Tag Archives: Supper Club

‘Malaysian by May’

Supper clubs are an amazingly sociable way to eat delicious food in homely, relaxed surroundings. I happily turn up to supper clubs on my own, knowing that there will be a roomful of friendly people to meet and that I’ll always have something in common with them…a love of food! I’m yet to have a bad supper club experience and am always looking for new and exciting events to attend. In June of this year I was excited to learn that a group of my favourite supper club hosts had joined forces to create…the Grazing Asia Supper Club, a collaboration between Luiz (The London Foodie), May (Slow Food Kitchen), Uyen(Leluu) and Mimi (Meemalee). I’m a huge fan of Leluu’s supper club, and have become a bit of a repeat attender and have even helped out behind the scenes on a couple of occasions. I’ve also taken part in a couple of The London Foodie’s cooking clubs and although I’ve met May at various foodie events I’ve never had the pleasure of sampling her cooking. So when I heard news of a Grazing Asia event called ‘Malaysian by May’ I jumped on it and booked myself a place. The event had the added bonus of being hosted at The London Foodie’s lovely house and having previously heard from him all about his kitchen renovation plans I was dying to take a peek at the finished masterpiece. I spent the first part of the evening admiring the gorgeous new fixtures and fittings and suffering a severe bout of aga envy, just check out this bad boy…

Once all the guests arrived we started the Malaysian feast with these delicate and refreshing Nonya Kerabu chicken lettuce cup wraps, which had a great chilli kick to get the taste buds going…

We all took our seats and May explained what she had in store for us, a gastronomic tour through the diverse cooking styles that make up Malay cuisine, which combines influences from Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisine.

The first dish we tried was Otak Otak, which is a spicy steamed fish custard…

The texture of this dish was something I’ve never experienced before and at first glance it looked pretty strange. But appearances can be deceptive…the light, spicy, set custard made with coconut milk, surrounded chunks of tender, flaky white fish. It melted in the mouth and was totally delicious!

Next up we had stir-fried Lala clams…

We got stuck in…all table manners went out the window as we used our hands to pluck the juicy clams from their shells and slurped the amazing garlicky liqor from the bowl…nothing was wasted!

My favourite dish of the evening was the Hokkien fried rice cakes…

Thick strips of gorgeously glutinous rice cake and fresh greens in a rich dark sauce, topped with the crispiest bacon lardons. The contrast of textures was perfect!

At this point May told us we’d only just finished our starters and the mains were still to come. This was my kind of meal!

The mains all came to the table in a neverending parade of deliciousness. We had Nonya Curry Kapitan Chicken…

Nonya Prawn Pineapple curry…

Slow Cooked Dongpo Pork Belly…

All served with spicy green beans and Nasi Lemak… 

 

which you top off with Sambal Ikan Bilis, a deliciously powerful dish made from deep fried anchovies, onion and tamarind paste… 

I don’t know where I found the space but I just couldn’t stop eating…everything was so flavourful and fragrant. The mix of flavours and textures were a sensation!

As we were all sinking into food coma’s, a pudding of Bubor Cha Cha, a warm coconut soup with sweet potatoes and yam, was served. I found it quite difficult to get my head around it because it was most definitely a sweet soup but was still very savoury in taste, especially when you came across a lump of sweet potato or yam. 

I have to say I’m not sure the coconut soup was my cup of tea as it didn’t satisfy my incredibly sweet tooth but there was no need to worry as we were also presented with a huge pile of incredible coconut candy…

I had to leave very shortly afterwards full to the brim with delicious food and on a complete sugar high. What a fantastic evening of delicious food and great company. I can’t wait for the next one.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

St Patricks Day with Pistachio and Pickle

Pistachio and Pickle launched themselves into the London Supper Club scene all guns blazing back in October 2010. I’ve been following them on twitter and dying to visit from the word go! I can’t believe it took me 6 long months to get myself organised enough to book but the minute the tweet went out about their St Patricks Day feast I pounced on it and booked myself and a couple of friends in.

The thing I love about Supper Clubs is the way that you’re drip fed information and only discover the location, in this case via text message 48 hours beforehand.

