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TREACLE BLOG

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Chris's 60th Birthday
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A few weeks ago we were asked to cater a very special 60th birthday garden party in London.

July is such a wonderful time of year for seasonal produce so we jumped at the chance to be involved in Chris's birthday, and asked him to choose some of his fave ingredients for inspiration (much like our Top Ten supper). He came back with an array of most of our favourites too - duck, lamb, crab, goats cheese, passion fruit, citrus, physalis, apricots, avocado, lavender, coriander and capers.

We kicked everything off with our delightful leafy canapés for guests on arrival, these have become quite an ALRIGHT TREACLE signature - blue cheese, pear and hazelnut in red chicory/pork belly and apple in green chicory/Mexican spiced mince, sour green, avocado and onion in ice gem.

Our starter was pre-plated and consisted of a brined tomato with crab and fennel mayonnaise, cold cucumber and avocado soup, and basil oil.

Chris wanted a less formal main course, allowing people to come and help themselves, so we created a few different sharing salads, including shredded lamb with radicchio, goats cheese, pistachio, mint, capers and pomegranate/duck breast with roasted squash, lime, mango, coriander, cashew and chilli/seasonal greens (courgette, broad beans and runner beans) with herb dressing.

Finally dessert was a choice of either lemon and lime posset with passion fruit curd, or apricot and lavender tart with with vanilla custard (or both!).

This event was a total joy to cook for, and the menu went down a treat -it is always a delight contributing to someone's special occasion.

If you like the sound of ALRIGHT TREACLE creating a bespoke menu and catering for you then please do get in touch - anna@alright-treacle.com.

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Best of British
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A few photographs from a lovely private dinner party that we catered for in London before Christmas. The theme was 'Best of British', as the hosts will be moving to Italy shortly, and we decided that it was only fitting to have a truly British send-off menu, and festive celebration.

 

Menu

Prawn cocktail - creme fraiche Mary Rose sauce, pickled cucumber, crayfish tails, avocado, crispy bacon, chive oil, ice gem, radicchio

Wellington - beef wellington, kale, hazelnuts, carrots, celeriac puree, potato dauphinoise, blackcurrant jus

Strawberries'n'cream - vanilla set cream, strawberry soup, meringue, blueberries, basil & lime jelly, rose petals, mint

 

If you're looking for a bespoke menu for a special event then look no further and get in touch - anna@alright-treacle.com, we love working with you to create something special.

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PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Janey's 60th Birthday

We're back(!) after a brief hiatus in New Zealand, and ready and raring to go from our new central Brighton apartment.

This weekend we tested the kitchen for Jane's 60th with a 4-course meal using her favourite ingredients, oh, and we may have bought her a kitten too...! 

We really wanted to make a pared down menu, so took inspiration from classic food combinations with a simplified yet modern twist. Delicious nibbles of crab toasts and crab beignets with homemade sweet chilli sauce began the meal. Our starter consisted of a fantastically green wild garlic mayonnaise, steamed white and green asparagus, with a hazelnut crumb and vinaigrette.

Our fish course was a combination of classic Scandinavian flavours and fish and chips, with a base of creme fraiche, pickled cucumber, pan-fried mackerel and curly fries, all seasoned with beetroot powder. The main course consisted of slow roasted pork belly, which we brined in fennel seeds and liquorice root, butternut squash puree, poached rhubarb, samphire, and dill oil.

Finally dessert of lemon posset, lemon and vanilla syllabub, white chocolate crumble and lavender meringue, garnished with lemon zest, edible silver leaf and elderflowers.

This was a delicious start to our new Brighton outpost, and we cannot wait to start hosting for the public again!

Freeze Frame: The Wizard of Oz

Last night marked our last ever Freeze Frame at Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith, serving up a 3-course meal to one of our favourite classics - The Wizard of Oz.

