Tag Archives: Supper Clubs

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

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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.

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…

Battle of the Ice Creams…

Well this was a different type of “Ice Cream Wars” afoot at Taywell Ice Creams as we judged what have been dubbed the “Seven Wonders of Taywell”!!!

The flavours we were asked to pass comment upon were as follows

Sorbets :

Blood Orange & Campari

Red Bull & Vodka

Ice Creams :

Liquorice

Coffee & Tia Maria

Strawberry & Mascarpone

Damson & Sloe Gin

Jack Daniels

Well the competition was very close and I can now announce the one with the most 3 stars awarded and gets the “Twuddle” seal of approval was… Strawberry & Mascarpone… in fact next was the Coffee & Tia Maria and also with this the Liquorice. The Liquorice slightly ahead if you take into account the question would you buy it… 18 said yes against 16 for the Coffee one.

The Blood Orange and Campari was voted best sorbet of the night with 10 “3 stars” votes and then 8 “2 stars” and 17 votes to purchase. The least favourite of the tasting was the Red Bull and Vodka with a resounding 15 stating they would not purchase against 7 who would… they were not surprising the younger faction of the tasters.

The comments ranged from “Fruity & Refreshing” to “not too sweet, liked the bitterness of the Campari” for the winning sorbet whilst for the Red Bull & Vodka ranged from “Too sweet”, “Bubble Gum like” and “Ew! Sickly” to “This one is fun” and a “Nice Kick to it”, overall though it was felt not our taste.

With the Ice Creams we had a wide range of comments. Firstly the winning flavour had comments like “Lovely creamy flavour”, “Delicious”, “Everything screams “EAT ME”!” and simply put “Amazing”

The Coffee & Tia Maria raised some debate that whilst it had “Lovely strong coffee flavour”, “Om Nom” (not sure what this meant?) and “Really like it but can’t taste enough Tia Maria” it was felt the addition of some coffee grounds could provide a textural interest to a very creamy ice cream. One person suggested the addition of sponge finger pieces and you would have an amazing Tiramisu Ice cream.

It was however the Liquorice that provided the biggest debate and I believe surprise for Alastair. The comments ranged from “I normally hate liquorice but that is gorgeous, “fantastic idea, delicious” to a fair few stating simply “Love It”. One comment summed it up “made Liquorice bearable” and “don’t like Liquorice normally”

It was for me the most interesting and surprising of the night as it really did bring back some childhood memories of Sherbet Fountains and Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts!!!

The Damson and Sloe Gin was also well received and felt to be amazingly “fruity” and “creamy”. In fact was one person’s outright favourite. We have photographic evidence he licked the plate clean!!!

The Jack Daniels for some strange reason was forgotten off the tasting sheets so perhaps did not get a true appraisal, so my apologies. Overall we gave them all a good test and I am sure we would all be up for a return visit if needed to!!!

So to recap with the “Seven Wonders of Taywell”

Twuddle Seal of Approval Strawberry and Mascarpone

Highly RecommendedLiquorice… and then Coffee & Tia Maria

(Amazingly both similar colours)

Best SorbetBlood Orange & Campari

Cheers

Hari Covert

Marmite Ice Cream… a flavour to far?

(polls)

food for lovers & lovers of food…feb 2011

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

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

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

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

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Warm Roasted Aubergine, Red Pepper & Cumin Terrine

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

served with a light sherry jus.

Pommes Lyonnaise

Green Beans wrapped in pancetta

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits

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Roasted Rhubarb Tart with Walnut Ice Cream

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Coffee with petit fours 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Hari

Gift Vouchers…

Something extra from Hari Covert…

Hari Covert Gift Vouchers…

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

Hari Covert

Covert by name and nature…

Chocolate Fest…

CHOCOLATE FEST… FRIDAY 19TH & SATURDAY 20TH MARCH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Eating

Hari Covert

Covert by name, covert by nature

Our First Dinner… 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hari Covert