Friday, 15 February 2013

Eating In Style

Do you remember our Gold Ball in December? As well as it being a brilliant night, 

with lots of very silly moments (fyi this was NOT my Ball outfit, I had to wear this to protect my dignity), we somehow managed to raise £6,500 for two wonderful surfing charities - Umthombo in South Africa and Surf Relief UK here in North Devon.

Our biggest fund-raiser was the charity auction. There were some amazing things that people had donated. Everything from a ski holiday to..

 a luxury weekend away at an award-winning glamping site (The Bivouac), to signed Freddie Flintoff's boxing gloves,

and a meal cooked for you in your own home, by our local gastro-pub 'The Rock'. The Rock Inn is the most popular choice for the Friday night of our wedding weekends. There is a conservatory out the back which can seat a large number, perfect for an arrival meal for guests.

When they are not cooking great food, The Rock is most well-known for its sponsorship of a very successful and talented local Netball team - 'Georgeham Rocks'.

(well, not really but we try our best).

So a group of us got together and, thanks to the cool, calm and collected Mr P, we successfully bid for the Rock meal in the charity auction!

It took place on Thursday. We were very excited. Everything looked amazing when we arrived.

As soon as the coats were off, the charming Mark (front-of-house at The Rock) served us Prosecco, Tempura King Prawns and

a smoked salmon delight!

We ate and drank sitting by the fire and feeling like royalty.

Everything had been thought of. They brought the tablecloth, the glassware, the candles, the lot.

Scott, our chef, has had extensive experience in this area. He used to work for an agency that supplied chefs for people's own homes. 

His CV is pretty impressive, he has worked with Marco Pierre-White in L'escargot and many other places that I can't pronounce. We are lucky to have him in our Shire.

So, to kick off: Amuse bouche of beetroot and vodka jelly with a cauliflower puree.

The colours were gorgeous.

My favourite dish came next - pan seared king scallops, quenelle of crab, crispy pancetta and sauce Jacqueline. Delicious!

Next up..line caught seabass fillet with a saffron and mussel beurre blanc.

The wine of choice for these dishes was Picpoul de Paiet. La Cote de Flamenc 2011.

It was brilliant being so close to the action and seeing it being masterfully put together. No sign of a horse anywhere (and trust me, I was looking). We delved into some apple and calvados sorbet to cleanse the palette, before we were presented with the next dish.

Now this one pushed the boundaries for me.. Paupiette of guinea fowl stuffed with foie gras and Exmoor blue cheese and thyme jus. I guess I should be grateful as when we arrived in our village in 2008, squirrel was on the menu!

As Scott and the team prepare the next course,

We invested in some high brow conversations (probably along the lines of surfing). This course was washed down with a nice glass of Riebeek Shiraz Reserve - 2007. 

Now I have to tell you that none of the men (apart from Mr H) were drinking (due to a small matter of a marathon in the Gaza Strip coming up), so us girls (and Mr H) were really quite sozzled by this stage. You can tell this by the way I had dumped my knife and fork on the slate in the picture of the guinea fowl! Ha!

Next up: Pave of Spreacombe (a place down the road) venison loin, creamed savoy cabbage and bacon lardons, mini fondant potato and port jus. 

Another wine change...this time Pinotage L'Avenir -2011.

Good idea Mrs P to drink water (I wish I had thought to do that).

A selection of West Country and Normandy cheese (camembert) and spiced fruit chutney followed...

accompanied by Warre's ten year old Tawny Port.

I think Mrs H was getting a bit tired by this point? But we still had another course to go! Also I seem to remember Mark furnishing us with some powerful elderflower cocktail. I think he said the ingredients comprised of elderflower and errr, Gin? 

Now, my friend Mrs P is a very attractive woman normally....

but just look at what this drink did to her! This could almost be a caption shot for what Mr 'sober-as-a-judge' P is thinking at this moment. 

And it wasn't just poor Mrs P, I have no idea what tickled these two?

Sadly I did not get a picture of the dark chocolate soufflé, raspberry compote and vanilla shortbread (and the Chateau Theulet Monbazillac - 2009), but needless to say it was absolutely delicious.

By the time the coffee and petit fours came around, I have to say there was not much room left..

But Mr H and Mr. G, can always be relied upon to keep going (as well as hoover up anything else we couldn't quite manage!)

Oh, and err Mrs P it would seem ;)

Rock Boys, THANK YOU! You did such an amazing job and we loved every minute. Same again next year, yeah?