Gourmet Lovers Brunch Club. More about these below...
With sun peeking into our dining room we welcomed a heady mix of long time fans / stalkers, out of town guests, old flatmates, parents of guests and two hilariously spontaneous party boys.
We were also joined in the kitchen by an old foodie friend, absolute legend and all round uptown girl who made the longest trek of all from the stylish surrounds of Chelsea to deepest darkest Hackney to help out. To be on site in time for kitchen prep involved a very early Saturday start for the lovely lady and an effort that will not be forgotten. Our friendship was forged in the heat of battle as waiters in a restaurant many many moons ago. So needless to say it was a real blast in the kitchen!
Out in the front of house Bex was shaking her money maker, meeting greeting and seating and generally looking resplendent in a new 1950's Sandra Dee style dress and hair in victory rolls. She was on hand to ensuring the guests were adequately lubricated with spicy bloody marys, tea and coffee and the kitchen was kept in line and on time when they strayed from the timetable. Bex also styled this week's new additions to the amuse bouche menu and accompanying drinks which didn't disappoint:
Home made banana loaf with coconut mango lassi: Warm, creamy and most importantly moist. The dairy free coconut mango lassi (made with coconut milk) went well with the warm banana tones.
Honey and saffron infused yoghurt with pomegranate, pistachio and rose petals paired with sweet rosewater: This one was simply awe inspiring and tasted better than we could ever have hoped. The honey and saffron infused with the yoghurt beautifully overnight and gave it fantastic taste and colour. The pomegranate and pistachio gave it sprightly crunchy texture and bursts of juicy freshness. The rose garnish sprinkled on top looked stunning and was the inspiration for the rosewater accompaniment which was added to some sugar syrup to enhance the fragrance and lifted the whole taste profile to another level. These were so popular we busted out another round of them for the lucky stragglers who stayed for a few drinks in the garden.
For the mains we stuck with our popular menu which comprised of our old favorites:
Corn fritters with crispy bacon, oven dried tomatoes, spinach and spicy avocado salsa
Vanilla & cinnamon french toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup
Heuvos rancheros; ranch style duck egg with spicy brindisa chorizo, tomato and bean mix and avocado salsa on a lightly toasted tortilla
Organic muesli with natural yoghurt and vanilla fruit compote
( Still no muesli munchers yet... other mains too tempting perhaps?)
However behind the scenes I can report that these little tigers were a handful to bake. We didnt get a chance to practice these during the week so come Friday night it was all or nothing. Bex is fast becoming a certified cupcake ninja and deftly customised a few internet recipes. Several questions loomed large: Do we bake with lemon curd inside or smeared on top after baking? (inside) Do we leave meringue to set firm or do we grill to a light brown crust? (grill) Do we grill now or do this just before serving? (now!)
What caught us particularly unawares was how finicky meringue can be. Despite each of us having eaten many a crunchy pavlova base growing up neither of us was particularly fond or familiar with the intricacies of this gooey white stuff. Turns out there are multiple ways you can stuff it up and we pretty much did them all. Happily there are also ways you can rescue runny meringue so we carried on and got them out in good time for the hungry masses the next day.
Bex felt our cupcake presentation wasn't quite up to the patisserie standard we strive for this time around but I think with a few more practice runs we could really nail this interesting treat.
And with that our second brunch came to an end. Many of us spilled out to the garden for our traditional knees up but were cut short by the inclement british weather. Some brave souls took this as a perfect sign to go and check out the London Fields festival which was on that afternoon. Bex and I took this as a sign to take it easy and put our feet up. We were certifiably knackered this time around!
We have some exciting new ideas for our September brunch club and have lined up some exciting collaborations with fellow foodies in the coming months. So please spread the word and sign up to our Facebook group to get the latest details. We also have been asked to cater for a beauty parlour event and are looking at a supper club event in a new venue very soon. So stay tuned gastronauts!
It goes without saying a big big thankyou to all our gourmet lovers who graced us with their sparkling company and hefty appetites. We could not have done it without you.
Nick & Bex