Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My first Gastronaut's Supper Club

A couple of weekends ago, I was so excited to attend the Gastronaut's Supper Club

"Gastronauts was inspired by Jamie Oliver's visit to a New York supper club in his American Road Trip Show - if it's good enough for New York, it can happen in Brisbane. The general idea is that dinners will be put on at Gastronauts' homes around Brisbane, with the odd special occasion for variety. We'll email out the menu for the next dinner - if you're interested, all you have to do is reply to the email. Diners will then be selected randomly, and you'll be sent the location on the day of the supper club dinner. Gastronauts is an opportunity for foodies to enjoy a fantastic dinner, while at the same time meeting new new people who are equally keen on food." Basically the website sums it up better than I could!

I have been receiving these emails for a while now and have really wanted to go, but unfortunately the date has never suited. When this email popped up, I  was so happy to see a free space in my diary, I RSVP'd immediately. I did have to wait for a couple of days to find out if there was a seat (as they are limited) for C and I, but luckily, my friend and fellow food blogger Food Bling confirmed that we could attend!! So exciting. It's all very mysterious too- we didn't know where the host's house was until the day of the dinner and we knew only the names of the hosts, not other attendees. I was only sure that I knew three people (Food Bling C, and my friend Digella) that would be at the dinner, and although this was a little daunting at first, it was sort of fun too. How exciting: meeting lots of new people (who turned out to be just lovely), and sharing some fabulous food. Our hosts, Kerri and Richard were so welcoming, it almost felt like we were visiting old friends, no awkward silences and just genuinely interesting and fun chatter.

Each person/couple that have attended a couple of supperclub's often then offers to host the next event. So the host is not ridiculously out of pocket, a jar or something similar is passed around at the end of the night for donations which are to cover the cost of ingredients. 
C and I had a fabulous night and are hoping that we can attend the next event (if we manage to snare an invite!!). I'm not going to give too much more about the evening, because you really have to go and discover for yourselves! You know what? If you can't make it to the Gastronaut's Supperclub because of commitments or say, you live in Africa and can't just pop over for a Saturday night dinner, why not start your own club? 

One of my fabulous foodie colleagues Claire, has started her own cooking club where 15 people cook to a theme and bring their dish along to share with friends. Although a little different in concept she has new people wanting to join all the time! If you do decide to start your own club or you already attend something similar- please, let me know!!!

Now I do want to show you some of the AMAZING dishes Richard cooked for the evening. The dishes featured  share plate styled food inspired by the food from Ottolenghi in London.I do not know how Richard managed to coordinate the serving of the food, but he did an amazing job. I do know that he prepped for about 12 hours before we arrived - serious dedication!! Honestly, to get out this amount of food at the same time is an awesome feat- they did have a spacious kitchen and a big oven, but still, pretty sure I'd have serious difficulties pulling this one off! He did most on of this on his own too as he is the main cook in the household, whilst Kerri focussed on charming the guests.

I would be a little bit worried if I had to host a supper club as my apartment is quite small and my kitchen and oven are literally tiny.  I only have one small sink. I think I would have to come up with dishes that could be served at room temperature - I don't even know if that is possible!!

Some olives to start

Most of the dishes had been finished before we arrived, but this amazing looking pork belly was still slow roasting on the BBQ. Richard started it hours earlier and I popped down to have a look. Heavenly.

The dining set-up where the 11 Gastronaut's wined and dined.

A gorgeous pig decoration that Richard and Kerri got from Japan. I did feel a little bad chowing down on his little cousin whilst he was looking!!

Mushrooms with cinnamon and lemon were a delight for the senses- so soft but almost spicy at the same time.

Aubergine wrapped gnocci with sage butter: These were my favourite dish from the evening, the were just delightful and I loved the richness the sage butter added. The aubergine was delightfully silky too (he he he Richard is a pom).

