<![CDATA[Redcurrant Supper Club - Belfast - Home]]>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:29:46 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Anemones, Wood Sorrel and Spring]]>Sun, 13 May 2012 17:05:30 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2012/05/anemones-wood-sorrel-and-spring.html
The week before our April Supperclub we hosted a party for our gorgeous friend Maggie who just turned 60.  J and N joined us for the night from Sligo and brought the most beautiful bunch of locally grown wild and cultivated flowers. Ox eye daisy, herb robert, stock and beautiful anemones. In jewel colours of purple, blue, red, cerise and palest pink, I was reminded of being a child and my father bringing myself and my brother to the local greengrocer to pick a bunch of flowers for mothers day. Can't remember what D picked, I chose anemones.



In the ranunculacae family, anemones have over 120 different forms some growing from knobbly little tubers which are soaked before planting, others like japanese anemone quite happy to rampage round the garden - a garden hooligan my mother calls it, albeit a very lovely one. There are also lovely modest woodland anemones and it was this that I very nearly mistook for wood sorrel.

That's the thing about foraging, you absolutely have to know what you are looking for. Bad enough that you could poison your own family but offering up something from the nightshade family to 14 strangers at a supperclub, well 'enough said.



We planned a foraged salad to go with the potted herby cheese.

J had been out with the lovely folk at forage Ireland http://www.forageireland.com/ for a look at what edibles are growing now and discovered the gem that is wood sorrel, the perfect foil for the rich cheesy stater.  He assured me that he had spotted a big clump of it in the grounds of Belfast Castle so up went the mutt and I Saturday afternoon before Supperclub. 

 Much stomping around the the cavehill and the castle produced nothing however, except maybe a few stares from folks out for a gentle Saturday stroll.  Finally I saw a clump of white flowers. Sure they were my prey I prepared to pounce only to discover that it was in fact wood anemone. Thank god for google, I thought it didn't look right and a quick check up on the all knowing www indicated that this was not the boy.  I admitted defeat, phoned J and within minutes the Jmobile arrived, the wood sorrel was located and all was well.  On the way back home I found some lovely wild primrose and so a few of the flowers went into the basket too.



The very local starter made me feel virtuous and so I planned a pudding which clocked up a few airmiles I must admit. S has been berating me recently to eat more fruit. But at this time of year I really don't see the point. I like my apples crisp and tart - I am very fussy and would prefer to eat nothing rather than the nasty specimens on offer just now - woolly and flaccid, golden pernicious, shudder. However a nice pineapple to brighten up a cool Spring evening and bring the promise of some tropical sun, more in my line, especially when accompanied by sweet and luscious coconut ice-cream laced with dark navy rum (a sea shanty anyone?). The pineapple was bought a few days in advance, left on the doorstep to soak up whatever weak northern sun was on offer and then peeled and roasted hole with cloves and basted with a sweet, sticky spicy syrup. It was a bit divine.

J made a lovely rosemary syrup and just before our guests arrived, he, S and I road tested a gin and rosemary cocktail, lightened with soda and cooled with lots of ice - very good indeed. S's niece Suzanne joined us for the evening helping with serving and dishes and finding time to sing a couple of songs in the dining room - a special moment.  The cocktails must have slipped down nicely and after Suzanne , one of our guests revealed that she did a bit of singing too. Leah sang two songs and they were truly gorgeous, thanks! (check her out on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_cowrHUsDw&feature=related ).

It was a great night, lovely guests. We are taking a break over the summer. Two gigs planned for August - Saturday 25 August is booked out but places still available for Friday 24th...


]]>
<![CDATA[Belfast's Mr J speaks out!]]>Thu, 15 Mar 2012 10:25:24 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2012/03/mr-j-speaks-out.htmlI suppose its about time I wrote something on this blog, I being J, the bloke in this trio. Not only am I the bloke, I'm the meat eater and cooker and I don't live in the house (even though I think I might be getting a key for the door at my next birthday). So whats in the Supper Club for me, well its not the dough, actually it is the dough, I would do it purely for C's bread ha ha ! I enjoy the planning for the evenings, which are basically chats about food over tea/wine and chocolate, generally S chips in with some sort of logistical dilemma which we solve as quickly as we can so that we can go back to talking about food. I enjoy the practicing of dishes, which entails making my family eat things like tandoori rabbit on a tuesday night when really they want egg and chips (I have three boys aged 9,6 and 5 ).
I enjoy shopping for the food , which has encourged me to look for new suppliers in Belfast and visit shops I had not thought of before, I'm thinking about Abernethy butter and the asian food shop on Sandy Row here. I particularly enjoy the cooking on the day of the supper club and the organised mess of the kitchen. There is nothing like a work surface cluttered with good ingredients waiting to be turned into something tasty.. Picture
There is usually an touch of anxiety in the air when we are cooking on the day of the supperclub; will such and such set, do we have enough cream, how to we get everything into the oven at the same time...that sort of stuff. We generally work through this by listening to loud music and sharing a few stories and a bit of craic.
Before the guests arrive there will be a bit of a clear up in the kitchen and we can set out the cocktail glasses and the appetisers and then go and change into our good clothes, light the candles and the fire, and get ready to welcome the guests into the house. Then its all go, taking coats, sorting out the guests wine, meeting new friends and catching up with old ones. There is a general air of anticipation from the guests and from us as to how everyone is going to gel, we have always found that the more random the the bunch of people the better the evening goes. We often find ourselves in the kitchen just listening to the level of noise coming from the front room, sometimes the level drops and we panic and run in to see if they have all fallen out already only to find out that they are eating (silence is often the best compliment at the dinner table).

