The concept for the E17 Cook Book Club is simple: it’s a foodie social evening, everyone brings some food to share and their cook book inspiration (plus a £3 contribution to cover costs). We eat, talk and have fun. The themes, chefs and recipe books change each time. We meet on the last Wednesday of every month in the back room at The Bell pub (Forest Road, E17).
The themes for the next few dates, come and join us:
Wednesday 22 February – 8.30pm at The Bell, ‘Valentines – Food of Love!’
Wednesday 29 March – 8.30pm at The Bell, ‘Regional British’
Wednesday 26 April – 8.30pm at The Bell, ‘Tex Mex’
Wednesday 31 May – 8.30pm at The Bell, ‘Smoked, Pickled, Preserved & Fermented’ …
Newbies, couples, singles, everyone is welcome – it’s informal, delicious and fun! The group each evening varies from 6-15 people. Bring a dish and maybe the recipe or cook book. You don’t have to be a masterchef, just share a love of cooking, eating and experimenting and meeting new people. Sign up to the Facebook page so we can discuss in advance what everyone’s planning to cook.
We’ve come a long way, our E17 Cook Book Club themes so far have been:
Kicking off the new year in January we warmed up a dark winter’s night with ‘Indian’ dishes including butter chicken, keema & peas, chicken and fig curry, parathas, pani puris and rotis, chickpeas a million different ways, beetroot samosas, chutneys and raita, mango lassi and halwa and barfi sweets and chai tea to finish with…
November was a U.S. celebration of ‘Thanksgiving’ with roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie (savoury and sweet), baked sweet potato with marshmallows!
October was declared by one person as the best ever Cook Book Club! ‘Regional Italian’ night gave us a feast of Venetian polpette, porchetta, Tuscan focaccia, polenta gnocchi alla Romana, parmagiana, peperonata, cassola (a Roman Jewish baked ricotta cheesecake, Tuscan chicken stew with white beans, and the un-pronounceable Sicilian giuggiulena! Check out the December 2016 The EList magazine for more on Regional Italian night and the E17 Cook Book Club.
September – ‘Childhood Memories’ brought us back to a time of Crispy Pancakes, Shepherd’s Pie, Casuela de Marisco, and Bakewell Tart, to name but a few.
August was a very popular ‘Afternoon Tea’ theme with a profusion of pastries, posh sausage rolls, dainty sandwiches, canapes and bruschetta and of course plenty of cakes and scones …
July we celebrated the start of the Olympics with a ‘Brazilian’ and some new Cook Book members. We all got into the carnival mood with Julio showing us all how its done! We had a feast of Pão de queijo, chicken Coxinhas, black bean Feijoada, lobster Moqueca with farofa, and sweet brigadeiros
June was ‘Caribbean tropical tastes’ transporting us to sunnier climes with Jerk chicken, plantain fritters, spicy fish and rice dishes, mango, and plenty of peppers
May was a small and intimate gathering for our ‘Austro-Hungarian Adventures’. After some interesting food shopping round the Stow, our Central-European challenge brought two types of Segedinsky Goulash (pork with sauerkraut), a beef Papricas, Lentil and feta salad, Rakott Krumpli (potato and sausage bake), Hungarian fig and coffee cake and a poppy seed strudel.
April’s ‘Spring Time Vegetarian’ theme was a chance to experiment with seasonal vegetarian or vegan dishes.
March we celebrated ‘Greek Easter’ Καλό Πάσχα (Kalo Pascha!) with Meze, Olives, Spanakopita, Tsourekia Easter bread… and we nearly had homemade Baklava!
February we were exploring ‘Middle Eastern’ cooking. Think Ottolenghi, Honey & Co, Moro, Claudia Roden, Sally Butcher, Persia, Morocco, Algeria… It was a feast of meatballs, pitta breads, and pomegranate seeds.
January we kicked off the new year with ‘French Cooking’ to create a warming, wintry feast. We dined bistro style at the Vestry House Museum on classics including: Beef Bourguinon; Chicken with lentils; Toulouse sausage Cassoulet; Chicken liver pate; Roux brothers’ ‘Flan aux moules au perfume de thym’ (mussel and thyme flan); Chestnut soup; Caramelized garlic tart; Brousse homemade cheese; Tomato Fougasse bread; Duck confit; Tarte tatin; Macarons and Apricot & almond tart.
In November we were at The Bell for a ‘Bonfire Night’ and finished off the year with a ‘Mexican Christmas’ theme in December. Both nights brought together friends and laughter and some great warming dishes including guacamole with potato skins, pumpkin & coconut cake, a giant sausage roll, sticky ginger cake, chicken & chocolate mole, arepas with black beans, chilli salsa, chocolate & tequila trufffles, padron peppers and fresh pineapple with mint sherbet.
October the Rugby world cup made us homeless so we were kindly hosted in a new venue in the village at Froth & Rind cheese shop. With a theme of ‘Indian Summer’ it became a Madhur Jaffrey inspired feast of hot and spicy food. We had Roasted Dal with greens, Pakodi Kadi dumplings, Lamb Kozhambu and slow-cooked Lamb Dopiaza, a smokey Bainghan ka bharta, Mushroom pullao, Aubergine spicy ratatouille, Bhel puri Chaat, steamed rice Idlis and finally a green wheat halwa and a hummingbird cake. Wow!
August was back at The Bell, with a theme of ‘Holiday Memories’ – a favourite dish from our travels brought Tourist Paella, Bradford burfis, Key lime pie, Spinach & artichoke dip, a French-style brown butter, white chocolate & pistachio brownie, and Turkish Meze & meatballs.
July was supposed to be a ‘Brunch’ picnic in Lloyd Park but rain very nearly stopped play. We still had a great meet-up. We enjoyed Pork, porcini & leek meatloaf; Gorgonzola & roasted peach toasts; Chicken empanadas; Coconut bread & berries; Homemade cheese, spelt crackers & pickles; Turkish Ezo Gelin soup; Potato & chorizo hash; Baked Palestinian beans & eggs; Breakfast pie; Rice pudding; Chocolate chip buns & plum compote; Cream scones with violet jelly… it was all so delicious!
June we tested out some ‘Seasonal’ ingredients – broad beans, tomatoes & rhubarb (whatever happened to those gooseberries?!). After a few kitchen nightmares we enjoyed a Broad bean cheesecake from the Vanilla Black cook book, Tomato frittata, Ottolenghi’s broad bean kuku, Egyptian tamia (falafel) from Claudia Roden, Spanish habas con chorizo, Moro’s fava bean puree, Watermelon, feta & broad bean salad, and for dessert Rhubarb pie and Rhubarb & tonka bean custard pavlova. Wow!
April we pigged out on ‘Americana’ including Caesar salad, Crab Gumbo, Beer-baked chicken, Chilli con Carne, Cornbread, Pulled pork buns, Gorditas & salsa, Mac & cheese, Pumpkin pie, Brownies, Peanut butter cups and Nanaimo bars!
March we had a ‘Delia Smith’ theme – Mushroom pappardelle pie, Thai bean salad, Leek & goats cheese quiche, Double lemon & poppy seed cake, Hot cross buns, Lemon tart and Lemon Chantilly meringue.
January We moved to The Bell pub and a ‘Spanish’ theme brought dishes including Octopus pintxos, Partridge croquettes, Beef empanadas, Chicken & chorizo stew, Chilled almond soup, Fish Arroz a Banda, Coffee flan, Seville orange ice cream and Pistachio cake … it was a feast.
November We launched at Bygga Bo Swedish cafe – cakes and a few bottles of wine helped the evening along.