The week had started with my helping out looking after my niece and nephew down on the South Coast whilst they were on the early part of their school holidays. And then followed on the Thursday with a lovely client who'd bid the highest for a Supper Club at Barmouth Kitchen during the St Annes Summer Fete; and she was hosting a family party for 12. We had agreed that the charity event would cover the costs for the ingredients but that our time would be given for free in support of the St Annes Church Charity.
The client had been wonderful with her initial menu briefing; however, we had to change the Starter and the Main a few times, firstly because one of her guests was in the early stages of pregnancy and it was a secret. Although the guest had valiantly suggested she'd eat around the seafood starter, we all felt that it would be a little bit of a give-away if she wasn't drinking or eating certain food. Then one of the guests replied that she had an MSG allergy which threw a little spanner in our 'Thai' theme dishes, mainly because MSG is a commercial counterpart of a glutamate that is found naturally in fish sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes and walnuts.
In the end we chose to mix up our dishes and enjoy some heavenly delights that reflected more of a Summer Theme rather than a specific cuisine. Sometimes it's about following what your client wants rather then a specific country's cultural food characteristics. The meal worked really well, in fact, because the food was bright and super fresh, the courses melded together perfectly, even though we had a flavour trip to Spain with Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Chorizo Starter, then to Italy with Roasted Sea Bass with fresh herbs in lemon and wine; ending in France with individual Tarte Pear & Fig Tartan and a cheeky dollop of home-made ice cream.
What I love about working for Barmouth Kitchen on their Supper Club nights is the atmosphere. It's such a great night that mixes a night out perfectly with feeling like you're in your own home. Possibly because the guests are the only folk, they have the run of the venue. And let's not forget Frankie and Jessie, who are a fantastic tag-team for Front of House, Pot Washers and Waiters. The facilities are tough to work with as there is only an oven and one induction hob but having cooked there now for about seven Supper Clubs now, I've nailed the preparation, organisation and the art of delegation. No matter what, the evening always turns into a lovely rawkus affair, with lots of laughter, good food, photos and possibly a few hangovers the next morning.
On Friday, it was another busy day in the kitchen and a little charity came back to me, as my lovely Fishmonger generously gave me a little extra fish for some Fish Burgers I wanted to make for The Man at the weekend. He popped a few extra grammes of Pollock, Haddock (smoked and without the dye) in my purchase, along with some awesomely large fresh King Prawns. The only thing I regretted when I started concocting my meal for The Man was telling him I'd make home-made Tarragon Mayonnaise, particularly when I couldn't locate my electric whisk (I'd left it at Barmouth Kitchen the night before). So by hand, I whisked, and whisked, and whisked ... I was certainly a little broken and very hot by the time it finally came together. I've promised myself, never to offer to do anything again, unless I've checked where I've last left my electric whisk or any essential kitchen aid!
Ps. If you want to book a Supper Club at Barmouth Kitchen, email Jessie on firstname.lastname@example.org.