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  • Writer's pictureIan at Bear n Mind Catering

Christmas Supper Club


Communal table set and ready for the Christmas Supper Club. Cutlery white plates and greenery

It’s that time of year already! Our Christmas Supper Club sees us once again partnering with the wonderful Green Farm Kent to bring you an evening of excellent seasonal and locally sourced food and a relaxed and joyous dining experience.

We will open the night around the chiminea with canapés and a glass of local sparkling wine. A celebration of all things local with some live music, and of course – those of you who have been to a few of my events will know – I’ll give a short talk to introduce the menu. 

And in keeping with nature, I have decided to make use of this season's glut for the menu. I’ll be using a touch of my classical training for this festive feast and have all sorts of wonderful ideas to tantalise your taste buds. I often can't resist the urge to lighten up my dishes with citrus, so don’t be surprised if you get a burst of lemon or lime along the way. 

Once the canapés have been devoured, we welcome guests to a communal table for a second course and a chance to chat with others and take in the festive atmosphere. And what is the second course? Well, it’s a dish that takes me right back to my roots.

Beef Bourguignon…. It may sound like a fairly standard dish…. But no… not my Beef Bourguignon! You can safely expect deliciously deep, rich flavour.

We’ll finish dinner with a Chocolate Pave served with gingerbread ice cream to make you feel like Christmas has come early. My mouth is watering right now as I think if what’s in store for those of you who book in to join us. (You can get your tickets here if that’s you!)

But where did all this menu planning get started!?

Well, during the summer sun, I was relaxing in the Green Farm garden with Shelly (the Garden Manager and green-fingered magician) and poor Shelly! There she was, in full summer mode, dreaming about courgettes, basil and sweetcorn, and there’s me talking about cold nights, frosts and dreaming about parsnips, cabbages and turnips. 

It’s safe to say I get excited about food and as soon as I know there’s a special event on the horizon, my mind goes into overdrive, thinking about the next delicious combination of flavours.

One of the many joys of working directly with a farm is that there is an abundance of fresh, nourishing produce quite literally on your doorstep. But whilst I know what’s in season and the foods we are expecting, you can never be entirely sure if the British weather will play nice. There are often a few curveballs thrown in when you advance plan a menu. And it’s not just produce from the land that can be unpredictable!

For October’s Harvest Farm Feast Supper Club I had planned a Haddock dish, but low and behold, a storm rolled in over Dungeness and the boats couldn’t go out. Instead, I sourced some delicious local scallops from Folkestone and another flavour creation was born.



To avoid total menu disaster though, I always plan menu pillars – which are essentially my visions for the menu – that include the main menu items and a core ingredient or concept, so I have a clear idea of what will be seasonally available, and then I take it from there. 

But getting back to the October Harvest Farm Feast, I made a little oxtail and piperade tart – and yes, the grass-fed beef was of course from Green Farm! – and to be honest it’s the nicest oxtail I have ever tasted. Applause to the Green Farm farming methods! The beef was naturally creamy and zesty from the pasture the cows graze on. It was there and then that I decided I would use the shin of this delicious grass-fed beef to make a festive Beef Bourguignon for the Christmas Super Club.  

But back to menu pillars, once I have them in place, it’s then a bit like joining the dots, but with produce. Beef Bourguignon classically goes with mushrooms, so I have incorporated mushrooms into a ravioli with the bourguignon. And how can I make a heavy braised dish come alive? Ok let’s put it with a Salsa Verde (which brings such vibrant flavour!) and that’s how I start to bring the dishes alive. I won’t spoil all the fun though, there are a few more surprise elements to the main dishes, but you will just have to wait and see...

Oh hang on, I nearly forgot to tell you about the Chocolate Pave dessert!

Who doesn’t like a light but dark chocolate mousse? Or if you are feeling fancy, you pop it into a mould, glaze it and call it a Pave! But actually, it’s so much more than a mousse. So light, yet rich at the same time. I will serve the Pave with an ice cream I used to have on the menu in one of my old kitchens - a gingerbread ice cream (I used to serve it with a quince, apple and spiced caramel crumble). It really is nostalgia at its best, gingerbread and ice cream with chocolate. What's not to love?

On the lead up to the Christmas Supper Club, I will be prepping the food and transporting it all to Green Farm, ready for this special evening. I’ll be joined by a chef in training called Paul, who I am mentoring. He’s currently working on his apprenticeship at The Pig on the South Downs, but he’s found some time to support me, cooking and serving, and will gain some valuable work experience along the way.

We all really look forward to seeing you at the Christmas Supper Club at 7:00pm on Saturday 2nd December. Come and say hello to us on the night! Take photos and tag us, let us know what you’re enjoying and bring on the festive cheer!

I’ve included the booking link again HERE so that you can nab yourself the remaining spaces!

I hope to see you there and look forward to talking food with you all.

Ian.

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