Well-known food writer Phillippa Cheifitz and a group of foodies get together once a season for supper. It’s fun. And cooking together, they come up with some stunning meals. ‘One evening,’ Phillippa recalls, ‘we nibbled on lemony olives and warm spiced nuts, savoured a shaved fennel, Parmesan and rocket salad, feasted on a seafood stew and indulged in an ultimate treat of hot, crisp apple samoosas with a spoonful of icy apple sorbet.’ Each couple submits a 4-course menu, then they vote to decide which choices will make the most memorable meal. On each occasion, the venue changes as they take it in turns to host the evening. These fabulous feasts are the inspiration for the book.
The Supper Club will inspire young and old to revamp the age-old tradition of gathering around a beautifully set table with loved ones.
About the author
Phillippa Cheifitz is a well-known Cape Town author who currently contributes to the Woolworths Taste magazine and has won many awards for her books, which include Monday to Sunday, Cape Town Food, Seasons and Day to Day.
We asked Phillippa to tell us more.
How do you draw fresh inspiration for creating new recipes like those featured in ‘The Supper Club’?
Fresh, seasonal produce that catches my eye. Right now it’s asparagus and artichokes. Or maybe a new product. Duck legs are suddenly easily available. They are delicious braised with mushrooms and red wine. I love the Oranjezicht Farm Market now next to the Waterfront. There’s always something new to try.
Of the 90 recipes featured in the book, which one is a stand-out favourite for you?
I love the slow-cooked leg of lamb with sweet-sour pomegranate molasses and a lightly spiced pilaf textured with pistachios and cranberries.
What advice would you give to a foodie keen on starting his or her own supper club?
Eight is a good number. 4 couples perfect. Submit menus then take a vote to decide which choices will make the best meal. A 4-course menu is good. Share the load. Bring with a wine that best matches the dish. Do it once a season and take it in turns to host the evening.
Do you have any interesting or funny anecdotes to share from one of your own supper club gatherings?
I can’t think of one particular story. We always have lots of fun and laugh a lot.
Who would your fantasy supper club guests be?
Dead or alive? I’ll go for: Alice Waters. David Tanis. Nigel Slater. David Chang. Diana Kennedy. Danny Meyer. Diana Henry. Mario Batali. The food should be good.
Apparently you are an avid collector of cookbooks. Which title in your collection has most inspired your own work?
When I started I cooked my way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (long before Julia did). It is the most wonderful cookery course, for Julia tells all – detailed techniques, every tip and trick. Today I love eclectic modern. My favourite book is A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes by David Tanis.
What do you like most about Le Creuset?
A pleasure to use. They work so well. Solid and long-lasting.
Do you have a favourite Le Creuset colour?
Cotton and black.
What is the next big culinary trend we should look out for?
Latin American. Modern Mexican. Peruvian. A Cuban sandwich
Do you have a top tip for cooking you could share?
Struggling to get the taste just right? Add a squeeze of lemon.
Chickpea, kale and chorizo soup
Spanish chorizo is so good as is, or to enliven dishes add a few thin slices to a tomato-sauced pasta, to scrambled eggs, a salad consisting of a mix of greens, sweet pepper and baby tomatoes, or a potato and onion salad. I’m talking about the cured one, for you also get fresh chorizo sausages that are nice to grill and sandwich in a crusty roll.
1 onion, finely chopped
Gently soften the onion and red pepper in the oil, adding a little more oil if needed. Stir in the garlic and paprika. Add the tomatoes. Simmer for 5–10 minutes, stirring now and again, until reduced. Add the potatoes and chickpeas. Pour in the stock. Stir in the parsley and a little seasoning. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Cut out the coarse stems from the kale and discard. Wash and dry the leaves well. Slice thinly, add to the soup and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender. The soup should be thick with vegetables, but if you want it to have more body, purée about ¼ of the soup, using a hand-held blender. Stir in the chorizo and warm through. Check seasoning.
Extracted from The Supper Club by Phillippa Cheifitz (Struik Lifestyle)
We’re giving away a copy of Phillippa Cheifitz’s new book The Supper Club to one lucky blog reader, courtesy of Penguin Random House.
How to enter
For a chance to win, simply comment on this blog and tell us what the theme of your supper club evening would be. You can be as creative as you like! The competition runs from 23 October to 26 October 2015, and the winner will be announced on 26 October 2015. Click here for terms and conditions.
Congratulations to Ian MacFarlane, the winner* of our Phillippa Cheifitz book giveaway! Enjoy your prize and happy cooking!
*Winner has been contacted directly.
Images courtesy of Penguin Random House South Africa/Sean Calitz.