Tag Archives: Local Produce

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

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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

All in the intrest of good food…

Liquid Gold… 
The last couple of days has been a labour of love for me… I have been collecting some of the special ingredients for the forthcoming dinner and in the interest of good food I just had to go and collect them personally!

The cheese from Winterdale Shaw and the Lamb from Glovers was one excursion then today it started with a quick visit to Hurstwood Farm to collect some Cobnut Oil…

I met the main man Mr Dain who gave me a quick tour and I was fascianted to see the recently installed oil press and hear about the plans to also start production of walnut oil as well.A quick look at the orchards and a discourse with Mr Dain on the joys of dealing with the supermarkets and their buyers left me wanting more… I look forward to a return visit and also tasting their roasted cobnut oil… Mr Dain was waxing lyrically about it.

Next I headed off to the coastal town of Whitstable for lunch at Jo Jo’s where we enjoyed a stunning lunch looking out onto the sea and watched the acrobatic wind and kiteboard surfers make the most of the brisk winds and the plethora of windmills on the horizon gently turning.

It was a great lunch of assorted Meze after which we then headed off down the road to nearby specialist bakery ABO to get the inside track on the making of not only gluten free breads but the breads are all made without yeast.

Owner Ingrid has been known to me for some twenty years and her passion for breadmaking is infectious and the lengths she goes to is stunning. They even mill their own seeds as she maintains they are purer and tastier. A little pot of dried alpine flowers from the Austrian Alps she specially imports at considerable costs drew much admiration. The 400 euro price tag produced a sharp intake of breath though.

An interesting selection of breads will now be offered to our diners at the up coming right royal feast and watch this space for some exciting news about a new venture we will soon be offering.

 The mill for the seeds…    the breads…

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

Fish Tales…a cod piece of a story

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Well that is another month’s dinners done and dusted… Why fish tales we hear you ask – well it’s all a bit of a fishy story…

I started (to coin a phrase “this journey”) about a year ago and it continues to grow from strength to strength and once again we were filled with guests both new and old (some old ones commenting it’s now too hard to get in!)

I do however like to ensure those that have not tried us get the chance so please do make sure you follow our booking procedure and book early to ensure your place. I only allow tables to the next dinners to be booked once we have completed our dinners.

So as I said for this month we had yet again a full house with a wide range of guests eager to try our fish inspired menu. The idea was to showcase a range of cooking methods flavours and combinations in a balanced and I hope imaginative way.

The nibbles we served with a welcome glass of Kir Normande (French Cider with Crème de Cassis) were a rich dark black olive tapenade with the addition of anchovies, a smoked salmon roulade filled with cream cheese and finally a little shot glass with a delicate smoked haddock and leek velouté. They all seemed to go down well and one person commented on the tapenade in particular!

For the first course we served Skate Cheeks or what are sometimes known as  “Knobs” It seemed most guests had never tried this difficult to obtain cut of fish but I had decided to source my fish this month from Hastings so the day before the first dinner I had driven to Hastings to collect my order.

The three dozen knobs I required represented 18 fish and they ranged in size from golf ball sized to as big as my fist. I then removed the flesh from the two large bones and effectively made them into even sized pieces.

I had decided to keep it very simple by cooking them in a paper bag… Taking a rectangle of greaseproof paper/baking parchment and initially soaking it in water when placed on the work surface I added a little mound of vegetable julienne (thin matchstick pieces of blanched carrot, leek and fennel) Placing the skate on top of this with a splash of white wine and seasoning I then fold the package tight ensuring the fish is sealed in tightly. Baking the parcel in a very hot oven for about 6-7 minutes until the paper has dried and puffed as the steam enclosed within has cooked the fish. A very simple classical cooking process known as “en papillote” resulted in a delicate way to start the meal.

Next from my trip to Hastings I also had bought a stone (the old imperial weight still used by fishmongers) of day boat caught Cod Fillets. The boats are all raised onto the shingle beach and are the last remaining large fishing fleet to do this in the UK. I trimmed and prepped the fish and decided to serve it pan roasted on top of a bed of crushed new potatoes. The new potatoes were boiled and then added hot to a dressing of olive oil with the addition of chopped capers, roasted caramelised onions and chopped chives. The addition of the potatoes added whilst still hot makes them soak up the oil and gives the mix a lovely rich & deep flavour. I served our ubiquitous green beans and a light butter sauce and the final addition of some deep fried capers scattered around.

It all seemed to go down well and the plates came back clean – always a good sign.

I then served our much loved cheese boards with a selection of specially selected cheeses. Our local one called Winterdale Shaw (the award winning cheddar cheese). A French Tomme d’Ariege from the Pyrenees made with goat, sheep and cows milk. A soft French Pié d’Angloys and finally a Hari’s Button made a re-appearance. The porridge oat biscuits seemed to garner many compliments and these were devoured with gusto!

To complete the meal I then served a chocolate and hazelnut torte that was also “Gluten Free” as it was made like a baked chocolate mousse. The addition of a marmalade coulis and a dollop of Cornish clotted cream with a scattering of toasted chopped Kentish Cob Nuts was the final flourish that once again got devoured with shall we say contented gusto by guests…

It has been a very busy period for me, what with some private functions.  We also are now are just a few days away from cooking for our prizedraw winners at the fast looming Björn Again show in Tunbridge Wells and then another private at yourHome dinner for guests the next night!

So our next main event will be on Saturday April 30th and this time it will be back at Yalding Gardens. We will be once again hosting a special night to celebrate the forthcoming “Royal” marriage. Bookings are now open and we have a few places to fill so please do feel free to spread the word. We promise you it will be a fun filled night and you can check out the menu here  – we hope to see you there.

Cheers

Hari Covert…

A right Royal Feast… a night to remember?

Well we have been asked back to Yalding Gardens following the success of last years Apple Day Dinner and this time we will be cooking and serving a special dinner to celebrate the Royal wedding of “William & Kate”…. so make a note of the date…

Date: Saturday April 30th 2011

Time: 7:30pm Aperitif and Nibbles

Dinner: Served 8pm

Cost: A suggested minimum donation of £40 per person includes the welcome aperitif

(A small wines and drinks list will be offered on the night at additional reasonable prices)

We will be serving 48 guests on six tables of 8 so there will be a need to share tables unless you book as a party of 8

The menu will be as follows subject as always to market purchases and availability

Pressed Terrine of ” Yalding Gardens” Spring Leeks

served with toasted Kent cob nuts and cobnut oil dressing

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Risotto of  locally foraged Wild Garlic topped with a “Hastings” Skate Knob

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Roasted Chump of Kentish Lamb with a light redcurrant jus

Gratin Dauphinoise and Green Beans

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The award winning “Winterdale Shaw” local Cheddar

 served with a homemade Banana & Date Chutney, Porridge Oat Biscuits

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Roasted Spring Rhubarb Gratin, Taywell Cinnamon Ice Cream, Duchy Original Shortbread Biscuit

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Coffee served with Homemade Chocolates

We have tried to provide a royal connection to each course and celebrate with great seasonal and locally sourced products which we hope you will appreciate.

To reserve your places please complete the following form and in the comments box please state “Yalding Gardens”. If there are any special dietary needs please let us know. We will then make contact with you to take a credit card number to confirm your places.