 

Menu

'There's No Place Like Home' - Corn chowder, fresh herbs, crispy bacon, corn bread

'The Scarecrow' - Straw smoked venison/smokey aubergine, boulangere potatoes, parsnip puree, kale, berry gravy

'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' - Strawberries, orange cake, lemon tuille, lime and coconut panna cotta, blueberries, raspberry sorbet, rose petals

 

It was a wonderful evening and I was chuffed to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. I would like to thank the Drill Hall team for being so supportive for the last year, Isabel, my fabulous sous chef, and everyone that has come to support Alright Treacle and Freeze Frame in the past, it has been a fantastic event to be a part of.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Take One Action! Good Things Await

This weekend we were invited to cook for Take One Action! at Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith.

The film in question was Good Things Await, a wonderful and inspiring documentary that focuses on a Danish farmer's biodynamic approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. Using ingredients mentioned within the film, as well as a variety of inventive cooking techniques, we chose lots of earthy and autumnal flavours to heighten the audiences senses whist watching the film.

We started the night with homemade seaweed breads and wild herb pesto, followed by smoked beetroot carpaccio (parsnip puree, fig, pickled shallots, goats cheese, hazelnuts and elderberry dressing).

Main course was a choice of either beef cheek or wild mushroom pithivier with celeriac and kale, and finally a dessert of walnut custard cake with poached pears and raspberry sorbet.

Next month is our last time cooking at OOTB Drill Hall for one of our favourite childhood films - The Wizard of Oz. 

Book now to experience the final Alright Treacle/Freeze Frame Film Club union - www.outoftheblue.org.uk/freeze-frame-film-club-presents-the-wizard-of-oz-1939

California Dreamin'

It was a hen-spectacular at Alright Treacle last weekend, with a lively bunch of lassies celebrating their pal's upcoming nuptials at our wee HQ.

Our theme from Yvonne (the maid of honour) was 'California', with an emphasis on light, bright and seafood, as Cali is Jacq's (the bride's) favourite destination.

To start we made a deconstructed California roll - brown crab emulsion, herby white crab, avocado puree, grapefruit segments, cucumber jelly and seaweed tuile biscuits.

The main course was our take on U.S. favourite fish tacos - pan fried cod, sweetcorn set custard, charred corn, pea and tomato salsa, scallop tacos and coriander cress.

Finally, a set lemon cream with blueberry centre, white chocolate cookie dough base, blackcurrants, homemade lemon curd and caramel. 

Thank you to the gals for choosing Alright Treacle to kick off a raucous and fun-filled night! If you're keen to have a bespoke evening of celebrations then get in touch at info@alright-treacle.com.

Top 10

We love hosting private suppers at Alright Treacle. It's always an absolute pleasure seeing our HQ turned in to a bustling event space, with a rip-roaring atmosphere and (of course) our signature bespoke menu, and last Saturday was no exception.

After attending our Anti-Valentines supper back in February, we were asked to host a birthday party for the gorgeous Georgie and her pals, as she was keen on the idea of having her own one-off supper club.

Rather than providing a theme, we asked Georgie to collate her favourite 10 ingredients (harder than its sounds, as her original list was 35!), then we would try and include everything in to the menu.

Georgie's list - shellfish, courgette flowers, pistachios, berries, artichoke, saffron, cardamom, avocado, goats cheese, truffle oil - we couldn't have picked better ourselves - challenge accepted!

Starter - Scallops, artichoke puree, crispy onion and pistachio crumble, truffle oil

Main - Saffron baked hake, goats cheese stuffed courgette flower, avocado and red pepper puree, roasted vine tomatoes, sautéed potatoes

Dessert - Orange and almond cake, cardamom custard, berries, pistachio brittle, edible flowers

The menu seemed to go down a treat and the event itself was a joy to host. Lovely people, an elegant space and clever cooking - we'll consider that an AT hat-trick!

If you like the sound of your own bespoke supper, then get in touch at info@alright-treacle.com.

