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Posts Tagged ‘Pony & Trap’

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to read that food played a big role in our wedding. The wedding breakfast was particularly important but the munching didn’t stop there.

The beauty of Folly Farm was that the venue was ours for the whole weekend. It meant we could arrive on the Friday to decorate and set the rooms up as we wanted then share dinner with close family and friends that evening around the big table in the Old Dairy.

That dinner consisted of Brazilian pork and black bean stew and a black bean chilli which, just weeks before the wedding, I’d spent a weekend making and then froze (thanks to Heidi for the loan of space in her chest freezer!) ready for my mum to re-heat once we’d finished decking out the rooms.

My mum also kindly made a selection of family-favourite desserts; chocolate mousse, pavlova and apple crumble. The chocolate mousse was clearly a big hit with my four year old goddaughter who had four helpings!

Banished from the kitchen on my wedding day, my presence made itself known at breakfast in the form of American pancakes, a weekend brunch favourite. The same weekend I was busy making stew and chilli, I also made a huge pile of pancakes for everyone. Served with maple syrup and raspberries, it was a great way to set us up for the day. I particularly enjoyed mine sat in bed with a cup of tea, chatting with friends!

We would have hated for anyone to go home hungry and/or not having had enough to drink so sausage sandwiches and cheese were in order late in the evening.

Ian at the Cheese Shed helped us construct our own ‘cheese cake’ of wonderful South West cheeses, decorated by our friend, Mel, who also did an amazing job with my bouquet.

From top to bottom:

Gevrik (goat’s cheese)

Eve (goat’s cheese)

Black-Eyed Susan (organic, Jersey cow’s milk cheese)

Miss Muffet (semi-soft, cow’s milk cheese)

Wild Garlic Yarg (cow’s milk cheese wrapped in wild garlic leaves)

Beenleigh Blue (blue ewe’s milk cheese)

Six Spires (unpasteurised cow’s milk cheese)

The sausages were lovingly cooked by our WOMAD friends, Gordon & Alex, as a wedding present! Bread rolls came from the independent artisan bakery, Mark’s Bread, on North Street and the sausages from our usual supplier, the brilliant Bristol Sausage Shop, in Bristol’s St Nick’s market.

Having road tested our shortlist of flavours with our fellow WOMAD-goers this summer, we decided on the three favourites: the Lucifer (a pork sausage with a chilli hit), black magic (pork and black pudding) and pork, red onion and ginger. There were also lovely veggie sausages from the Naked Kitchen.

The food didn’t stop there! We couldn’t ask people to help clear up on an empty stomach so laid on bacon sandwiches on the Sunday morning. Our friends know us so well – Emma, Ed and Hattie bought us amazing Chatsworth House cured bacon as our wedding present and made their own ketchup and brown sauce to go with it. A special thanks to my mum and dad, Phil and others who helped make sure everyone was fed and watered before getting on their way.

They also put together ‘party bags’ of leftover cake, cheese and biscuits, sausages and bread for people to take with them. I hate food going to waste so it gave me great pleasure to know that there were plenty of picnics had on the way home and friends’ children had the best packed lunches the following week!

The clearing up done, everyone on their way home and the hangovers setting in, we headed to the Michelin starred Pony & Trap for Sunday lunch. Melt in the mouth Gloucester Old Spot pork loin and tender rare-breed roast sirloin of beef with all the trimmings were a fitting end to an incredible and unforgettable wedding weekend.

After such an indulgent weekend, I have high hopes for married life – may we be lucky enough to continue to share and enjoy many years of love and fine food together.

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Which chefs? Nathan Muir of The New Inn, Backwell. Josh Eggleton of the Pony & Trap, Chew Magna. Toby Gritten of the Pump House, Hotwells. Jonray and Peter Sanchez of Casamia, Westbury-on-Trym. 

When and where? 26 January: The New Inn, 9 February: The Pony & Trap, 23 February: The Pump House, 9 March: Casamia. 

The premise? The chefs joined forces to host an exclusive four-course dining experience at each of their restaurants. Four venues, four menus, one course per chef at each event. 