Come Friday night, we hopped on the district line, way out east and ended up bang on time on Matt and Steve’s doorstep, clutching our bottles of wine. We got an extremely enthusiastic welcome from their lovely dog, Cooper and were handed a chilled glass of fizz while we waited for the other guests to arrive.

I was lucky enough to be sat at the head of the table, which just screamed St Patrick Day thanks to the liberally sprinkled glittery shamrocks…

I’d been so looking forward to the evening that I’d practically memorised the menu. But there were still a couple of good surprises in store…

The amuse bouche, billed as ‘a hint of the black stuff’, was served in a mini Guinness glass, only about 2 inches tall, filled with delicious leek and potato soup and topped with bacon foam. Matt wouldn’t spill as to how he’d made the soup black…it remains a mystery…

Then we had a special Pistachio & Pickle take on the Irish Breakfast…a shamrock shaped potato farl, topped with a poached duck egg yolk and a strip of crispy pancetta, surrounded by black pudding crumble….

It was so delicious that even my friend Hannah who had sworn she wouldn’t touch black pudding, not only tried it but nearly polished the whole lot off!

The next course was called clover leaf scallops…3 delicate, perfectly cooked scallops, with a pea puree and a fresh-from-the-sea flavoured mixture of cockles and shrimps…

Next up…Irish stew. A slow cooked lamb neck stew, topped with a beautifully cooked lamb steak and roasted onions, which was served with a potato and carrot confit. I couldn’t fault a single thing about this course…it was divine!…

Our waistbands were already straining but hey, there’s always room for cheese right?? Matt and Steve had selected 3 cheese from the Emerald Isle…

From top left in an anticlockwise direction we had…Coolea, Ardrahan and Crozier Blue. The Coolea was a slightly harder cows milk cheese, with a distinct but delicious butterscotch taste to it. The Ardrahan was semi soft and beautifully creamy and the Crozier blue, comes from the makers of Cashel Blue and is made from sheeps milk and although it’s a blue cheese has a very delicate flavour. I can’t pick a favourite because I loved them all. However, the icing on the cake for me were the amazing homemade pickles that were served alongside the cheese…

There was a huge jar of pear, apple and walnut pickle that we worked our way through but the piece de resistance for me was the fig preserve with ginger and orange…

My friend Hannah was cheeky ehough to ask, and Matt and Steve were gracious enough to humour us and let us take the jar home! I’m eagerly waiting until I get myself some cheese good enough to deserve being topped with the magic preserve 🙂

By this stage the wine and conversation had been flowing freely, I’d got my next holiday destination sorted after a personal recommendation from Matt’s Dad to visit Cordoba and was stuffed to the hilt but we still had one more course to go!

It was descibed as ‘Giants’ Causeway Dessert’, which baffled us all until it arrived in front of us with an explanation. For those of you (like me) who may not know what the Giants Causeway in County Antrim is a unique rock formation that looks like this…

and the dessert, bearing an uncanny resemblance, looked like this…

It was really yummy, however, due to slightly over enthusiastic wine consumption my notes aren’t particularly legible, but I believe it was black cherry jelly with homemade baileys ice cream, vanilla cream and…popping candy!

The popping candy was a really fun touch, which, for me, summed up the ethos of the Pistachio and Pickle supper club!

We finished with a coffee and then had to hotfoot it out of the door to catch the last tube. We’d had such a great night that we were sad to rush off but before we did we were presented with a goody bag containing a jar of the pear chutney we’d had with the cheese course and a beautiful mini green macaron.

Our evening, on leaving the house was a bit of an adventure, involving a series of public transport fails…but that’s a story for another time! We had such a lovely time, with delicious food, welcoming hosts and great company…I’ll be back in a flash…if they’ll have me 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lex’s brunch marathon…

Last weekend I went to my first ever brunch supper club courtesy of Lexeat. Following Lex’s tweets, I know she’s been busy perfecting all manner of brunch-like delights recently and had an inkling that we were in for some real treats! In pre-emption of the sheer number of calories I was about to put away I liberated my poor, rusty old mountain bike from under the tarpaulin in the back garden and rode over to to Lex’s warehouse flat in De Beavoir Town.

I’ve only met Lex once before but thanks to the wonder that is the world wide web and our twitter baking chats I felt really relaxed and at home as soon as I stepped through the door. Johanna (I hope I’ve spelt that right) leapt straight into the role of hostess with the mostess and plied me with a bloody mary, the first one I’ve ever had containing dill…an unexpected but delicious addition!

