I’ve just logged in and found 3 half written posts on here… Good intentions and all that? Hey ho, in a way, its a good thing, as it means book life has been busy. Stirring Slowly is out out and there has been all sorts of PR surrounding it – demo’s, Q+A’s, podcasts etc. It’s quite strange once you’ve written a book, for me it was anyway. I put so much love and time, sweat and tears into writing, developing and testing it, that once it got released I felt a bit lost. What do I do now? I still want to talk about it, it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done! And more than anything I just want people to cook from it and to enjoy it (seeing peoples pics of what they’ve made must be one of the best feelings). I don’t want to start writing book 2 straight away, it would feel like I was cheating on SS, does that sound strange? Not just yet anyway…
So now it is out, the initial rush of PR has quietened down and I have time to get on with other things, such as blog posts, supper clubs and unpacking boxes (we moved into our house just over a year ago so…). My dear friend and ex-Jamie Oliver colleague Alex Hayes and I teamed up and organised our first ever supper club last Friday, under the name ‘Bib + Tucker’. The adrenalin has only just worn off, and I’m itching to start planning our next one. It was an insane amount of fun, like planning our weddings all over again. Sure, there are things I would do differently next time, but overall I think it was pretty darn successful.
The menu was:
– Harissa roasted carrots and beets, homemade labneh, crack nuts
– Slow cooked shoulder of pork, borlotti beans and fennel, with an orchard and tarragon slaw on the side
– Sweetcorn ice cream, sea salted caramel and sesame florentine
A lot of the recipes were Stirring Slowly inspired (the roasted carrots and beets, homemade labneh, orchard slaw, the pork had the same rub as the ham hock and beans – worked a treat), and we had delicious matching wines from Borough Wines with every course. The guys at Belazu supplied the delicious rose harissa that we used for the starter (it works perfectly – and is one of my favourite recipes from Stirring Slowly) and on arrival we had legendary Leon from The Gin Journey mix everyone a delicious bespoke Bib + Tucker cocktail, using Greenall’s classic gin, plum sake and copious amounts of lemon. We also used Greenalls gin to cure the salmon for the canapés – gin, juniper and beetroot cured salmon, on seeded rye bread with fresh dill flowers.
Alex’s husband Ed played a fantastic DJ set all night, and there were little bottles of homemade chilli oil for all the guests (with my novice calligraphy written place cards).
The talented Carla at Still Life Flowers created breath taking centre pieces for the tables, taking colour inspiration from our menu and using fruit and vegetables in there too. Truly stunning.
And we couldn’t have done any of it without our brilliant team, Clare, Holly and Christina in the kitchen, Mr Saw our ace KP, Mark and Pete our waiters extraordinaire, the gorgeous Tori who did everything, with boundless energy and the talented Ella Miller, who shot all these gorgeous pictures for us. Thank you for everything guys. x
Bring on Round 2…
SWEETCORN ICE CREAM
We served this with a spoonful of salted caramel (recipe from Stirring Slowly) and it worked perfectly. We also served a sesame florentine, which added a bit of texture, but any sort of brittle or roasted nuts would work well (or even smashed up sesame bars).
Serves 12 – 14
3 corn on the cob
125g golden granulated sugar
600ml double cream
200ml full fat milk
A good pinch of sea salt
6 large egg yolks
75g light soft brown sugar
Carefully cut the corn off of the cob and place it into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Cut the cob into 2 or 3 pieces, and add to the pan also, along with half of the granulated sugar. Pour in the cream and milk, add a good pinch of sea salt and place the pan on a medium heat. Gently bring the mixture to a simmer then remove from the hob. Cover the pan and leave it to one side for a couple of hours. After that pop it in to the fridge and leave the corn to infuse in the cream for as long as you can, up to a further 6 hours if you can. The longer you leave it the more intense the ice cream will be.
When the cream has infused remove the cobs from the pan. Scrape the sides of them with a tablespoon to release any cream that has been absorbed, then chuck the cobs away. Strain the cream mixture through a sieve into a clean pan and use a potato masher to mash the corn kernels lightly and release all the flavour. Discard the kernels and place the pan of infused cream on a low heat. Once it has reached a simmer remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the 6 egg yolks, remaining granulated sugar and the light soft brown sugar until pale and creamy. Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the warm infused cream into the eggs and whisk together quickly. Then, gently pour the egg mixture into the pan with the remaining cream, and whisk it all together thoroughly. Place the pan back on a low heat, and gently cook the sweetcorn custard, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (this should take around 10 minutes). When it is ready, take the pan off the heat and strain the custard through a fine sieve, into a clean bowl. Submerge the bowl into a larger bowl of ice cold water (or half fill your sink), just be careful not to fill it too much so that the water pours into the custard! Leave it there for an hour until the custard has cooled down, then transfer to the fridge until completely chilled.
Pour the sweetcorn custard into your ice cream machine (or however it is that you like to churn your ice cream), and churn until it is frozen, smooth and super creamy. Transfer to your chosen dish, cover and pop into the freezer until you’re ready to serve. Heaven.