Saturday night saw us make the journey across the River Severn to Bristol for an evening of delicious food and great company at Lia and Juliet’s Supper Club. This might seem a little off-topic, especially since I ditched the wellies for some heels but we were particularly drawn to this night out because of the focus on celebrating food produced from the allotment of the hosts.
Lia Leendertz is a writer for Gardens Illustrated Magazine, The Guardian and author of several books including The Twilight Garden and the Half Hour Allotment. Her own blog, Midnight brambling, which I’ve followed for a while now, combines stories from her garden and allotment with snippets from her life juggling gardening writing with a young family. I love her relaxed writing style and the passion she conveys for gardening. So the opportunity to meet her and taste some of her allotment produce was just too good to miss.
Along with her friend Juliet, the editor of Gardens Illustrated, they decided to set up a supper club which would celebrate seasonal food at it’s best. Supper clubs, for the uninitiated, are an intriguing concept. Neither a restaurant nor a dinner party, the host opens up their own home where they cook a meal for their guests, some of whom know each other but mainly they don’t. They seem to have originated in London several years ago and have become increasingly popular in urban areas. I have to admit I hadn’t really heard of them until I came across Lia and Juliet’s. Living in rural Wales has many advantages but ‘hip and happening’ movements like supper clubs is not one of them. Do people even say ‘ hip and happening’ any more or would that phrase elicit a look of disdain from my teenage niece?
As a celebration of the seasonal, Lia and Juliet decided to have 4 supper club events through the year, one each for spring, summer, autumn and winter. We missed the first but were lucky enough to bag ourselves a place for the summer evening. We were greeted by Juliet and Lia looking delightful in their floral dresses and little white aprons. Mint julep cocktails and broad bean crostini on the verandah gave us the opportunity to see Lia’s lovely garden. I have to admit to being more than a little nosey when it comes to other peoples’ gardens. I’m always looking to see how others design their spaces and Lia’s was lush with greenery and two statuesque Paulownia trees flanking the garden path give it a tropical feel.
We were then shown into the dining room which was beautifully presented with fairy lights, candles and greenery adorning the table. We had already had a preview of the menu so our taste buds had been tantalised. I’ve written in previous posts about being a bit of a foodie and seeking out great food and I was not disappointed on this occasion. The rain may have been falling in torrents outside, on a decidedly unsummery July evening but the food inside conjured up everything that is great about produce at this time of year; from the chilled cucumber soup and allotment salad to the delicious roast baby vegetable tarte tatin. Oh, I’m starting to drool at the thought of it all again. To top it all off were impressive gooseberry knickerbocker glories which elicited oohs and ahhs from all the guests.
It wasn’t just the food that made for such an enjoyable night though, the company too was excellent. I do like how food has the ability to bring people together. So I’d like to thank Lia and Juliet for their hard work at producing such gorgeous grub and going to so much trouble to make such a special evening. I do however, have to apologise for my pretty dreadful photos which is all the more embarrassing as 2 of the guests were professional photographers!
For more information on Lia and Juliet’s Supper Club and to follow Lia’s blog take a look at Midnight brambling.