As the days swiftly approached for our winter gathering, we sat around our table to plot the intricacies of what was to be this years first À Mesa Supper.
Anyone that knows me, will tell you, that I enjoy weaving the details that go onto our guest's table, almost as much, as I enjoy cooking them their supper.
So we picked the tones and the fabrics. Aromatic bouquets, made from locally harvested rosemary, bay leaf and beautiful curly kale from Mayfield Produce, adorned bottles and carafes. Meters of soft beige linen, laid over our long table; frayed, handprinted napkins topped with hand illustrated menus.
For our grazing table, we gathered together black earthy pots for our Alentejo olives, wooden baskets for our figs and pears, large platters for our walnuts and cheeses. A selection of freshly baked organic breads from Norfolk st Bakery. Old wine crates crowned with a jar of soft sparkly sangria, flavoured with oranges, pears and spices.
The lights were dimmed and the candles were lit, just in time, as our first guests arrived.
The evening started with a rich "Sopa da Pedra, followed by "Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa" and "Chanfana A Beirinha", delicious Northrop Butchers goat infused in red wine and herbs that had been bubbling away for a handful of hours . Many guests went for seconds. The dessert was described as "the pièce de résistance" by one of our guests. Soft poached pears and blackberries in foraged blackberry liquor, farofias (egg whites poached in sweetened milk, infused with vanilla bean) and mushrooms, which were in fact egg whites and dark chocolate which were made to resemble real mushrooms.
As I stood in the kitchen, I noticed a sudden silence as the dessert plates were laid in front of our guests. The shock was only momentary as they quickly discovered the mushrooms were deliciously sweet.
Just before our first guests called it a night, we sent the home with a sweet note. "Pão de Rala", a conventual sweet from my old Portuguese recipe book. It's made of almond paste with a filling of stringy pumpkin in Portuguese egg cream and egg strings. I'll tell you more about it soon.
These were the ingredients for our humble Portuguese table.
We hope to have you at our table soon!
Thank You Sara for the beautiful table, Carlos for the amazing fotos and Paulo for the music that warmed our souls and Gus for the beautiful Malawian coffee
Thank you Norforlk St Bakery | Mayfield Produce | Northrop Butchers