I sprayed with a honey and apple juice mix to lacquer the flesh. I also had bought back some Leberkäse that we also grilled and then a wonderfully smokey Krakauerschinken Würst that was gently heated on the edge. Finally pancetta wrapped scallops were cooked before all being plated up and served with the assorted salads. Some grilled Halloumi cheese was mixed with some chargrilled vegetables in a wild garlic pesto dressing that completed the offering!

We served a grated beetroot salad mixed with Greek yoghurt and lime, and a hot dressed potato salad that was served with roasted onions. Along with the bean salad the plates seemed to be stacked pretty high but all came back pretty much cleared!

I like to serve my cheeses after the main course in what is often termed the “French fashion” We served a simple selection this month that comprised of Cashel Blue from Ireland, a full flavoured Vintage Gouda and finally a soft, runny and unctuous Pié d’Angloys from France… all with our porridge oat biscuits that once again went down well.

Finally the dessert we decided upon was a tangy Lemon Posset. This is fundamentally a boiled double cream, sugar and lemon juice that will set slightly firm once chilled. It was topped with some local strawberries and a spoonful of Rote Grütze a summer fruit compote (also imported) and then a freshly made shortbread biscuit still warm alongside it all.

So that completed this months dinners…we hope you all enjoyed it and also liked the little extras we had bought back including a range of mustards including a rather scrummy Cologne Mustard flavoured with the local beer…?

It was a challenge I think we managed to pull off and now we turn our attentions towards the next events in July when we will be serving up a sumptuous and classical afternoon tea. This will also be a fundraising event in aid of our designated charity the Hospice in the Weald…

Cheers

Hari

Too hot to handle…BBQ nights

We have opened bookings and the menu is now live…for our June dinners and they are already filling fast…now fully booked on the Saturday and nearly full on the Friday night so be quick. Book Here

We will be using our Fire Pit BBQ to cook a range of meats & fish and I am also serving a range of salads with the BBQ items including something pretty unusual… I will have some dried green beans that will have been soaked in advance and then poached in a vegeatble stock and then added to fresh beans and an appropriate dressing. I have imported the dried green beans especially from Switzerland (I know not local) but as a special treat this ingredient will hopefully provide a bit of a talking point and go perfectly with the smoked pork loin from the BBQ … I can’t wait…!

We will also have just the one large table that guests will be sharing. Let’s also hope the rain stays away as I could get a little soggy otherwise!!!

Maybe Fun… Maybe not…the aftermath

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Well this months dinners were named “Maybe fun Maybe not”… well we can say definitely they were fun… I hope our guests felt the same… we certainly had a fair few “Newbies” this month who came to the dinners …

We had one couple keen to try us as she writes a food blog about her eating out experiences – I do hope her pictures came out all OK as I managed to forget to take that many!!! It sounded as though she was on an eating fest that weekend with a meal out in London planned for the next day. I look forward to reading her comments.

Another couple had motored from across the border in Surrey as she had seen the piece on the BBC’s One Show about Supper Clubs that had fired her enthusiasm to try one. Having found out about us via a “Google” search she and her partner braved the M25 to visit us and we hope we have inspired her now sufficiently to give it a go herself!

Another couple were nearby neighbours who live within spitting distance who on booking also wanted to check if we had sufficient parking in case they wanted to drive!!! Glad to say they managed the 50ft walk and left their car on their own driveway!!!

However, on the Friday we had some guests who we can say have been our loudest table yet…it always amazes me how we seem to get a buzz from the room at each dinner with the mix of guests we get – all ages and complete strangers…

This six had been to the “Right Royal Feast” and had booked again straight after this dinner – they certainly should have come with a decibel warning! There seemed to be an immediate buzz to the room and the noise levels only briefly dimmed when they had food in front of them. We normally find the evening mellows as drinks are consumed and food is eaten but this table seemed to go against the grain as they got louder and louder!!!