Picture
Of course we are beavering away in the kitchen cooking and clearing up as we go, its hard work, but generally a we have a wee drop ourselves once the main courses have gone out and maybe a bite to eat too. I think this is one of the most rewarding stages of the whole experience of running the supper club for me, if you can relax in the knowledge that all the planning has paid off and the guests are having a good time. There is still a fair bit to do, clearing dishes, preparing desserts, coffee, petit fours and a bit of chatting with the guests. 
The clearing up and the chatting about the event goes on for days as we try to start planning for the next one, but we try and relax and enjoy the rest of the evening with the guests.

Thats all for now but we will to keep you up to date with our supperclub news and here's hoping that others will be inspired to take the plunge and open a home supper club in Belfast so we can indulge our foodie notions - even better maybe someone will open another one in North Belfast.

Picture
]]>
<![CDATA[2012 and all that]]>Wed, 18 Jan 2012 22:11:57 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2012/01/2012-and-all-that.htmlSitting in the kitchen at the start of a new year listening to Richard Hawley and Ron Sexsmith and Pete Molinari on the radio and prepping a new dish for February supperclub.

Christmas was a quiet one - sadly my Ma didn't get out of hospital and we missed her so much.  Lots of time spent in the hospital meant exposure to the scandal of hospital food.  Don't get me wrong, long live the NHS but when it is so easy to make good simple food, why is it so bad?  I suspect it's something to do with saving money and outsourcing the catering - grrr. Being a pescatarian, Ma is lucky if she gets anything to eat never mind anything edible.

Anyway all that is by way of saying that I am happy enough to welcome in 2012 and really looking forward the February visit of the inspiring MsMarmitelover Kerstin Rodgers.  As usual, it was S's idea to invite her and while J and me would still be thinking about it, S had the contact and the arrangements made before we could get ourselves offa the sofa.  So, the Queen of London supperclubs is staying with us the first weekend in February and will join us for our Saturday supperclub on 4 February.

We like to push ourselves. Not content with running Saturday night, we thought it would be a good idea to also have the stress of another event on Sunday....So

Sunday 5 February 2.30 - 3pm we will be hosting a dozen or so lovely people for hot chocolate and baked goodies. Not only will we have the lovely Kerstin talking about her great new book Supperclub, Recipes and Notes from The Underground Restaurant but we have also invited Deirdre McCanny who is the genius behind the award winning CoCouture chocolates (gold great taste awards - check them out!!) .  Deirdre will be talking chocolate and may even do a tasting...yum


Both our February  supperclubs and our March one are booked out - thanks to all of you lovely people who are willing to give it a go!  We will be posting new dates for 2012 soon so keep in touch via the blog and like us on f



]]>
<![CDATA[Xmas Supperclub - Dec 10th with Deja Vu Vu Gals......]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2011 12:07:54 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/12/xmas-supperclub-dec-10th-with-deja-vu-vu-gals.htmlIt wasn’t looking too good.  Two days before the Déjà vuvu Xmas Supperclub I hurt my foot, I think, while running around Waterworks.  Yet again C & J were a woman down!  So I kept my paw up for a couple of days while C & J got on with preparations for the Supperclub.  Also C’s ma isn’t too well and that was preoccupying us. 

Clare’s mammy went into hospital on Monday – that was hard.  And we decided to cancel our planned Festive Fundraiser as we felt that it was just too much to organise with all that was going on.   But the Supperclub was providing a welcome distraction.

Sitting here, in the morning room, the morning after, enjoying desert island disks, my girl leafing through the papers and our  boy Rufus coming in for regular pets – I’m enjoying a breakfast of C’s sourdough toast (from last night’s bread) and good coffee. Gooood times….

