Alarm clocks, IPL and that Spicy Fish Curry….

Each time we do our supperclub our guests are getting more local. Most people seated around the table didn’t have to worry about last trains, only babysitters’ so we were delighted to sit down with them until gone midnight! We had had a busy day catering for a luncheon party (the alarm went at 7am and I don’t class myself as a morning person so it was tough getting out of bed!).  We sat down for a quick breather to watch a bit of the IPL (Indian Premier League Cricket Tournament) with a cuppa of tea and a plate of Pakoras. Now to carry on preparing for the supperclub.We decided to serve the spicy fish curry as a course on its own with Paratha. This has always been one of the vegetarian options but has been passed around the table for everyone to eat whenever we have served it! Needless to say it went down very well with nothing left once seconds had been had.

Saira laden with fresh produce at Kingsbury market! Always done with a smile!

Preparing the lamb kebabs

Plating up

I spent alot more time in the kitchen than I usually do during the evening so we’ve got a few more pictures of the food this time. I always get told of by Ma Rani for not taking enough pictures so apologies but I’m going to bombard you with visuals on this particular blog!

A change of colour as we head into spring and summer!

During the evening the topic of conversation turned to why people run supperclubs and why people like to visit them. I have said in previous posts that ours is  to cook the food we love for people and to host an enjoyable evening! There is a certain amount of trust on both sides I think, and this is something that I was talking to Erica, one of our guests about. As a host you have to put your trust in the people you are allowing into your home. Nothing is put away especially for the evening so you get to see the photo wall built up over thirty odd years by Ma, the cricket paraphernalia collected by my dad and you may even get a greeting from Georgie the cat. You put your trust in us to provide you with an enjoyable evening, good company and good food. In order for a supperclub to work it has to be a two-way straight between the host and the guests. We are lucky that now going into our sixth, we have had such lovely, interesting people walking through the door. Some of whom have struck up friendships with other guests and some who have become regulars that they are almost like friends to us!

Tucking in!

Ma Rani enjoying a well earned drink once 'service' had finished in the kitchen. It is such a bonus when we can sit down and talk to our guests.

As we move towards the summer, we are going to start opening up the garden. We are putting together menus that incorporates barbeque cooking for some dishes. This doesn’t even have to be weather dependent! Our next supperclub on Saturday 1st May will have some new dishes and some old favourites so please do check out the menu section.

We had a lovely time! Thank you so much again. Really enjoyed meeting you all too. Would definitely like to come again.
Love yvette and andy xx

Thank you so much for a truly wonderful evening;  I haven’t stopped talking about it, with friends and neighbours all day!  The food completely surpassed my expectations, I enjoyed chatting with the other guests and, as for your family and home – both utterly delightful.  You will definitely be seeing me again.

Best wishes,

See you for the next one!

Saira x

A good evening was had by all…

Another great evening was had by all ~ we hope!  Thank you to our guests (some of whom were able to walk home so no worries about the last train!) for making it another lively and friendly evening. Write up to follow including the menu for the luncheon party that we provided food for yesterday  and our summer menu will be starting from 1st May so watch this space!

Saira x

A blast from the past….

Article about Ma Rani from 1984 in the Islington Gazette about her dinner party catering.

Friday May 11, 1984 ~ Weekend, Islington Gazette

Rani spices up the take-away trade’ by Caroline Holland

Rushing home with a take-away curry have you ever said to yourself: “There must be a better way of doing this!”

Spicey sauces spill onto clothes and car-seats, and by the time you are home it’s luke warm and those mysterious names and numbers on the menu aren’t what you thought anyway!

Rani Baker has the answer – there IS a better way. She has started a home cooking service from her kitchen in Celia Road, Upper Holloway.

I went round to see Rani, 34, who prepared a sample meal and spread it out between us on the kitchen table.

The exotic smells were wickedly tempting but somehow I managed to ignore my tummy rumblings and find out how she cooked them.

It was her £5 a head menu and included a meat starter, two meat dishes, two vegetable dishes, rice, poppadoms and a variety of side dishes, with pineapple for desert.

Clearly it’s not for someone wanting hot food in a hurry – Rani caters for a special party between four and 12 people. The dishes are only half cooked and she delivers them with instructions for final preparation – and she provides the garnishes! She also has a menus at £7.50 and £10 a head which are a little more special and include delicacies like Gajarela. This is a sweet made from carrots and spices boiled in milk – and Rani assured me its delicious!

Most of the recipes are in her head and come from her mother who got them from her mother. Said Rani: ” I can remember cooking my first meal when I was nine. My earliest recollections are of always being around my mother when she was cooking”.

Rani had a conventional upbringing. Her family settled in England when she was 12 and instead of an arranged marriage she went off to study pharmacology. There her mother sent her packets of freshly ground Garam Masala – Indian spices – so she could cook for her landlord and his wife. She married Graham and they have two children, Saira who is six and Richard who is nearly two.

Of her new service, Rani said: “There is not a lot of profit in it but I am not doing it for money – I am doing it because I love it”

Her food is spicey – yes I did get to try some! – but not hot. She serves fresh green chillies for anyone who likes having their mouth burnt out! Rani goes to Southall to do the shopping for fresh herbs and spices and cheap but good meat – mostly lamb and chicken. I can see her recipes are going to be handed down through many more families than just their own!

Fast forward 26 years and she is doing it all over again but with me as a 31 year old working with her and another brother having been added to the brood two years after the article was written! This is a piece of family history more than anything!

26 years later!!! I think I love stripes!!!!!

Sunday 21st March was an amazing day!

Catering for this private function was hard work but my goodness was it worth it!  So many kind people gave us such wonderful compliments about our food. It was really worth the time and effort that went into it.

