Tag Archives: Kent

Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy….

Dance ti’ thy daddy, sing ti’ thy mammy,
Dance ti’ thy daddy, ti’ thy mammy sing;
Thou shall hev a fishy on a little dishy,
Thou shall hev a fishy when the boat comes in.

– From “When the Boat comes in”

Well, we are an island race and surrounded by water and this month’s menu will reflect the abundance of fish and shellfish that we have on offer.

I have also decided to use various cooking methods as well as culinary influences in the menu. The starter is  the new classic of South American origin – a Ceviche – citrus marinated raw fish. I will use salmon matched with avocado all served like a cocktail in a glass with crispy tortilla chips – a light fresh starter.

Next up will be the classic of a seared scallop that will be served with a lush green pea puree with its natural sweetness, salty crispy bacon and then a mint oil will add other flavour dimensions.

For the main course I will use a “Biblical” fish, John Dory. It is jd2reputed to be the fish St Peter plucked to feed the 5000 with its distinctive black thumb print on its side. A relative of the Haddock and is a fish that only yields 40% of  edible flesh – 60% is bone wastage!

jdI am using the fillets with a delicate beurre blanc sauce infused with spicy flavour of ginger and delicate flavour of onion with freshly chopped chives. Simply garnished with green beans and baby new potatoes… it will be all about the fishy!

Finally we will serve our ever favourite fresh strawberry parfait an “iced strawberry cream” served with a strawberry sauce and some fresh baked shortbread biscuits perfumed with cracked black pepper, perfect with the strawberries that are in full seasonal flush!

It will be a true feast and the boat will have truly come in!

Friday 12th & Saturday 13th June 2015

Menu 

Salmon & Avocado Ceviche with Tortilla Chips

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Seared Scallops with Pea Puree, Crispy Bacon & Mint Oil

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Roasted Fillet of John Dory with Ginger Cream Sauce, Green Beans Baby New Potatoes

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Kentish Iced Strawberry Parfait with Black Pepper Shortbread

Glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

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Coffee & Petit Fours

Menu subject to Market Purchases and Ingredient Availability

Welcome Drink on arrival. Glasses, Ice Buckets & Water provided

Suggest Donation: £40 per person

Arrival: 7:30pm

Dinner: 8:00pm

To book please complete the “Booking Form” – We will confirm your places within 48 Hours

Over Sexed, Overpaid and Over Here…

Well I certainly cannot vouch for the first two of this infamous statement –  but the third one is pretty accurate when it comes to describing Jeff Kipp the chef patron of a cute little eaterie in Saltwood Green near Hythe. The Saltwood is his baby.

Jeff hails from the “Windy City” across the pond and spent time working with Charlie Trotter a much respected and alas now departed cook. He arrived in Saltwood Green having worked in some pucker establishments in London town and London’s loss is now this sleepy village’s gain on the outskirts of Hythe.

I came across Jeff slightly by accident having been introduced by a chef acquaintance and a few weeks ago I met him when I was helping Jules Serkin on her weekly radio show called Scoff Quaff that is broadcast from just down the road towards Dymchurch! It was a lively programme… you can listen again here

Why I waited so long for an excuse I do not know but I found myself there for a luncheon with my good lady and an old friend (he is definitely older than me – he he sorry Mario!)  We had drooled over the menu on line and were looking forward to sampling the small but well balanced menu. Lunch is a simpler affair whilst dinner has a little bit more involved and complex dishes.

We settled into our luncheon with a celebratory welcome drink – a chilled glass of Prosecco that also contained some Kentish hop syrup – it went down rather well and certainly got the party started!

To get us going we chose a couple of their homemade breads – a soft American style pretzel served with a little ramekin of rarebit and then a Corn Bread with a dollop of tomato relish and goats curd… both were very good.

Having perused the menu my wife decided to go for one of the little plates for her main course… namely a smoked fish cake. Me and my considerably older friend decided to share a plate of Jeff’s Home-made gnocchi flavoured with wild garlic that was on the menu… I had taken Jeff a big bag of freshly foraged wild garlic and a large bunch of wild garlic flowers. These then duly appeared on the resultant starter and very pretty they looked too!

The little pillows of gnocchi had also been lightly fried to give them a slightly crunchy texture… it was an accomplished dish.