The tables were beautifully laid, ready and waiting for us with the menu written in a trail around the place settings…

Once my fellow brunchers arrived and introductions had been made we settled down for our first course, which was baked quails eggs on moroccan spiced peppers…

Followed by sweet potato fritters stacked with halloumi and served with an avocado salsa, coriander creme fraiche and a homemade chilli jam which I absolutely fell in love with and could easily have eaten by the spoonful!…

The sun was streaming through the windows as Lex served us up sweet and refreshing pears poached in prosecco with homemade granola and greek yoghurt

As if those 3 wonderful courses weren’t enough…it was now time for the carb fest to commence!…

Friands, chelsea buns and English muffins…

croissants…

Lex was worried that her chelsea buns were a bit ‘sunburnt’ but I can vouch for the fact that this didn’t have a detrimental effect on their deliciousness! It just so happens that by coincidence me and Lex made our first ever batch of chelsea buns on the very same day and had been comparing notes, my versions are here and Lex’s here.

The friands were amazing, they looked quite unassuming and simple until you bit into them…they were unbelievably moist and melted in your mouth, I’m salivating just thinking about them…

It goes without saying that I sampled all of the above, and couldn’t resist slathering the muffins with homemade pineapple jam…

homemade rhubarb jam…

and homemade lime marmalade (of which I was lucky enough to be given a jar to take home with me!)…

Every single morsel was lovingly Lex-made…here she is making the magic happen…

My neighbours, Tiffany (who has also blogged the brunch here) and Niamph of Eat like a Girl fame were wonderful company and conversation and coffee from Climpson and Sons flowed endlessly. Before we knew it 4 hours had passed by. I eventually stopped myself eating and felt able to get back on my bike, I bid farewell to our lovely hostesses and rode off, a lot slower than I arrived 😉

It was the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon, great food and great company…I just couldn’ do it too often or I would be the size of a truck!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

oh what a lovely pear!

I’ve been following ‘The London Foodie’ blog for a while now. It’s written by a total foodie called Luiz Hara, who is based, yep you guessed it…in London!. I don’t know how he does it but, seemingly effortlessly he seeks out and frequents an endless selection of London eateries, supper clubs and events and then finds time alongside a full time job to share his experiences and mouth watering photography via his blog. He also runs the London Cooking Club, a monthly supper club with a difference…the idea is that every month has a different theme, Luiz devises a menu and sends it out to the attendees the week before for them to pick the dish that they want to prepare and bring along, with an accompanying wine. Past themes have been Ottolenghi, ‘Demystifying Japanese cooking’ and cooking styles from a variety of countries such as Syria and Portugal and it’s usually based on recipes from one particular cook book. I saw Luiz advertising a ‘French Provincial Cooking’ evening focussing on the recipes of iconic British food writer Elizabeth David, who had her first book published in 1960…

She was responsible for bringing French and Italian cuisine to post war Britain. Her recipes convey her strong personality, she was definitely a lady who knew her mind and this comes across in her non-fluffy, succint, verging on curt instructions…I like her! I chose to take on the dessert that Luiz had selected…poires etuvees au vin rouge (pears baked in red wine). The recipe was brief to say the least…

I fell at the first hurdle…I don’t own an aga 😦 and was so ill prepared that I even had to buy a brand spanking new cast iron pot and get it shipped here tout de suite. 

I woke early on Saturday morning feeling a bit apprehensive and cracked on prepping the comice pears by peeling them and submerging them in their bath of wine, sugar and water…

where they would remain bubbling away inside a ‘slow oven’, which after having done some internet research I concluded was approx 120 degrees, for 5-7 hours!! I don’t think I’ve ever cooked anything for that long, let alone a humble pear but what Elizabeth wants…Elizabeth gets, who am I to argue?

With a good few hours to kill before those babies’d be ready, I hopped on my bike and headed to Crouch End to pick up the wine I’d selected to accompany my dessert and a wedge of reblochon, my contribution to the cheeseboard.

