Welcome your friends to spring with a seasonal dinner party planned out to you to a tee. This is a seven-course menu with suggested drinks and a cocktail to start, which was all served at my Mushrooms In Spring Supper Club in April. There were 40 places on that night, but I have pared it down to a more-manageable six, or this would be entitled, give yourself a nervous breakdown. No one needs help with that.
Mushrooms In Spring Menu
an amuse bouche of mushroom caviar
with Castle Brook Classic Curée 2010
served with Brightwell Vineyard’s Oxford Regatta
for dessert, orange blossom mousse
chestnut mushroom biscuits with cheese and rhubarb
and to sip, Astley’s Late Harvest sweet wine
espresso chocolate truffles, to finish
So, here you have a step-by-plan for the meal preparations (below and in PDF form by clicking on this link PDF time plan, if that’s more user friendly for you), your Shopping List with suggested replacements and places to buy the ingredients. If you link on the recipe titles of the menu above, then you can get the individual recipes if you just fancy cooking one or a couple of the dishes, but if you are going for the full deal, the following dinner party plan includes all the ingredient lists and methods. Give it a good read before you start any cooking so you don’t have any surprises. DON’T forget to tell your friends it’s mushroom themed – you don’t want to inadvertently invite a mushroom hater to a mushroom party. That would be unfortunate.
Like with all the time plans, DO make sure you have everything from your shopping list ready to go from the off – a couple of hours out to find some pink peppercorns will mean a fish and chip carpet picnic, as this time plan is fast and full, but so worth it. It starts at 11.30am for guests arriving at 7pm, but obviously you can change accordingly, and as there is a bit of slow-cooking in this one, the tasks start off quite relaxed.
Give it a go, tweet or email me the pictures and enjoy!
Notes: You can cook the lamb on the morning of the dinner party if you have all your ingredients in front of you, ready, but it makes for a less stressful situation altogether if you pop it in the oven the day or evening before – it’s in there for 5 hours after all. Don’t worry, it’s worth it and once it’s in the oven, is very low maintenance. Get in on a Friday evening, pop the lamb in the oven and watch a film (or two) in the meantime.
The chocolates and the chestnut biscuits can also be made a day ahead.
Or you can do everything on the day… starting at 11.30pm for guests to arrive at 7pm.
Equipment needed: mushroom brush (an unused small paintbrush will do or a pastry brush), kitchen roll for cleaning the mushrooms, tweezers, one large roasting tin, muffin tin, two baking trays, mixing bowls, a large non-stick saucepan, tin foil, baking paper, cling film
- 1kg lamb shoulder
- 30 shallots
- 12 St George’s mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 20g dill
- 2 star anise
- 300ml red wine
- 600ml stock
- tin foil to cover
Preheat the oven to 130°C/fan 110°C/gas 1/2.
Place the lamb shoulder in a deep roasting tin. Crush the garlic and sprinkle it over the lamb, with the sea salt and black pepper. Peel the shallots, leaving them whole and add to the tin, then dust off the mushrooms with a brush and wipe them with kitchen roll to clean. Add the mushrooms to the tin, then drizzle over the honey, chop the dill and add it, and throw in the star anise. Pour over the red wine and stock. Cover the lamb with tin foil and place in the preheated in the oven.
- 2 tbsp strong flour
- 140g double cream
- 200g Espresso Madecasse chocolate
Combine 2 tbsp strong flour in a saucepan with 80ml cold water to make a paste. Place on the heat and simmer, whisking as you go to make a thick and glossy mixture. When thick, take off the heat and cover with cling film to cool to room temperature.
Heat the cream in a separate saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and break the chocolate into the pan, stirring until it melts completely. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill for 1 hour.
- 150g chestnut mushrooms
- 60g butter
- 150g oats
- 60g wholewheat flour, plus extra to dust
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp crème fraiche
- Sea salt and black pepper
Grease two large baking sheets. In a food processor, blend the mushrooms until very finely chopped. Add the butter and blend for 30 seconds. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar, and season with a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of pepper.
Mix the mushroom butter into the dry ingredients, along with the crème fraiche. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the mixture into 12 small balls. Press down the balls and shape into circular, flat biscuits, using more flour so they don’t get sticky. Place on the prepared sheets and set aside.
- 1.9lt whole milk
- 680ml double cream
- 130g sugar
- 270g cornflour
- 1 tbsp orange blossom essence
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, cream, sugar and cornflour, and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Hold on a rolling simmer, stirring pretty much constantly for 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Take off the heat and stir in the orange blossom. Transfer to a plastic bowl and chill for 4 hours, or until set.
- 6 morel mushrooms
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
Baste the lamb
Place the morel mushrooms in a large bowl and pour over boiling water until covered. Stand for 10 minutes, then drain and refresh with cold water. Dry on kitchen paper and clean any dirt away with kitchen paper.
On a large plate, combine the cocoa powder and pepper, then with a teaspoon, scoop out small balls of the mixture to make your individual truffles. Roll each into the dry mixture and set on another tray. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- 100g mousserons
Turn the lamb over in the tin
Clean the mousseron mushrooms by giving them a quick, warm water bath and picking out any dirt with tweezers.