Mario chose as his main course a pan seared fillet of sea trout with petit pois, pea shoots, samphire and Jersey royals with a punchy tartare sauce… spring time personified on the plate with beautiful succulent sea trout perfectly cooked.  I went for roasted shoulder of Romney Marsh lamb served with a romesco (red pepper, almond and olive oil) infused mashed potato plus grilled Mediterranean vegetables and a Salsa Verde/Gremolata sauce. The meat was lovely, cooked slightly pink it had a lovely sweet flavour that married well with the earthy mash and the vibrant herby green sauce. Overall another well accomplished dish.

We then decided to partake in a few of the puddings on offer… Mario went savoury with what was described as Stilton crumble with apple & rhubarb… it was a de-constructed affair of apple slices, rhubarb with apple foam little pieces of crumbled Stilton of great provenance and taste… garnished with assorted young shoots it looked a pretty picture on the plate.

My better half chose the home-made Cheesecake with orange and cardamom – it had good oaty biscuit base topped with a vanilla cheesecake glazed with an orange jelly. It was however my dessert that garnered the most compliments. A chocolate tart with a malted milk ice cream and a malted caramel. This was pure luxury and the simple de-constructed presentation made it even more enjoyable (the pastry biscuit base was perfectly buttery and crisp)

Well Jeff has won us over and we are now planning a return visit (hopefully a dinner) it was worthy of the seventy mile plus round trip for us and a perfect way to complete my birthday celebrations.

I do hope Jeff remains over here and well the first two statements in the title will not be an issue either.(Just kidding Jeff)

Go and try it, it’s well worth it!

Saltwood on the Green, The Green, Saltwood, Hythe, Kent CT21 4PS

A wild one…

Wild Garlic FlowersWhere is this year going… cannot believe we are already nearly a third of the year through it…

For me the end of winter is signalled by the arrival of a wild food in the form of Wild Garlic or as known by it’s “English” name Ransom. The broad green leaves that poke their heads up in wooded areas from about mid march onwards remind me that warmer weather is hopefully around the corner and we should also start seeing more abundant seasonal produce in our baskets.

Posset's on Parade!!!This months dinners will feature the foraged herb in the starter and main course (to a lesser extent) and then a true spring fruit fresh rhubarb married to a tart lemon posset!

To book this event then please complete the booking form below and we will contact you normally with 48 hours to confirm your places.

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £40 per person

Service not included

Assorted Seasonal Canapés with a welcome drink

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Wild Garlic, Pea & Prawn Risotto

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Herb Crusted Roasted Rump of Lamb

with minted crushed Jersey Royals

Haricot Vert & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

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Hari’s selection of assorted Cheeses

with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam

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Lemon & Rhubarb Posset served with a warm home-made shortbread

Served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes 

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Coffee & Petits Fours

Menu Subject to Ingredient Availability and Market Purchases

From Nose to Tail…a veritable collection of local charcuterie…

It was a bitterly cold Thursday morning when I swept into Shipbourne Farmers market near Tonbridge to collect some ingredients for a home brew from Moodley’s Beer and Wine Kits. At the entrance was a table laden with some rather good looking Salami and cured meats plus a plethora of smoked fish… It was a bit of a shock to then discovered they had all been produced in Kent and were the brain child of former Chef Paolo Rigoli and his partner Dalton Hopper. These were the real deal and Paolo willingly kept slicing a piece from each to let me sample… charcuterie overload or what….

I purchased some to take home and try and duly demolished in double quick time and then ordered some more to use at my pop up dinners in February when we did a small board of charcuterie to start off our Fondue parties. Their Tuscan salami was an amazing product – made with red wine, fennel seeds and some bigger pieces of fat the resulting salami is a real gem. I duly purchased whole lot more in readiness for my March Beer dinners as well. Including their small snacking salami aptly called a beer stick that is designed to go with a glass of beer!

Then recently I arranged to go over and see their production set up… It was an eye-opener and good to see how two passionate young lads have for a fairly modest sum set up a true artisan business. They have assorted Porta-Kabins that are the production kitchens and then an old refrigerated unit that has been adapted to be their curing chamber.

