The first dinner!

Hello Bean Potters,

I thought it was about time for an update on our first dinner. So here it is!

On the Saturday of the last bank holiday weekend in August, eight of us gathered around the maiden Bean Pot table to share stories (and wine) and tuck into some grub cooked by me and my lovely co-host for the evening, Violaine. Violaine and I used to host The Clapton Pot together in Hackney and she flew over from London especially for the launch of The Bean Pot. If that’s not dedication to the cause, I don’t know what is.

Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith

I felt a bit like a kid going on holiday the night before the dinner and the excitement woke me up early! I got started on a lot of the prep which meant that by the time Violaine arrived in the afternoon we didn’t have too much left to do. When we ran The Clapton Pot in London, we’d go shopping in the morning and then get going with the food prep when we got back. I definitely miss the fun of heading down to our local market but it was actually quite nice not to cram both shopping and cooking into one day. For this I must also thank my lovely mum who had managed to pick up most of our shopping list during the week whilst I was working, and also Gracie and Billy Davies who sorted us some gorgeous veggies from The Farm School Initiative and Just William in the market.

Violaine and I had planned the menu over Skype and email and had tried to keep things relatively simple – we didn’t want disaster to strike for our first dinner! The menu for the evening was:

– A broad bean, pea and prosciutto salad topped with a sprinkling of cheese from Classic Herd, adapted a bit from this recipe by Izzy Hossack. We dressed this in a simple lemon and olive oil dressing and served it with a chunky seeded loaf from the Vienna Bakery.

Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith

– Individual aubergine and chorizo bakes topped with parmesan and mozzarella and served with a big green salad to share. This was an adaptation of the Italian classic ‘Melanzane parmigiana.’ I didn’t really follow a recipe but there’s plenty of similar things out there like this one from Jamie Oliver.

Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith

– Cinnamon rice pudding (using Jersey milk and cream of course!) with a cherry and plum compote, topped with pistachios and a sprinkling of rose petals (based on this Ottolenghi recipe). The rose petals were something we’d been wanting an excuse to use for a while and the launch of The Bean Pot seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Our guests for the evening were certainly a good bunch! As it was our first dinner, I had invited some friends and then launched some tickets online to see who would be brave enough to sign up to the first event! We ended up with a good mixture of familiar faces and some new ones and, by the end of the evening, it felt like we’d all known each other for quite a while … ! Stuart is originally from South Africa and runs which is a local search engine for businesses and organisations in the Channel Islands. He brought along his wife Gina who, we learnt, is a trained belly dancer and currently studying the art at a well-resepcted college in the U.K. Also around were Tina who runs the beautiful Fish & Beads shop down at St. Brelades and Digby, her husband, who’s organiser extraordinary of various sporting events. Last but not least we had Andrew, our token Northerner, who’s makes lots of lovely gates and metal work at Grouville Forge and Holly, who was kind enough to bring her camera along for the evening and take all the beautiful snaps you’ll see throughout this post and on the website. Go marvel at the rest of her gorgeous work here.

Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith

My dear friend Gracie Davies also deserves a mention. Unfortunately she was very ill and unable to join but the veggies she sorted for us went down a storm and everyone was really keen to hear about The Farm School Initiative, which Gracie runs. If you haven’t heard of it yet then go check out their website. The idea is to get groups of kids down to a real life farm where they learn how to plant and grow their own veggies – and in turn teaching them the value of what ends up on their plate. At The Bean Pot we want to try and use and promote as much Jersey produce as possible so if you’re a producer or supplier and might be interested in working with us then do get in touch – we’d love to chat!

We’re pleased to have been able to raise £40 for Jersey Cheshire Homes at this month dinner. Thank you to our guests for your kind donations! We’ll be picking a different Jersey based charity each month and proceeds from the night will go to them. We’d like to support a range of different charities so if anyone has suggestions then send them our way.

It’s nice going to dinner at a friend’s house. And old friends are great! But we’re big into meeting new ones at The Bean Pot too. These dinners are a way for islanders to meet new people in a relaxed and fun setting. I’m really looking forward to seeing who else we’re going to meet around The Bean Pot table. The dinners are open to anyone. All you have to do is keep an eye on our twitter and Facebook page where we’ll launch tickets a few weeks before each event. Hope to see you soon …

Anna x

Photo by Holly Louise Smith
Photo by Holly Louise Smith

One Comment Add yours

  1. Drew says:

    Looks great, lovely photos and the bean salad looks particularly good (a little bit of summer in September?)


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