Dinner club – Matt’s English dinner with added mystery ingredients


It’s been a little while since the last dinner club, mainly due to being unable to decide on a theme and the complete inability to synchronise our calendars. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage if we expand to include a couple more people!

In any case, Matt decided to cook us a fantastic English dinner of Heston Blumental fish and chips with mushy peas and for afters – sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream ice cream. Mmmmm.However, we decided to jazz things up a little – I mean three times cooked chips and pinboning 5 huge cod fillets being not enough work for him, we decided that for our starters we would take him some random ingredients and he could make us something. A little Ready Steady Cook you might say, but without those blithering idiots who present it.

So what did we take him?

1 jar of grilled artichoke hearts in oil
1 small tin of water chestnuts
bag of hazelnuts,
tarragon
ciabatta loaf.

As you can see, it wasn’t too bad and there were definite potentials to be had from those ingredients.

So what did he do?

Stirfried water chestnuts with garlic & chilli & hazelnuts

Stirfried water chestnuts with garlic & chilli & hazelnuts

As a little bit of an amuse bouche – stirfried water chestnuts with garlic, chilli and mixed together with some roasted hazelnuts. This was a little unexpected for me but the hazelnuts and the water chestnuts went really really well together! I was dead impressed!

For a proper starter, he decided to mix the artichoke hearts with some sundried tomatoes and the tarragon and then topped on the toasted ciabatta (after rubbing with garlic)

Brushetta with artichokes, sun dried tomato and goats cheese

Brushetta with artichokes, sun dried tomato and goats cheese

They were delicious and I think I’d probably make them again. But then again, I am mildly obsessed with artichoke hearts.

For the rest of his meal, we had a proper English feast.

Heston Fish & chips & mushy peas

Heston Fish & chips & mushy peas

A Heston Blumental menu of chips cooked three times and some beautifully cooked battered cod. The batter was deliciously light and fluffy – but faintly ridiculous as it had a whole can in beer and about half a bottle of vodka! And then it was put into a soda siphon and gassed up. It was truly sublime – light and crispy and delicious!

Home made tartare sauce

Home made tartare sauce

And I don’t even like bloody peas but Matt’s minty, buttery mix of mashed peas and whole peas was just delicious! He even made some home made tartare sauce.

Sticky toffee pud and clotted cream icecream

Sticky toffee pud and clotted cream icecream

And do I need to devote any words to this ridiculous amount of sugar and fat all lovingly concocted into that great English tradition – a sticky toffee pudding. Which, I had never had before I came to England. It’s not a South African tradition. Delicious tho, I totally approve.