Last Saturday was a poignant evening for us as the lights went up – and down – for the last time on a secret supper at Ellie’s rare flat in the beating heart of Brixton. As always, the restaurant was filled with the chuckles of happy strangers and the kitchen with the familiar smells of spiced pork and pumpkin. The menu featured some of our most popular dishes from past suppers and was finished off with a delicious gypsy tart, recipe courtesy of the lovely Rosie Lovell. Plates were licked clean and after many bottles of wine and perhaps a few too many cigarettes, our last batch of guests were sent out into the Brixton night, happy to have been a part of it and leaving us to sit in the humble restaurant we built from scratch to feel proud of our efforts. The early morning clean up was a buoyant affair, both of us in high spirits after a successful night and full of anticipation of what’s to come.
With the cleaning finished in record time we set off on a Sunday amble through Brixton. First stop, the rather pricey and lacklustre farmers’ market on Pope’s Road, picking up some sugar-based sustenance to deliver at No 1 Village Bakeries in an effort to energise Rosie and Raf for the epic clean up*. Then for the papers and some gin in a trusty dark corner at the Effra. Leaving Ellie, Tom, the papers and the gin in said corner, I set off to walk the dog and make good of our leftovers:
Pig farmer’s pie
Fry a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic until soft. Add your leftover shredded pork shoulder to the frying pan (this recipe would be great with leftover lamb shoulder too, I suspect). Pour in a tin or two of plum tomatoes, a glug each of red wine, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and poke a sprig of rosemary into the mix before leaving to simmer on a gentle heat. Feel free to add anything else you might usually add to a shepherd’s pie – I was just working with what I had in the cupboard! Meanwhile peel a large sweet potato, a large white potato and half a butternut squash (or whatever starchy roots you have that need using up) and boil in salted water for about 10 minutes. Turn the pork mixture up high until it reduces and thickens slightly then pour into a baking dish. Mash your roots with some salt and butter and pile on top. Grate over some parmesan or cheddar or, again, any cheese in your fridge that needs eating, and slide into a hot oven until the top is golden brown and bubbling – I turned to grill for the last 5 minutes to get it really crisp. Et voila – a delicious Sunday supper made entirely from leftovers, guzzled and enjoyed as only winter food can be.
We’ve had such a fantastic year and looking back at everything that’s happened since this little blog was born in April makes us smile and shake our heads in disbelief. Thank you to everyone who follows our culinary ramblings here and to those who have waited patiently for a seat at the restaurant for months. It has been such a pleasure to meet and feed so many of you and we look forward to meeting many more of you in the new year. So, as Ellie settles into her new Brixton home of slightly smaller proportions, Salad Club will be evolving into a more portable venture. We have plenty of excited things lined up for 2010 so be sure to keep up!
* watch this space for news on a special Salad Club Sunday coming up at the No 1 Village Bakeries in December.