‘The Shopping’!

Friday afternoon was spent shopping in Kingsbury for fresh produce. Had to ask the ‘Man of the House’ to come and help carry 20 kg. of meat and 20 kg. of a variety of vegetables, not to mention 10 kg of rice and a whole host of spices and condiments.

Masala for the Chickpea and Potato
Masala for the Chickpeas and Potato

Cooking began Saturday lunchtime with preparing the ‘masalas’

It takes a long time to grate and then brown 6 kg. of onions in oil. You can read a whole book doing it!!

Masala for the Saag Murg

My fantastic copper pan comes into it’s own for large scale cooking. I bought it in France when visiting my dear friend Carolyn and catering for the very first ‘jogindersupperclub’.

Lacking pans that were big enough I had to use foil containers for the dishes. Two of each for lunch and dinner. Each foil dish contained 6.5 kg. As you can see they needed ‘underwiring’!!

Saag/ Murg having the masala added!

On to the party!!

Reaching for more....

Ma Rani doing the rounds and taking well earned praise for the food!

We did the food in two sittings. Lunch and dinner. The table was always full of food!

The party in full swing!

As always too busy to take photos!!

Cricket and Curry…Looking forward to a summer of sport and food!

We are a family of cricketers and cricket fans. I have added a link to Lords Cricket Ground on our website so you can check all the latest information about tickets and what is coming up this spring and summer. It will prove to be a busy time with Australia returning to play a series of test matches at the ground as well as Pakistan and of course England (Ma Rani has a soft spot for KP!)  We will be doing some cricket themed evenings as the summer progresses but in the meantime, have fun following your team and lets hope we get the weather to enjoy some mighty fine cricket this year!

Saira x

Biryani, Jamie Oliver and Georgie the cat….

We had a full table with both hungry and generous guests!

We had yet another great evening and managed to raise a fair amount of money for charity. Our guests were in constant conversation with each other all evening and were asking when we were going to sit down with them to eat! I suppose one should do that if you have such a small group of people at the table. One guest said he wanted to learn more about the food as they were eating each dish and hoped that next time Ma Rani would be at the table!

Joginder's Pancakes with spicy onion, potato and paneer. Every plate was polished off when I brought them back to the kitchen!

Different from previous supperclubs’ was that we served the dishes in stages rather than all at the same time and this worked so well. Everyone got to enjoy each dish and didn’t feel full by the time the next dish came out. Joginder’s Pancakes went down really well, we also decided to change the menu slightly and served the potato, paneer and  spicy onions on top rather than in the pancake. They tend to break very easily when rolled so the version that was served up was tried out on the family the night before!

Always on our menu is Joginder’s Chicken Masala and this time we served up Lamb Biryani as well. Both dishes were served on to the plates at the table and everyone had seconds of both dishes! Mum usually makes up a plate for my Dad but there was nothing left! Another dish that required more helpings around the table was the Boondi Wala Dahl (Yoghurt with Dumplings). It was served as a side dish to go with all the courses and needed refilling at each stage.

Indian Sweets washed down with Masala Chai or something a little stronger!

A topic of conversation that came up which we were all involved in was how people found out about supperclubs and underground restaurants and what would prompt someone to eat in a stranger’s home and indeed cooking for strangers in your own home. It was agreed that the size of our supperclub meant that everyone spoke to each other throughout the evening and there was a feeling of comfort in each other’s presence. Some of our guests are members of the ‘fans of the underground restaurant’ website set up by Ms Marmitelover to encourage ventures such as ours and to help people find these places to go to. Three of our guests have been to every supperclub we have done so far and it is so nice to have that support, apart from the fact that we are all becoming friends! The Jamie Oliver programme came up in conversation and most of us had seen him visit the underground restaurants in New York. All of our guests came prepared to talk to and sit next to strangers for the evening. What they didn’t expect, as was pointed out, was that they did all get on with eachother and every person around that table had a story to tell. It was a really enjoyable evening but once again I was rubbish with the camera so please excuse the lack of pictures! George the cat also made frequent guest appearances and as far as I know our guests didn’t notice her staring at them and the food from her place in the living room!

They evening finished well after midnight!

Thank you for such a lovely evening, fantastic food and good company. This is our first experience – thankyou for making it memorable’ ~Philippa & Colin

‘Thank you so much, yet again, for a lovely – and delicious – evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and Rani’s beautiful food. What a great way to spend an evening – its a celebration! Thank you yet again’ ~Chris & Dave

‘Thank you so much for a lovely evening. We’ve really enjoyed the food and the experience of dining with complete strangers! Thanks once again for a wonderful introduction to the world of underground supperclubs’ ~Naaz & Howard

‘First of all I am delighted to have met you. Second thank you so much for such a wonderful evening and you are a superb cook’ ~Matti

Georgie the cat in a rare moment of serenity ~ probably because there was no food to be had!

Thank you once again to our guests for helping to make it a great evening and for being so generous with the donations. We have been asked to do another charity supperclub and we are thinking maybe at some point during the summer when we try out our Punjabi barbeque evenings!

What a fantastic set of guests!! Thank you.+

|Last night was amazing and what a fantastic gathering of guests. I know that Saira will be adding to this post but am aware how busy she is with her show at the South Bank. Went to see ‘ The Rhyme of The Ancient Mariner ‘ today – fantastic!!!

I just want to THANK our small gathering of 8 guests who donated an amazing £230 in aid of  our chosen charity – ‘Cancer Research & Breast Cancer Awareness’.

We hope someone from the charity will be posting something also.

The next supperDelighted that everyone enjoyed the food and had room for seconds!! club is on Saturday 10th April so do check out the menu.