Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wendy's House

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of vegetarian chef and generally lovely person Wendy Swetnam. Way back in June she taught me to make all manner of Middle Eastern delights (gorgeous healthy recipes that I have made several times since) at a Cracking Good Food course and I had an equally superb time at my birthday visit to her Secret Veggie Vegan Vintage Tea Party. However what I really couldn't wait for was booking into one of her Wendy's House supper clubs, but with allsorts going on we had to wait until November until we could finally attend one.

Wendy's House: Beyond cosy
Well here's a wee spoiler for you: it was worth the wait! One of my favourite supper club visits of all time, no doubt. I arrived at her incredibly lovely house in Trafford a little late due to having been so stuck on the M6 from Birmingham that I'd phoned Bailey to break the news that I might not actually make it to the party. This misadventure only made my welcome drink of a delightfully cinnamony Gingerbread Daquiri, when I did in fact make it to the party, all the more delectable.

After spending three hours in a crap car doing 20 on a crap road I can also confirm that the sight of a beautiful Roasted Squash Soup with Ricotta, Rosemary and Reduced Balsamic served in a baby pumpkin is a welcome one. This was delicious and got us talking about how more bowls should be edible, as long as they are as tasty as this one, mind. I embarrassed myself by being the first person on the table to dispatch the entire thing.

The main course was by far our very favourite - this Parsnip and Sage Rotolo really was a triumph. It was all at once sweet, creamy and warming with bags of root veggie flavour. I loved the crunchy parsnip crisps and the lovingly cubed beetroot. I could have chowed this down approximately three times over. Our friend Steve was adamant that he was going to go home and learn to make one just like it. I hope that he has been successful and will invite us over to eat one in the near future.

Tasted as good as it looked
I hadn't looked at the menu beforehand and I was expecting your average three courses so was very pleased to be presented with one of my favourite things: cheeeeeeese. Not only did this little platter feature my favourite type of cheese biscuit - the humble oatcake, there was also Blacksticks Blue, English Brie and a homemade quince compote to be enjoyed. I loved the sweet quince - the perfect accompaniment to the cheese. As if that wasn't exciting enough, Wendy put a jar of the stuff into a little party bag for us at the end to take home. That bad boy will be coming out for Bailey's birthday cheeseboard that's for sure.

Dessert was a predictably lovely Pear Poached in Apple and Cinnamon with a dainty square of Ginger Cake. The pear was perfectly poached and the cake was moist, sticky and rich with ginger goodness. The Buttered Rum sauce on top was fantastic and got me thinking 'Where oh where have I tasted a sauce this awesome before... oh yes, that would be the LAST time Wendy made me a sauce at the veggie tea party!' She is the caramel sauce queen.

There was a final surprise in the form of some lovely crunchy pistachio biscuits to accompany the post-dinner coffee. Great stuff.

It's great to be able to write a post where I don't have to complain about a single bit of food and while all the dishes were indeed excellent, there's also a lot to be said for being able to throw a good party; something Wendy did perfectly. Her home is beautiful and the attention to detail is the best I've seen at a supper club, right down to the pretty little table decorations and intimate lighting. Her guests were great and there was a really friendly atmosphere throughout the whole evening.

I am really starting to think that going out to supper clubs is way more fun and exciting than eating out in restaurants and Wendy's was one of my favourite supper club experiences yet. Bailey put it correctly when he said that if you're a vegetarian in Manchester and haven't been to Wendy's House then you are a "simple fool", but I wouldn't write this off as a veggie-only adventure anyway - Bailey said he didn't miss the meat at all (especially not while eating the amazing Rotolo). I for one am looking forward to booking in again for an evening of Mexican fun (no joke - Mondays at Wendy's are in fact MEXICO MONDAYS - how exciting is that?) and I would urge you to follow suit!

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