Then another area for smoking of the fish. In just over six months of production this set up is already not able meet sufficiently the demand they have created from the selling via the Farmers Markets they go to along with a growing wholesale demand as well. Plans to put in another curing chamber will mean they can then increase production of the larger joints they wish to cure and store such as the Parma Ham style legs, Coppa and Lomo joints. The legs taking up to eighteen months to reach their optimum maturity. The smaller salamis and sausage style meats taking less time means they would have greater capacity to meet the demands.

For Paolo it has been a steep learning curve as he gets to grip with the legislation and demands of running a new business. Dalton still works full time in his front of house role at a nearby restaurant so supports where and when he can. It truly is good to see such passion and dedication to produce what is a very fine product and I urge you to seek out their products at one of the Farmers markets they attend namely Shipbourne, Aylesford, Elm Court and Tonbridge and then also Horniman Market in south London.

Take a look at their web site for more details on the range of products http://www.kentcateringltd.co.uk/

March onwards…

We love a good glass of beer and we thought what could be a great theme for our March dinner event would be to pair up once again with Yudhistra Moodley of Moodley’s Craft Beer & Wine Making (we last hosted a dinner with Moodleyshim in January 2012) and this time are offering something a bit different. We have always loved using his beer especially in our beer bread.

Yudhistra only brews his beers to  order now commercially but he is however now selling “The Simple Beer Kit” mostly through Farm Shops  and local farmers’ markets including Tunbridge Wells Town Hall, Tonbridge, Aylesford, Hildenborough, Lamberhurst, Shipbourne Horsmonden , West Malling & Robertsbridge and then his web site on the Internet. All so you can brew your own high quality home brew using brewing quality ingredients. You can follow him on twitter @moodleyslimited or on Facebook at Moodley’s Limited

We have teamed up with him for our dinners on Friday 13th & Saturday 14th March when we will be serving a simple beer themed supper to our guests. We will also for each pair of guests be providing a simple beer kit for you to take home and try brewing yourself. Yudhistra will also be on hand each night to answer any brewing questions you may have on how to make a successful brew.

musselsFollowing a welcome drink and beer themed nibble we will kick the evening off with a bowl of freshly cooked fresh mussels cooked in a home brew and served with our now somewhat infamous beer bread.

We will then go onto the main course dish a classic pork shoulder stew braised in beer with carrots and onions. We will serve this with a herby bulgur wheat and some purple sprouting broccoli – a good warming bit of comfort food

Decadent Chocolate TorteFinally we will then serve a classic chocolate cake made with a dark beer that will be served with a compote of blood oranges and some mascarpone cream.

Then with coffee and we will serve some petit fours.

We think it will be a fun night with the added benefit of a take home beer kit with full instructions on how to make your own home brew, what could be better?

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £40 per person including for each pair a Moodleys Simple Beer Kit (retails at £30)

Service not included

Menu

Poached Fresh Mussels in Beer with Hari’s Beer Bread

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Beer Braised Pork with Carrots & Onion

Herbed Bulgur Wheat

Purple Sprouting  Broccoli

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Chocolate & Porter Cake, Blood Oranges & Mascarpone

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Coffee & Petit Fours

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

Fondue Party… our February dinners

fondueGreuzi!

Well we thought we would set the year off with a bit of a party and what better way to kick start the year than with a “Swiss Cheese Fondue Party”!

We will be in central Tunbridge Wells at 8 Chapel Place (a vacant retail outlet) between the High Street & The Pantiles that we will take over for two nights (6th & 7th February) and be serving up a classic fondue menu.

It will be a little early for Swiss Faschnacht (Carnival/Mardi Gras) but what the hell let’s really get the party started with some good food and convivial conversation.

There will be three tables of six (so sharing is compulsory unless a whole table is booked) and we will welcome guests with some nibbles and glass of something!

The meal will kick of with a selection of assorted Charcuterie served with some rye bread (Veggie option available – please pre-order in the “any other info” section of the form below) and then we will serve each table with a classic Swiss Cheese Fondue. Melted Swiss cheese and wine is then served bubbling on a heater and you all dive in with your bread. We will have the addition of some wild mushrooms as well to add to the fondue if so desired!

Finally the meal will be completed with a platter of fresh fruit and fruit sorbet (Taywells) that we will serve with a small glass of schnapps.

We will then serve up coffee and some petit fours to round the evening off.

