Well, truth be told – surprisingly, although my name may be Foodie Claire, I had never attending a traditional supper club, where you’re invited into someone’s home, sat amongst strangers (I so hate that word) for someone you have never met to cook for you. I’m not talking Come Dine With Me – oh no no no no no. You don’t win any cash at the end and only those that KNOW how to cook host supper clubs.
It’s not that I didn’t want to, if I wanted to find one, I’m sure that I could have stumbled across one very easily, especially in 2012 where they seemed to be dotted all over the place, ESPECIALLY in East London where I reside. Maybe it’s that I am too spoilt and didn’t feel the need to rush to one because I know they are always there.
Well before Christmas I pretty much had an opportunity handed to me on a plate. My friend kindly retweeted @GhanaKitchen who was looking for a blogger that was willing to attend her Ghanaian Christmas feast and take pics. @thrutheblue knew me well, she retweeted and mentioned me.
I got in contact with Zoe and told her, not only am I dying to try Ghanaian cuisine as I had never had it before – but I would bring along my boyfriend who is of Ghanaian descent. We got ourselves booked in and three days before Christmas we rocked up to Zoe’s humble abode in the East of ends (nice and local) for a festive feast.
Fellow diners were friendly, everyone was getting along swell. We joked that we were the civilised, grown up table. We weren’t loud at all compared to the other lot! They brought bottles of fizz for Christ sake! It was three days before Christmas Day and they were here to celebrate like it was… three days before Christmas! I wondered why I had driven – but then quickly thought back to the amount of booze I had consumed throughout December.
We were privileged though – everyone seemed to get on like a house on fire, our table was consumed in conversation all evening! We had two students on medical courses about to go off to the other side of the world for a term, a couple that owned a boat, and a charming lady from India that had come here to study and stayed to work. There were lots of interesting stories, anecdotes and jokes.
So – the Ghanaian feast? How did it fare? VERY good. I was full to the brim leaving. My favourite dish definitely had to be the yam balls. So simple, so tasty, great condiments – and I LOVE the fact that it eradicated all childhood memories I’d had of a slab of yam sat on my plate in the most unappealing cut and non-seasoning.
What we ate…
Zoe had decided to switch up the menu she had planned out to make sure her guests got a taste of everything – I loved that spontaneity. It meant that what was supposed to have been three courses plus entrées, turned into an astounding SIX courses!
The first dish we were served was curried cream soup with black eyed beans.
So warmly and more-ish. Served with some amazing soft hard dough like tasting bread – which I failed to take a pic of.
I’ve always loved the sound of that word. I’ve heard it before – or at least I think I have… But I’ve NEVER had it before. I take back what I said about the yam balls earlier. They were super good, honest, but THIS was the pièce de résistance for me. Shrimp and EGGS. You are spoiling me now!
I don’t think I would ever recreate it. Because I’d be so disappointed when it doesn’t come out right. So I’m just going to have to insist that Zoe makes it for me again one day.
Plantain Salad Imoyo
I snuck into the kitchen beforehand to get a photo of it all brought together. When I cook plantain, I only ever do one thing with it – fry it. I may add seasoning or some cayenne pepper to style it up a little bit but essentially it’s being fried and nothing more. Don’t even get me started on green banana as that falls into the “tasteless” yam category with me.
I loved what Zoe had done with this plantain. She’d partnered it with delights such as green pepper, cucumber and lovely citrusy essence of lime or lemon? you could definitely taste something citrus like in that dish. Boiled plantain had won. Zoe had done it AGAIN.
I needn’t go on about these. They were just fantastic. Crunchy, flavoursome. The sauces served with them was just fantastic. I’m a particular fan of the shito sauce. It’s so rich, spicy and has shrimp in it. After having it with my yam balls I just wanted to eat it with everything!
“Is it as authentic as your mother cooks for you?” some of the diners were asking my Samuel. “The dishes are authentic but my mum doesn’t really cook a lot of this stuff. All I know is that everything she cooks tends to be really, really…. REALLY spicy”.
Whilst waiting for Zoe to dish up the mains, she encouraged us to stretch, make space, pull crackers and open our presents. YES, that’s right – not only were we sitting in Zoe’s home having dinner that she and her assistant friend were kindly cooking for us THREE days before Christmas, but she’d lovingly wrapped up individual gifts for us.
Here’s what I got:
Mains were up. They came steaming hot and smelled divine. We could smell the fantastic aromas from the kitchen all helping to whet our appetites once again. I was getting quite full. Glad I had only had two yam balls. The chicken and yam was very flavourful and I’m a massive fan of okra.
Afters and Vitality
I really couldn’t manage any more after the main course but thankfully dessert was a refreshing mango and custard fool, which was almost a palate cleanser. I declined coffee (even though Zoe helpfully offered a shot of rum in it) and we all had a shot of Alomo Bitters which has a mission statement of promoting vitality ESPECIALLY in men.
My biggest failure of the evening was that I didn’t get a snap of the lovely Zoe. I know – DUMB right? I had a lovely chat with her and the whole concept of her supper club and why she decided on Ghanaian cuisine (she’s half Irish, half Ghanaian). I told her I’d love to meet her again, said our goodbyes and then went home THEN I realised I hadn’t taken a pic.
So – when I have one (which I will at some point) I’ll post it on here so that you can see the lovely talented lady that cooked and entertained us all THREE DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
**Update – I found a pic of Zoe!**
I went onto Zoe’s Facebook Like page and found a pic of her. I hope she doesn’t mind me posting this on here. Isn’t she beautiful?