Six weeks ago I made a slightly crazy decision to host a supper club for Comic Relief. I mentioned it on Twitter and before I knew it 7 people had signed up and made a £25 donation. Only one more space to fill and I hadn’t even decided on a menu yet!
I had lots of ideas but in the end I went for an Italian theme, with at least one thing from each course in the middle of the table for people to share. The menu was:
Red Pepper & Goat’s Cheese Risotto
Daube of Pork Cheeks with Homemade Tagliatelle
The most daunting part, apart from cooking for eight strangers, was the tagliatelle. I had never made pasta before but I really wanted everything to be homemade and how hard could it be ?!?
As it turned out, I absolutely love making pasta. It’s so therapeutic and definitely something that I will be doing a lot more of. I will do a post on it soon so that you can see how simple it really is. However, please learn from my mistakes and don’t try for the first time an hour before your guests arrive and without understanding the recipe first!!
About a month before the big night I decided that it might be a good idea to do a practice run for friends and family, which turned out to be a brilliant idea. In addition to sending Mr E out for tagliatelle 10 minutes before people were due to arrive, there were many hiccups on the night; people were an hour late, the risotto over cooked, I didn’t give the tiramisu enough time to set, the coat hook fell off the wall with about 30 coats on it, the pizzette stuck to the peel. In short, it was a bit of a shambles and I WAS STRESSED. Most certainly not the serene and carefree host that I usually pride myself on.
In comparison, the real deal could not have gone better. I had a delightful day preparing all the food, having done some prep the night before. A friend from Dubai arrived at about 5pm to help with the serving and we had a great catch up and a few small glasses of wine as I made the pasta and we set the table. My guests were absolutely lovely and extremely generous with their compliments about the evening and the food. They spent the whole evening laughing and chatting with each other and were keen for us to join them after dessert. It was a total blast! The last guests didn’t leave until 1:45am and by then they felt like old friends.
My advice if you have ever thought about doing a supper club, especially one for charity, is to go for it. You never know, you might just pull it off.
I will do some more posts with the recipes but for now, here is my supper club experience in a few pictures …
Marinating the pork cheeks, fresh from Smithfield Market.
Tempering chocolate to make hollow eggs.
Nice and shiny!
Once the egg halves were firmly welded together (not an easy task I can promise you) I set to work making the tiramisu and filling the egg shells.
Then into the fridge for a good 8 hours chill time.
Next was the panna cotta. Taking the tops off raw eggs and removing the membrane is a rather fiddly task but the end result is definitely worth it.
Cooling off the mixture before pouring into the egg shells and then leaving to set in the fridge.
Time to make some vegetable stock.
Then prep the veg for the pork cheeks.
Next I made the red pepper stock.
I dried off the pork cheeks, seasoned with salt and pepper, then dusted with flour and browned in batches. Then into the oven with a bottle of wine and the veg for the next 3 hours.
At at about 4:30pm I started to make my pasta.
There is no need to dry it, I just tossed it in some semolina and cover with cling film until it was time.
Then I quickly whipped up the mango & lemon coulis for the yolks of my eggs.
The dough for my pizzette was the last bit of prep. If I have one regret from the night it is that I left this to prove for just a little too long.
We set the table at about 6:30, with an hour to go until everyone arrived and then nipped upstairs to make ourselves presentable.
Then time to get the risotto on the go.
A few pizzettes for people to share.
Red pepper and goat’s cheese risotto.
Daube of pork cheeks.
Italian eggstravanza part 1.
Italian eggstravaganza part 2.
Happy customers 🙂
I am absolutely delighted to have raised so much money for Comic Relief. As I type this, the total is £1016, I’m ecstatic to have reached my £1000 target. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, you are all amazing!