The ‘on trend’ drink of the moment. I really started to understand gin and the process behind distilling from talking with Will at Greensand Ridge Distillery
in Kent. I learnt the difference in distilling methods and the difference between the mass-produced gins to the smaller distilleries. I loved the story behind his process utilising ingredients from the hills that surround the Weald to flavour the gin.
Will’s gin is amazing and I regularly used it for my gin cured salmon while cooking my Supper Clubs in Tonbridge. The salmon really takes on the flavour of the gin so it is an important ingredient in the dish.
I have been on the lookout for a local gin distillery since moving to Cambridge and through the wonders of Instagram I saw something about Cambridge Distillery
so thought I would check them out. I went to the distillery to taste the gins and get to know a bit more about the company and how they make the gins.
Thinking i knew how gin was distillled I was caught off guard when they started talking to me about the way they make the gin. They infuse all the botanicals separately in a machine i recognised as rotary evaporator, then blend the gin.
Having played around with a similar bit of kit in the science lab while studying my foundation degree in Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College
, I have a basic understanding of the principles so it made complete sense when they explained it.
Just like cooking, ingredients cook better at different temperatures. Some may take longer or shorter times and this method of infusing botanicals separately allows all factors to be controlled.
The result speaks volumes. I tried lots of gins, all neat, and they were all absolutely amazing. The Japanese gin was my favourite to drink. The flavours in both the dry gin and the Curator’s gin are perfect for what I am looking for.
I will be using the gin to cure the salmon for our August Supper Club at Hidden by Puddini
. The gin distillery is based in Grantchester, Cambridge so I popped down to the meadows after my visit. While walking along the river I saw my new favourite ingredient and one of the 5 things I have now been able to successfully forage…
Pineapple weed! As the name would suggest, it tastes like pineapple. I will be using this in the dish too which will link everything together as the ingredients found in the meadows are part of the inspiration for the gins botanicals.
Check out my Instagram
stories over the next month to see the recipe development for the dish.
Tickets are available for the Supper Club are available to buy here
If you live in or around Cambridge and love gin get yourself booked on to one of Cambridge Distillery there numerous workshops from gin tastings to creating your own gin and everything in between.
I have lots of plans in the pipeline but for now the priority is to get cooking for people in person as soon as possible. So, from May I will be launching my Kadai BBQ at home concept.
Similar to my Supper Club format I will come to your house but instead of cooking in your kitchen, I will be in your garden with my Kadai BBQ where I will cook for you and your guests. All you will need is a table and chairs. I will bring all the cutlery and plates.
I first cooked on a Kadai when working at a Tiny Table
event last summer with Julie Friend at the Mereworth vineyards
. Since then, I have been researching them more and trying to understand how they were traditionally used. They are of Indian origin and it seems the cooking methods have evolved over the years. Traditionally the Kadai was used as the vessel to cook the food with a fire lit underneath and they have evolved to what we know as a Kadai today. Now they are used to cook in a BBQ style. They can also be used as an oven and to hang meats over the fire on a tripod to cook slowly over the flames. The possibilities are endless and as I grow older, I am learning to appreciate the simplicity of the amazing produce we have all year round here in the UK and what better way to complement the various delicious produce than to cook over fire.
My traditional Supper Clubs will start from June and are available to book through the website shop too.
I am moving back to Cambridge to be closer to family.
Relocating has been a long and difficult decision to make as I love Tonbridge but the last 20 months have really made me rethink. The sudden loss of my best friend followed by the pandemic has really given me a different outlook on life. If I’m honest I have been a little bit broken since the loss of my friend and in a way the pandemic has forced me to stop and think as I didn’t at the time, I just kept working at 100 miles an hour to distract myself. I’m still not the same but I have come to realise I never will be and this is part of life. I have accepted the new me and although I may be slightly broken, I still need to embrace life, live it to the full and continue to do what I love. That is simply cooking delicious food for people.
The plan has always been to keep the premises on Quarry Hill Parade open, as I have worked so hard to build it. I want to leave ‘the cool end’ of Tonbridge with something great so I am trying hard to get The Speedy Kitchen into the building as a permanent feature to carry on where I left off.
The Speedy Kitchen has got something exciting planned starting next week (w/c 8th March) so Mags will be open every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for takeaways so please show your support and pop down for a delicious lunch or grab some of her amazing ready meals and soups.
If you don’t already, please follow her on socials to keep up to date with what she is up to!
