Last night was our second supper club at North Star deli. It was lovely to see so many guests from our first event (always a good sign) as well as lots of new faces. Most people were quite intrigued by some of the ingredients we’d included in our ‘Celebration of British summer time’ menu.
We have already mentioned the criteria we follow when choosing dishes to serve on our menu – locally sourced primary ingredients in season, dishes that contain unusual ingredients that some guests may not have tried before or dishes that they wouldn’t necessarily make at home.
At the moment, we’re right in the middle of the British samphire season. This thin, knobbly green vegetable grows in coastal areas and has a crisp salty taste – perfect for fish dishes. We served it lightly steamed with fresh trout (farmed locally in Macclesfield) cured using salt, dill and grated beetroot. Our fishmonger also found us some interesting seaweed – Sea lettuce, dulce and nori – which is the kind that is used to make sheets for rolling sushi. To finish the dish we added pickled cucumber ribbons and a dressing made using Chardonnay vinegar and Dijon mustard.
After much discussion, we settled on rabbit pie for the main course, made with a proper suet pastry and some locally brewed cider. Guests were treated to a brief talk by Moss Cider maker Dan Hasler about the project before tucking in.
A few generations back, rabbit pie was a staple dish enjoyed regularly but it’s much less common nowadays. In fact, a lot of people balked at the thought for some reason and opted for our vegetarian main of three tomato tart with basil pesto. Professional crack shot Frosty butcher went out especially on the Monday night to shoot them at Dunham Massey.
For pudding, we decided to take advantage of the amount of fresh berries on offer at the moment and make three miniature desserts – a shortbread stack with maple cream and blueberries, a vanilla custard cream with mixed berry compote and a fruity almond frangipane.
We also took advantage of the abundance of edible flowers around. We garnished the dishes with various things grown in the chef’s garden or foraged locally – pea shoots, mint flowers, fiery rocket and baby beetroot leaves, but we think the star of the show was the nasturtium flowers.
Light and peppery in taste with incredibly vibrant orange petals, they’re perfect as a garnish or sprinkled on salads. We found ours courtesy of ‘Incredible Edibles’ who started in Rossendale and Todmorden but now also have a group of volunteers in Wilmslow who clear underused public spaces to plant fruit, vegetables and herbs for all.
*For further details regarding nutrition and the benefits of seaweed see *Claire Jones – Nutritional Therapy