Friday, 17 January 2014

Never Very Valentines Supperclub

Never Very Valentines Supperclub
14th February 2014 7.30pm


I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, but I definitely don’t want to sit in a restaurant full of silent couples who never usually eat out... If you think the same; single, coupled, groups, whoever you are; if you like your food and a bit of conviviality come along to the first Grazer Supperclub of 2013, ‘Never Very Valentines’. A night of feasting in a totally unique space, fire, food and booze...

What will we eat and drink?

Cocktails on arrival, pink gin fizz, followed by a three course sharing menu including pickles, game and heart terrine, homemade ‘baps’ and butter (it’s all homemade actually!), pulled pork and maple mustard, parsnip crisps, blood orange jelly, sticky ginger cake and rose cream... See, I even chucked in a few hearts. Followed by coffee (and kissing*). BYO drinks.

The menu will be confirmed and sent out to you a couple of days before the event.

Where is it?

Ouse Street Arts Club, two converted shipping containers in the Ouseburn Valley, a unique and innovative social event space.

How much will it set me back?

You will be given an envelope at the end of the evening. We ask you to leave what you think your whole evenings experience has been worth, venue, food, drinks and service...

How do I book?

Just email me at to reserve your place, these events sell out very quickly so don't hang about... We will let you know asap if you have got a place.

Anna x

*not compulsory

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Shooter's Sandwich

I had read about the Shooter’s Sandwich previously in Elizabeth David’s ‘Summer Cooking ‘.’The wise’ she says ‘travel with a flask of whiskey and a Shooter’s Sandwich’. ‘With this sandwich a man may travel from Land’s End to Quaker Oats, and snap his fingers at both’. We didn’t go quite that far, but we did go for a picnic in the Lake District in December on one of the stormiest days of the year...

My aunt’s birthday falls on the 27th December and as a surprise her immediate family had planned a return to a childhood holiday home deep in the valleys of the Northern Lakes. The fact that it was December and had no electricity or running water did not deter us. I designed the menu, packed up the picnic baskets (waterproof) and set off from Newcastle laden with potted fish, pickles, terrines, homemade breads, a delicious sticky ginger cake and the Pièce de résistance, the Shooter’s Sandwich...

As the gale force winds and horizontal sheets of rain battered us on the drive over we received a phone call from the advance party, a tree was down blocking the road further ahead. Not to be deterred we followed instruction to stop for a coffee and wait for it to be cleared, thinking it might be hours some of the party were a bit down beat, there was talk of a Plan B; but before we had even finished our giant cheese scones we received instruction to proceed, the tree was cleared and we were back in business!

An early 20th century shooting lodge made of corrugated iron and timber, no electricity, water or lights, at the head of a deserted valley in a gale, an ideal picnic spot, and a pretty exciting one at that. Once the fire was on, glasses in hand and the indoor picnic laid out we were all set... the rain and wind battered us from the outside, noisy and insistent, but it was a unique picnic lunch I will remember for a long time.

To make the Shooter’s Sandwich you will need a large round crusty cob loaf or similar, 2 steaks, I used rib eye, 500g of mushrooms and 200g shallots, some garlic, a splash of brandy and Worchester sauce, some horseradish and Dijon mustard. I followed a Tim Hayward recipe this time, but am already geared up to free style it next time...

Slice a ‘lid’ off the top of the loaf and hollow out the centre, I kept the middle and froze it to use for breadcrumbs at some point. Finely chop the mushrooms and onions and sweat them in about 75g of butter until they are tasty and soft and have lost most of their moisture. Season with salt and pepper, some grated garlic, a shot of brandy and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Season the steaks and get a frying pan very hot; I cooked mine for 2 minutes each side, possibly a touch less, and they were medium rare, you want them to be on the pink side.

Then quickly assemble the sandwich, no resting required. Put the first steak into the bottom of the loaf; add all the mushroom mix, packing it into all the nooks and crannies, then the next steak on top. Spread the top of this steak with horseradish and spread the inside of the loaf lid with Dijon mustard. Pop it back on and then wrap the whole thing up in greaseproof paper tightly. Secure with four lengths of string and finally place between two boards, with some heavy pans or weights on top and press overnight.

To serve, cut the Shooters Sandwich into wedges still in its paper, along with some piccalilli or a good mustard, and a full winter picnic if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s delicious; the mushroom mix is so tasty with rich meat and sharp hot horseradish and mustard. Bring on the next picnic, rain or shine. I’d use a crustier loaf next time, this one was a little soft and I might also add a layer of horseradish to the base as I love it so much. This is the classic version, if you Google it there are many more, I’m going to stay away from the Parmo version, that’s a step too far... but a vegetarian one with pesto, mozzarella, roast peppers, aubergines and basil looked delicious.