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September 2013

Contents 3) Welcome 4) This Month’s Event 5) Competition Question 6) Alnwick Food Festival 7) Terrific Tastes at Truffle 8) Bespoke Gift Basket Service 9) The Bay Horse, Hurworth 10) What’s Next? 11) 30 Years Celebration Cookbook

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Welcome ..... How is the summer treating you? The weather is good (mostly!), the seasonal produce is beautiful, making cooking a delight and, eating even more so! Obviously, we feel that dining out is more than just eating out. For us, our dining events are definitely about the wonderful dishes our local chefs create but, they're also about the lovely settings and, of course, the people we share them with. While having a coffee with one of our members the other day and chatting about the ideas for future events, it was lovely to hear that, for her, "going out with Opus is great because it's like going out with friends only even better because there are always new people to meet too". Our most recent event; dinner at Truffle in Darlington, would certainly bear that out too; we had a really terrific night. You can read about it below in my review of the evening. You'll also find a review of the new cookbook from The Beamish Park Hotel. Read on to find out how I did! I hate to mention this really but, Christmas is fast approaching and we are already taking orders for our Bespoke Gift Baskets so if you'd like to treat yourself, a loved one or give a corporate gift with a difference, give us a call and we'll fill your basket of choice with just what will tickle their taste-buds most! We have a competition this month too. A simple question for a great prize!

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This month's event: Dinner in the Rib Room, Ramside Hall Hotel 29 August 2013

We're really looking forward to our second visit to the Rib Room



Ramside Hall this month after a well-attended first event earlier in the year. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and there was a lovely, cosy feel to the restaurant. Although, the actual menu isn't available until the evening, Ramside Hall has provided us with a sample menu as an example of the delicious dishes on offer. On our last visit I chose a steak and, as the beef used is locally reared and hung for the optimum time before being cooked to my exact taste, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to trying something different this time. We'll be meeting in the lounge for a glass of bubbly and mouth-watering canapĂŠs so, if you'd like to come along please get in touch by email; or phone; 07588 596 795 to reserve your place! Our events are a lot of fun but, don't take my word for it, come along and find out for yourself!

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Competition Question! What is the name of the Head Chef at The Beamish Park Hotel?

The first person to email the correct answer to will receive a copy of the new cookbook worth ÂŁ24.99 which is full of delicious and easy to follow recipes. Don't be slow or it will go!!

Making an exhibition of Opus!

We can be found at Stockton Summer Show this coming Bank Holiday weekend, 25th and 26th August. The weather is supposed to be warm and sunny so we're looking forward to meeting lots of new people and maybe seeing a few faces we know too. We'll have a display of our beautiful gift baskets for you to get an idea of just how the hamper has changed!! We'd love to see you so come and say hello! Page 5 of 12

Alnwick Food Festival 20th - 22nd September 2013 We’re really looking forward to this year's Food Festival with great anticipation. This is as an annual event and is particularly well attended by thousands of visitors over 3 days with lots happening such as cookery demonstrations from chefs including Jean-Christophe Novelli, a tea dance, a great market place selling delicious produce and a gourmet dinner plus much more. The gourmet dinner is being served at the White Swan, a really lovely venue in the centre of Alnwick. Details of this sumptuous dining experience can be found on the website and in the programme. I hope we've whetted your appetite for this fantastic event and look forward to seeing you there!

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Terrific Tastes at Truffle! Our first event in the relaxed atmosphere of this fine dining restaurant in Darlington was amazing! Our members and guests helped to make this a night to be remembered with fun and interesting conversation while dining on some of the finest food in our region. After being treated to a cocktail, a glass of champagne or wine we were seated and dined on starters of juicy, ripe figs, delicate and tasty scallops, salmon mousse that melted on the tongue; all beautifully presented and more importantly, delicious! My mouth is watering again now with the memory! I chose beef for my entree which was cooked perfectly pink, just the way I like it and no-one was disappointed with their choice although there was a lot of food envy that night! The dessert menu was filled with creamy, chocolately, biscuity and fruity goodness and it was very difficult to choose just one. Each dish was matched to a dessert wine and my choice was a match made in food heaven! Truffle is definitely a delicacy we will be partaking of again! Thank you to all the team who made our first visit such a special occas The Perfect Gift! Okay, so vouchers aren't everyone's cup of tea as a gift but, if you're looking for something meaningful for a foodie friend or loved one this year why not one that is as unique as Opus? Vouchers can be used to come along to one of our events, such as dinner, Sunday lunch, wine tasting, a cocktail party, spa day, etc. They can also be used against the membership fee. You never know, it may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