4 hours later, my house smelled amazing and this is what the pears looked like…good but not yet good enough…

After 6 long, slow hours they had indeed turned a gorgeous dark mahogany colour just as Elizabeth says they would… 

I’d only been able to fit 6 pears in my pot and with 12 mouths to feed there weren’t any spares to taste test, which was slightly nerve wracking. So I tried to exercise some patience (not something that comes naturally) and packaged them up in an attempt to public transport-proof them ready for the journey to Islington.

At 7.30pm I turned up at Luiz’s, was welcomed warmly into his stunning home and plied with Sipsmith gin (my fave) and tonic. The guests arrived in a  steady stream, we were introduced to one another and given a quick run down of how the evening would work. Not long after this we were served the hors d’oeuvres…rillettes de lapin (potted rabbit and pork) prepared by Cara. I have to admit, I’ve never tried rabbit before and decided it was delicious…

Next we had oeufs benedictine sur brandade de morue (poached eggs on cream of salted cod with hollandaise sauce) prepared by our lovely hosts Gerald and Luiz…

My photo really doesn’t do it justice but I absolutely loved this course…it completely pandered to my love affair with salt!

Next up Tiffany had made the potage creme Normande (Normandy cream of fish soup) but had bravely added a couple of her own twists to add flavour to what was a pretty basic recipe…I’m not sure what Elizabeth would have said about going off piste but I thought Tiffany’s tweaks worked wonders…it was so delicate but full of flavour, a nice departure from the thick stewy soups that have become so popular nowadays…

Kelly and Ben had managed to source the mother of all salmon trout, the length of a strong man’s arm, to make truite saumonee au four avec beuree de montpelier (whole baked salmon trout with montpellier butter). They also decided to veer away from Elizabeths method in favour of Delia, who’s recommendation on cooking times differed by about 6 hours…I don’t blame them!

It was served with puree de celeri-rave at pomme de terre (celeriac & potato purèe) prepared by Lucy…

The veritable meat fest that was the casoulet de Toulouse (beans with pork, mutton, sausage and duck) had been prepared by Elizabeth and Hugh and was divine, tender but not mushy…cooked to perfection!…

And as if we hadn’t already eaten the equivalent of a full meal, this was followed by the boeuf a la Bourgignonne (beef stew with red wine, onions and mushroom) cooked by Libbie and served alongside Johanna’s endives au beurre (endives stewed in butter)…

Again, my photo’s just don’t do the dish justice but the beef was exquisitely tender and the typical bitterness of the endives was balanced perfectly by the rich, smooth butter…heaven!

But next up, was a sight to behold…the cheeseboard of wonder…

We had all brought a French cheese to contribute to this beauty and I’m proud to say, I worked my way through and tried every.single.last.one!

All of this eating and wine quaffing takes time and it was gone midnight by the time I served les desserts…

poires etuvees au vin rouge (pears baked in red wine)…

The moment of truth had arrived and I have to blow my own trumpet and say that my pears were absolutely bloody gorgeous. They were sweet, but served cold, were incredibly refreshing. Just what we needed after so many rich courses. I served them in their juice with some extra thick double cream. I had sought advice from my friend Hannah, earlier in the week, who made contact with Xavier Rousset, MD of Texture to ask for his opinion on wine pairing. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to source the Bouvet Ladubet Rubis that he recommended but I jotted it down and asked for the next best thing at my local wine shop and this is what they came up with…

a sparling white from the Loire. it was delicious and the perfect accompaniment to the sweet, syrupy pears.

We were all completely and utterly sated by this point and my fellow guests started to book taxi’s as it was getting pretty late. I wasn’t far behind but was at the mercy of Luiz’s amazing hospitality and even more amazing liqueur cabinet…

I finally left sometime after 3am, having a had a wonderful evening full of gorgeous food in very fine company. I loved the communal style of dinner party, which everyone had contributed to and shared and despite not having known anyone at the start of the evening I felt like I had made a roomful of friends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Supper club revisitations

It has been 2 months since my first foray into the world of the underground restaurant. It all started with a trip to the Fernandez and Leluu Supper Club. I wrote a gushing account of the experience here. Kim and I have been dying to return and decided to invite a few friends who we knew would love it as much as we had…after all it’s good to share right??

