Last night I went to a supper club in Ursa Minor Bakehouse in Ballycastle - a combination of wanting to support Dara and Ciara as they have supported me over the last year, of wanting to try the Levantine foods they were promising and of wanting to have a change of routine for a Saturday night.
I’ve known Dara and Ciara for many years now, having first met them when we worked together at Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge. I asked them to be part of a Ballycastle Food Tour because I loved their bread and thought that the patisserie would be a lovely bite with which to finish. Now that they’re an Économusée partner, a renowned Bakehouse and a real food hero, I’m so glad they continue to showcase Ballycastle’s food, allowing us into their bakery and explaining their ethos and the reasoning behind their venture.
Supper clubs are an up and coming part of the food culture here - pop up restaurants showcasing amazing chefs, particular foods, unusual venues. I love supper clubs and not only go to many, I intend to develop a regular monthly supper club offering starting this Autumn (more on that later!). Suppers range in price from £20 to £50 to over £100 depending on what is being showcased and where.
I’ve been interested in food and history for some time now as well as ‘gut health’. In generations gone by we actually ate a wider variety of foodstuffs, thereby getting a wider variety of nutrients and vitamins on a regular basis. Although we can no longer forage exclusively due to population growth and lack of truly wild reserves (people look at you funny if you start wandering round their garden picking stuff...), we can still eat a more interesting diet and include foodstuffs such as fermented foods, pickled foods as well as many more herbs and spices than I grew up with. Many cultures still do e.g. Japan, Scandinavia, as well as the middle and far East, including India. I’m listening to a serious of lectures by Ken Albala and it’s fascinating how our food came to be ‘our food’. (Link to the Great Courses on www.audible.com if you want to listen to this, too.)
So, when I saw the little poster in Ursa Minor’s window about a Persian vegetarian supper club - that had to happen, right?! It gave me a chance to taste many of the 'super' foods I wanted to try with out having to travel to get them or figure out a recipe (#Idon’tcookoften) - here are some pictures of the evening. Stephen wanted to know where the steak was hidden in the menu.
End result? He was pleasantly surprised that he enjoyed so much of it, and I have discovered I love spiced carrot salad as well as fatet batinjan. I already knew I could eat my body weight in hummus and madeleines! This was delicious, healthy, nutritious, colourful, flavourful food - now I just have to learn how to cook it myself...
Try a supper club yourself, bet you’ll be delighted, too!