This Saturday’s Sulston’s Kitchen Porchetta click and collect (6th March) will go ahead as normal, then Mother’s Day click and collect (13th March) will be the last event I will be running from Sulston’s Kitchen.
Anyone that has booked me for an event or supper club that has been postponed due to COVID I will still be doing these for you so as soon as we can rebook, we will.
Personally, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has supported me in my first business venture. It has been one hell of a ride the last 5 years and one that will stay with me forever. The support that I have received from day one has been unbelievable. Whether you signed up to a meal plan in the early days, bought a wrap, came to a supper club or booked me for a private event, nothing I have achieved would have been possible without you!
When I made the decision to evolve the business into a cafe, it took a while but it was everything I dreamed it would be! There was a buzz in there and that can’t be bought. It is created simply by bringing people together for the love of good food and coffee. I have fond memories of making new friends over coffee, customers making new friends over brunch or one of the supper clubs. The chilled mid-week vibes all the way through to the crazy weekends. So many people have helped make this possible, from the carpenter that created the counter, the sign writers, plumbers, electricians, friends that put the pictures up and lifted fridges through doors (when they really shouldn’t have fitted through!) And of course, the amazing staff that worked with me and helped create my dream!
You are all AMAZING!
All of this would have been for nothing without the wonderful community here in Tonbridge. This town is blessed with such amazing people and I look forward to seeing it flourish again when restrictions allow. Continue to support local and look after each other!
Love to you all
I have intentionally ignored all modern cooking techniques over the last 5 years and gone back to basics. Some of the modern techniques are over used and you can’t beat good old-fashioned simplicity.
This approach has served me well but recently I have had more and more private events being booked and so I am going to re-introduce some of the newer techniques I have learnt over the years along side the more traditional methods.
These newer techniques will help to enhance the experience for our guests so whilst keeping my feet firmly grounded in the classic cooking style, I can’t ignore the potential of some relatively simple bits of kit.
The first new dish will be a delicious light celeriac mousse using this ISI espuma gun.
While foams get a lot of negative press, the theory behind foam allowing the flavour to hit all taste receptors in the mouth at the same time is a great technique to fully exploit the flavours of a dish so I will be using the bamix to add some highly flavoured garnishes too.
To make sure I keep the balance of old and new, I am also going to add some home made pasta to our menus too.
Lots of exciting things on the way so keep an eye on my social media.
Click here to book one of our Supper Clubs
I ran my first Supper Club in January 2018.
I started with six people in Sulston’s Kitchen and they were mainly friends and family. This slowly grew to eight people and then to ten. Eventually, we had to put on two nights per month and soon people were booking a month in advance. December 2018 we struggled to fill one night but by December 2019 we had a Supper Club every Friday and Saturday through the month in the lead up to Christmas.
Over this time I have teamed up with The Old Fire Station to cook one of the first Secret Supper Clubs in Tonbridge at Haywards Farm Shop cooking with all their amazing produce. It was a chef’s dream. This was followed with a Secret Supper Club at Neptune in Tonbridge, cooking on the Range Master in their showroom and serving from what would normally be their central till area. The guests were seated around the cooking area on Neptune’s beautiful dining room furniture; this was a really special night.
The whole idea of the supper clubs was to bring people together through the love of food, likeminded people that may have just moved to the town or those who wanted to be social and get to know new people. Everyone sat around one large table and one of the courses was always a sharing course, this helped create conversation and interaction. The open kitchen in close proximity to the guests was perfect as it gave me the ability to interact with the guests helped to add to their experience. It was the perfect way to describe the dishes, answer questions about the food, talk about the local suppliers and the amazing produce as well as general chat about new businesses in the town, up and coming festivals and events and so much more.
It was always BYO, which I feel, made the evening a lot more relaxed and also less expensive and this is partly what helped create the relaxed environment.
In these challenging times, much of what made the supper clubs so successful is still possible except now I run them in the comfort of your own home.
We will have monthly menus of 4, 6 and 10 courses for you to choose from for 6 – 8 guests (currently only 6 in line with government guidelines).
We are currently booked up every Saturday in October but free all other evenings so for more info and to book just head over to our online shop.
This is one part of the next chapter and I look forward to cooking for you and your guests.
Photo taken by Severien Vits at one of our Supper Clubs.
This is possibly one of my favourite ever photos and really captures the essence of what the supper clubs are all about.