My front of house helper Julia (not sure why guests think she is Mrs HC?) had quite a challenge when they departed as she reminded them about our neighbours and “noise levels” I have to say we did check the next day with both sets if they were disturbed and am glad to say they were both fine. I promise when these guests book again (they are welcome to in case they are reading this and think they are now banned!) we will distribute cotton wool to neighbours and other guests just as a safety measure… it was certainly good to see so many really enjoying themselves!

So we served up another seasonal dinner which we were glad to say included two ingredients I love… Asparagus and English Strawberries… not together mind you. The asparagus kicked the meal off with a warm Goats Cheese and Asparagus flan served with dressed salad leaves. A simple light starter that got tucked into with relish and plates came back clean.

Next we served a roasted pork fillet that was placed on a bed of beans with chorizo in a spicy tomato chilli sauce and a then a beer and caraway scented jus. It was all served with some simple boiled Jersey Royals… again plates came back cleared.

Our cheese selection once again used our local cheddar Winterdale Shaw and some little pots of our Banana & Date Chutney.

The Porridge Oat biscuits still seem to cause a stir so much so I have now divulged how to make them so please check out the recipe here

Final flourish was a classic dessert of Strawberry Meringue. I have to say Mrs HC has become something of a demon on the meringue making front and she was tasked with the making of fifty plus meringues. She has managed to perfect the technique of soft chewy centres… I’m drooling writing about them…

The strawberries came from our favourite supplier Mill Farm in Marden. They supply Wimbledon so I’m led to believe. They have a very special flavour and really do epitomise what is essential good about an English Summer! We served the meringues with whipped double cream, a scoop of clotted cream ice cream and strawberries with a drizzle of strawberry coulis topped with chopped pistachio nuts all completed the creation.

Again plates returned clean and we served coffee with our homemade chocolates completing what had been once again a sell out round of dinners.

It definitley was a fun filled weekend and now with this surprisingly warm weather we move forward to our next dinners which we have named “Too hot to handle” – A Summer BBQ…. let’s hope the sun continues to shine and the rain stays away?

Cheers

Hari

Not quite a Bus Pass Celebration…

Not quite a bus pass celebration…

Well we had an extra little Hari night this weekend for a private party… Party host and birthday girl “Veronica” wanted to celebrate a nearly significant birthday with her close friends in a unique and different way so we duly obliged by opening
our doors for an exclusive dinner…

It had been a hectic week with several trips to London for the day job leaving little time to focus totally on the dinner. Still when
Saturday came it meant a very early start to get the prep work done…

The menu chosen was to showcase some good seasonal produce and we kicked the meal off with some local Asparagus served in a risotto.

Asparagus Risotto…

Next came the main course and having done some awesome new seasons lamb at our right Royal Feast we thought we would serve it again. The lamb was roasted with a wild garlic crumb crust and then served with gratin dauphinoise and some stir fried seasonal greens. A few of the guests who were non-meat eaters were served a wild mushroom quiche with a spicy tomato chilli sauce as the alternative… all got polished off and plates came back pretty well licked clean!

Then the Cheeses served were Winterdale Shaw our a local cheddar and then our Hari’s buttons and a soft French cheese… all with our homemade porridge oat biscuits and homemade Banana & Date chutney

Finally we completed the dinner with a flourless Orange and Hazelnut Torte with a marmalade coulis and a dollop of mascapone.

There was a good buzz to the room as the guests sat round one big table and gladly played musical chairs to mix with each other and Veronica played the perfect host to her guests…

It was a good evening and as guests departed they all seemed well sated…I do hope they enjoyed their special underground dining night…

Cheers

Hari

A right Royal Feast…a report

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Phew… well what a night that was… to celebrate the Royal Wedding we once again returned to Yalding Gardens to host a special dinner.

It has been something of a feel good weekend with what was a second bank holiday for many and the pageantry and pomp of the wedding itself meant we wanted to celebrate the occasion in style.

When we started planning this event we felt an extra course to what we normally serve would be a fitting tribute. It was also planned it should showcase some of our great local produce. In fact we had use of some great produce from the gardens within the menu and then some more unusual products from around the county.

