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My very first supperclub...
Shoegal attended in February 2013,
reviewed on 3 February 2013
Fabulous food, wonderful company.. but read on..
My first supper club. The words revolved around my mind as I gazed at my wardrobe considering what to wear. Of course something that gave at the waist without having to lean back in my hosts chair and undo a belt buckle amidst total strangers! A top that looked nice, comfortable and probably wouldn't mind ruining should I over salivate and drool down it, or throw food down myself. Well, we've all been there - I just never grew out of that toddler stage :(
Once satisfied with one's clobber I set off to SE16 feeling confident in my timing and feeling damn hungry too.
Promptly I arrived at Lisa's abode. A lovely smiling face greeted me as I inquired if it was Lisa, which it was, but not the right one. I was told Lisa was in the kitchen. Walking into the lovely calming influence of a warmly decorated apartment, I sunk into a sofa gazing longingly at the beautifully decorated dining table softly lit by candles and thought "thank God for the mellow tunes, my stomach is making a richter scale nervous".
Somebody else popped out of the kitchen. "Lisa"? No, Lisa was in the kitchen. I was offered a warm sorrel drink or a lime and ginger cooler. I went for the latter and was given the opportunity to dilute with water to alter to my taste buds. I only added the water to see if it was as delicious with more water, or less. The heat of the ginger, the sharpness of the lime, gave the sugar a run for its money. I have to resort to a word I am not keen on, but it was "moreish"
Other diners turned up shortly after. Most of us virgins!
Lisa, our host, appeared from the kitchen smiling broadly, looking calm and greeted us all warmly, with ease and comfort offering us our first nibble of the evening. Ackee and saltfish served in won ton's.
Ackee resembling the texture of lightly fluffed scambled egg alongside the shredded saltfish with a tad of spice fused onto my tongue with the unexpected twist of won ton crunching alongside. "oh yum" I think I said aloud...
We were offered a seat at the dining table and talked amongst ourselves with ease.
Then the calloo and cabbage with prawns was brought onto the table by Lisa giving us some background about the ingredient. This was partnered by breadfruit, sweet potato thinly sliced and lightly fried – or baked - I am not sure, as it was beautifully crisp and not at all oily. Ackee and saltfish, calloo/cabbage and prawns scooped onto the breadfruit (a carbohydrate fruit, but veg like) sandwiched with the sweet potato crisp was a combination I did not want to leave. However, the words "pace yourself girl" sprung to mind.
Lisa appeared from the kitchen with a large server of Guava jerk chicken that had been marinating in her own home made jerk seasoning. Some of the ingredients brought back from Jamaica during her recent trip. Lisa disappeared again to return shortly with a large jar of that marvellous jerk seasoning where we were all offered to take in its aroma. This stuff needs to be sold online! Its combination of scotch bonnet and assorted spices, secret recipes and richness left me like a small child with a turned down bottom lip and outstretched hands saying “want”!
As if Lisa heard me, out she popped from the bottomless kitchen again with jerk pork accompanied with a warm jerk dressing on the side. “Pace yourself girl”! To accompany all this, was a pineapple salad sharpened with sourness and sweetness that clung to the pork like its mate for life. Marriage made in heaven.
At the same time the rice and peas were being ladled onto my plate by my very own hand. Lisa explaining how she cooked this, why it was made with pigeon beans rather than kidney beans. I can’t tell you why the difference as I was lost in the lightness of the rice, the al dente bite of the pigeon beans and the ‘without fail, that is real coconut milk, not tinned stuff”. A little bit of that, a little bit of jerk pork, some pineapple salad and jerk sauce carefully scooped onto my fork and lost onto my palate in paradise. I managed that action many times with the same result.
I consumed this food and engaged in a variety of subject matter with my wonderful and interesting co-diners.
Amongst this excellent food and company, Lisa appeared engaging with us, explaining historical elements of food, preparation and challenges. At all times, I got the impression she enjoyed cooking and feeding people. If I wasn’t so absorbed, I would have thrown flower petals at her feet!
Escovitch fish. Fried sea bream with a vegetable accompaniment that had been pickled in Jamaican cane vinegar.
The fish was served without a tear drop of oil, beautifully crisp outer coating and moist flesh. The flesh fell effortlessly off the bone. I combined it with the pickled veg and the world stopped for a short while, my upper arms got goosebumps as I slowly allowed this combination of textures and flavours assault my taste buds in the most delicious way.
I miss it now, writing this… my mouth waters…
Thereafter, desserts were presented together. A plate of banana fritters that I kept going back to, served alongside a rice pudding brulee where Lisa told me to “crack the top, don’t worry, make as much mess as you like” So I did.. The hardness of the sugar top and softness of the rice pudding was set off with reggae hot chocolate. I then imbibed in more banana fritter, taking a bit of this, a bit of that and a slurp of hot choccie.
Throughout this dinner, the conversation flowed. The food almost took on a physical representation of our topics. Beautiful, sad, spicy, funny, unusual, enlightening, inspirational and so much more.
If you get the chance to go to Lisa’s kitchen just for the food and Lisa, you will not be disappointed, very far from it. If you are gifted with the same dining companions with me last night, you’ll leave with not just a big smile, but a sense of contentment.
This is what dining together is all about..
Fabulous food and wonderful company.
Thank you Lisa. You have skills girl!
Thanks to my companions – you know who you were. x