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EcoFocus Film Festival Closing Reception
decorated by Swoon / catered by The National

We had such a great time throwing this party for EcoFocus last Saturday with our new friends at Swoon Events! Those ladies really captured the versatility of the CineLab space we so often use for special events and catering.

CineLab Basics
private, soundproof, versatile space
capacity for up to 150 people {seating for 80}
full audio/visual capabilities

To plan a special event with us, email at thenationalrestaurant@gmail.com

photos by Emily Hall

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Eating locally is all about knowing whose hands produced the food on your plate. On Monday, we took a trip out to Darby Farms in Monroe to meet the man who raises chickens for The National, Dan Dover.

Dan focuses on quality over quantity on his small organic farm where he raises chickens for both meat and egg production, as well as his latest addition – three pigs! Showing us around the whole operation, Dan explained the importance of working within nature’s framework instead of against it. From holding a warm, just-laid egg to touching toes with Georgia clay-coated pigs to watching Dan’s daughter Darby (the farm’s youthful namesake) horse around with the animals she knows so well, we left Darby Farms with a feeling of real connection to one of The National’s local vendors and a tinge of regret upon departing for our regular lives.

Look out for Darby Farms chicken on our menu. Grilled D.F. chicken breast and late night D.F. chicken wings in JC’s wing sauce are regular favorites!

Scarbolo Wine Dinner at The National  
Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 pm 
$55 per person plus tax and gratuity 

 Our favorite Friulian winemaker, Valter Scarbolo,  
is back for a special wine dinner at The National. 
(If you’re into numbers, all four of these wines just  
scored over 90 points from Parker)  



  
1. fresh Sweetgrass Dairy goat cheese, local baby lettuces,  
carrots, radishes and pecans, spring pea jus  pinot grigio, Scarbolo, ‘Ramato XL’, Friuli, Italy, 2008  

 2. grilled Florida rock shrimp, fennel-eggplant tagine, saffron couscous  bianco, Scarbolo, ‘My Time’, Friuli, Italy, 2007  

 3. veal hanger steak, mushroom-spanakopita, pancetta  merlot, Scarbolo, ‘Campo del Viotto’, Friuli, Italy, 2007  

 4. skewered lamb kefte and rib barbeque, fava hummus, fenugreek  refosco, Scarbolo, Friuli, Italy, 2006  

 5. pistachio-shortbread cookie, snow cap cookie sandwich  
with blood orange-buttercream  housemade tangerine-cello  

  
reservations:  706-549-3450 or  thenationalrestaurant@gmail.com

Scarbolo Wine Dinner at The National
Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 pm
$55 per person plus tax and gratuity

Our favorite Friulian winemaker, Valter Scarbolo,
is back for a special wine dinner at The National.
(If you’re into numbers, all four of these wines just
scored over 90 points from Parker)


1. fresh Sweetgrass Dairy goat cheese, local baby lettuces,
carrots, radishes and pecans, spring pea jus
pinot grigio, Scarbolo, ‘Ramato XL’, Friuli, Italy, 2008

2. grilled Florida rock shrimp, fennel-eggplant tagine, saffron couscous
bianco, Scarbolo, ‘My Time’, Friuli, Italy, 2007

3. veal hanger steak, mushroom-spanakopita, pancetta
merlot, Scarbolo, ‘Campo del Viotto’, Friuli, Italy, 2007

4. skewered lamb kefte and rib barbeque, fava hummus, fenugreek
refosco, Scarbolo, Friuli, Italy, 2006

5. pistachio-shortbread cookie, snow cap cookie sandwich
with blood orange-buttercream
housemade tangerine-cello


reservations: 706-549-3450 or thenationalrestaurant@gmail.com

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Once in awhile I’m lucky enough to experience a transformative meal changing the way I think about food, cooking, everything.  One of those for me was lunch at St. John in London, back in 2003.  In addition to the bone marrow and lamb sweetbreads, I fantasize about the eccles cake.  A simple pastry really, it’s buttery flakey pastry with a dense dried currant filling.  Clearly a trip to London would be required to ever have another eccles cake…  until the day I got to work and TWO eccles cakes were waiting for me!  My dear friend Richard smuggled them in on his way home for Christmas.  Just as good as I remember!  Recipe follows:

To see this story with its related links on the guardian.co.uk site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/27/recipes.foodanddrink


St John’s eccles cake

In the second of our week-long series of exclusive baking recipes, Fergus Henderson reveals the secrets behind the delicious eccles cakes served at the St John restaurants in London

Fergus Henderson
Tuesday November 27 2007
The Guardian


http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/27/recipes.foodanddrink


Makes at least 12 (leftover pastry freezes well)

Pastry
125g unsalted butter (butter A), cold from the fridge
500g strong white flour
Pinch of sea salt
250ml water
375g unsalted butter (butter B), cold from the fridge
Filling
50g unsalted butter
110g dark brown sugar
220g currants
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Glaze
3 egg whites, beaten with a fork
Shallow bowl of caster sugar

I stress the St John in our eccles cake, as I am sure that bakers in Eccles will not recognise them as the eccles cake they know. Oddly enough, for a restaurant with a carnivorous reputation, we serve a vegetarian eccles cake, omitting the traditional lard; we use puff pastry. This recipe’s results are delicious and particularly fine when consumed with Lancashire cheese.

To make the puff pastry, mix butter A with the flour and salt using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then cautiously add the water and mix until you have a firm paste. Pat into a square and wrap in clingfilm. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the pastry is rested, roll the paste into a rectangle about 8mm thick, then beat butter B between greaseproof paper into a rectangle a wee bit smaller than half the paste rectangle. Lay the butter on the paste, leaving a space at the end. Fold the unbuttered half over the butter and fold the edges over, so you now have butter in a paste package. Pat square, wrap in clingfilm, and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Roll the pastry square out into a rectangle in the opposite direction to your initial major fold. (Each time you roll out the pastry to fold, turn your pastry and roll across the previous direction you rolled. You will have to sprinkle flour on the surface of your rolling pin; and it is very important to dust the flour off the paste before folding it at every turn in the process.)

Once the pastry is approximately 1cm to 1.5cm thick, fold it like a traditional letter, with one end of the rectangle to the halfway mark, and the other end over this. Pat square and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to rest again. Repeat this process two more times, but no more! This is essential for successful puff. Return it to the fridge and rest for an hour or more. Do not be deterred - it seems like a more complicated process than it is in practice.

Now, to the filling. Melt the butter and sugar together, then add them to the dry ingredients, mix well, and then leave to cool before using.

We’re now ready to make the cakes. Roll the puff pastry out to 8mm thick and cut circles about 9cm in diameter. Spoon a blob of your cake mix into the centre of the disc and pull up the sides of the pastry to cover the filling, Seal it with your fingers, then turn it over and slash the top three times (for the Holy Trinity). Paint the top with the egg white, then dip it in the sugar. They are now ready to bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a hot to medium oven; keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn. They can be eaten hot or cold.

A version of this recipe appeared in the book Nose to Tail Eating, by Fergus Henderson, published by Bloomsbury.