I felt strangely at home walking into Simon and Uyen’s gorgeous eclectic flat…

After a pleasant spell in the garden with a glass of wine we settled down at our tables for an epic Vietnamese feast…

We started with Banh cuon (delicate, thin sheets of rice noodle served coldwith pork belly…

then prawn and squid paste on sugar cane…

it was so light and fragrantly tasty and the sugar cane added a whole new dimension of flavour when chewed (chewing the cane was recommended I wasn’t just being a heathen).

The next course was BBQ spare ribs and a chicken salad…

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better we were served Bun Bo Hue, a beef broth with noodles that was just bursting with flavour…

But in my opinion the best savoury dish had truly been saved until last…the most mouth-wateringly tender lemongrass beef wrapped in vine leaves, served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce. My photo really doesn’t do it justice but you’ll just have to take my word for it…I didn’t want it to end…

However, all good things must come to an end and we finished off the perfect meal with a dainty tea cup full of zingy, coconut sorbet…

The real beauty of Simon and Uyen’s food is that it’s so fresh and full of taste! I’m in complete awe of how they manage to shoehorn so much flavour into what are in essence fairly uncomplicated dishes. It’s honest food, the kind of food that you can’t hide behind. I can say, hand on heart, that I would choose a meal at the Fernandez and Leluu Supper Club over the showy foams and emulsions offered in eateries like the Dorchester or L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon any day of the week.

Thank you Simon and Uyen! 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

9 courses of pure joy and wonderment

I’m up pretty early on my day off because I felt the urge to share with you the pure gastronomic joy and wonderment that I experienced last night at the Fernandez and Leluu Supper Club. I’m gutted to have to admit that I didn’t take photo’s of my food as I felt a little bit conspicuous in the setting of Simon and Uyen’s lovely home, which was so relaxing with an atmosphere so unlike that of a restaurant that it just didn’t feel right. I am also aware that I may be labelled as ‘one of those annoying people who takes photos of everything they eat’ and although that does sound pretty accurate I’m not sure I like it and at least can work on taking the ‘annoying’ bit out of that sentence 🙂

So I’m afraid all I can do it tell you all about the most delicious meal I have eaten in….well…forever!

We arrived at Simon and Uyen’s house clutching our bottle’s of wine and with our cash donations tucked away in our purses. Fortunately there were quite a few first timers like us so we weren’t alone in initially feeling slightly strange that we’d just rocked up at a strangers house and were now drinking wine and making small talk in their back yard.

Any awkwardness disappeared when we were lured to our tables by the intoxicating smell of fresh baked garlic bread, which I’m actually calling course number 1. There was a seating plan for the evening and Kim and I were very lucky to be sat on a table for 4 with 2 lovely supper companions.

From that point on, the wine and conversation flowed freely and we were brought out a steady stream of the most delectable dishes….9 courses in total!

Course 2 – We started with a pea soup with basil, topped with parmesan shavings and lardons of succulent ham.

Course 3 – Next up were figs stuffed with goats cheese and topped with proscuitto and pine nuts.

Course 4 – We then shared sweet potato tortilla with a tomato picante sauce and a really fresh cucumber and feta salad.

Course 5 – Then fresh and zingy carrot and chicken salad served with deep fried lotus (something I have never seen or heard of before) and prawn crackers.

Course 6 – Next we had banh cuon (thai pasta sheets) with cured ham and pork belly, which was to die for.

Course 7 – Just when we thought the meal was nearly over they places a huge plate of the freshest, most tender tuna Sashimi and chips in front of us and we were in pure ecstasy! I’ve never had sashimi before so have nothing to compare it to but 

Course 8 – We were all pretty full at this point but managed to devour a delicious bowl of beef pho.

Course 9 – The final course was a coconut sorbet with cointreau, which was exactly what was needed to finish the meal of perfectly!

Well…what can I say…I have fallen in love with the Fernandez and Leluu Supper club and will most definitely be returning if they’ll have me back. I was totally amazed at the professional standard of the food being produced in what was in reality a fairly small non commercial kitchen. We all commented on the quality of the food – there had definitely been no expense spared on ingredients and it was worth every penny of my donation. I believe that that standard of food can only be produced by people who fully appreciate, understand and have an all encompassing passion for food and I have come away from my first supper club experience completely and utterly inspired!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized