Supper Club – Ottolenghi’s Levant
I recently moved to a new apartment in Berlin (one that is closer to trees and lakes and funnily enough wild boars). When moving here, I might have dropped the words I am a foodie. Did that resonate with my new housemate Stella? Very likely. Because as soon as I moved in, we started discussing recipes, cookbooks, restaurants and dinner parties. Very quickly we decided that a monthly supper club would be a great idea – an event to which we would invite food-loving friends for whom we’d cook delicious and nutritious dishes. I mean, if you received an invitation for such an occasion, wouldn’t your mouth start to water in an instant? It turns out that our guests felt the same way!
Both Stella and I love to cook – and thankfully we have similar taste. By throwing monthly dinner parties, we want to not only have an enjoyable time with friends and strangers but also discover new recipes, taste new ingredients and find culinary inspiration. After having completed our first episode, I must say that my taste buds already feel enriched. It’s always good to try something new and expand one’s horizon. In this context this simply means: new recipes, folks!
We settled on levantine cuisine which includes foods that stem from the Middle East. Levant describes a region, a taste, a way of preparing food, a selection of regional ingredients. Think hummus, baba ganoush, yoghurt dips, many spices such as thyme and sumac, roasted vegetables, tahini and lots of fresh herbs! Are you in for that? I thought so!
Many of the recipes we made for this night were inspired by Ottolenghi (mainly from his cookbook Simple) – we love his style and the abundance of fresh vegetables, tahini, pomegranate seeds, aubergines, onions, garlic, cumin, fresh parsley, lemon and not to forget – crunch. To me, crunch is what makes any dish better. Whether through nuts, crusty baked potatoes, sesame fried flatbread or whatever else you can think of. Crunch is what adds the last necessary oomph to any dish. Stella and I started chopping and whipping and roasting and freezing in the afternoon and sooner than we could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, our guests arrived. The two of us had a great time in the kitchen, worked with the relatively small space of our apartment and managed to use the oven and fridge most efficiently. Are you curious what we cooked? Let’s find out!
Our 1st Supper Club Menu – Levantine Edition
butterbean hummus with homemade za’atar
hot charred cherry tomatoes with lemon zested yoghurt
roasted aubergine with curried yoghurt, crunchy almonds and pomegranate
curcuma roasted cauliflower with green tahini sauce
crispy harissa potato skins
baked potatoes with rosemary, lemon & garlic
arugula salad with sprouted seeds & vinaigrette
homemade flatbread with black sesame seeds
and for dessert
raspberry & coconut icecream
served with dark chocolate brittle, dried figs, roasted buckwheat and coconut flakes
Now, who’s hungry?
We invited someone whom some of you know – it’s Lloyd from a recent People Who Cook episode. As soon as he arrived, I asked him a handful of questions about why my water kefir grains aren’t doing so well, how I might be able to improve my homemade coconut yoghurt as well as making my own kimchi and tofu. I’m telling you, that man knows a lot about anything and everything! (though he still advises me to fact check. I refuse to do so because I still trust the magnificence of his ginger beard). Our other wonderful guest was Alisa, a Russian theatre producer based in Berlin. We talked food, travels, professions, new ideas and I managed to squeeze in a few dog stories too (no party without the mention of at least one dog, am I right?).
We roasted, seasoned, whipped, chopped, sliced, stirred, fried, coated, blended, boiled and drank some wine along the way. In the end, our wooden dining table was covered with dishes over dishes that displayed all kinds of colours, textures, ingredients and spices. We had just enough space to sit down with our glasses of red or white and light some candles in between the mountains of good food.
When tasting all dishes one after the other, sometimes combining them on my fork or unavoidably in my mouth, I had to close my eyes and say out loud how can food taste this good?, to then realise that I was 50% of those who cooked so it might not be appropriate to praise my own doing. But it was so good that there was no way around it!
Serving dessert meant to scoop some creamy raspberry & coconut ice cream onto our plates and break the dark chocolate brittle into small, fig-covered pieces. The crunch in combination with sweet and fruity creaminess – yumyumyummy!
Our first Supper Club event was a success and everyone went to bed with full and happy (yet slightly too full) bellies. It’s all about sharing and exchanging which is why I think dinner parties are not only a great way of introducing new dishes but also new people. Keep ’em coming, I say!
Our next Supper Club will be hosted in early April so get ready for more mouthwatering photos and new recipe input, my hungry fellow foodies!