International Supper

Last week we had the lovely ladies from Girl Gone International over for a private networking supper. Our theme was international, so we dished up some of our favourite flavours from across the globe - 

ITALY - foccacia and Alright Treacle's signature pesto

FRANCE - chicken liver parfait, pickled mushrooms, baked apricot, charred shallot & bacon

VIETNAM - tofu, caramel broth, potato, tenderstem, cashews, quails eggs & herbs

USA - baked cheesecake, blueberries & apple sorbet

A big thank you to the lovely ladies at Girl Gone for choosing to host the event at Alright Treacle. If you're looking for an alternative venue for your private event, then get in touch at info@alright-treacle.com.

The Signature Supper
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This weekend it was all about The Signature Supper - a collaborative pop up at St. Stephen's Church, with The Fireside Collective, Sarah Jane Cooking and The Smoked Duck.

Since arriving in Edinburgh and meeting some of the wonderful women behind Edinburgh's alternative dining scene we have wanted to collaborate on a 3-way menu. Finally (after finding a date that meant we were all in the city at the same time!), this collaboration became a reality, with Louise (Fireside) taking the helm with logistics and design, Alright Treacle creating canapés and starters, a main course made by Sarah Jane, and Felicia (The Smoked Duck) working her magic with pastry for dessert and petit fours.

The scene was set with dusky pint hydrangeas, scented hyacinths and candlelit round tables in the lower ground floor of St. Stephen's church...

As per the theme of 'signature', we chose dishes that we were confident showed off our individual styles, so, of course, our canapés were leafy and fresh. Starting with our signature chipotle beef cups (with sour cream, coriander, avocado and fresh chilli), chicory cups (with whipped blue cheese, caramelised pear and hazelnuts), and cumin toasted pittas (with beetroot and horseradish houmous, roasted tomato and a basil leaf).

We chose to serve a starter tested at IN YA FACE! last month - lemon zest dill and white crab meat with mackerel ceviche, cucumber jelly, avocado ice cream, borage flowers lovingly donated by the Secret Herb Garden, and a brown crab tuile biscuit.

SJ opted for a sharing main course of tender crusted lamb, asparagus salad, Jersey royals, and a mint and elderflower sauce. Whilst Felicia made delicious cardamom custard tarts, served with a celebration of berries, including strawberry sorbet and sugared raspberries, all finished off with lemon curd meringue kisses and coffee.

It was a great opportunity for all of us to collaborate with fellow food lovers and makers on a project, so thank you for all of your support, a big thank you to Isabel McCabe for assisting with service and taking these wonderful photographs, and of course our fantastic waiter.

We are hosting a supper back at our Toll Cross HQ next weekend (13th June), celebrating our favourite bloom - the elderflower. Book here!

Freeze Frame: Whisky Galore!

This weekend marked the last Freeze Frame Film Club of the season, and after the success of last year, we were asked to come back and cater for their March movie - Whisky Galore!.

We started with a fresh plate of set pea cream, broad bean bruschetta (with either feta or pancetta), mint leaves, lemon zest and pea shoots.

The main course took inspiration from the film and went down the Scottish route, with haggis (of course) in a wellington, with celeriac tatties, crispy kale, spring onions and flaked almonds, or a wild mushroom and neeps cottage pie.

Finally, our fave dessert to serve at Freeze Frame so far - lemon polenta cake, whisky sour jelly, raspberry ripple cream and toasted oats, using flavours from our Robbie Burns supper in January.

Lots of laugher, and a great crowd in attendance - hopefully see you all for the next season!

Forage. Nourish. Share.

It was a super busy week for us here at Alright Treacle. As well as assisting on the launch of fabulous new wine bar and restaurant Anfora, we collaborated with fellow alternative dining hostess Louise, from The Fireside Collective, at Earthy Ratcliffe Terrace. This was our first collaborative project together, and well, it went marvellously!