If you want to come in your best carnival outfit then feel free, (not compulsory though) we plan to have some Guggenmusik playing in the background ! The menu includes a welcome drink on arrival but you will need to bring your own drinks to have with the meal. (Water and Ice Buckets provided) Please note Red Wine with hot cheese is not a good idea as it tends to clot the cheese in your stomach.

So why not join us for a fun couple of nights re-live those nights on the ski slopes and let’s party!

Place: 8 Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1YQ

Time: 7:30pm Welcome Drink and Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm prompt

Suggested donation £35.00 per person (service not included)

Menu

Assorted Charcuterie served with pickles and Rye Bread

(Vegetarian option: Nussli Salat Mimosa mit Baumnussen)

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Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue

Melted Swiss Emmenthal & Gruyere in white wine served with cubes of bread

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Fresh Fruit Platter served with a Taywell Fruit Sorbet and a chilled schnapps

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Coffee & Petit Fours

Happy New Year…

Well here at “Covert Towers” we have been enjoying the festive season in our warm and dry home… a bit different to last year when we evacuated on Christmas Eve and did not return until early July!

imagesIt was a challenging year in 2014 for a number of reasons and we are now looking forward to a what will be our 5th year of secret dining.

We cannot thank our supporters enough for sticking with us during such trying times. We cooked in new venues provided by generous hosts and then we returned to our refurbished home and new kitchen and have been cooking up some storming events since then.

Now as we start off in 2015 we have set dates right through to the end of the year. We have some exciting themes planned for the year and we will publish more details in due course but for the moment we have two dates on February 6th and 7th when the menu will be based around Fondues. We will publish full menus in due course.

On Thursday March 26th we will also be taking part in a charity dinner called “Take 5 Cooks” plus one (a late entry) This will be held 5at Redwood College in Essex and the profits from this dinner is to be shared between Home Start (Essex) and the Welcome Project (Ilford) two small local charities. We will share more details soon as we are just awaiting confirmation on booking details and price per head. Feel free to use our booking confirmation form to register your interest. We Promise it will be a real fun night!

We will publish more details on our other events as soon as we can just keep checking back. In the meantime we wish all our current and potential new customers a very Happy New Year.

Hari Covert

The final “O come all ye Faithful”….

dec

Cancelled – sorry for any inconvenience

Our final supperclub event of 2014 is something a bit special for us… We have always wanted to do a “Pop Up” in central Tunbridge Wells and we can now announce we are coming to the town on Saturday December 20th.

We will be located in a space in Chapel Place (8a to be precise) where for one night only we will serve a special dinner. It will be a big challenge for us as we will have to transport a kitchen into the site and all the associated equipment.

We hope you will come along and support us and get yourselves intosanta1 the festive spirit…

We will kick the evening off with a welcome drink and some festive
nibbles then diners will sit down to a sumptuous four course dinner

Arrival:  7:30pm

Dinner:  Served 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation £40.00 per person (service not included)

Bring your own Alcohol – we provided water and ice buckets

Menu

Homemade Pork, Apricot & Hazelnut Terrine

with a home-made Seasonal Relish

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Crispy Confit Duck Leg served on a

mixed bean & Spicy Chorizo Stew

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses,

Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam

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Christmas Pudding Iced Parfait with a Red Berry compote and holly tuile biscuit served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

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Coffee or Hari’s Tea Blend with Festive Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

 

Memories of China… a report

IMG_6646

Well it was the third time we had invited Chef But to “Covert Towers” to prepare a sumptuous Chinese Banquet … It was well subscribed with two nights fully booked with new and returning guests.

I duly collected Mr B and his wife Sue from South Croydon after he had travelled down from his home in Wembley London and we headed off to nearby Wing Yip Chinese supermarket to purchase the more specialist ingredients we required for the dinners.

We sat down in the adjacent restaurant for a quick Dim Sum lunch before we went round the Supermarket picking out what we required… everything from a pile of Spring Green leaves and Chinese Bak Choy to tins of Yellow Bean Paste and jars of chilli sauces were piled high into the trolley.IMG_6593

As we paid up we headed back round the M25 to Kent and got stuck into the job of preparing food for the impending dinners… Legs of Lamb were butchered and prepared for poaching as they were to be used as the Mongolian Crispy Lamb, Beef Shin was chopped and poached off ready to be slowly cooked with a piquant sauce and water chestnuts. Dried Bean Curd was deep fried and then placed in a bucket of hot water to soften and then cut into bite sized pieces.

