Wednesday 27 November 2013

Milk and Sugar - Secret Tea Room

We did it! Vic and I launched Milk and Sugar, an afternoon tea 'supperclub'! We rolled up our sleeves, polished the silver, put on the music and whipped up cakes and sandwiches galore for all our lovely guests. We met some wonderful people over the two days and four sittings and if we hadn't been so busy pouring tea and cutting sandwiches we would have happily sat down and joined in the fun.

In the book, the Dutchess' cook has absolutely saturated the kitchen with pepper, and the baby sneezes constantly. Alice spirits him away, only to find that he has transformed into a pig. It is never explained why this happens, but we served peppery leek tarts followed by peppery sausage roll piggies.Washed down with a glass of bubbles, our guests took their seats.
We didn't take pictures of all our cakes, and sandwiches but we served the following..
Glass of Prosecco
Peppery leek tartlets and peppery pigs
Cheshire cat striped mousse, raspberry and blueberry
Green tea and ginger 'tea cups'- edible in their entirety  
Rabbit lemon possets
..and his stop watch brownies 
Queen of heart jam tarts
Playing card vanilla sable biscuits
White and red 'painted' rose topped pistachio and lemon cakes.
Sandwiches, Ham and Dijon mustard, /Egg and cress/ Smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill/ Cucumber cream cheese and mint/ Roasted red pepper, spinach, cream cheese and toasted almonds

Followed by CHOCOLATE WINE. Made with red wine, port, spices and 70% cocoa chocolate.

Thank you to everyone that came over the weekend..

It was exhausting but we can't wait to do it all again! 
Our next tea is a FESTIVE TREAT on the 14th December. Details to come, but to reserve a spot, please email

Sunday 24 November 2013

Chilli con carne. Really decent carne.

I made a really fiiiiiine chilli last week. I picked up some pork knuckle and beef shin at Nath the Butcher, and got to work on what was THE best chilli I have ever knocked up. I've nothing against beef mince in a chilli but if you go this route, or even buy chuck steak and chop it up into small pieces, you'll find it's really worth the extra spend.
In short,(because I'm rushing out for pizza) I browned the meat, and took the onions to a charring point to introduce that smoky flavour. Everything else was added and blipped away for four hours, well not the beans, they go in for the last 30 mins, which is when I also lifted out the knuckle and removed the bones. I like my chilli fiery, hence the sweet potato and guac, you've got to be careful with those habernero chilli flakes,  they can be a bit tongue numbing. I got the chipotles in the post from Susan in Seattle and the flakes online, from Sous Chef Click on the link if you are a chilli fan, there's an awesome chilli selection. 

This makes a huge amount of chilli, easily serving 10 or more, but freezes beautifully. 

2 beef shins, sliced into chunks
1 pork knuckle, ask your butcher to chop into thirds
3 small onions
6 garlic cloves
2 pints water
1 lrg tinned tomato
cinnamon bark (or tsp of powder)
2 flat tsp of habernero chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
2 dried chipotles (deseeded and ground in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar) or 3-4 heaped tsp chipotles in adobo
1 tsp thyme
3 pinch flaky salt
1 can guiness (this is no trick, just what I had in the fridge to use up)
140g tom puree
2 cans of black beans

If you're not using chipotles, and only have on hand chilli powder, try adding a tsp of proper cocoa powder or a few squares of 70% chocolate at the end for that earthy depth.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Halloween Supperclub!

The lights were dimmed, the cocktails mixed and The Monster Mash was the first song on the soundtrack. I was so excited to welcome our first guest to my Halloween Supperclub! I loved every minute of the evening, Sam and Hannah were not only SUPER helpers, but also a laugh in the kitchen. Playing host and cook for 16, I didn't catch all of it on camera. I almost wondered if there was any point in trying to piece together this post, a mix of SLR and iphone pics, and some courses not pictured at all, but I think the following give you an idea.  
Bocconcini, olive, basil and Parma ham eyeball canapés  
 Mummified finger sausages with spicy ketchup
'Green gunk guacamole with witches hat crackers. I made the crackers with squid ink and chilli powder.. recipe soon, they were delish.
Smoked salmon mousse braaaaiiiiin served with tabasco on bread
Overcooked tapioca for a slimy finish to the cocktail jugs!
 Hanging bats.. they creeped me out.
Then there was spicy pumkin soup with black sesame (not pictured)
The main course was shoulder of lamb, rolled with the neck fillet and roasted for 4 hours, with cavolo nero, baby carrots, 'mash ghosts' and Sam's addictive gravy.

The grand finale was my severed FOOT CAKE. It looked gross but tasted good. Squidgy chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream and hot salted caramel sauce.
I made worms out of strawberry jelly to throw on the cake at the last minute with crumbled chocolate cake for soil (not pictured)
After bowls of foot, came brain shots. Baileys poured over peach schnapps so it curdled. All in all a rather disgusting but enjoyable night.