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Bespoke Gift Basket Service An ideal gift for those foodies in your life, whether family, friends or colleagues. We tailor our service to meet your needs. So, whoever it's for, whatever occasion we can create a beautiful and delicious gift for you. Using locally produced or supplied goodies, we will fill your basket of choice with just what will tickle their taste-buds most! Tell us how much you'd like to spend, who it's for, what they like and the occasion and let us create a masterpiece of taste! As our gift baskets are put together by hand, you can also add a little something extra if you wish. Just let us know when you place your order and we'll collect and add it to your gift. For information on prices and delivery, please call us on 07588 596 795 or drop us an email at We look forward to your order. We're sure you'll get a huge thank you for this beautiful gift!

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The Bay Horse, Hurworth 28 September 2014 We're off to Hurworth and the Bay Horse for another lunchtime visit but this time on a Saturday for a taste of France but made with the same great quality, locally produced ingredients we love. Is it just me or does food actually taste better when it has a French name? Or, is it simply the mystery of the language no matter what it is being said?! That aside, we are tempted by such things as Medallions of beef fillet on pomme puree with buttered cabbage, roasted celeriac and wild mushrooms; Pan fried salmon filet with creamed clams, olive tapenade and sauce vierge and always delicious desserts such as Raspberry and white chocolate mousse with toasted oats & almonds with raspberry sorbet. These are merely an example of the lovely sounding, beautifully presented and even better tasting dishes on offer for us to enjoy at one of our usually very long and very leisurely lunches as guests of the Bay Horse. Always a pleasure!

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What’s Next? We are always searching for the best food, venues and service in our region and look forward to tempting you with some interesting, inspiring and lip smacking experiences throughout 2013. We're already in the process of planning events for 2014 too!

Do you have a favourite place to eat, want to try somewhere or something new? We'd be happy to consider suggestions for future events and venues so please, get in touch.

Are you a restaurant or hotel that prides itself on service as well as the best quality ingredients presented by your amazing chef? If you think you can offer our members a great experience, give us a call on 07588 596 795. It would be great to hear from you.

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30 Years Celebration Cookbook! By way of celebration, The Beamish Park Hotel has produced a cookbook highlighting the talent and skills of its head chef, Chris Walker and his team. Chris, is the son of owner Bill Walker and started his career at the Hotel when he was 16 as Commis Chef. As a home cook with reasonable skills in the kitchen I decided to try out some of the recipes looking at the availability of ingredients, how easy the recipe was to follow, etc. One of the first things to note is the high quality of photography giving you, the cook, and a great opportunity to see just how best to plate up the dishes to wow your guests. There is a contents list at the beginning of each chapter which makes it easy to find the recipe you want. The first dish I cooked was Cauliflower Cheese Soup. This is a great starter for a dinner party at home and the instructions were easy to follow making the dish a joy to cook. I loved this dish! It was creamy and cheesey but the cauliflower wasn’t overpowered which is proof of the balance of the dish. This is a simple but elegant dish that even a rooky cook could achieve at home and present to their guests with pride. I moved on to the Blackened Salmon, fresh crab cakes with citrus yoghurt and salted cucumbers. At first glance this appears to be a fairly complex dish but as you can prepare parts of the dish in advance, it's really quite easy to put together at home. Again, the instructions were clear and easy to follow and, as you can see from the photo above, it's art on a plate! A great looking dish that tasted absolutely divine too! The finale, the dessert, Italian Peach Bakewell, was a pleasure to make and even better to eat! Again, you can prepare this dish in stages and put it together on the day of your dinner party. If you take away the ice cream and marmalade, the Bakewell makes a lovely teatime treat too! Page 11 of 12

Having a huge collection of cookbooks I have come across many recipes that just don't work for the home cook as well as those that are a dream to cook by. This book certainly belongs in the latter category. It's a lovely read and I'm going to enjoy many happy hours of cooking and eating thanks to Chris and his team! Well done and best wishes for the next 30 years!!

You can get a copy of the Celebration Cookbook from the Hotel for ÂŁ24.99 but, if you're an Opus member give us a call to get your copy at a preferential price.

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