The Flavours of Spain Supperclub travels to Ickham, Kent
The beautiful village of Ickham was the venue for our March 16th supperclub and wine tasting. We’d never included a wine tasting before but thought it a great idea since we’d recently sourced some incredible small producer wines during a trip to Spain.
For this supperclub we wanted to create a 6-course menu that was as exciting as it was tasty, mixing different textures with different flavours. Its very important for us is to use good raw ingredients so we always spend time sourcing the best we can find. We’re lucky enough to work with an incredible butcher named Phill, aka @GrumpyButcher and Jacobs Ladder (traditional farming and butchery), jacobsladderfarms.co.uk. So we know exactly where our meat comes from, always with 100% provenance and from organic and bio-dynamic farming. This is the meat we use for our supperclubs.
Ox cheeks were on the menu and the abattoir we used was really small, so we had to collect the ox cheeks a few at a time, over a number of weeks. Another dish was Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus, Galician style) we sourced the octopus from Galicia, Spain, renown for its incredible fish and seafood. Morcilla (black/blood pudding) was something we’d been sourcing for over a year, and were more than excited that we’d found the one we wanted and just in time to include it on the menu!
The night of the 16th came round very quickly and we were buzzing in the kitchen. The tables were laid and there was a great atmosphere around the whole venue. We were preparing the wines for tasting when chef Corinne Rowe aka @chefthymeplace thymeandplace.co.uk and Emma Wilcox aka @emwilco emwilco.wordpress.com popped their heads around the kitchen door to say hello, which was really nice as we’d only known them via twitter! Always nice to put a face to a name.
We kicked off the evening with an informal tasting of three wines, a superb, limited production Albariño, ‘Tabla de Sumar’, 2011 by Jose Antonio, a very small wine producer in Galicia. Followed by a Bobal, ‘Signo Bobal’, 2009, a stunning red by Finca Sandoval, a wine highly regarded by leading wine critic, Robert Parker. We finished up with a superb Rioja, ‘Señorio de Villarica Reserva 2007’ limited Edition by Bodega Villarica. It was a great start to the evening and arms soon went up for orders.
Whilst the wine tasting was taking place, we were feeling less chilled back in the kitchen, as the thermometer needed for our first dish, an aperitif of Slow-cooked egg had decided it wasn’t going to work any more. The one thing you need when cooking 51 slow-cooked eggs is a thermometer! So we immediately made the decision to change the order of the menu. We cracked on with the next dish, which was Boquerones (fresh anchovies) with piquillo red peppers and a fresh mint, parsley, and Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette dressing, this was sered in a brown paper bowl with a pinxto skewer.
This was follwed by Pulpo a la Gallega, Galician octopus served with potatoes, drizzled with a punchy extra-virgin olive oil and a finished with a sprinkling of sweet-smoked paprika. This dish we presented as three pinxtos.
Following the octopus dish was the Morcilla with pine nuts, served with a lemon, mint and onion dressing.
Next came the much anticipated slow-cooked egg with a light smoked cheese foam, now dish four instead of dish one. A mixture of experience and instinct (and a couple of test eggs later) ensured all 51 eggs turned out a lovely soft texture (phew).
The main dish of slow-cooked ox cheeks went down really well with everyone and was also one of the most popular dishes of the night.
The last dish to go out of the kitchen was the dessert of ‘Torrijas’ (traditionally an Easter dessert that dates back more than 2000 years) this was served with home-made ice-cream. I think its safe to say everyone really enjoyed the dessert, judging from the comments coming from the dining room! Back in the kitchen, we were also enjoying dessert - we made sure we had a portion each to celebrate the end of the evening and the fact we’d served no less than 300 dishes. What a great night it was.
What came next was a complete surprise to us. We were invited back into the dining room where one of the guests stood and said some lovely words on behalf of everyone, to express how much they had enjoyed the evening and how impressed they were, considering the limitations of the kitchen. We even got a round of applause!
We still talk about that day, the friendly people we met, the welcome and support we got from everyone in the village. On the back of that, we’d like to say a HUGE thank you to Helen for all her support, hard work and organisation, to Pat and Alan too. Also to our good friends in the kitchen, Ni and Gill who are just amazing and also to Alex, as without you all, the event would not have been.
We hope you’ll have us back again soon
Ana y Teresa