Another month, another fantastic dinner… I’m starting to run out of ways to express how brilliant this whole thing is, and how grateful I am to all our guests for being so lovely and adventurous, and most of all to Anna, the co-hostess with the mostess and flowers everywhere.
Amongst us this May were Niamh and Eoin, who came all the way from Enfield. It’s the second time now that guests join us prior to them moving to the area, to check the (future) neighbours out. I do hope we showed them how friendly Clapton is.
Next were Lewis and Usha, who live, they emphasized, a whole 6 minutes away from Anna’s place. I think they were fishing for a second invitation (I can see right through you, guys!). I sat next to Lewis, and found out he’d been living in the US for some time before joining Usha in Clapton. Obviously totally the right decision!
Rosie was a lovely surprise, having met randomly over wine and local gossip at P.Franco on Lower Clapton Road a few weeks ago when I went there with Robbie, who was amongst our first ever guests (and clearly a keeper!).
And finally Becks couldn’t resist snapping the last ticket, having attended our dinner recently in February. Well what can I say, clearly she knows a good thing when she sees one!
Our lucky, lucky May Potters were treated to our first ever alfresco dinner. We set up the table in Anna’s garden, complete with Persian rug on the ground, and neatly folded blankets for anyone feeling a bit chilly. The set-up had a real special occasion feel to it, and I can’t wait to do it again.
On the menu this month:
– Rory’s chicory leaves as scoops, containing crumbled strong blue cheese, walnuts and pears in a honey dressing (with the honey being, again, from my friend Lou’s bees in the Quantocks). Rory was my flatmate a couple of years ago, and the day he moved in and unpacked his Ottolenghi recipe book, I knew I had a good’un!
– tortilla (Spanish omelette) from my next door neighbour Fernando’s recipe: I’m very proud of this one as I feared the whole time that I’d end up tipping it all onto the floor at the crucial moment (flipping it over in the pan). As it turned out, I didn’t, and it was delicious. It looks a little brown on the picture, but I must stress: it wasn’t burnt! Fernando’s made his tortilla for our group of neighbours on a number of occasions, mostly dinners in Suzi’s garden, and it was a real coup to obtain the recipe. Watch out for the competition, Fer! We bought our eggs from ‘Egg Lady’ on Ridley Rd – she’s so famous she’s even got her own hipster graffiti in the toilets of the Dalston Roof Park!
The tortilla was served with a very fresh mixed salad of watercress, courgettes, fresh peas and mint, mixed with barley and brown basmati rice, with a lemon and harissa marinade.
– a rhubarb, strawberry and basil crumble, accompanied by a good dollop of turkish yoghurt and chopped basil
Dinner was served cold, except dessert which came to the table piping hot – perfect as the sun had gone down for some time and we were all feeling a slight chill. It was funny seeing some of guests snuggling under the blankets, in an almost après-ski ambience!
So there, we now have a new option for hosting our dinners in the summer months, and I can’t wait to do this again: alfresco à gogo!
Violaine – & Anna