Broccoli with tofu, seasme and coriander: The tofu was tasty and went really well with the broccoli. The vegie dishes were really nice and the two vegetarian diners didn't miss out at all!

Cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt: I think these also had some type of green in there too- forgot to ask. These fritters were absolutely delightful- crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The lime yoghurt was a refreshing touch. These could double as a great brekky if there were any left over (pretty sure there weren't, actually come to think of it, I don't think there was much left over at all!.)

Beef and lamb meatballs served with tahini: I think Richard may have also added chicken in here too and as a result, these meatballs were incredibly moist. The tahini added a nice extra savoury style element to the dish too.

Slow cooked pork belly: Wow wow wow wow wow. The pork belly was AMAZEBALLS. Seriously great. I love pork and this was falling to pieces tender and just the right amount of fatty goodness.

I don't even remember what this red sauce was but it went really nicely with the pork belly.

Green Olive Salsa: This green olive salsa was interesting- big capers and celery were interesting ingredients used. I really liked the freshness of the whole dish - this did accompany the grilled mackerel which I forgot to photograph.
Caramel and macadamia cheesecake: As if the entree and mains weren't enough- Richard whipped out these desserts. The cheesecake was rich but really light aswell and the caramel and macadamia nuts were great too.

Lime meringue pie: The lime meringue pie was tart but the perfect end to a really lovely meal.

Just in case we had any space left over, Richard brought out some cheeses that he had received from the Richmond Hill Larder. I'm thinking of joining as a member despite the whole, I shouldn't eat cheese minor detail thingo. The orange rind cheese STUNK but was seriously creamy. Loved these!

Just a little shot for the crackling.. I did have a couple of pieces... 
All the washing up left at the end of the night- poor Richard and Kerri! I did try and insist on helping wash up but I was sent away without helping- sorry guys!

I'm so happy to have attended my first Gastronaut's Supperclub. I'm even happier to find little movements like this happening around our very own beautiful city. When people say Brisbane is boring, they obviously haven't scratched the surface yet to find groups of passionate people doing such interesting things.  The group that attended the club were really mixed in age, but it was obvious that food was a common denominator. Thank you SO much for the invitation, I had an amazing time and Richard and Kerri were amazing hosts who served really beautiful food. 

Held every couple of months at a secret spot!
Do you know of anything like this going on in Brisbane or your own cities? Let me in on the goss please peeps!

8 fabulous comments:

Mrs BC said...

You are right - Brisbane is not boring at all! Plenty going on once you scratch the surface, you just have to figure out where to scratch the surface. I love the idea of The Gastronuats Club!

That pork looks AMAZING. Do you think Richard might share his recipe with you?

jenius said...

The Gastronuats Club is such a great concept! One of my friends hosts monthly dinners where we all have to prepare a dish that uses the same ingredient. It's so fun. It's sort of like Iron Chef!

SOL's view said...

I so like the idea of this but I'd be terrified of others tasting my cooking. I'm hardly what you call confident in the kitchen. :D

The InTolerant Chef said...

Wow, what a great meal, and what a great idea!! I'd love to start one up here in Canberra!

Barbara said...

I'm looking forward to attending one of these nights. Fab food. Kudos to Richard and wife.

Brisbane Devoured said...

yummmmm im drooling looking at that pork....

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

A few years ago a friend and I tried to start up something a little like this with friends of each of ours, but other things happening in our respective lives got in the way unfortunately. But this has definitely reignited my motivation!

Richard Vankoningsveld said...

Thank you very much for the awesome review :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the night, It's only as good as the company I reckon, and that's always been great at every Gastronauts bash I've been to so far.

Mrs BC, my pork cooking was largely based on this method: http://www.hotsmokebbq.com/037splitgrill/juanchos_split_grill.php

For the Gstronauts night, the drip tray below the pork contained a bottle of red wind, some bay leaves, and some juniper berries - that gave it a mild spicey flavour, and kept the meat nice and moist.


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