Would you call yourself a foodie?
I know some people hate that word, and it’s true that it sometimes has negative connotations – used to describe the sort of person who turns their nose up at anything short of champagne and truffles – but personally, I think it just means someone who loves food. And using that definition, I am definitely a foodie.
But one thing I’ve never done is a food marathon. In fact, I never even knew it was a ‘thing’ (but it will most likely be the only kind of marathon you’ll ever see me doing).
If you fancy taking part in your own food marathon, you need to check out the 200 Club – the longest tasting menu in the world. It’s a one-off event taking place in London on 3rd-4th September, and it’s 24 hours of nibbles and light bites, comprising 200 courses in total – that’s one every 7.2 minutes. For a whole day!
It’s not just dinner, it’s a full-day experience of breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and much more, all cooked by genius chefs Bompas and Parr. Just one glance at the guys’ website gives you an idea of the sort of amazing projects they’re known for!
Does this not sound like the coolest thing ever? Take some friends along and make some memories! I’m all for eating in moderation, but… sometimes you’ve just got to splash out.
Of course, not everyone has 24 hours to spare. Totally understandable, but you can still join in! If you don’t want to buy a ticket for the full 24 hours, you can also book tickets for the event in two-hour slots, which means you’ll get to try 20 of the tasty meals – and there are time slots all throughout the 24 hours.
In conjunction with the 200 Club, Bespoke Offers is launching 200 other cool foodie experiences on the site as well, so if you can’t make this one, take a look around and see what else catches your eye.
As a nod to the tasting menu you’ll find at the 200 Club, I thought today’s recipe should be a cute little appetiser. These smoked cheese, walnut and broccoli tarts are only about 4 inches across, so they make a great starter – or you can add a few side dishes to make a full meal. They’re stuffed with garlicky leeks, broccoli and walnuts, and they’re topped with smoked cheddar cheese – absolutely delicious.
I’ve had these little metal pie dishes for a while now, and I’ve finally got around to using them. If you don’t have any, I’d really recommend getting some (turns out I’m now a kitchen equipment pusher…). They’re easy to use, and the metal edge helps to cut the pastry in just the right place – lining them with pastry is a breeze. Make sure you blind bake them for ten or fifteen minutes before you trim the edges of the pastry, as the it does shrink a bit when it starts to cook.
Walnuts might seem like an unusual addition to these tarts, but as they bake they lose their intense crunch, but still have a bit of bite to them, which goes really well with the soft vegetables. Don’t skip them!
And if you’d like to emulate your own 200 Club at home, I’d recommend eating all four of these broccoli tarts one after the other, exactly 7.2 minutes apart.
Do you think you could manage the epic 24 hour tasting menu at the 200 Club?
- Flour for dusting
- 200 g shortcrust pastry (enough to make 4 squares measuring ~ 6 inches)
- Spray oil
- 1/2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 leek, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced
- 1/4 head broccoli, cut into very small florets
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 4 tbsp smoked cheddar cheese, grated
- Black pepper
Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry until it's very thin (even if it's pre-rolled). Cut into four squares measuring around 6 inches. Lightly spray four mini pie dishes with oil (mine measured around 4 inches in diameter), and lay a square of pastry over each. Lifting the edges of the pastry, gently push it into each pie dish with a knuckle, being sure to push the pastry right into the corners. Trim off any large amounts of excess pastry (I find it easiest to use a pair of scissors), leaving around a centimetre excess around the edges of the pie dishes to allow for the pastry shrinking.
Prick the pastry a few times with a fork, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until just starting to firm up.
While the pastry is baking, heat the oil in a pan, and add the sliced leek and small florets of broccoli. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant, then add the garlic. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are soft.
When the pastry cases are ready, trim the excess pastry from around the edge with a sharp knife (rest it along the edge of the tin and it should be easy). Add the leek and broccoli mixture to the four pastry cases, and pour over the beaten egg. Scatter over the roughly chopped walnuts, and top with the grated smoked cheddar and a little black pepper.
Return to the oven for a further 40 minutes or so, until the cheese is golden brown and the egg has set.
Note: nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.