The brainchild of PJ taste and the new Director of the Site Gallery, Laura Sillars, the Ex Libris dinner was held on Friday the 4th March 2011. As a way of launching the new look Site Canteen 80 guests were asked to donate a book to contribute to a growing library. These books are now available to browse through in the Site Canteen. The first book in was Leonard Cohen’s 1963 novel “The Favourite Game” donated by Jarvis Cocker. This had been mentioned by Jarvis during his Sunday Service radio show on BBC Radio 6 on 13th of February, and provided the catalyst to some speedy preparations for both the dinner and the make-over of the environment of the Site Canteen.
The contributors to the make-over and some of the background is covered brilliantly by Jane Faram in her blog. Given the short lead time everything had to come together on the afternoon of the dinner – Friday afternoon. So with shelves to fit between their upright birch tree supports by Click Industrial Design, tables to set and food to cook by PJ taste, a food map frieze to paint by Jane Faram and decorations and last minute organisation by the Site Gallery the pressure was on.
The inspiration for the menu came from Peter Moulam’s recent foraging which amazingly had revealed that even in early spring there is a wealth of wild tasty plants locally avaialble. (N.B. never pick or eat any wild plant unless you are able to be 100% sure of your identification – see my previous blog here). So nettles, wild sorrel, and dandelion all found their place. The other ingredients all hailed from the local economy and were rooted in the season. So pink Wakefield rhubarb and local beetroot showed the exciting flavours and colours which can come from the apparently bleak and notorious “vegetable gap” – that period when winter stocks are depleted and the new years crops still only a vision in the farmers mind.
The guests who included Ian Anderson, Tim Etchells, Amy Carter, and Russel Senior arrived at 7.30pm and were treated to deep fried nettels and PJ taste’s own cider spiced up into a refreshing punch. The meal was enjoyed by all and the full menu is shown below.
Woven into the evening were performances, Hester Reeve giving out kisses as Frankenstein, speeches from Ian Anderson of Designer’s Republic and a short presentation from artist Penny McCarthy about her work and the book she donated – a copy of The Odyssey
Deep fried nettles
PJ taste Cider Punch – made with our handmade 2010 cider
Nettles – Shirebrook
Cider – apples from S13 2010 vintage
Pork Rilletts with a sharp Sorrel Salad served with a selection of PJ taste breads including Spelt Sourdough, Walnut and Honey, and White Bloomer
Salad of Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Fettle with Herb and Sorrel Salad (V)
Pork from Povey Farm, Moss Valley
Organic flours from Driffield, Sourdough starters
Honey – Sheffield Honey
Shepherd’s Purse Cheeses
Beef and Ale Stew with Mashed Potatoes and Winter Vegetables “en papillote”
Baked Onion with Wensleydale Cheese and Henderson’s Relish (V)
Beef – Coppice House Farm Rivelin Valley
Potatoes – Whirlowhall Farm
Vegetables – Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
Ale – PJ taste brew No. 1
Herbs – Shirebrook
Rhubarb Mousse with a Crunchy Granola and Beetroot Granita
PJ taste cultured yoghurt
Organic Oats from East Yorkshire
Locally Roasted Pollards Coffee