A couple of weekends ago I had a great evening at a supper club in Bristol. It’s organized by Lia and Juliet, who share the same allotment in Bristol. This time last year I had never heard of a supper club; they are pop-up restaurants organized by foodies, often in their own homes, and are popular in cities. My wife, who writes as wellywoman, found out about this one as she follows the blog of the garden writer Lia Leendertz. We have been to four in a row now. The reason that we keep going back is that the food is always stunning. Because they share the allotment they tailor the menu around what’s growing on the plot. That means that the menu is always vegetarian. Although I’m not a veggie I love to seek out vegetarian food, as I find that more often than not the food is more imaginative. In the case of the supper club, the menus are always at least 5 courses, and always inventive, see here for previous menus.

Vignarola -Italian broth with ricotta and herb dumplings.

Vignarola -Italian broth with ricotta and herb dumplings.

At previous supper clubs I spotted that there is a piano in the dining room of the venue. Unfortunately it hadn’t been tuned for a long time and wasn’t being used. Lia is also a singer in a Country and Western band called the Bishopston Borders band, see here for a video of set they did at Grillstock 2011. So I had suggested to her that we could have a go with me playing I wish I knew How it Would Feel to Be Free, whilst she sang along. Unfortunately she was far too busy making our tasty food so she didn’t get chance to learn the words. But she had had the piano tuned, so instead of playing the jazz piece I played Ludovico Einaudi’s I Giorni* as people arrived. It’s such a beautiful piece (one of my favourites), and I like to think that it added a nice atmosphere to the start of the evening. I didn’t go on to play IWIKHIWFTBF in the end, as everyone had arrived by the time I finished and I didn’t want to be anti-social.

We sat down to eat and were not disappointed. Particular highlights were: Homemade rhubarb Jammie Dodgers (see here for recipe), Peach leaf Martini, and Lemon Geranium Sherbet that came with a Lemon Posset. They also made a mimosa to go with roasted asparagus, which was a new one for me.

At the end of the night I came away with a sourdough starter: Juliet’s partner makes fantastic sourdough bread and was kind enough to give me some of his starter (which is years old). Since the supper club I have made a few of my own loafs (wholemeal and spelt) and they have been delicious. OK so I forgot to slash the top of the previous one, which meant that it split at the side as it rose, but it still tasted great. I am keeping my starter in the fridge most of the time, bringing it out to warm up hours before I go to make the starter sponge. It is a real joy to be baking my own bread again, especially when the results are so tasty. Below is my latest (still warm as this post is uploaded!).

A tasty spelt and wholemeal sourdough I baked tonight

A tasty spelt and wholemeal sourdough I baked tonight

* I am going to record myself playing I Giorni soon so that you can all “enjoy it.

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