Hey Folks, I hope everyone is well and looking after themselves.
Sadly I have to cancel this week’s supper club. While thankfully I’m still healthy, given the current advice I think it’s not worth the risk of anyone getting sick.
Also because people are being eejits and stripping the shop shelves of basic ingredients I couldn’t guarantee being able to serve a menu I’d be happy with.
I have been in touch with anyone who had booked and refunded their payment.
I’d like to thank anyone who booked or was interested in attending for their support. As soon as we return to saner times I will definitely be running this event again and hope you can join us, (after all this social distancing I think we’ll all need a good night out).
I hope everyone stays well, and can find new and exciting ways to amuse yourselves while we’re all on lockdown. If all else fails there’s always wine!
Food in Istanbul is relatively cheap and fantastic. Because of its location there is plenty of good seafood available. I expected there to be alot of street food, but it seemed limited to roast corn on the cob, or roast chestnuts.
Similar to Greek cuisine, lamb is also popular, and different types of kebab abound. Istanbul is a city where you could still eat really well if you’re vegetarian. Cheese and yoghurt dishes are popular, but your choices might be limited if you’re vegan.
Most restaurants also offer a meze (mixed starter of different dips and salads).
One of my favour things about the food, was the delicious bread served everywhere. Many places would make traditional flatbread in front you when you ordered. I’m not ashamed to say I’m a carb junkie.
I love coffee, but found the tar like Turkish coffee too strong for my taste.
What I did discover is that I actually don’t hate tea after all. Most meals are finished with a little glass of tea, and is usually pretty sweet, and comes in different flavours.
Istanbul has some amazing markets not least the spice Bazaar.
The spice bazaar sells all sorts of food stuffs, including cheese, fish and olives. Its a foodie heaven.
No matter which district you go to in Istanbul you’ll find amazing bakeries and sweet shops.
The Turkish people it seems have an incredibly sweet tooth.
Baklava, nougat and Turkish delight come in endless varieties.
If you’re nervous about buying sweets, spices etc. loose, every shop seemed to have professionally produced and packaged versions. These also make great gifts. I did have to talk myself out of buying Turkish tea glasses, spice grinders, copper coffee pots.
Honestly, if you going to the bazaars and you like to cook, only bring a set amount of money with or else you’ll go nuts. I still came home with tea glasses, and more baklava and Turkish delight than my waistline needs.
I made this as the main course for the October Supper Club, and had clean plates all round. This is proper Winter is coming, comfort food. Beef, cooked long and slow in dark velvety beer to make a rich unctuous gravy.
If this wasn’t delicious enough, light tasty cheese scones bake on top, giving a crunchy top. Plenty of winter vegetables add to the rich savouryness of it all. This also freezes really well.
500ml Porter, stout or other dark beer
100 Grams Smoked Bacon
750 Grams Chuck beef
2 Stalks of celery
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
250ml Beef stock
4 Stalks of Thyme (or 1 Tsp of dried thyme)
Salt and pepper
For the scones
200 Grams Self-raising flour
50 Grams Butter
100 Grams Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1/2 Tsp Garlic powder
Cut the bacon into small strips and fry in a large dry pan until crispy. Remove the bacon and set to one side
Cut the beef into 2-3 cm chunks and brown in the same pan used to fry the bacon, remove from the pan
Cut the vegetables into chunks and add to the pan, cook for 5 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the meat back to the pan, add the the stock and beer to the pan and stir to make sure all the tasty crispy bits get stirred into the sauce
Cover with a lid and simmer for 90 minutes
Remove the lid and check the seasoning, allow to simmer for another 30 minutes without the lid to allow the sauce to thicken, then allow to cook
For the scones, cut the butter into small cubes, and rub into the flour
Add the garlic powder, and grated cheese and stir until we’ll distributed
Add the milk a little at a time, until the mix comes together and is moist but not too sticky
Turn onto a floured surface, and cut into 6 equal sized pieces (don’t handle too much or the scones will be tough)
Place the scones on top of the beef mixture. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees for 30 minutes until crispy and golden
Having dinner with a bunch of strangers can be a little intimidating. So on a mild October evening, a small group of brave souls took a chance on a night in with the Sunnyside Supper Club.
We had a fantatic mix of people. A couple, a pair or friends who wanted a night out that was a little different and some solo diners who were foodies and wanted to meet new people. In this group we had people who lived a couple of streets away, and two ladies that originally hailed from as far away as Trinidad and New York.
We also had some local flavour with delicious beers that the lovely people at NORN IRON Brew Co. provided. I used their Temple Imperial Porter as the base of my beef dish, and almost had to stop people licking their plates.
I’ll admit I was nervous, would everyone turn up, would they like the food, and would everyone mix OK. I needn’t have worried. Everyone turned up, and they rolled home unable to eat another bite. Wine flowed, stories were shared and I actually laughed until I cried at one point.
A big thank you to all the gorgeous people who helped make it such a brilliant night.