As a wee ‘an in Donegal, my favourite imagining was that I was a Cow-Girl out on the range – I borrowed (demanded, sorry Sheamy) Sheamy’s  cowboy outfit on a regular basis and my favourite imagined food was a cowboy-supper of pie and mash.  Little did I know then that I would definitely turn out to be a cow-girl and that I would get the best suppers any Cow-Girl ever got – and last night was a cow-girl’s dream!

I really enjoyed our Supperclub last night – it was the first time that we ran one for a particular group. PK had said that she thought it would be lovely to have an Xmas meal for some of her Déjà vu vu gals – so last night we played host to 13 tasty dykes – or indeed bi’s?  

We spent last week making the house Christmassy – up the Cavehill (while the paw was still working) for greenery, round to M’s for holly (M – C’s mammy – what she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing – tells me that ivy on its own was regarded as unlucky – she is not a superstitious woman, I might add).  Cyclamen – our winter friend, provided the colour. 

What to wear? – C was going with her festive green dress.  I spotted a beautiful woman wearing a bowtie and looking gorgeous in a magazine and imagined myself looking like her – ha!  So a velvet bow tie was purchased from ebay.  J, not to be left out decided to trawl the Antrim Road charity shops for same – surprisingly to no avail.  But his talented wife Joanne fashioned a bow tied for him.  

The menu for the evening was the (sophisticated) Cow-Girl’s dream –

To Start

A mojito Royal, champagne cocktail – with grissini and olives

At the table

C’s crusty white bread

First Course

Ravioli – with a red pepper jelly …..the pasta was thin and the  ravioli were sumptuous

Mains

Fish Pie – Salmon and Dill

Lamb Pie

Sides- that I’d happily eat by the campfire – out on the range

Carrots with cider, ginger and garlic

Red cabbage with juniper berries, star anise

Spud Celeriac Mash

Baked Onions

And a Redcurrant and port Jus

Desert

Limoncello Raspberry Trifle

Date Pudding

Petite four

Mince Meat Truffles

The paw had recovered enough for me to carry out my waiting and hosting duties.  But luckily we had a volunteer to help.  Dylan – the son of a friend, who is interested in food and at catering college, arrived at 3 and didn’t stop working till 11pm.  He put up lights, lugged chairs, did washing up, waited tables, helped with food preparation and mucked in wherever necessary.

Picture
Dylan - enjoying a well earned bit of nosh
At the end of the evening we joined guests to share a glass and enjoy their company - before I knew it, it was midnight.

As taxis arrived and old and new friends departed into the night with Christmas wishes hanging in the air – I had a real sense of time moving so quickly – I’m 46 and I feel that I am only beginning to understand what life is all about ……our relationships with each other…. and…… love.

So, here’s to time………. time to enjoy each other’s company, time to share each other’s joys and woes and time to ….love.

Merry Xmas to one and all. S (aka CowGirl) X

Picture
Dont u just love Xmas - As M says - enjoy it - [Life] its not a dress rehersal you know!
Picture
Surely there's a little room left in this shirt ......?
Picture
PS......I've been called worse than 'Hurricane Craig'
]]>
<![CDATA[Supperclubs, hard work and rewards.]]>Sun, 27 Nov 2011 21:53:05 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/11/supperclubs-hard-work-and-rewards.htmlBoy supperclubs are hard work!  Last night was the fourth night we have opened our house to feed 12 delightful guests at Redcurrant Supperclub.  Evenings spent discussing menus, pouring over cookbooks, scrubbing kitchens, bathrooms, ironing linen, cooking, cooking, cooking.

Every night different - not just the guests and the food but the dynamic in the kitchen.  Oddly enough our first night in August was our most organised I think; last month our supperclubbers took lots of breaks between courses, lounged in the kitchen or sitting room and sang Van Morrison at the table.  

This month we had an all female table (where are all the food loving men?) who organised themselves to move around between courses so they got a chance to chat to everyone - don't you just love women - and talked and talked and ate and ate.

S spent the day madly face-booking and tweeting to see whether we could organise some music for last night. Alas to no avail except that by six o'clock she was in a state of nervous exhaustion!

With J, S and me doing it together we are certainly not planning to get rich quick (or even slowly). But it was never about making money, at this stage covering our costs is good enough.

So what are the rewards?
I have been thinking a lot about this. A definite creative outlet for me - a reassurance that people other than my beloved and my Ma like my cooking; a chance to lay out the best china and 'silver' and bring people together and feed them good food.

