Friday, 26 August 2011

The September Supper Club 'The Rib'

Something like this. Note the dark colour and marbling.
    The September event was inspired by a conversation I (Frank) had with Duncan of Le Gourmet Butchers in Monmouth. I was buying fillet when I thought to ask him about hanging a bit of meat for a few days extra. Duncan was quite happy to do so but said that fillet was unsuitable as it had no bone and fat to protect it. Staring at me as he said this was a very sexy rib of beef. Could he hang that a bit longer? Certainly. But it would lose moisture (and therefore value) and attain a nutty, stiltonesque flavour. Perfect thought I, and we agreed that I'd buy the meat after its statutory fortnight and Duncan would hook it up a further two weeks. So that is the plan.

  I may experiment a little. Cowshill Farm, just up the road from Coleford where we live, raise the rare breed of Old Gloucester. There is also Slad Farm who do a tasty bovine, or Frith Dexters who do the miniature Irish variety. I simply adore beef and when such a beautiful (okay, maybe that's a little perverse but many share my aesthetic values) cut as fore rib is on the menu I want to do it some serious justice. Brining, a blast in the gas oven then a slow, slow cook in the Rayburn should ensure our heifer died not in vain.

  I'm also excited about the starter. The porky bits are coming from the champion artisan charcutier Graham Waddington of whom we cannot speak highly enough. Be sure to google 'Native Breeds, Lydney' or visit Taurus Arts and Crafts.

  For the vegetarians, should you not be put off by such orgiastic delight in flesh, I'm working on something modern and oriental that should be delicious. Watch this space. Everyone else just book yourselves in!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Why we like Simon Hopkinson

Okay okay we're not enamoured. We're not camping outside his old London restaurant looking to lick his spoons clean. But we like to read his books and follow his recipes. And he was on the telly and that was enough excuse.

  This month's menu looks very dull and pedestrian but is anything but. We have appetisers of classic prawn cocktail with real marie rose sauce. Plus the old hopper's signature dish of steak au poivre. We're working with Severn and Wye Smokery to bring you the finest and freshest anchovies to garland the Salad Niçoise. And the roast chicken is...blimey.

   I'm going to start talking in clichés hear so I'm apologising now...sorry. When was the last time you ate roast chicken that really tasted of chicken? And that was moist and tender even in breast. We've sourced what is, by the professional opinion of Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, the best chicken in the country. This is a slow-rearing bird raised in a big field where it can eat a variety of grasses, worms and herbs. The bird has a good old exercise in its long (in broiler terms) life and this is reflected in its amazing flavour. I, Frank, will be brining these beautiful birds to ensure they are exceptionally and exquisitely juicy. I can't wait. We are, of course going to be offering a vegetarian option; courtesy of SH's book of the same name.

  The dessert has been a bit of a debate. Heidi is of the opinion that very little accompaniment is required to a nice sticky toffee pud. I would personally like mine with a homemade apricot ice cream. We shall see.

  Speaking of seeing, we hope to be seeing lots of peeps at this month's adoration of the abluted and anointed poultry. Enjoy.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Why Sprats?

  I could quite easily make the case for sprats, or whitebait, on the grounds that it's THE fish to eat if you care about sustainability. They are one of the varieties of fish used to make salmon feed, and it takes three kilos of these unpopular minnows to produce one kilo of salmon. But I'm not going to do that. I want to serve sprats because they are very delicious. They don't take a lot of cooking and you can eat them whole, as the bones crunch down. They are a delicacy in parts of Andalucia and while I wouldn't advise a visit to Malaga, should you find yourself there you will find them to be wonderful. Alternatively, come to the Supper Club on 16th July and hopefully I'll convert you.

Monday, 4 July 2011


   Due to the demands of the busy summer social season we have decided to reschedule the British Isles-inspired Supper Club for Saturday the 16th July. We hope you can come. Just drop an e-mail to heidiandfranks at to let us know you're coming.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A lovely picture of Heidi and the table

The twin room conundrum

   The drawback of fitting 22 guests in a drawing room is that some make a squawking noise about not being able to move. Odd that.

  The argument this week has been what to do about it. The easy option is to limit numbers somewhat. Yet this would also limit the number of lucky people able to get a seat. My proposal, to have a kind of 'Chef's table' next to the kitchen where everyone eats without a table cloth and have to hang on to their plates, has not been met with rapture. 'People won't like being separated' is the point of contention.

  We don't know how true this is. Were people to treat it similar to a restaurant and booked a table for six, we'd be okay with that. But said half dozen peeps would not have the pleasure of meeting a banjo-playing tree surgeon or a former pimple-popper to Britt Ekland. The sixer would also hear first-hand perpetual bickering about canapé presentation and whatnot.

  The debate may well be resolved on the night itself. In my mind at least. Everyone else decided what to do long ago.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

I've finally gone and done it

  After wanting to do a supper club from first reading the ticket info for The Underground Restaurant, I'm finally going to do one.

  It is going to be called the 'Rodborough Supper Club' as it will be a supper club held in Rodborough, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. For those not familiar with the concept of the supper club, it is a supper served in someone's home where you pay for your meal. RSC will be held in the home of the bestselling romantic novelist Katie Fforde and her husband and anthologist Desmond Fforde. The food will be cooked by me, Frank Fforde, their middle child and by the hostess Heidi Cawley. I should explain further.

  Me and Heidi are quite obsessive about food. We have his and her Kitchenaids. We've got thirteen varieties of flour in the cupboard. We even eat all the veg in the veg box- including the beetroot and jerusalem artichokes! RSC is our chance to show off and to share the food and recipes we love. The criteria for inclusion on the menu is that we think it tastes delicious.