Monday, 29 July 2013

Lemon and Rosemary Posset

I'm in a bit of a manic cycle of shopping, supperclubbing, travelling, packing, unpacking, washing up, shopping, supperclubbing... You get the picture. It's very challenging, particularly as I'm hosting suppers three weeks in a row... but also beautiful and fun. The Farne Islands was the latest challenge, this weekend just gone, a much more unusual dining location than Lindisfarne, but really stunning. The sun shone, looking back over the calm hazy sea to Bamburgh guests had drinks and watched puffins hop around, it was just beautiful... A minke whale was spotted passing just hours earlier... Each time I'm only envious I'm not joining in with them; but someone has to be in charge of the kitchen chaos...

Running the gauntlet through the diving arctic terns with plates of food was interesting, either getting pecked, or worse... the other end. Luckily they just missed the food each time, splatting only us, a camera lens, the dining table and the floor... the baby terns kept on making a run for our dining room determined to see what was going on in there... But there weren't many sand eels on the menu so they eventually lost interest...

I have served this Lemon and Rosemary Posset for pudding at both Lindisfarne and the Farnes so far, it's one of my new favourites... I love a lemon pudding but the addition of rosemary is really special. It's basically just cream, sugar, lemon and rosemary and pretty simple to make.

These amounts will make 8 little puddings or 4 large ones. Peel off two big bits of lemon rind and take two big sprigs of rosemary, add them to a pan and give them a bit of a bash to get their oils out. Add 300ml of double cream and heat till it is steaming, don't let it boil. Then leave to infuse, anything from half an hour to overnight.

Remove the rosemary and lemon from the cream and put the cream back on the heat, adding 110g of caster sugar, bring it slowly to the boil and simmer for two minutes, then remove it from the heat and add the juice of 2 lemons, about 60ml. Add to glasses, cups or bowls, however you want to serve it and pop it in the fridge to set for a few hours or overnight. It is so delicious and creamy, very lemony and sweet but also dusky with rosemary... It's gone down very well so far, I've been serving it with almond meringues and clotted cream, even more delicious...

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Lindisfarne Summer Supperclub

I've been getting pretty used to hanging out at Lindisfarne Castle, I've dropped hints about moving in, but it hasn’t come about yet, strangely... Last weekend saw my first event in collaboration with the National Trust, the Lindisfarne Summer Supperclub. And it was pretty spectacular... I'm only jealous I wasn’t one of the guests dining on the Upper Battery high above Holy Island and the sparkling sea.


Twenty guests joined us on a warm Saturday evening for fizzy and canap├ęs overlooking the stunning coastline, the sun even made an appearance after a cloudy warm day. People chatted and got used to their home for the evening, with introductions and a tour of the castle before sitting down to dine.

It has been months of hard work to bring it all together, but well worth the effort. Wandering round the castle, chatting to the lovely guests, composing the menu, even overheating in my castle kitchen trying to get everything ready on time, I enjoyed every second! It is such a beautiful peaceful place and I hope the first of many events to come there.


Our guests started their feast with a seafood smorgasbord, local langoustine, roll mop herring, devilled eggs with dill, buttermilk bread and homemade butter, samphire and watercress salad and Farne Island lobster. I picked the beautiful little fellas up from Seahouses harbour early that morning and drove straight up to Holy Island, they couldn’t have been fresher. The main course was slow braised lamb with shallots and garlic, anchovy Pan Haggerty, garlicky courgettes and condimint, a date, mint and horseradish jam, recipe courtesy of the legendary Joe Beef, that is delicous!


The bright red sun set over the Cheviots during supper and it couldn’t have looked more magical. I wonder how many people in the past have sat in that spot for supper, not many I imagine, I felt very lucky to be there... Pudding was a Lemon and Rosemary Posset with clotted cream and almond meringues and finally coffee with Chocolate Black Pudding.

This weekend sees the the next event on the Farne Islands, fingers crossed for more beautiful weather...


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Lindisfarne Castle Supperclub

I couldn't be more excited to be hosting the first Supperclub at Lindisfarne Castle on Saturday! We spent part of Sunday there planning out the final details and it was just stunning, so peaceful, beautiful sunshine, amazing views, seals calling in the background, pretty flowers swaying in the breeze... I want to live there! but no one seems to be taking the hint... I thought I'd share some photos...

Guests will sit down on the battlements, overlooking the whole of the coastline, to a smorgasbord of lobster, langoustine, roll mop, devilled eggs, samphire salad, buttermilk bread and seaweed butter. Followed by slow braised Northumberland lamb with shallots, anchovy pan haggerty potatoes, garlicky courgettes and condimint. Finishing with lemon and rosemary posset, hazelnut meringues, clotted cream and chocolate black pudding.

You can find out more infomation and book tickets for Supperclubs on Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands here...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Beetroot Salad with Rocket and Walnut Pesto

I've renamed my evening meal Salad Club, Experimental Salad Club on some nights, like tonight... It's totally normal to brand your meals surely...? Chicory, celery, cambozola and honey, I think it worked? Pea, broad bean, pesto, goats cheese, bacon and croutons, bit odd? For my birthday last week we ate a whole pig, a lovely friend gave me some fois gras, there was a venison pie, then the Ouseburn Festival Feast kindly provided me with black pudding rolls, scotch pies, chicken liver parfait and other meaty delights. I desperately need a bit of salad time and this beautiful sunshine makes it even more apt... Salad and sunshine are great friends.

I've been delving into my Ottolenghi Jerusalem book and the Polpo book, a recent favourite, and finding all kinds of delicious salady type treats. I served up two of them at my latest Supperclub on Saturday, a Radish, Fennel, Mint and Ricotta Salad, but I thought you might be a bit sick of radishes so I thought I'd tell you about the Beetroot Salad with Rocket and Walnut Pesto. I'm growing my own beetroot at the moment but it has got a little way to go before it is ready yet. I'm quite proud of it already, I always feel pretty proud of a root vegetable, it amazes me every time I pull one up, that I, me, actually grew it?

This is quite simple, once you know how long a beetroot takes to cook (I didn't, we ate at 10pm). Simply bring your beetroots to the boil in plenty of water with a big splash of red wine vinegar. This will serve 4 to 6 depending on hunger levels. I used 550g of beetroot, big tough as old boots ones and they took about an hour to cook. They need to be tender and the skins coming away easily. I hope my little fells in the allotment will be a bit more tender and speedy to cook. When they are done leave them to cool and then peel and cut into small chunks.

To make the pesto, wizz up a bag of rocket, about 70g, 60g of walnuts, 35g of parmesan, 2 cloves of garlic, ¼ teaspoon of salt, black pepper and a big glug of olive oil, using a food processor. I have also tried it with a mix of almonds and pecans which was very good too. There you have your rocket pesto, this is a world away from pesto you get in a jar at the supermarket, so tasty and well worth the effort. It's pretty easy and can be used for loads of other things.

Then simply mix the beetroot pieces with the pesto, you might not need it all, and add a handful of rocket and some toasted walnut pieces. The beetroot is soft and sweet and tangy, delicious with the fresh creamy pesto. A delicious new way to eat beetroot for me and a regular new addition on the Salad Club line up...