November: books and cooks

Finding myself without a co-host at short notice, I called upon my long-time Clapton friend Eleanor to give me a hand and save my sanity. Eleanor is the owner of Pages of Hackney, our wonderful local bookshop which I urge you to visit and support. I became friends with Eleanor when I invited her for pancake night at mine 5 years ago, having just walked into her brand new shop to check it out. Inviting total strangers over for dinner, hmm… do you see a pattern emerging?

Since she’d already attended our dinners twice, Eleanor knew exactly what to do to make our guests welcome. It was great to hear afterwards that this month’s dinner turned out to be her favourite too!

In attendance this month were graphic designer Ian and architect Sabine, Kat, who I’d met at Latitudinal Cuisine, my dear friend Suzi from next door, with whom over the years I have enjoyed a myriad of merry neighbourly get-togethers, funny Frenchman Nico and Annie, who volunteers at the fabulous Parkholme Supperclub. As I write this post a few months late, I really can’t remember much about our conversation, but I do know Nico was very, very entertaining!

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Our menu consisted of:

leek, fennel, apple + walnut soup with turmeric – a bright yellow and comforting wintry dish perfect for warming our guests up

stuffed squash + harvest, served with spinach – slightly adapted from the original recipe, but nonetheless delicious

– chocolate mousse with a pistachio dusting. I have been making this mousse since my student days, it’s quick and easy, and most importantly, delicious. Get in touch if you want the recipe!

Again this month, mostly because I was short on time, the recipes for the starter and main came from the wonderful First Mess that Sahar recommended us.

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Overall it was a lovely affair. I leave you with Suzi’s Facebook message: “What a great night – thank you for entertaining me and feeding me, a delightful time!”

Thank you so much Eleanor for your support and friendship!

Violaine – & Eleanor

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