From the Farm/ Guest

Guest Blog by The Graphic Foodie: Where the Wild Things Were with Tim Maddams

It was lovely to be back at WeFiFo’s friendly and welcoming HQ for another of their supperclub events. Hosting a range of suppers, from casual dinners in a home environment to some cooked by the chef elite, this one was to be a little special with former River Cottage Chef, Tim Maddams.

Following a well-received debut with a family friendly foraged event, Tim returned for a meal based on another of his passions – Game. So much so he’s even written a book about it! Where the Wild Things Were…was a presentation of classic game, given Tim’s light-handed touch and flourishes of seasonal and lesser-used countryside ingredients.

We were also greeted with an extra welcome treat with pea shoot sour cocktails from Brighton’s Mixology Group. Vivid, fresh and something deliciously different. Typically, with a room full of strangers, a swiftly delivered drink normally puts most people at ease for the evening so this was a great idea.

Chefs seem to be celebrating breads at the moment and the breadbasket has evolved into something more noteworthy. Bowls of flatbreads were anointed with a rich, nutty rapeseed oil before being dipped in fiery spiced mixed seeds.

I’m not a huge fan of pigeon normally but here, cured then roasted, made it particularly tender and, unsurprisingly, rich with the earthy, gamey taste you’d expect to begin a menu like this. Marinated asparagus and wild mint accompanied the pigeon, but the meat was kept very much the hero element – seemingly the ethos for the rest of the menu.

Proving everything is better with butter, the rabbit, often dry and tough meat was rendered succulent having been cooked under an abundance of it. Served with tender, homemade gnocchi, the dish was lighter than expected and the garnish of fresh herbs to lifted the dish beautifully.

Ruby slithers of roe-deer had been hay smoked and partnered with the tastes of the season; freshly podded broad beans, new season garlic and brightened with zesty verbena. This seemed to be the dish of the night for many; the meat was beautifully blushing and cut finely, making the best of a great ingredient.

The rhubarb dessert was the perfect finale for the balmy evening and a real British homage; a grown up jelly and ice-cream with a boozy gin jelly, refreshing geranium ice-cream and an oat crumble for textural contrast.

Aside from the food, which as you can see was a real treat, was Tim’s delivery of each course added to the fun environment. Far from a stiff and serious chef presentation you sometimes get, everyone was put at ease with his laid back nature and didn’t mind interrupting their chatter to hear more about each dish.

This is what makes a supperclub a completely different dining experience to one you would find in a restaurant sitting. People are more relaxed and whether in a flat or a mansion, farm or townhouse, it is a far more convivial way to dine. Conversations quickly merge between couples, groups and even singles sat communally or in close proximity. Everyone is on level ground – the event itself is the conversation starter. I’m often at these supperclubs alone and it’s as easy as “So have you been to one of these before?” to kick off the evening.

If however, reading this, your answer to that question is “no”, then it’s seriously time to reconsider.

{All words and photos by Fran Villani}

Tim Maddams is a Devon based chef, author and forager. He hosts events regularly through WeFiFo, in Devon and West Sussex. If you like the sound of Where the Wild Things Were, join Tim at his Harvest Supper next month. Wednesday 27th September: https://www.wefifo.com/event/722358324658125/harvest-supper-

 

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