I believe that life is all about challenging yourself. This is when I was approached to cook for a Supper Club event, for over 40 people, I was a little nervous, yet I knew I had to do it. I have just been to my first supper club and fell completely in love. It was such a warm, cosy, delicious, night. Supperclubbing is my new thing. If you haven’t been to a supper club yet, I suggest you come. People used to tell me about supper clubs and I just didn’t get it – “What, so you pay to sit around a table with strangers and eat home-style food, so it’s like a dinner party, only with complete strangers? And you pay for this?” I used to think/say. Until Alissa Timoshkina of KinoVino invited me to her supper club. It was that magical evening that won me over – the food, the company, the atmosphere… it’s just one of those things: you need to experience it to “get it”. So when she asked if I’d collaborate with her on the Polish Film Festival Supper Club, I was keen. The thing is I thought I had another commitment on that date. By the time I realised I was free, I was sure she had someone else, but I contacted her anyway just in case. It turned out that her chef had to pull out! This was clearly meant to be.
The next step was to prepare a menu, taking into account all the different variables and considerations – the meat-eaters, the veggies, the Poles and the people who are new to Polish food, the season, the occasion, the practicalities of time and the limitations of both my kitchen and the kitchen I will be prepping in… there are many things to think of that I had not considered before. Finally, this is the menu I came up with and feel happy with:
Homemade pork dripping on rye bread, pickles
Beetroot dip with rye and caraway crispbread
A selection of Polish vodkas
Herring in oil with cinnamon; beetroot and toasted buckwheat groats; bean and dill salad; fermented rye soup – żurek – with baked pieróg (veggie filling)
Potato placki with venison and fermented cabbage/wild mushrooms and fermented cabbage
Rhubarb and rose “Pleśniak” cake and homemade advocat
My shed is now a fermentation workshop. I am fermenting purple cabbage for the venison/wild mushroom and fermented cabbage stew. I am also fermenting some beetroot, because the “kwas” from this is useful for vinaigrette and flavouring. Not only does it add zing, it also makes you feel amazing. Fermenting is such a natural part of this cuisine, yet now it turns out to have amazing health benefits too – what a bonus! I will post the recipes on my blog after the event, partly because they are still in-development and partly because I have so little time right now. However, if you are in London, why don’t you come, you can get tickets right here…
I would love to see you there. Smacznego!