B then seemed to magic a pork and chicken minced meat mixture ready for stuffing into the dumplings and then within about one hour and twenty minutes he had made over one hundred dumplings. Blocks of Prawns were left to defrost… it was a late finish and then the next morning it was an early start as we prepared so much food for that evenings dinner. Prawns were made ready for the stir fry and then others were minced to be made into prawn toasts.

IMG_6592It was a long day as we prepared for the full house… we had a big menu. It was a full on service as we served everything from the Red Lotus Cocktail to the finale of some Taywell Sorbet and Ice Cream… and some rather yummy Silver Tipped Jasmine Tea supplied by Blends for Friends. Popular dishes seemed to be Sesame Prawn Toasts and then Slow Cooked Beef Shin with water chestnuts and dried bean curd. All dishes were quickly consumed and as last guests departed it was a quick clear up and off to our slumbers for another busy day the next day.

The Saturday night always seems a great deal easier… something to do with lessons learnt from the Friday I suspect. We still spent most the morning prepping and then after a quick visit to  a local cafe for some lunch we were back in the kitchen to finish off and get ready for another full house.

IMG_6651Mr But and his wife Sue had with the rest of the team worked so very hard to make it a very special couple of nights… Guests seemed to enjoy themselves and it was a lively couple of days … we hope you all enjoy the videos we have posted on our You Tube channel

We will have some photos to share with you all in due course and will create a gallery when we have.

Cheers

Hari C

O Come, All ye faithful…

Well it will soon be that time of year again when we will all start getting festive and excited about the big celebrations of Christmas. As the title suggests we do hope to see some of our regulars and also welcome some new guests as well.

Here at “Covert Towers” we too will be trying to celebrate in style with our Hari Covert suppers on the following dates…

santa15th ,  12th , and 13th December 2014. This will give you plenty of choice to come and celebrate with us. We will be serving up the same menu at each dinner all you need to do is choose the preferred date and complete the booking form below!

We will be serving up a tasty and traditional four course menu that will reflect the festive season and we hope some imaginative combinations.

The evenings will kick off with a welcome drink along with some festive nibbles. We will then commence the dinner with a home-made terrine of pork studded with apricots and hazelnuts and served with a home-made seasonal relish  and simple salad garnish. We will also serve a vegetarian alternative of a warm Onion & Goats Cheese Tart.

santa2For the main course we will go slightly traditional and serve turkey…
I have to admit not always my favourite meat but we will do a slight twist and serve an individual turkey roulade. A turkey escalope stuffed with a light forcemeat and chopped chorizo to provide a slight kick, each roulade will be wrapped in air dried ham and we will serve them with a light sage cream sauce and seasonal vegetable garnish, maybe even the odd Brussels sprout as well. We will serve a salmon steak as the veggie alternative as well with a similar garnish but a wild garlic pesto cream sauce….

In true Hari fashion we will then serve a selection of cheeses with our much admired Porridge Oat biscuits and home-made Banana Jam.

decTo finish the meal we will then serve a slightly different version of a Christmas Pudding, namely a Christmas Pudding Parfait, a home- made iced parfait that will come served with a tart red fruit compote and then a holly shaped tuile biscuit.

Coffee or our own blend of tea will be served along with some mini stollen and Christmas biscuits maybe even a mini mince pie will complete the dinners.

We ask guests to arrive at 7:30pm and dinner will start at 8:00pm

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

Menu

Homemade Pork, Apricot & Hazelnut Terrine with a home-made Seasonal Relish

Vegetarian Alternative:

Warm Onion & Goats Cheese Tart with Salad Leaves

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Turkey Roulade with a chorizo stuffing, Roasted Potato & Parsnip Rosti and a Sage Cream Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables

Vegetarian Alternative:

Roasted Salmon Fillet, Roasted Potato & Parsnip Rosti and a Wild Garlic Pesto Cream Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables

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

*****

Christmas Pudding Iced Parfait with a Red Berry compote and holly tuile biscuit served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

*****

Coffee or Hari’s Tea Blend with Festive Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases & ingredient availability

To Book your places please complete the Booking Form below. We will normally contact you within 24/48 Hours to confirm your booking with a Credit Card number.

Please also indicate how many of your party require the Vegetarian Alternative dishes.