March: in high spirits

It is just over a month since our March dinner, and I am writing this in a gloriously sunny spot in my friends Louise and Ben’s idyllic garden in the Quantock Hills. It is worth mentioning Louise is an inspired and accomplished cook, and this Easter we have been feasting like kings, as we do every time I visit. I never fail to come back from my visits in Somerset buzzing with recipe ideas for the Clapton Pot.

Thinking back to the last Clapton Pot dinner, it’s obvious that it would remain amongst the very special ones in our memories: the group dynamics worked tremendously well, which I always think is pretty miraculous considering how random the group. When those special moments happen, I know all our efforts are completely worth it.

This month we were hosting in Anna’s basement, which she’s turned into a fabulous magical-looking den. I love that our homes are very different, so we each get a new experience every time. I went shopping on my own that morning as Anna had a sprained ankle (but we didn’t let that get in the way of the Clapton Pot!), whilst Anna was putting some finishing touches to the set-up back home. The basement definitely had the wow factor for our guests when they made it down the (slightly wonky) stairs, and I loved spending the evening in such a cosy space!

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Come dinner time, we were taking a minute to relax on the front steps when the 2 Emmas turned up. One Emma is a lawyer, the other one is a social media wiz and writer, and both are childhood friends and flatmates. Next to turn up were the lovely Lucy, followed by Mia and Willy, originally from South Africa and New Zealand respectively. Musician Massimo from Walthamstow joined us a little flustered as he was late, having schlepped across London to get back from a video shoot, but we all welcomed him with a drink and he fitted in instantly. All arrived carrying copious amounts of wine, which I have no doubt helped everyone feel at ease – including a little post-dinner dancing for some, if I remember correctly…

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On the menu this month:

– a seasonal Jersey Royal new potatoes, blanched spring onions, green asparagus and French beans salad, seasoned with walnut, almond, cashew and wild garlic pesto (with the wild garlic harvested in the very same spot in Somerset mentioned above). The Jersey Royals were a nod to Anna’s origins. I seem to remember some of our guests were going for a third helping of this dish, so a clear success, then!

– slow-cooked and tender kale, with quinoa cakes and a cooked tomato salsa (seasoned with rosemary in bloom from my window sill)

– chocolate pots in Alice in Wonderland tea cups (sadly not photographed)

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Anna and I managed to spend a little time with each and every one of our guests, and all were truly lovely (and lively!) people. As always, the lightening-fast changes of Clapton came up in the conversation, other than that I’m afraid I can’t quite remember. I do know that everyone was on top form that night, and I highly recommend you have a read of Emma’s fantastic account of our night over here. We finished tidying up at 4am, exhausted but totally happy, at which point I found myself making my way home through the streets of Hackney with my shopping trolley, no doubt looking like a loopy, albeit happy, bag lady!

We very much hope our guests stay in touch: we’re pretty active on twitter, a little on Facebook, and very much up for grabbing a coffee or dinner somewhere local with all of you, as we do with some of our earlier guests. You would also have our numbers from the Eventbrite page we sent you with the address for dinner. Cheers, Clapton Potters!

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Violaine – & Anna

@salade_folle

@AniHaf

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