Well we arrived at the Gardens mid afternoon to start our final preparations as our small team all mucked in to get the venue ready.

There had been much work before hand with setting the event up as catering for nearly 50 guests in a kitchen not your own always takes some planning and we also had some running around to source some of the produce we used.

We kicked the evening off with a welcome glass of Bucks Fizz for the guests that we served out on the terrace as it was a lovely tranquil end to a sunny day.

With the welcome drink the nibbles we served some Parmesan Lollipops and then little shot glasses of chilled leek and potato soup with a tumeric kick.

Finally some of our specially sourced rye bread from the Artisan Bakery in Whitstable was used for the final nibble of cream cheese and smoked salmon on Rye.

Guests then sat promptly at 8pm and we kicked the regal dinner off in what we felt was a fitting way. Using some of the fresh young leeks from the gardens we had made pressed leek terrines. Symbolising well the royal connection as father of the groom (HRH the Prince of Wales) the humble leek is the symbol of Wales. With the terrine we served a light and delicate cobnut oil dressing and some toasted cobnuts that were sourced from Hurstwood Farm nr West Peckham. Recipe can be found here

Next came a risotto made with a vegetable stock and then at the last moment flavoured with our locally foraged wild garlic homemade pesto. The addition of mascapone and parmesan ensured a nice creamy risotto and then the addition of a pan fried “King” scallop on top meant we had our royal connection. It seemed like the wiped clean plates that came back meant we had some satisfied guests already.

The main course next we had decided to serve some new season “Spring” lamb. I have in the past tasted some Highgrove estate lamb and the meat we served I have to say compared favourably. Glovers provided us with our chosen cut – the chump and this was roasted and rested to ensure it was served pink and accompanied by some fresh garden spinach and a creamy Gratin Dauphinoise. It was no mean feat to serve all the guests quickly and the team gelled well to ensure this.

Next we served the cheese course, we decided to serve what has become a favourite at our dinners, our local cheddar…Winterdale Shaw.  Cheese-maker Robin Betts has built an impressive little empire with his cheese producing farm and it was on this occasion served with some specially made Banana and Date chutney and our special homemade porridge oat biscuits that seem to be a continued hit.

Finally for the pudding we wanted to showcase a marriage of garden grown rhubarb with some Cinnamon ice cream from Paddock Wood ice cream producer Taywell Ice Cream all served with a Duchy Original shortbread biscuit. Simple but designed to be a light finish to what had been a big meal.

Well as we served coffee with our homemade chocolates (we had one begging for seconds! – no names Joanna!) we began to wind down and clear up. It had been a good night and we had some satisfied guests! I also at this point must pay tribute to my amazing team who did a great job on the night!

In the kitchen Peter had allowed me the freedom to chat and talk to the guests whilst front of house Julia, Ruth, Richard (he had travelled from Oxford to assist me) and Rupert had done sterling work to serve you all
and finally the powerhouse out the back had been Cheryl on wash up… no mean feat as we had no dishwasher working and had to contend with a blocked sink at one stage.

We think it went well and back home over a couple of bottles of red wine and a late night snack of cheese and biscuits we reflected on what we hope you all found to be a successful night and a right royal feast!

Cheers

Hari Covert

Maybe fun…Maybe not…

Well we have now opened the bookings for our next dinners on Friday May 20th and Saturday May 21st.

We will be cooking some great seasonal produce in what we hope you will find a fun way…

We will reveal the menu in due course as we are just putting the final touches to it…

If you wish to book a space at this next dinner then please go to our Book Now page and complete the reservation form.

Cheers

Hari Covert

Covert by name…covert by nature

Countdown to the big night…

Wedding Mania gripping the UK...?

Well we are less than a week away now from our dinner to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton. It is quite a challenge juggling the normal day job whilst trying to arrange a dinner for 48 people in a strange kitchen/venue. I know I have done a dinner at the Gardens before but there is still much to organise.

Leeks are about to be dug so I can start to make the pressed Leek Terrines. I then have to collect the Lamb from our chosen butchers Glovers. I have used them for lamb in the past and been very impressed by the quality so fingers crossed they do not let me down!!!

