The Naughty Habits Strolling Supper Club

On June 14, 2014 by battenburgbelle

Last night was a very special gathering of the supper club. My delightful friend Davie is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society with his wonderful Seven Songs project. We raised £370 for the charity – which has taken Davie over the £1,000 mark!

Seven Songs

Mr McG performing one of his Seven Songs

In a moment of excitement some weeks ago (in fact several times during the day yesterday, it felt very much like extreme OVER-excitement), Davie, Jenny and I came up with idea of a strolling supper club, at which Davie would play some of his songs in Jenny’s garden, with canapés and cocktails, and then guests would stroll round the corner to the Nunnery for more music and a buffet.

Reader, we did it.

Roasted vegetable tart

Roasted vegetable tart

Of course, there were culinary, musical and logistical challenges along the way.

Despite my many lists and timetables, I managed not to poach the salmon for quite long enough – it was not presentable (I did confess this to a few guests and as Emma pointed out, there will be fish pie/fish cakes/fish soup for the foreseeable future…) I tried not to panic and thought, what would Ms Marmite Lover, the queen of the supper club, advise in this situation? So, I put on some confidence boosting red lipstick, dashed to M & S and bought several packs of (very tasty) honey roast salmon, placed it on a bed of watercress with a few lemon wedges and moved on.

Baked ham

Baked ham

In an email the day before (yes, just the day before), Davie mentioned in passing that he would need a chair with no arms (not a problem) and an electrical socket within 10 feet of his chair (big problem) – Jenny’s beautiful garden is the communal space behind the flats where she lives. On the fourth floor. So no readily available source of electricity. We left that one with Davie, who popped off to Halfords and, after much scratching of heads by the staff there apparently, got himself some kind of power pack, which way exceeded his expectations and did the job perfectly. His singing and strumming was truly lovely.

Mr McG at the Nunnery

Mr McG at the Nunnery

The location of Jenny’s flat at the top of the building, which has no lift, meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, but we just about had the canapés and cocktails in place just as the first guests arrived. Luckily we had Missy B and her friend along to do some fetching and carrying and a spot of light waitressing.

As I write this, listening to the wind and watching the rain, I am delighted to report that it was gloriously sunny yesterday evening – the garden was perfect, as were the Joan Crawford canapés (more about those at Silver Screen Suppers soon, I’m sure) – cheese straws, little toast stars with peanut butter and bacon powder (or pumpkin seeds for the vegetarians) and some salami/baby onion treats on a posh cocktail stick. Jenny also made several bowls of Madeleine Carroll’s Sauternes Punch, which was by all accounts very divine and moreish (I had to steer clear, too many hostessing duties to partake so early on in the evening!).

Joan Crawford's canapés

Joan Crawford’s canapés

After Davie had played a few songs, I dashed back to the Nunnery to get the buffet laid out and put the lovely labels Jenny’s gentleman caller made for me on the food. The guests did indeed stroll round the the Nunnery and I gather Missy B and her fellow waitress enforced a bit of a conga and some motivational singing. Sad to have missed that…

Spring tabbouleh

Morito’s Spring tabbouleh

Calculating the quantities needed for a fairly large gathering is not my forté, so there’s plenty of salad left to see me through the week and the people who stayed later weren’t allowed to leave without some cake. On the menu were roasted vegetable tart, asparagus tart, the salmon, a baked ham and several salads. At Jenny’s request I did Ottolenghi’s delicious red rice and quinoa salad, plus a very simple white cabbage salad, a cucumber, lemon and dill seed salad and my current favourite, from the new Morito cook book: spring tabbouleh, which is bulgur wheat, with peas, broad beans, asparagus, herbs and a hint of cinnamon in the lemony dressing.


L’apéro:  aubergine purée, chickpea purée & caramelised onions

I also did a selection of Bertinet-style “l’apéro” dishes, chickpea purée, aubergine purée, caramelised onions and some mayonnaise – I loved the way Richard Bertinet has little jars of loveliness around the table to accompany lunch after his classes, so I pinched the idea and the recipes. I bought a small selection of very good French cheeses from Spirited Wines in Muswell Hill. I definitely over-did the desserts, but having handed out the little compulsory food parcels, there’s not too much left. 

Lemon, almond and polenta cake

Lemon, almond and polenta cake

I think my favourite of these was this lemon, almond and polenta cake, with a dollop of slightly sweetened mascarpone on the side. I also did some strawberries in balsamic vinegar with Thai basil – try them while strawberries are still in season (I think the quantities below should do for about six people, but to be honest, I could eat most of this in one sitting all by myself):

2 punnets of strawberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp caster sugar
A few Thai basil leaves

Hull the strawberries. Mix the vinegar and sugar and toss the strawberries in them. Leave to marinate for around 20 minutes. Before serving tear the basil leaves and scatter them artfully amongst the strawberries.

A couple of highlights of the evening for me, apart from charming guests, great music and general ambience, are: Emma reporting that when she asked our friend Sally if she was coming to the Alzheimer’s fund-raiser, she said she had forgotten about it… The extremely heated debate between some of the guests as to my fantasy kitchen extension (which the Battenburg coffers can’t afford to fund anyway)… And finally, Becky, who very kindly came round in the afternoon to help me set up and hull the strawberries, mentioning several times in the evening how much she felt this was her dish and was the standout offering of the evening…



A massive thank you to everyone who came and made it such a fun evening and all who helped out along the way.

2 Responses to “The Naughty Habits Strolling Supper Club”

  • Emma verebelyi

    It was a wonderful evening, fab food ; unfortunately didn’t get to sample the puds but they looked amazing x

  • cliveyT

    I can certainly vouch that the evening was a success. Good weather, good company, good music and, as ever, gooder than good food. I was rather worried that I’d over indulged on the delightful canapés (and too much punchy punch) and would have no room for the buffet but I was, thankfully, mistaken. Yum, scrum in my tum! Thank you!! xXx

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