February: no wallflowers here!

Hello Clapton Potters,

This post is coming to you from Anna, the newest member of the Clapton Pot team. I’m thrilled to be writing this post after my first night co-hosting the Clapton Pot with the wonderful Violaine (find her @saladefolle on Twitter).

For those who haven’t met me yet, I’m half Scottish, half Icelandic and I grew up in the small island of Jersey. I’m a relatively new Claptonite, having moved here just over a year ago. I sing a lot and, more often than not, you’ll find me wearing a hat. I like to cook, I really love to eat and I’m always excited to meet new folk from the area (and further a field). The Clapton Pot combines so many of the things I enjoy so here’s to loads of fantastic nights spent with plenty of interesting characters!

There was a lot of ground to cover this month, as it was my first time hosting. Over brunch (naturally) Violaine and I ran through ticketing, social media etiquette and other elements crucial to the running of the Clapton Pot. I’ll certainly be learning on the job but I think we’re off to a flying start!

I’m ashamed to say I’ve lived in the area for this long and only yesterday did I fully explore Ridley Road Market. A veritable feast for the eyes and ears – we learnt about the world’s best sweet potatoes and hunted down the only blood oranges in East London. (Maybe an exaggeration but rest assured, they’re quite hard to find). If you dread Tesco (and who doesn’t?) get yourself out of bed on a Saturday and down to Ridley Road to make your weekly shop a pleasure rather than a chore. At one pound for a huge bowl of veg, you really can’t go wrong.

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After a good few hours of ticking items off our list and getting distracted by the sights and smells of a sunny Saturday morning, our shopping trolley was loaded to the brim and we were ready to begin prepping for our three course offering.

We were hosting this month at Violaine’s beautiful flat. After a quick lunch of goats cheese on a slice of delicious seeded bread from E5 Bakehouse bought from Organic & Natural we set to work chopping, peeling, mixing, toasting and folding. Time flew and before we knew it, supper was upon us and our first guest Becks was through the door. And very soon everyone, except for a very disappointing no show guest, were gathered around chatting happily with a glass of wine firmly in hand.

The cooking for the night went relatively smoothly as a lot of the dishes were prepped in advance:

– Our starter of roasted beetroot with hearty mozzarella and balsamic and beetroot vinaigrette looked great visually with the hot pink of the beetroot against the ripped chunks of snow white mozzarella. We only wish the garlic and thyme had infused a bit more to give the beetroot a slightly more distinctive flavour.

– The real star of the show, as deduced from the sounds of approval coming from our guests, was the Potatas Bravas / Mexican Eggs main course. I spent a year in America and was always a big fan of ‘Huevos Rancheros’ (literal translation something like ‘Ranch Eggs’) which is a Mexican Breakfast dish that popped up a lot on brunch menus in the States. I voiced my approval to my mum upon returning home and the recipe we used last night was an adaptation of various recipes we have tried out over the last few years.

– Our three layered blood orange and chocolate cheesecake for desert also looked beautiful with the gorgeous orangey – red of the seasonal fruit. It was perhaps a slightly heavy choice after the first two generous courses but there were certainly guests singing the cheescake gospel!

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With regards to the company last night, we certainly found ourselves a lively bunch – no wallflowers at this dinner! There were some surprisingly hefty subjects debated. I loved how everyone clearly had some fire in their bellies (and that wasn’t just the chilli in the Mexican eggs!) Ed, our resident actor for the night and the only gentleman at the table, held his own amongst a group of feisty ladies; Becks a copywriter / account manager at a Soho design agency with a penchant for good grammar, Lucy a Primary School Teacher who bravely ventured all the way from South Kensington, Sofia a Mergers & Acquisitions wiz who’d come straight from ariel yoga on a hangover and Claire a textile and scarf designer.

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When you throw a group of strangers around a table the results are always going to be interesting. Last night’s dinner was living proof of this. I certainly wouldn’t have had it any other way. With the Clapton Pot we’re out to meet the interesting and the interested. If this is you and you fancy coming to our next dinner then keep an eye on our twitter @claptonpot for news of the next event!

Anna

*****

A quick message from Violaine:

I’m very excited Anna’s decided to come on board. Anna was one of our fabulous September gang, and blogged about how she got inspired to start her own dinner thing. Well, that was all the prompting I needed to quickly snap her up! Watch this space to find out how the newly decorated basement fares… If twitter’s your thing, Anna can be found here.

Welcome back to the Clapton Pot, Anna!

If you want to read our guests’ reviews of the evening, take a look at Lucy’s blog, and Beck’s. Thank you both!

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