It seems strange sitting in London on a rainy afternoon writing about an amazing week in France, the highlight of which was the supper club on Thursday 12th August. We always stay with our dear friends of 35 years in their beautiful converted farmhouse. What better way to start our holiday than a glass of vino and a bar-b-q in the lovely garden.
Joginder’s Supper Club decanted to France on a humanitarian mission to bring authentic homemade panjabi food to a deprived community of ex-Pats living in the idyllic Limousin area of Central France! We were determined to have a good lead up to the evening so it was really exciting to be offered the opportunity to go and pick some produce.
The French in this region don’t do back gardens. They have beautiful pots of flowers, usually geraniums, to adorn the front and any land at the back is for growing produce and keeping livestock.
Lots of wonderful produce was provided by friends and neighbours including rhubarb, apples, damsons, plums, cauliflower, potatoes, eggs, chillies and much more. I took my masala and spices with me. After two days of eating and drinking all things French it was time to get cooking. Apples were picked and onions dug up for the chutney but the apples were too hard. So I cooked up Ma Joginder’s ‘saev masala’ – literally an apple curry. It was one of the big hits of the night and poor Carolyn didn’t have any leftover for the freezer!
The damsons presented a different challenge as we had got carried away and picked 10 kilo. – thanks Jeremy! So we made lots of Joginder’s sweet and spicy chutney, damson Gin (!) – can’t wait for Xmas and jam.
The menu was only fully created the night before once we had all the produce. there was not enough spinach so we made mutter paneer instead. Lots of lovely cauliflower for the aloo gobi. It was fantastic to go out to the garden and pick fresh coriander, potatoes and chillies as and when needed thanks to Carolyn’s generosity. Carolyn was an absolute star as front of house. She turned her lounge into the dining area which was set for 14 people but actually ended up seating 18!
The local ‘ bush telegraph’ had worked well as seventeen local ‘ Brits ‘ descended on Chateau D’Agnew, the venue for the inaugural supper club in France. The mood was convivial and eager to satiate an obscure gastronomic condition known as curry deprivation.
In truth most of the Brits hardly missed the old country at all but when the nearest curry house is at least ten kilometers rather than a hundred metres away the unmet need becomes obvious.
The pre-dinner conversation was immediately polarised with the ladies speculating on a 101 ways of making jam with the local fruits whilst the men were briefly discussing a totally forgettable World Cup. In was only a small consolation that the French team had managed to perform in an even worse manner to England but it was still of interest to know what Nicholas Anelka actually said to his coach. Did he learn the expression from his days at Highbury or Stamford Bridge or did he just want to go home to his beloved England ? The food started to arrive. A delicate starter with pakoras started the semi-dormant taste buds of dinner guests and an exquisite collection of Panjabi dishes created much bonhomie around the table.
The only problem was the perennial question ‘ What is the most appropriate wine to go with curries’ ?
There is no right answer to this question although the most popular choice was a French red of modest vintage. A robust Cahors, a delicate Chablis, a dry Muscadet, a well chilled Rose , or a fragrant Gewurtztrminer – these are all candidates and more suggestions would be welcome.
The meal was completed with a spicy plum sauce on a combination of mango and coconut ice cream – a delightful end to a much appreciated gift from Angleterre. It was generally agreed that the meal had reached the standards expected from Carolyn ( Sous Chef ) and Rani ( Guest Head Chef ) and a resolution was passed to make it at least an annual event and a potential candidate for a Michelin Star.
Euro 250 was donated by a most generous group and will be donated to the Breast Cancer Charity, the nominated charity for special Joginder Supper Club events.
Many thanks to all who came and contributed to yet another memorable Joginder Supper Club evening. And a big thank you to Carolyn for allowing us to take over her home for the event.