- 160g strong plain flour
- 60g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 30g caster sugar
- 7g yeast
- 1 egg
- 15g butter
Sift the remaining strong flour and the plain flour into a large bowl, then add the salt and sugar. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, then add the yeast, one of the eggs and the water-roux paste into it. Mix in a figure of eight to combine, adding as much warm water to the mixture gradually, as you need to make the mixture come together into a dough.
Transfer to a clean kitchen surface, lightly dusted with flour, and knead the dough quickly and keenly for 10 minutes. Knead the butter into the dough, then place in a large bowl and cover with oiled cling film and a damp, clean tea towel. Stand to prove for 1 hour.
- 1 packet of golden enoki
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 clove of garlic
- 200g fresh peas in pods
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
Baste the lamb
Cut all the ends off the enoki and place in a bowl. Salt thoroughly by mixing it in with a spoon, then top with cold water. Chill.
Place the mousserons, garlic and peas on a grill tray and drizzle with the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and season with black pepper and nutmeg. Place under a hot grill for 10 minutes, turning half way through. Set an alarm for 10 minutes, then set the tray aside aside.
Baste the lamb and remove the tin foil. Turn to 170°C/fan xxx/gas 3 and place the lamb back in the oven.
Remove half the mousseron mushrooms from the grill tray, picking the pretty full ones as they will be used for garnish. Chill until needed.
Knock back the dough, but punching the air out with your fist, then divide into six balls, molding a morel into each one. Grease and line a baking tray, then line them up, a little apart, and cover with oiled cling film and leave to stand somewhere warm for 1 hour.
- 100ml sweet sherry
- 1 litre water
- 1 bunch purple asparagus, sliced into shavings
- a couple of leaves of wild garlic, ripped into strips
- 100g pea shoots
- 6 shaved heritage carrots, sliced into shavings
- 100g micro watercress
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp crushed capers
- 1 tbsp of ripped fresh mint or micro mint and nettles
- sea salt and black pepper
Transfer the remaining mushrooms and peas in the tray to a large pot and pour in the sweet sherry and water. Bring to the boil and simmer, with the lid on.
In a large bowl, prepare, then mix together the asparagus, wild garlic, peashoots, carrots and watercress, then cover and pop in the fridge. In a small pot, place the lemon juice and zest, capers and mint, and season it with pepper. Cover and put it near the vegetable salad in the fridge.
Remove the lamb from the oven and turn it to 190C/fan 180°C/gas 5. Brush the morel bread rolls with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes, until risen and golden.
Pull the lamb apart into shreds with two forks and remove any bones or large pieces of fat. Cover with tin foil to keep warm.
- 6 pea flowers
- 6 chives
- salt flowers and ground black pepper
Bake the mushroom biscuits for 10-15 minutes, until slightly golden and firm, then set aside to cool.
Rinse and drain the enoki, then season with white pepper and pink peppercorns. Scoop the tiny mushrooms onto six teaspoons and place on a plate. Chill until you serve.
Strain the soup and return the liquid to the pan. Keep on a low heat and covered until needed.
Set out six teacup and saucers, with teaspoons on the saucers, and divide the reserved mousseron mushrooms, pea flowers and curled chives between them, then grate in some nutmeg and sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
- 6 sheets filo pastry
- 25g butter
Grease a muffin tin with butter and cut each sheet of pastry into four equal squares. Melt the butter for 1 minute in the microwave. Brush each square with butter, and layer on top of each other at an angle in clusters of six until you have six stalks. Mold each into the muffin holes and bake for 6 mins, until crispy and golden (keep checking through the cooking time – your oven has been on all day, so may be a little hotter and this pastry cooks very quickly). Set aside (on six plates, if you have the space) until needed for the first course. Turn the oven to 150C/fan 140C/gas 2 and place the lamb in the oven until needed.
- 1 punnet apple blossom
- 150ml gin
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ lemon
- 600ml sparkling water
Prepare the cocktail: In a large jug, crush the apple blossom, reserving some nice stems for garnish, with the end of a rolling pin. And the gin, honey and lemon juice, then crush again. Stir in the sparkling water, then fill six glasses with ice, then drain the mixture in the bowl into the glasses. Top with the reserved apple blossom.
Serve cocktail at 7pm.
Seat guests and pour a glass of Brookcastle sparkling wine or another dry sparkling wine each and serve enoki amuse bouche.
Pop the rolls back in the oven to warm.
Serve tea cups for the consommé and pour in the soup from the teapot.
Serve the hot rolls with the whipped butter
- 300g dark chocolate
- 1 piece of honeycomb
- edible flowers, to decorate
To serve the mousse, melt the chocolate in a plastic bowl in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir with a fork until smooth. Scoop the mousse onto six plates or into six bowls, then zigzag the chocolate over the mousses with the fork and top with a piece of honeycomb and edible flowers.
Serve the biscuits with the cheese and chutney, and cut the rhubarb into sticks to go with it, with a dessert wine.
Serve the truffles.
Have a few more drinks…