I will also collect the Winterdale Shaw when I go to collect the meat and then I am also off to Whitstable to collect some rather unusual bread that I wish to show case. The Artisan Bread Co will be supplying some of the breads and I will also be making some of my own.

There will be gluten intolerant diner so I thought this would be a good chance to try out Ingrid Greenfield’s Pea Glutini. I have known Ingrid a long time and bumped into her at last years Real Food Festival and so was keen to visit her bakery so thought this would be a great opportunity.

I will also be popping in to collect some Cobnut Oil from Hurstwood Farm that will go with the terrine.

A truly local bunch of products that we hope you will all enjoy.

Staff for the evening are all booked. I will be assisted in the kitchen by a fellow secret supper club chef and then I will also hopefully have time to mingle with the guests. I will be doing a dummy run with one of the courses this week so hope to post some pictures… in the meantime just watch this space for the May dinner menu that we hope to post shortly (after the right Royal Feast dinner) and remember that’s when the bookings then open so be quick to ensure you get your space.

Cheers

Hari

Hari Covert @your home… another dinner

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Well we seem to be doing something right as we have just completed yet another @your home dinner for a client.

This was to be a birthday celebration that was to entertain some friends of hosts Catherine and birthday boy Jon in a novel and different way.

I duly arrived laden with food and a selection of plates to ensure six hungry guests would be well fed and to prepare the final bits to the chosen menu.

I was also rather lucky as I had a “Hari’s little helper” as well to get stuck into helping in the making of my canapés, which proved to be very useful.

Their son Edward got stuck in and he managed to produce some lovely Parmesan lollipops and some black olive tapenade toasts for me and seemed to show some early signs of being a passionate cook!  The other canapé we served was a smoked salmon roulade with cream cheese flavoured with horseradish.

The table all laid by the host Catherine and the kitchen all neat and tidy meant all I had to do was get their first course ready and once again Hari’s little helper was on hand to give me a helping hand. Their first course was to be a simple but visually appealing dish that I had done at my recent fish tales dinner.

 The use of a paper bag to steam some fresh fish would be the first course. A bed of vegetable julienne (thin matchstick strips) using carrot, leek and fennel was placed onto a damp rectangle of baking parchment. The fish we used was a scallop, sliver of cod and then a Hastings Skate Knob (cheek). Once seasoned and with a splash of white wine and knob of butter the parcels were sealed and placed upon a baking sheet ready to be placed into a very hot pre heated oven to cook for about eight minutes. The paper dries and puffs up with the trapped steam within thus cooking the fish. Served directly to the table in the paper bag means there is an element of theatre at the table as the bags are cut open and the steam escapes. It is a great visual and olfactory sensation.

The next course was a roasted fillet of beef that we served with a Pommes Darphin – grated raw potato that was moulded into a round, a wild mushroom fricassee that included fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms along with some dried cepes, and then a rich red wine jus. The beef we used was an awesome Scottish Extra matured (21 days minimum ageing) fillet. It was good to see all the plates came back cleared so it must have gone down well.

Next we served our little cheese boards that included what is now a firm favourite with us the Winterdale Shaw made by Robin & Carla Betts. An un-pasteurised milk cheddar style cheese from the top of Wrotham Hill. With this we also served a Stichleton that was outstanding and seemed to go down very well.

Finally we served what we believe was “Birthday Boy” Jon’s favourite pudding some Hazelnut meringues which we sandwiched with a mascarpone cream flavoured with orange and marmalade and then we served a chocolate and hazelnut sauce over the top of them and some orange segments and candid zest.

It like the rest of the meal was pretty well polished off and some contented diners seemed well relaxed as I loaded up the car and headed home.

If you would like to book something similar then please just complete the form here and we will contact you to discuss in more detail.

Winners took it all…a report

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Well it was the climax of our fundraising efforts for the Hospice in the Weald with our prize draw and the winner taking it all with Björn Again

It was a lovely sunny Friday in Tunbridge Wells when I got a call from Andy the tour manager for them to say they had arrived at the Assembly Hall and they were looking forward to their dinner!

