Tuesday 13th October, 2020 – Sauce Supper Club Dine at Home, Tom Shepherd
In pursuit of interesting food, and always open to a chance to experience some different restaurants even if we can’t go out, I ordered a box from the Sauce Supper Club with whom we’ve had dealings now and then in the past. This time they were offering a meal put together by Tom Shepherd through T C S, in a collaboration that sounded very promising indeed.
The box arrived in good time on Saturday (though I had booked it for the Sunday), and I carefully unpacked it, checked the contents in case anything was missing or damaged, and then stored everything away safely in the portable fridge that we usually use in the car on long journeys but which is currently serving as an overflow fridge for when we suddenly find ourselves with more food than we can get into our rather small “normal” fridge. I needed to keep things cool until Tuesday when we were planning on having a very fine dinner to celebrate our anniversary.
On Tuesday morning I took a look at the enclosed instructions, just in case there was anything I didn’t have in terms of extra, or there was anything odd or unexpected that I needed to do. It all looked very simple, mostly just a matter of popping things in a 180°C oven for varying lengths of time. After the excitement of some of the boxes (Banquist #008 springs to mind) I was relieved that apart from the plating there wouldn’t be that much for me to do once things were moved to the oven and were ready.
We started with the milk bread and Marmite butter. I don’t like Marmite, but I loved this. The bread was soft and sweet and the umami hit of the yeast spread was nicely calmed by the butter. It was an excellent start, alongside a glass of Moët et Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne that I’ve had waiting around since my 60th birthday. I’m not a fan of Moet’s everyday non-vintage Champagnes, probably because I’ve drunk too many warm, flat examples of it once some racing driver or other has sprayed vigorously around, which doesn’t do it any favours at all. This, on the other hand, was lovely, nuanced and with a gorgeous finish.
We saved half the bread to eat with the starter, a delicious rillette of confit Creedy Carver duck, with a warm salad of Koffman’s potatoes, wonderfully sweet pickled radishes, and a grain mustard mayonnaise of which I would have liked more. Then again, I am a mayonnaise addict and should probably not be encouraged! The potato salad needed a very short blast in the microwave and everything else was pretty much ready to be served once it had warmed up to room temperature. It was a very pleasing starter, not too large and not too heavy.
The main required some effort on my part because I had to put the slow cooked shoulder of venison into the oven, along with the faggot, and the beetroot cooked in beef fat. 30 minutes later and it was ready to begin plating up.
Accompanying the meat we had a beetroot ketchup, a brown butter celeriac purée, and a wonderful venison sauce. Theoretically we also had some Autumn kale, but as neither of us can stand kale, I just put it to one side and considered trying to find someone who had a rabbit we could feed it to. The plate may have looked a little lop-sided without any greenery on it, but we didn’t care. We had beetroot (utterly delicious) and the brown butter celeriac purée which is the best celeriac I have ever tasted – and I need to work out how it was done – so we had enough vegetables without those devils’ leaves. The meat was beautifully done, the shoulder soft and perfectly cooked, and the faggot robustly flavoured with great textures to contrast the almost silky smooth shoulder. It was absolutely fabulous and when Mr. Shepherd gets his restaurant off the ground, and we’re allowed to travel again we’ll be there.
My only regret was that I managed to drop the celeriac and thus lost about a quarter of it to the floor.
To drink I broke out a good bottle. Unlike Banquist, wine was not included although they do since then seem to have added it as an option. With the venison in mind, I broke into an Opus 2015 Chateau Vieux Planty – Grand Vin de Bordeaux from Blaye. It’s maybe never going to rank among the great wines of Bordeaux, but it’s coming along very nicely after 5 years, with bold, tannic dark fruits flavours, and it matched very well with good olf Bambi!
As tends to happen, we were neither of us capable of eating dessert, so we saved the warm treacle tart, fig leaf ice cream, and fig and apple compote for another night. It was a lovely, sweet, sticky treat and the ice cream had just a hint of fig running through it from the leaves. It was a cracker of a pudding, beautifully made and thoroughly enjoyable.
It took us another night to get to the fruit and nut fudge, which I would also recommend. Dine at Home with TCS Sauce Supper Club had done us proud.