Supper Club Solutions – Sirloin Steak with Fondant Potatoes and Braised Bok Choy

I was discussing money-making schemes the other day. You know the kind of thing – creative thinking. Blue-sky discussion. There’s a box, right over there. Now go get in it and then step out of it, whilst thinking.

One idea that came to mind was supper clubs. How could you make money from that? Provide support to people who want to start one? Recipes, equipment, online networking?

While I was sitting on the sofa playing with the new Xbox One (it’s great – you yell at it instructions and it does stuff e.g. ‘Xbox On’ and it switches on. I’m trying to teach it the command ‘Xbox More Wine!’ but it isn’t quite there yet. Any I have (shock) completely lost my train of thought. What was I prattling about…

…oh yes, while watching telly a woman was explaining why she held supper clubs. She was single and liked cooking but didn’t want to cook for one. So she started a supper club. What surprised me was that generally the people who came didn’t really know each other.

And people do it for different reasons – making friends, looking for love and of course people who like eating. She had some tips – keep it simple; you don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen. Offer something to eat as soon as people turn up, otherwise they will drink too much and you could end up with a fight/orgy on your hands. And don’t expect reciprocation. Not everyone likes cooking!

Anyway, I have no intention starting a supper club. Much too much hassle. But I know what I would serve up if I did. It would be my go-to favourite dinner. Meat and potatoes with a bit of greenery (to keep the health police quiet). Sirloin Steak with Fondant Potatoes and Bok Choy.

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Why I drove for six and a half hours to eat Sticky Asian Pork Belly

A few weeks ago I visited a company in Devon, to see whether we wanted to buy them. It being mid-August I couldn’t decide whether it would be better to drive down or get the train. I mean the train is, in theory, quicker, easier and less stressful than driving.

In reality though, getting the train is a pain in the arse. To get to the station you have to cross London, which takes longer than getting from London to Devon. This country lacks in many ways, but nothing worse than public transport.

So I drove. 168 miles. Took 3 hours. On a Thursday afternoon in the holiday season that’s not so bad. Me in a suit, everyone else in shorts and towing caravans.

The road to England’s very own holiday region is great, so long as you don’t use it in the holiday season. Someone even wrote about it:

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The A303 is one of those wonderful British roads that the authorities have semi-modernised; it goes from one lane to two lanes and then back to one lane and so on and so forth. The result is a total pain in the arse as you stop and go with traffic filtering and everyone slowly getting pissed off.

Then there is Stonehenge. It sits a few hundred yards from the road about 80 miles from London. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting England for the first time, but you wouldn’t go back. Yet everyone slows down to look at it as they drive past. It’s a bunch of rocks people. Rocks. Back in the day you could sit on them and eat your sandwiches. Nowadays the local History Police shoot on sight if you get within 100 yards.

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Stonehenge – Rocks and Nutjobs

It’s weird going to the South West of England on business. Normally you go there for holidays. I met my colleague and we went to a pub restaurant (the Harbour Inn) in Lyme Regis. I had Sticky Asian Pork Belly.

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A revelation. Delicious. Sublime.

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Man v Food Inspired Crab Cakes

Although the Hairy Bikers are my favourite cooks, the chap who hosts the ‘Man v Food’ programme on cable is rapidly catching them up. Adam Richman’s modus operandi is to travel the States taking on massive food eating challenges – like eating 7lb burgers in an hour or a gallon of ice cream in 30 mins.

Actually he doesn’t do it anymore – I think the doctors probably told him he was killing himself – so now he is going around the country getting members of the public to take on food eating challenges instead – clever!

Anyway, one programme they went to a diner where they served enormous crab cakes, and what I liked about those crab cakes was they contained crab…and hardly anything else. And they were big. So I thought I’d try and replicate.

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That crab shell reminds me of Zippy from Rainbow on 1970’s children’s TV…

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Beef Braised in Honey and Soy

Nearing the end of my butcher’s blowout. This creation combines a cheap cut of meat with honey, madeira wine and soy sauce, served with bok choi (or pac choi, or bok choy, or pak choy or…you get the idea).

Its got some pretty intense flavours and comes from our very own psycho-chef Gordon Ramsay (by the way have I mentioned how much more pyscho he appears on American TV compared to UK TV? On UK TV he is a pussy cat – he does a show where he gets prisoners to cook in Brixton prison, and if he acted in there the way he does on Hell’s Kitchen USA they would serve him up with a side order of fries).

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