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Laying Up Supper at the Royal Dart Yacht Club, October 2021

The Laying Up Supper is like the sailors’ final fling of the summer..........

Time to look back on what we hope will have been a season of sunny sailing to far flung or favourite local shores and we thank our Cruising Committee leader, Richard Balfry for celebrating these memories with the photo montage of members’ private collections. Judging by the squeals and “oohs and aahs” and “that’s mine!” and “Gosh, look at x!” and in my case, “Oh Pete, WHY did you send in that horrid one of me?!” Lots of happy highlights aplenty. Well done and thank you to Fiona McLeod who won the competition of sending in the most photos and was still practising her photographic prowess during the evening. Snap snap!

So, to the celebration supper.

A fresh fishy dishy to start us off on our voyage. Smoked salmon roulade, curled pleasingly with cream cheese and teased with a lemon, lime and dill dressing, adorned with beetroot leaves. Note the detail. These were no ordinary green leaves, but hearty and well selected for their vibrancy and value.

When it comes to lemon, I’m convinced it has magical properties. As not only does it bring out the flavour of the food it’s canoodling with; but it also shines in its own right. A zingy beginning that had us smiling as if it were the start of summer (I wish).

We gazed some more at the photos, laughed and remembered, swapping stories – not entirely in the guise of old seadogs (well some of us, maybe). But with potential as seasoned sailors. The evening was underway.

My sensitive foodie snout could smell the wine of the main course before I tasted it. A lovingly ladled Boeuf Bourguignon (it sounds as good as it tastes en français!). Perfect for the snuggled-up autumnal evening. Even the mushrooms were Bourguignon-boozed up and part of the act adding layers of taste and chunky, succulent beef in its rich wine-fumed glossy gravy.

Mustard mash added depth and meaning to this comforting carb, along with interesting food partner, a cheese croute with crunch and tangy flavour. The vivid carrot, broccoli and mange-tout made me wistful for my allotment. But we must look forward to the next spring and summer and when it all comes round again…

There was a choice for the final course. In my mode français, I went for the fromage, beguiled by the generous Holy Trinity Brie, Cheddar and Stilton. The saucer-size homemade oat biscuits were sturdy, yet humble so that the cheese stole the show. Celery and grapes and a bijou pot of chutney completed this fabulous fromage fest. I should really have stashed some in my handbag for a midnight feast. But in the spirit of a hibernating bear, I ate the lot.

Those of a sweeter disposition opted for the pineapple carpaccio. As luminous and bright as the sunshine. Thinly sliced and dusted and drizzled with a lemon and mint syrup, along with mango sorbet and bright and beautiful Proustian strawberries. The tastes of paradise and another summer legacy trigger (big sigh).

All I needed was to lay myself up after such a delightful gourmand supper.

With grateful thanks to our Manager and Maître d', Mark Bradbury and the Kitchen Team for cooking up this year’s memorable Laying Up Supper and to Victoria and all the Bar Team for looking after us so well. Thank you also to Richard for organising the evening: for choosing the menu, table decorations, music and of course, the photo entertainment.

By Jude Owens

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