Monday, 22 February 2016

French Night At The Nook On The Square

It's that time of year again when love is in the air!
It did make me smile as I walked into Tesco last Saturday morning and watched several men frantically buying bunches of roses and flowers at the entrance. It's totally commercial and thousands are spent by the public each February 14th.
With this in mind, our supper club this month at The Nook had a French theme and was moved from the beginning of the month to February 13th, Valentine's Eve!
Once again hard work, a sell out AND a great success with several compliments on the food.
So here's a few photos from the evening.

 The back room in The Nook looked very romantic with soft lighting and roses on the tables.
A little look at the front room. 

Here's the menu  
French onion pate served with gruyere pastry biscuits.
I was really impressed with the pate. I caramelised the onions for over an hour to get a beautiful sweet flavour before blending with cream cheese and beef stock. I also made a vegetarian version with vegetable stock
Mixed salad with pancetta, croutons and poached egg.
French Lavender, Red Onion, Goats Cheese Tart.  
Beef Cheek Bourguignon
Beautiful melt in the mouth beef that was marinated and treated for 3 days prior to the event and tasted out of this world.

                   Chicken Supreme served in Wholegrain Mustard and    Tarragon Cream Sauce

Ratatouille Tart Tartin

                                                                  Apple Roses
Great tutorial for this very easy puff pastry and apple dish can be found HERE on Cooking With Manuela.

Mixed Berry Clafoutis
This is a traditional baked French dessert with fruit, usually cherries but I used mixed berries, covered with a thick, flan like batter. I used a Julia Childs recipe and boy what a lovely dessert.

Baked French Chocolate Tart

We're popping to Mexico in March and already fully booked !!
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Monday, 8 February 2016

Mini Lasagne Cups

 I think spaghetti bolognaise was probably one of the first meals I learnt to cook as a child. Basic, economical and yet so tasty it still remains in my top three favourite dishes of all time.

As I grew older I learnt to use the bolognaise in other dishes, lasagne becoming another favourite meal of mine.

Over the years, in my different workplaces, I have seen lasagne to be a good seller on the menu though spaghetti bolognaise not so much so. Probably because for most it is a regular week day meal easily made at home.
So our menu at The Nook has developed a bit of an Italian theme recently and as lasagne is a good menu seller, and I love a good twist on classics, I was rather excited to come across a photo on Pinterest of Mini Lasagne Cups.
Ideal for the café menu, (and ideal to use up some filo pastry leftover from Moroccan night 😉) I put the cups on the specials board last week and yes, yet another successful meal!
Very easily made with filo pastry, basic white sauce, bolognaise, parmesan and a muffin tin.

  Cook your bolognaise first and create a white sauce. When these are both made cut your filo into 5inch squares. I used 4 squares for each cup. Brush your first pastry square with olive oil or melted butter. Turn your next sheet 90° and lay on top. Brush with oil again and repeat for the next to sheets then lift and push down into your muffin tin. Repeat this until you have as many cups that you want.

Filo Pastry Cups
The next step is to layer the ingredients as you would in a lasagne.
So I put about a dessert spoon full of white sauce in the base of each cup, followed by a spoon of bolognaise topped with some grated parmesan. Bolognaise again with white sauce on top, more parmesan and a little shake of oregano!

Prepared mini lasagne cups

Once prepared put the muffin tray in the oven on about 180° and cook for about 12-15 minutes until the filo is crispy.
Mini lasagne cups just baked from the oven
Served best with a lovely fresh side salad.
What a tasty lunch!

Mini Lasagne Cups served with salad

Mini lasagne cups served on the specials board at The Nook On The Square, Dunchurch
Linking up this week at:
Simple and Sweet Fridays
Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Cooking and Crafting With J and J

Monday, 1 February 2016

Moroccan Night At The Nook On The Square

When I had the idea of a monthly supper club way back last summer I never envisaged what it would turn into and am so astounded that each evening has been such a success.
Already we are fully booked for French night in February and Mexican in March and I haven't even written a menu yet for either!!
This month our theme was Moroccan and held at the end of the month rather than our usual first Saturday.
Once again we were full and compliments flew at the end of the evening . One diner came to the kitchen to tell me I had surpassed myself this time with the food, best one yet!! Chuffed to say the very least but oh gosh when you peak it puts so much pressure on future events.
Having said that, as much as I put a lot of work into the menus it isn't a one woman show and could never be achieved without all the staff pulling together and working extra hours to cover.

So this time we changed the style of the table settings and bought some  table runners from The Range and blue napkins instead of the usual white ones.

I do love the back room on these events when the tables are all laid and the candles are lit, it has such atmosphere and warmth 
We all brought ornaments from home as well as some bits from The Range, don't you just love that shop! 
These were Christmas tree decorations that a relative bought me years ago and never been out of the box. They worked really well hanging in the corridor.
Here's a sneaky preview of the menu 
And so to the food.
Our starters were:
Spiced Beef Filo Parcels With Harissa Yoghurt.

Carrot & Lentil Soup with Harissa served with Olive Bread.

Lemon Herb Chicken Skewers served with Lemon Coriander Yoghurt

And for the mains:
Pork & Apricot Meatballs and Vegetable Tagine

Honey Braised Lamb Shank Tagine

Spiced Vegetable Pie
(roasted squash , toasted nuts, cranberry and chickpeas in filo pastry) 

Finally desserts:
Le Russe
(meringue & chocolate ganache gateau)

(crispy filo pastry layered with custard, almonds and spiced apple compote)

As always a lot of my ideas were found online so if you fancy making anything you've seen today you can find them all stored together on my pinterest board here
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