On Tuesday 9th October I hosted my first supper club.
On the Seventh of October my brain kicked and screamed and begged me to cancel on the handful of friends who were attending. Instead, my hands (clearly working under the advice of some other organ, as my brain watched forlornly from the sidelines) typed out a message into a Facebook group of local vegans, offering up the remaining places to a troop of strangers. Within hours, I was fully booked. So there, brain.
I had my concept of a warming autumnal pan-Asian menu all set, and now I had a funny little jigsaw of friends and strangers to assemble around my dining room table. It was time to get to The Best Bit: the cooking.
Unfortunately for you reading this, the way I’ll have to convey this is via The Worst Bit: photography. Throughout my build-up to becoming a chef and my training in plant-based cuisine, food photography somehow got lost as the neglected middle child. She’s in a bit of an awkward phase – she’s fine, I guess, but a bit gangly, kind of spotty and speaks back more than we wish she would. She’ll grow out of it though – she’s already showing shiny little glimmers of hope that she will mature someday. With apologies for my preteen photography, please enjoy a break down of my first vegan supper club:
Autumnal Pan-Asian Supper Club Menu (09.10.18)
To start I made crispy cauliflower in a 5-spiced batter, with home made chilli sauce, sesame seeds, radishes and spring onions. The guests’ sparkling lemon and lime welcome drinks were mostly finished off along with this course. I sent out a silent prayer that the empty plates and glasses were an early sign of a winning meal, and not just people ensuring their mouths were full so they didn’t have to actually speak to the strange folk they’d come to share a table with.
For main I made a butternut squash laksa. Laksa is a Southeast Asian dish – a fragrant coconut-milk based noodle soup. Traditionally served with meat, I instead garnished with crispy fried tofu batons and fresh coriander.
I could hear chatter and bursts of laughter floating through to the kitchen, and so decided not to deliver my guests a sermon on the short history of the Laksa. Instead, I let them enjoy the wickedly hot soup I’d made sans biography.
For dessert I offered up apple and ginger puff pastry turnovers, with a ginger-spiced caramel sauce. This was, of course, an open-faced turnover, as pretension is an art and I am an artist (the warmest of thank yous to my guests for actually laughing at that one).
As no amount of sugar is too much sugar (don’t ask your doctor), lime and coconut chocolate truffles were served to end the evening. These evaded my camera, but did not evade miniature second helpings from each of my guests, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they were something special.
My guests took off into the night, giggling together like old pals (high off the sugar, clearly), and I was left absolutely elated. Everyone seemed to have really enjoyed their pick-n-mix company, and had devoured their food as they did so – plates were being polished off way past the point that my eating-to-avoid-talking theory held up. In fact, every single plate from every single course returned to the kitchen empty. So, really, truly, from the bottom of my heart: so there, brain.
If you missed out on this event, there are plenty of others coming up. The best place to be kept in the loop for upcoming supper clubs is my Instagram.