Using the Earthy ethos of 'Forage.Nourish.Share.' as our theme, we started with 'Forage', and made a hake ceviche, which included sea greens, blood orange, bergamot, fennel and herbs. Our nourishing main course was lamb, garlic, rosemary and mint sausages from Peelham Farm, celeriac puree, braised lentils (with new season wild garlic from Phantassie), smokey bacon and caramelised shallot. Finally, a sharing dessert of chewy hazelnut pavlova, with vanilla cream, rhubarb and candied hazelnuts. 

As well as food from us, we had 3 stunning bespoke chocolates made by Thinking Chocolate, which included a honey & pomegranate caramel cup, orange & bergamot hand cut square, and a violet & rose truffle - delicious!!!

A huge thank-you to Caitlin and the Earthy team for letting us crash, and all the great people that helped on the night. 

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Raymy's Birthday!

This weekend we hosted a belter-birthday for my pal Niki's dad, Raymy, for his 50th birthday.

Niki asked me to host Raymy's birthday at Alright Treacle back in October, and gave me a few themes to work with - spicy food, New Orleans, and his favourite band - The Clash, and we decided to use all three theme's in our courses.

To get the party started, everyone was handed a glass of bubbles from The Bon Vivant's Companion, and our signature home made bread, flavoured with chilli, honey and caraway seeds, with whipped butter and parsley pesto.

Using the first theme of spice, we made a starter of West African peanut soup with creme fraiche, smoked chilli sauce, crushed peanuts and coriander, which went down a storm, particularly with the party planner.

Secondly, we made a dish of deconstructed gumbo (New Orleans, get it?), consisting of sweet potato puree, roasted green peppers and tomatoes, cajan spiced monkfish, crayfish tails and okra tempura. 

Finally, a dessert that took inspiration from The Clash, a punk revival pudding of rebel lemon meringue - white chocolate, lemon zest and hazelnut crumb with popping candy, lemon panna cotta cream, Italian meringue top, and plenty of raspberry and blackberry sauce.

It was a fantastic start to our 2015 suppers, we loved the group and really enjoyed reuniting for what hopes to be a great year for Alright Treacle.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Swimming Nature

Our last Christmas supper for 2014 came in the form of a works event for Swimming Nature - a swimming teaching company, based in Edinburgh and London.

We chose to keep it festive, starting with 'The Star of Bethlehem' - a mushroom duxelle puff with brie, fresh oyster mushrooms, blackberry chutney, radishes and pea shoots. A main course of ribeye beef with potato fondant, shredded Brussels sprouts, charred red pepper, haggis bon bons and dark chocolate sauce. Finally, a rich treat dessert of stemmed ginger cheesecake, mince pie ice cream and caramelised pear.

Great guests and good cheer before a much deserved holiday break. HO HO HOLIDAY!

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Freeze Frame: It's A Wonderful Life

This weekend, we worked on serving a hearty meal at December's Freeze Frame event at Out of the Blue, Leith - with Christmas fast approaching and merriment in the air, we chose to show It's A Wonderful Life, and serve some warming dishes, in a very, very cold Drill Hall!

We started with a spicy ginger, honey and parsnip soup, with parsnip crisps, sour cream and truffle oil, a main course of slow roast pork, caraway veggies, roasties and apple sauce, or blue cheese nut roast with winter slaw, and of course a killer salted caramel sticky toffee to finish.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Birthday!

Last night we had a fabulous group of birthday babes, celebrating in style at our lovely wee HQ.

After a delayed start (due to pesky train troubles), we finally managed to get the party started for Annabel and her pals, with balloons, party poppers, and a glass of mulled wine bubbles.

To start, we served pan fried mackerel with cucumber jelly, horseradish cream, giant couscous and samphire - a grown up twist on jelly and (ice) cream.

The main was one of our absolute favourites to cook - duck breast from George Bower, with home-made crispy duck raviolo, roasted plum, sweet potato fondant and cherry gravy.

Finally, one of our favourite cakes - lemon polenta with salted caramel mousse and a hot berry sauce, with a candle for the birthday girls of course!

We love a celebration, and it was a super fun night to host, so if you're looking for an alternative venue for your birthday, then look no further than Alright Treacle - info@alright-treacle.com.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Frozen

This week we were commissioned to create a supper around the theme of 'frozen', inspired by the fast approaching Christmas period.

To start we served our guests a frozen grapefruit and sea bass ceviche, with fennel, chicory, pomegranate, chilli, shallot, mint, dill, a light honey dressing, and of course lots of citrus from lemon and lime juice.

Our main course was far richer, with slow roasted beef cheeks, parsnip mash, candied beets, broad beans, watercress, hazelnuts and horseradish ice cream. 

Finally our fun little dessert consisted of brown bread semifreddo, vanilla meringues, raspberry jellies, praline, and a hot salted caramel sauce served at the table - a super sweet finish.

If you like the idea of coming up with an exciting theme for us to devise a menu around, then get in touch, and we would be happy to cater for you and your pals - info@alright-treacle.com.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Freeze Frame: Some Like It Hot

Last night was our second dalliance with Freeze Frame Film Club, and it was absolutely fabulous (apologies for the limited snaps, but it was a rather busy service!).

The film in question was Some Like It Hot - one of our favourites, and the menu was based (very) loosely on different elements of the movie...

Starter - 'Some Like It Hot' - Spiced butternut, braised lentils & feta salad. This was a super fresh winter salad, with elements of spicy cumin and chilli heat, sweet peas and pomegranate seeds.

Main 1 - 'Mutton Dressed As Lamb' - Mutton stew, dauphinoise potatoes & caraway carrots. Our first attempt at cooking mutton, which made a very rich stew that we flavoured with fresh mint and a splash of balsamic vinegar. 

Main 2 - 'Friends Of Italian Opera' - Aubergine parmigiana, rocket salad & garlic bread. One of our favourite Italian dishes and a fantastic option if you're cooking for large groups.

Dessert - 'Sunshine State' - Set coconut cream, florentine biscuits, caramalised oranges & pineapple. A great little dessert that can be set in advance, which was a fresh light and zesty finish to the meal.

If you haven't been yet then get yourself down to Out of the Blue, Drill Hall for another Freeze Frame event, and keep your eyes peeled for even more movie opportunities in the New Year.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Honey & Lemon

A few weeks ago we were commissioned by the lovely Felicia at The Smoked Duck (www.thesmokedduck.com), to devise a menu and host for a works event, and last night was the big reveal.

We had a few ingredients to steer clear of – rabbit (probably a good thing), fruit in savoury dishes (manageable), and beetroot (noooo!). We also had a pescatarian in attendance, so decided to make the entire meal fish-friendly, using some fantastic seasonal produce.

Our guests for the evening were all women, so we wanted to create (relatively) healthy, fresh and light tasting dishes, and found when devising each course, there was a natural running theme – lemon and honey. 

As always, fresh bread was provided with a selection of dips. This week a ciabatta style cob with black sesame, honey and roasted garlic, served with anchovy tapenade and yoghurt, dill and roasted tomato, and our signature whipped butter.

To start, we used some beautiful seasonal crab and turned it in to fritters using ricotta, lemon zest, chilli, caraway seeds and a variety of herbs. This was plated with a pea puree, courgette ribbons, pomegranate and broad bean salsa, fennel, mint, fresh chilli and a drizzle of honey.

Our main was much richer, using monkfish because of it meaty quality, which we cooked in butter, lemon and wild mushrooms, accompanied with pumpkin, butternut and honey mash, roasted Jerusalem artichoke, spring onion, mushroom and white wine sauce, and a scattering of nasturtium leaves. 

For dessert we served a vanilla and white chocolate dome with lemon mousse centre, lemon polenta cake base, lavender meringue, honeycomb and edible flowers.

It was our first attempt at being more restaurant than supper club, and we loved the formality of it. Fingers crossed more opportunities like this arise, and many thanks to the ladies that came to last night’s Honey & Lemon supper.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Freeze Frame: His Girl Friday

Last night we cooked at Freeze Frame's amazing event at Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Leith.

The screening, if you missed our last post, was His Girl Friday a 1940's screwball comedy featuring Cary Grand (Walter) and Rosalind Russell (Hildy).

Our day started early; marinading beef, roasting beetroot and chopping, chopping, chopping, in preparation for the night ahead.

We based the menu on Walter and Hildy's on/off relationship with hot and cold dishes, starting with chilled avocado soup and hot pepper toasts - a great dish to serve for large groups.

The base of the soup was leek, garlic, onion and freshly peeled tomato, which was chilled. Then at the last minute, for extra freshness, it was blended with avocado, mint, coriander and lime juice, and garnished with fresh herbs, cucumber, red onion and an ice cube. The toasts were topped with a roasted red pepper, garlic and chilli relish. 

Our main course was inspired not only by hot and cold, but also the beef and mustard sandwich Walter and Hildy eat at the restaurant in the film, but instead of mustard we used horseradish, which came in the form of ice cream.

The plates were prepped and ready for the mains, when disaster struck, the oven temperature gauge meant the cheeks were very far from braised, nightmare! So instead we served them in fine slices, with candied beetroot, nasturtium leaves, toasted hazelnuts and said horseradish ice-cream.

Unfortunately, because of the beef cheek debacle we didn't have much time to perfect our dessert of frozen berries with hot white chocolate and limoncello sauce, which eventually turned in to a warm berry soup! Luckily the taste was good and it was followed by a crowd pleasing peanut butter cookie. Huge sigh of relief!

We had such a fabulous time working with the team at Out of the Blue (and leaving the relative confines of our humble kitchen at AT HQ!). It's the most we have ever cooked for, and the best turn out for Freeze Frame so far, brilliant stuff!

Overall it was a fantastic opportunity for our fledgling company, and we're really looking forward to going back and putting all the positive (and negative) experiences in to action, to make our next collaboration with Freeze Frame even better.

PrivateAnna HamiltonComment
Zero to Hero

This week we decided to spread the Alright Treacle love to press, PR and the food fanatics of Edinburgh.

The theme was based on using unloved and unusual ingredients to create exciting and comforting dishes for our well-versed guests - we even managed to serve a few ingredients for the first time ever, which was fab!

The evening started with homemade caramelised onion and fennel seed bread with fresh pesto, and a glass of fizz courtesy of The Bon Vivant's Companion (with a dash of Sacred Rosehip Liqueur from Provenance Wine - delicious!).

The starter of ox heart tartare with butternut squash, radish, coconut, coriander, chilli and lime dressing was perhaps the most controversial. I'm not the biggest fan of offal myself, but after trying ox heart at the wonderful Artusi in London, I became (a bit of) a convert and wanted to put a different spin on it. The spiced butternut puree complimented the iron-rich and slightly Asian flavours of the heart, with crisp radish and toasted coconut adding texture.

The main course was slow roasted lamb belly with aubergine, barley, Provençal vegetables, shredded Brussels sprout, apricot gravy and mint. Pork belly is all well and good, but I think the deeper flavour of lamb is infinitely nicer, and far less fatty when cooked properly. The meat’s veggie accompaniments were fresh and filling, even the dreaded sprouts which we couldn't resist using it - luckily all the plates came back clean! 

Finally, dessert was lemon semolina panna cotta, fennel tart, marzipan, flaked almonds and physalis. After much deliberating, I decided to use semolina, an ingredient that is feared by many as a thing straight out of childhood nightmares. However, it was brought up to date in a light panna cotta, with a slice of caramelised tart, fresh almonds and zesty physalis. 

All in all, a rewarding evenings work, and we loved every minute!

Many thanks to Timeout, Visit Scotland, The List, My Monkfish and the foodies at Freeze Frame Film Club for attending - we hope to see you all again soon!

Photographs courtesy of Isabel McCabe - www.isabelmccabe.co.uk