To see S doing what she does best, talking to our lovely guests and friends, serving food (slowly!) telling stories and laughing and making J and me laugh too.  

Working with J. He moves with a quick and steady grace around the kitchen.

Making connections, a feeling of community. We had a jerusalem artichoke soup last night and we returned home from walking Rufus this afternoon to find that someone had left a present of a bag of freshly dug artichokes on the doorstep.

Cooking, dreaming, tasting, talking, laughing, cooking, cooking.



]]>
<![CDATA[Makin' a Mezze - menu from November 26 Supperclub]]>Sun, 27 Nov 2011 21:16:01 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/11/makin-a-mezze-menu-from-november-26-supperclub.html Redcurrant Supperclub

Saturday 26 November 2011

Welcome drink

Grissini

At the table

Roasted garlic and Jerusalem artichoke soup

Truffled brioche rolls

Mains

A selection of smaller dishes served mezze style to share including

Leek and cheese pastries

Smoky aubergine with pomegranate

Spiced lamb with hummus

Crispy fried fish

Various seasonal sides

Pudding

Semmifreddo with orange and rum poached apricots.

Tea and coffee chocolate mint leaves.

]]>
<![CDATA[Harvest Home Supperclub Menu, 29 October 2011]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2011 14:40:47 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/10/harvest-home-supperclub-menu-29-october-2011.html Redcurrant Supperclub
A Harvest Home
29 October 2011.

Beforehand

Sloe fizz
Grissini

At the table
Raisin and walnut bread with country butter

Starter
Shallot Tartlets

Mains
Chicken cacciatore with cannellini beans OR
Potato and parsnip cakes with a mushroom and cider cream and beetroot relish
Seasonal sides

Pudding
Apple cakes with a calvados and honey syrup and vanilla ice-cream.

Coffee and petit fours.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dry sherry, divine nectar....]]>Sat, 22 Oct 2011 15:39:11 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/10/dry-sherry-divine-nectar.htmlPicture
Ok, I'm fond of sherry. In fact, very fond. I wouldn't be  known to refuse a wee sweet sherry at Christmas or indeed at any time. Even Harveys has a welcome in my glass. But my real love is for the bone dry stuff.  I used to secretly scoff at my uncle who ordered Tio Pepe the odd time we would have been out for dinner - now I know what it was all about. TP is grand, very good in fact and served well chilled is the most lovely aperitif before dinner. 

However what I have really grown to love is all things Lustau. Cooking dinner on a Friday night is my time to have a couple of glasses - (small).  Reaching for my latest buy last night realised with a sob that I had guzzled the lot. So off to Direct Wine Shipments this morning for a restock.




What lovely folks they are in DWS. Helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Oh, and they stock LOTs of sherry...manzanilla, olorosso, fino.....yum, give one a go with salted almonds or a wee bit of cheese. Delicious.

]]>
<![CDATA[Bread Matters]]>Sun, 16 Oct 2011 10:41:53 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/10/bread-matters.htmlSunday is baking day in our house - usually because  we are more likely to be around the house generally making a feeble effort to put order on chaotic house.


The stater comes out of the fridge where it has been sleeping all week on a Friday and gets refresh with flour and water.  The sponge gets made with starter, flour and water on Saturday night ready to bake sourdough bread on Sunday.


This week though I was a hired hand on Saturday for my brothers book stall at the Belfast Book fair and by the time I got back on Saturday evening I was too tired to think about bread (not often you'll hear me saying that).


So a chance to try out a new type of flour I came across a couple of weeks ago. Einkorn flour is apparently the earliest type of wheat cultivated. It comes from Doves farm in a very attractive green paper bag and though it's wholegrain, it seems a fine and quite light flour.  I have added about 250g of white flour to 750 of Einkorn along with two teaspoons of quick yeast, salt and water.  A double prove - the final one in bread tins and its ready to bake.  


More later on whether it proves itself.

]]>
<![CDATA[An Indian Summer menu]]>Sun, 25 Sep 2011 17:30:19 GMThttp://redcurrantsupperclub.org/1/post/2011/09/an-indian-summer-menu.htmlRedcurrant  Supperclub
24 September 2011
Menu

Welcome drink

Grissini

At the table

Home made masala rolls with coriander and lime oil

Starter

Pistachio and yoghurt kofta in a tomato and coconut broth

Mains
     
Coriander and coconut pancakes topped with roasted spiced aubergine served with chilli roasted squash OR

Tandoori Rabbit with roasted onions and peppers

served with seasonal sides

Pudding
Lemon cups with honey madeleines and warm blackberries

Tea and coffee
chocolate crunch
]]>