We started off with a welcome drink, and I experimented with Negroni’s, some people liked them for others it was a too alcoholic, so they went with prosecco or one of the range of beers that NORN IRON Brew Co. provided. After a little shot of soup served as an amuse bouche to get everyone’s appetite started, we had a light salad with pear, blue cheese and walnuts. The main event was braised beef, cooked long and slow in Porter and topped with cheese scone dumplings. I’ll be posting the recipe soon. I also had a vegetarian version made with mushrooms and walnuts in a red wine sauce. Some meat eaters also tried some this as a second helping and we’re impressed that it was proper veggie comfort food.
I had planned to make an apple and blackberry galette, but it turns out I missed the local blackberry season by a week or two, so added cinnamon instead. I had both ice cream and custard on offer and most people had both. I’d never had both with a dessert before, but it definitely works.
On a wet Friday night, I was transported to the Caribbean by Debbie and her amazing food. Partly in the name of research for my own supper club, and because I knew very little about Caribbean food, I went to Debbie’s supper club, D Rum Pot.
Debbie warmed up the evening with a rum and mango cocktail (dangerously easy to drink), and the company was great, including a couple of very glamorous ladies in their nineties!
What can I say about the food, fresh, delicious and full of flavour. I had jerk beef which was fantastic, but she also served vegan vegetable curry which was also great.
The side dishes were amazing as well. Flakey flat bread, roast tomato chutney, coleslaw with a kick, and I don’t know she did to the corn but it tasted out of this world.
Debbie and her friend Angela were fun and relaxed hosts, and we all probably ate and drank more than we meant to. Having listened to Debbie describe her home of Trinidad I definitely want to visit.
On a wet night, when I was tired after week at work, D Rum Pot definitely put some pep back in my step. Debbie runs the supper club but also provides outside catering. Check out D Rum Pot on Facebook.
Shop bought granola can be expensive and sometimes a bit blah. This version is a feast of different tastes and textures. It’s also quick and easy to make, and tastes better than anything you can buy.
I like to team it up with some Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit for a quick and wholesome breakfast that will definitely keep you full until lunch. It also tastes really good sprinkled over ice cream for some crunch. This will keep well in airtight container for 10-14 days.
250 Grams Porridge oats
100 Grams Dessicated coconut
25 Grams Sunflower seeds
25 Grams Pumpkin seeds
50 Grams Pitted dates
50 Grams almonds
100 Grams Peanut butter
3 Tbsp Maple syrup
100 Ml Vegetable oil
Add all the ingredients to a bowl
Get your hands in and makes sure the peanut butter is rubbed thoroughly in the mixture
Transfer to a baking tray, and put in an oven preheated to 180 degrees
Bake for 30 minutes, half way through take the mix out and stir the mixture to make sure it cooks evenly
When visting Dubrovnik, we decided to take an excursion to see Mostar in Bosnia, which is a couple of hours away. The countryside along the way was rugged and beautiful, with lush orange groves, pencil cypresses and wild pomegranates everywhere.
Like Dubrovnic, Mostar dates back many centuries, and had been owned or occupied by various rulers during it’s history. It also suffered badly in the war that followed the break up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and large parts including the medieval old bridge had to be rebuilt.
Mostar has some amazing Ottoman architecture, and while it’s maybe a little more rough around the edges it does seem a bit less sterile than Dubrovnik, and is a lot more affordable. There are plenty of local artisans ready to sell you leather and brass tourist tat. Eating and drinking is cheap and hearty, our waiter suggested a local dish (we never got the name), made up of bread, spicy sausages, vegetables and a sweet spicy red pepper relish which was delicious. This along with a couple of beers was half the price we had paid for an overpriced pizza in Dubrovnik. This is a really interesting and historic part of the world, and well worth a visit, but a day is probably enough to see the old town.
I have an amazing sister in law from New York. Before she married my brother she let me stay in her apartment across the street from a brilliant Whole Foods supermarket (I honestly could have lived there).
New York has fabulous food, but my favourite thing to do when I arrived back after a tiring day of sightseeing was go to Whole Foods for a Sonoma chicken wrap. These also make a great lunchbox staple. The filling can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Serve the wrap along with some soup for a quick and tasty supper.
This is my version, and combines soft and crunchy, sweet and savoury. You can change the proportions of the ingredients based on your own preferences.
4 Flour tortillas
250 grams Cooked chicken
2 Stalks of celery
50 grams Pecan nuts
100 grams Black grapes
2 Tbsps. Crème Fraiche
2 Tbsps. Mayonnaise
Toast pecans in a dry pan, until they smell
nutty. The nuts can burn really quickly
so keep an eye on them. This may seem
like a faff, but it’s worth doing as it really improves the flavour
Dice or shred the chicken
Chop the celery into small dice and halve the
Combine all the ingredients, and season with
salt and pepper to taste
Lay out the tortillas and fill the centre with
lettuce and the chicken filling, roll up and devour