As a proud resident of what I call the "Nation of Catford", I support local businesses and go to eat in local restaurants. Our corner of London, deep in the south east of the city, isn't well known or glitzy. But it has many pluses. It is full of lovely green spaces. We have a diverse population of people who've been here for generations or arrived from all over the world either this generation or the last. We have proud Victorian housing stock which would sell for millions in the more chi-chi neighbourhoods of north and west London. It is great that we have local Turkish, Vietnamese, Caribbean and Sri Lankan grocers in our neighbourhood, making diverse culinary traditions accessible, bringing that taste of home closer for local migrant communities.
I recently hosted a guest post about Catford Broadway Supperclub (you will find it here: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/guest-post-catford-broadway-supperclub.html) and followed that up with a post about some new developments coming our way (which you can read here: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/update-catford-broadway-market-and.html). It was therefore high time that I visited and wrote about the Supperclub itself. So here I am!
Capo Caccia specialise in the food of Sardinia, with cured meats and cheese being their particular passions. Trading at markets in Northcote Road, Tufnell Park, Harringay, Chatsworth Road and Catford Broadway, Capo Caccia want to spread greater awareness of the high quality available from Sardinia. (If you want to know more about them, including their trading dates, do have a look here: http://www.capocaccia.co.uk/. Pastificio Mansi is an Italian home made pasta workshop based in Ladywell, South East London, just up the road from the Nation of Catford.
This was due to be the last Catford Broadway Supperclub to be held on the Broadway itself. The weather is on the change, and it won't be practical to hold future Supperclubs in a marquee. As the weather gets colder and less reliable, the need for heating and total watertight conditions will only increase. As a result, the Supperclub will, in future be relocated to a nearby shop which will be called the "Catford Canteen".
Thankfully, we had a pleasant and unseasonally warm evening for this final al fresco Supperclub. I arrived a little bit early and caught the Capo Caccia team preparing the Antipasti platter.
Here was my place, all made up and ready for me!
We were welcomed with an Aperol spritz, made up of Aperol and prosecco, in the traditional way. It got us ready for the specialities to come, ready to take us on an Italian journey!
Our pre-starter was Pane Carasau with Pecorino cream dip. Pane Carasau is a traditional Sardinian bread, a flatbread made out of durum wheat (the same as used for pasta), which is double baked, making it crisp and crunchy. Made for shepherds to take on their long wanders across the countryside, it keeps for months. The Pane was light and crunchy, and breaking it gave a smile-inducing cracking sound. It went very well with the creamy, thick and highly indulgent dip. One fellow diner remarked that it was "a bit like Dairylea". I would disagree as there was a depth of flavour our more familiar foil trangles don't have; a bit like the umami flavours of Parmesan.
Here is the Pane Carasau, ready for its close-up.
The Antipasti platter arrived soon after, and it was a mouthwatering selection of Sardinian Mustela, Salami and Coppa with Pecorino cheese and rocket.
In Sardinia, Mustela is pork fillet flavoured with herbs, and aged. Some varieties are soaked in white wine or vinegar. Capo Caccia's is from the southern flatlands and aged for 2-3 months. The Coppa is made from the neck of the pig, marinaded in the local Malvasia wine, treated with salt, pepper and spice and aged for 4-6 months. The Pecorino is made with sheeps milk and aged for 60-90 days. The salami was studded with cracked black pepper, bringing a kick of heat and flavour to the splendidly aged meat.
It was then time to hand over to Pastificio Mansi. Their first offering was pumpkin ravioli in sage, butter sauce and shaved Parmesan. The hand made raviolis were delectable little parcels, the pasta being a world away from the supermarket chiller packs we have got so used to.
Generously filled with pumpkin, the sage and butter complemented it well. Rich buttery flavours tinged with medicinal sage contrasted and highlighted the sweet mushiness of the vibrantly orange pumpkin.
Squid ink and bottarga lasagna served with zucchini and king prawns was next. Bottarga is grated grey mullet roe. The lasagna itself was not black pasta, as I had expected. However, I have to confess that I was disappointed by this dish. It didn't skimp on the prawns, and was clearly made with care and skill. However, it was cold! And even though I am a confirmed pasta-demon, cold lasagna isn't something I enjoy. It's a shame, since it wasn't Pastaficio Mansi's fault they were having to bring dishes from the outside kitchen all the way to the Supperclub diner's marquee. If it had been hot, I would have been able to assess it fairly and squarely. Perhaps I will withhold judgment as a result.
We finished with Hazelnut gelato, mature salted Ricotta topped with organic Sardinian honey. The gelato was produced by Gelateria 3BIS of Borough Market, a traditional Italian gelato producer with a branch in Rimini. Made with organic milk, the hazelnut gelato was creamy, and tasted richly of real hazelnuts, not flavouring. The dried ricotta and honey was pleasant, but the ricotta was a little too salty to go with the ice cream. I felt that if it had been served as a half-way house dessert on its own, it would have been thoroughly enjoyable. Dried ricotta is a world away from the somewhat bland tubs of creamy stuff available in UK supermarkets. However, served with the ice cream, the overall effect was a little jarring. The two items just didn't go together for me. So I ate the ricotta first, and then tucked into the ice cream!
The Catford Broadway Supperclub is a great initiative; it brings together local food producers and caterers to the attention of potential customers. And it brings together local people in celebration of good food. I met many food lovers who live less than a stone's throw away from me who in ordinary life I would have walked past and never have spoken to. I also met local food blogger and supperclub host Hungry Larder, who I've been in touch with on twitter for a long while, but never met in real life - the real 'social network'!
Meeting and getting to know people over a meal and drinks is the oldest and most effective way of interacting. These Supperclubs are an opportunity to bring the community together, and to take pride and enjoyment for their locale home. Him Indoors and I had a very enjoyable evening, chatting to other like minded people, and will definitely be joining the action at the new Catford Canteen!
Snigdha and Him Indoors dined as guests of Catford Broadway Supperclub.