9 March: Casamia 

Tables for the four evenings were fully booked shortly after the events were advertised so we were very lucky to have bagged a table at Casamia last night. 

After taking our time walking up the courtyard to have a good nose into the kitchen, we were greeted at the door with beaming smiles. Our coats were whisked away, we were shown to our table and, in the style of Michel Roux’s Service, given the magic touch as we took our seats. We’d been given an early bird slot of 7.15 and arrived to find an almost desolate restaurant but it soon started to fill up and the atmosphere enlivened. 

The maître d’ presented us with a black envelope containing the menu. We were thoughtfully asked to review it and let him know if we had any food allergies or if there was a course we preferred not to eat. Alternative dishes were available. 

Nervous excitement was beginning to build as we really didn’t know what to expect from any of the dishes. Casamia’s menu style is to provide some reference to the ingredients in each course without giving anything away in terms of cooking technique, presentation or how the whole dish might unfold.

The order of proceedings was going to be the Pump House on starter, The New Inn on fish, Casamia on mains and the Pony & Trap on dessert.

We were brought our aperitifs, together with some unexpected antipasti. The antipasti were deliciously moreish: fruity Sicilian green olives, salt and pepper toasted macadamia, roasted almonds, a bundle of home-made star anise grissini and a truffle drip. 

The antipasti were cleared away and replaced with a tiny spoon and an odd-shaped wooden ‘bowl’, followed shortly afterwards by a second surprise: an egg box (!) containing two beautiful duck egg shells. The eggs were filled with warm, silky scrambled egg, cured pork and topped with thyme foam. Exquisite. 

Some freshly baked bread arrived next with home-made butter. There was a choice of soft poppy seed roll with crisp crust or an incredible olive oil and rosemary focaccia.

This was an evening with the chefs of four restaurants but so far our hosts had done well to stamp their Michelin starred mark on the event not only with the food but also the attentive service. 

Our Pump House starter was ‘cured mackerel wrapped in Serrano ham, rhubarb and watercress’. The mackerel was firm and strong tasting and the ham very salty but eaten with the watercress puree, poached pink rhubarb and delicate strands of candied orange zest, the dish really worked. Rhubarb and mackerel is a classic combination you rarely come across, mackerel, beetroot and horseradish being so much more common, so it was great to try something more unusual. 

The New Inn was in charge of the fish course, described on the menu as ‘turmeric cured sea bass, frittata of Cornish crab with sorrel’. Wow! I was torn between wanting to eat fast because it was just incredible and eating slowly to savour every morsel. The cured sea bass, similar in texture to gravadlax, was delicately flavoured with turmeric. No, I’ve never come across that before either! White crab meat was rolled in a very thin sorrel omelette and dotted around the plate were green shoots, spots of turmeric aioli, crunchy slivers of apple and cubes of pickled turnip. A stunning and inspired plate of food I could have eaten over and over. 

The home team were up next with ‘beef cheek, baked potatoes, pickled onion, horseradish, puffed corn’. The beef cheek had been slowly braised and was similar in texture and flavour to corned beef/brisket whilst the pickled onions were like fairy bowls; individual layers of halved silverskin onions containing a drop of pickling liquor. From what I’d seen on Ramsay’s Best Restaurant and read in reviews, I expected there to be one element of the dish which would be playful. I wasn’t disappointed, this came in the form of the mushroom flavoured popcorn (if only all popcorn tasted that good!) which we were instructed to sprinkle over the food like salt and pepper. 

To round off the meal, the Pony & Trap served a humorous dessert reminiscent of breakfast, though I think my doctor would be horrified if I was eating this for breakfast every morning! ‘Cornflakes pannacotta, cereal bar and banana’. This was a dish of three parts: a golden layer of cornflake puree topped with milky pannacotta, caramelised banana served with banana parfait and a super-sweet nutty cereal bar. Dessert really demonstrated the creativity of the chef. 

The menu was very well conceived considering the quite different styles and influences of the chefs. The talent of each shone through but together they did incredibly well to make the meal cohesive. An amazing showcase of what these fantastic Bristol chefs have to offer. 

Feeling satiated but not over full, we left planning when we could visit each of the restaurants to sample their own menus. First up, The New Inn next weekend!

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