As I loaded up my car and set off for the Assembly Hall… It was the culmination of some four months of fundraising and as I set up for the supper in the bar area and awaited the arrival of David Cross, his wife Adele and friends Linda and John to the sound check I chatted with Rod Stephens the director and creator of the Abba show. They had been on their current tour of the UK since early March and had just a few more shows to give before a well -earned rest.

The crew was setting up lighting rigs, all the props required for their show as I attempted to get the oven lit in the kitchen – a simple task you would have thought –  to find it all a bit of a challenge. Some in-house assistance finally meant the oven was lit and their main course was in getting ready.

The VIP guests then arrived and Rod charmingly took over and whisked them off for a gander of their tour bus parked out the back… It has three lounges and sleeping berths for 12 people. They sleep on the coach as they move from one venue to the next… when you look at their schedule they sure clock up the miles. The night prior to Tunbridge Wells they had been in Milton Keynes and then the Saturday night they would be in Bath and Sunday night their last night of the Spring Break tour would be in Wycombe.

Table set and helper Amy from the Hospice now arrived we get a chance to watch a bit of the sound check and then promptly at 5pm the cast crew with their guests all sit down for their supper. I had previously cooked at the venue for them so knew a simple meal would go down best so they then tucked into a warm mixed vegetable frittata that was served on bed of salad leaves and then followed this with either a homemade cottage pie or homemade fish pie. To round it all off they had an Orange and Hazelnut Torte with a Marmalade Mascapone Cream or local Winterdale Shaw cheese and creamy Stichleton with our porridge oat biscuits.

They were all very appreciative of our efforts to feed them they had soon pretty much polished off all that we had prepared. As they dispersed to get themselves ready we cleared up, packed up and then begun to relax in the bar with a well-earned drink as the Assembly Hall begun to fill up.

Two volunteers Candy & JJ (their stage names) who were invited by the Hospice and tasked for a collection of loose change at the end of the show arrived in their full Abba get up. They had their photos taken with Rod and even gave him a quick demo of their singing skills hoping they would get a chance to appear on stage!!! He very politely was complimentary but very non committal!!!

The venue filled and more arrived dressed in their Abba style glad rags…the Tunbridge Wells atmosphere Rod described as being very unique as the crowd dance from the very first number as the stall seats are removed.

Just before the show had kicked off our prize winners had their photos taken with the cast backstage and then they settled in to enjoy the show David and John beside the lighting and sound console whilst the ladies sat back in their seats to enjoy!

The Hospice collection volunteers headed for the front of stage… Candy and JJ’s perfected moves certainly caught the eyes of the girls on stage as they bonded for a photograph at the interval backstage and it was spookily uncanny how alike they all looked (well almost!!!)

The second half of the show continued with all those classic Abba hits from Dancing Queen to Mamma Mia. The boys onstage even had fun with their version of Jump by Van Halen whilst the girls did another costume change. The shows finale was a great singalong encore with  “Thank You for the Music”.

The collection front of house was the final fundraising push and I hope to be able to reveal the final total including the bucket collection very soon.

David, Adele, John & Linda headed back to the Ramada Jarvis Hotel at Pembury as they had generously provided overnight accommodation for them as part of the total package where they could unwind and reflect upon their day’s experience …( I am led to believe they had a drink in the bar with the guitarist as he was also staying there!)

Candy & JJ the Fabba girls headed off for a well-earned bag of chips.

The cast and crew packed their set away and boarded the tour bus.

I headed home… to find I had left my cutlery behind in the kitchen so quickly returned to retrieve it as breakfast the next day would have been messy!!!… Seats back in the stalls and the stage virtually all cleared it had been a great night…

So my big thanks to all who had made it happen and donated or supported me it was all for a great cause and especially to Rod and all from Björn Again for their generous warmth and hospitality.

I also hope to have a few more pictures to provide a pictorial memory for you all as well.