- Saturday, 11 November 2017

Eatery Hopping: Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff

I swithered and dithered over whether this should be an eatery hopping, but what it comes down to is that I ate food and took photos of the food and although there was plenty other stuff of note going on, my mind always prioritises the food.


Mexican mole curry, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk


Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukSecret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










Let's rewind a bit: I went to a supper club (my first ever!) on Friday evening. For my fellow supper club newbies, it is a ticketed event with a limited number of spaces, for like-minded people to gather and meet each other and enjoy some tasty food.

This particular one was hosted by Green City Events, who are an events company based here in Cardiff with a focus on environmentally friendly or 'green' projects, whether that be food waste, upcycling, growing your own produce, altering your own clothes, anything! The food was thanks to Lia's Kitchen, the venue thanks to a local café (Pedal Power), and the behind-the-scenes of the whole thing kept smooth by a number of heroic volunteers. I went along with my equally food-obsessed and cool events-obsessed buddy, big camera and Cath Kidston notebook in hand, and here is the result!


Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukSecret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukSecret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

The location had been kept secret until a few days before the event, when it was sent out by email to everyone who had bought a ticket. I'm not sure why I find this so thrilling, but for some reason it strikes me as sort of treasure hunt ish and exclusive and generally intriguing. This one took place at Pedal Power, which happens to be a café that I didn't know existed located in a building that I didn't know existed at the far end of a caravan park that I also didn't know existed. The one thing I did know was that it is in Pontcanna, which has come up time and time again at the top of the list of areas to live in Cardiff during my extensive house searches.

Saying that though, we didn't actually see any of Pontcanna en route to the café because oh gee whizzaroo Cardiff gets reeaaallly dark reeaallly early. Not to worry though, because there was a warmly lit and cosy venue waiting for us! Becca of Green City Events recognised us on arrival (like an actual psychic magician, I have no idea how), ticked us off the list, gave us a lovely warm welcome and directed us to the nibbles. Yep, NIBBLES. My favourite type of greeting: an edible one.

roasted aubergine rolls, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukcornbread muffins, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










Each table (there were probably about 30 of us in total) was decorated with pumpkins and foliage and general seasonal adorableness, and had little menus that now tell me the nibbles were: savoury pumpkin muffins with a feta and yoghurt frosting; or, for the vegans, aubergine roll bites stuffed with onion and peppers. These were definitely not the easiest thing to eat (thank GOODNESS I wasn't on a date because I was definitely not looking my most graceful) but so completely worth it because they were just delicious.

Greek baklava pumpkin filo pastry swirl, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukcooking workshop, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










We were then split into two groups, for two half hour sessions each. We went first to don some wondrously attractive aprons and embarked upon making our own puddings, which I can only describe as a sort of swirly baklava. We had a demo from Lia on how to assemble it (it was definitely more assembly than cooking), by brushing filo pastry with oil, folding, more oil, another fold, splop the filling in a line, more oil, roll into a sausage, more oil, curl into a snail and be totally unsurprised when it breaks because you were way too enthusiastic with the filling. The filling was some mysterious and vague mix of squash, walnuts, dates, figs, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and I think sugar; we had extra left over, and I can vouch for its tastiness on its own because I will unashamedly eat leftovers and ingredients at any point in the cooking process. I'm extremely pleased because we have been given the recipe, and honestly it will be so tasty in breakfasts oh man alive yum.

The second half of this chunk of time was spent in a snug little sofa area, and was divided into two 15 minute slots. In the first slot, I GAVE A BLOGGING WORKSHOP. Just wanted to put that in capitals so that those of you who are skim reading (caught you red-handed) would also notice it because it was very cool and exciting. For the tips I gave and the ~wisdom~ I imparted, you can also check out the post I did a while ago on how to start a blog. You're so welcome.

Autumn crafts, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukAutumn crafts, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukAutumn crafts, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

The second chunk of 15 minutes was reminiscent of my childhood when I was constantly doing every DIY project I could find. This time, it was painting leaves and excavating patterns hiding in scratch paper. We were advised to coat the leaves with PVA glue diluted with water, but I can now confirm that clear nail polish is equally effective if you don't have that giant red-lidded bottle of PVA glue that always seemed to be kicking around in a cupboard when you were little. Oh, and I also ate a nasturtium, because someone had brought nasturtiums along and they are edible and delicious and surprisingly fiery.

As a little pre-supper interlude, we popped outside for some long-exposure sparkler photos and general sparkler fun. We tried to write 'green squirrel' in two separate groups, only one of which worked - the other one. These things are a little easier said than done..!

And lo, supper time is upon us! We queued for the most enormous portions on the planet (tip for the next supper club: smaller portions really are okay, people will have seconds if they want more!) of Nicaraguan gallo pinto rice topped with pumpkin, beetroot and aubergine Mexican chilli with a hefty splop of chocolate mole sauce (pronounced molé, no moles harmed - the origin of the word actually translates as 'sauce' so mole sauce is.. sauce sauce). There was a little self-serve bar with humongous bowls of Politiki salata (Greek cabbage slaw with celery, peppers, carrots, parsley, and oranges!), coriander for garnish, and a dukkah spice mix with hazelnuts, for sprinkling.

Mexican mole curry, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukGreek Politiki salata, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

Mexican mole curry, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukGreek Politiki salata, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukmenu, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

It turned out looking lovely, and tasting lovelier. I don't even like cabbage (at ALL) and event the cabbage was nice - the orange was fab, and I fully support adding unexpected fruity sweetness to pretty much everything ever.

After quite a considerable length of time (mega chatterbox/slow eater alert), my plate was clean (which in hindsight was unwise as the portion was enormous and I had a v bloaty uncomfy tummy the next day, although it was tasty so hey ho) and we had a bit of a gap for digesting before pudding. At this point, people were invited to share about projects or causes they're passionate about, so we heard about other Green City workshops and events, Community Voices who aim to integrate people with learning disabilities into local community events, and Pedal Power café who were hosting for the evening. Twas all muy interesting and eye-opening, and went by very quickly too because, before too long, trays of swirly, oily, baklava-y pastry goodness were being wafted into the room.

Greek baklava pumpkin filo pastry swirl, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.ukGreek baklava pumpkin filo pastry swirl, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk










LOOK AT THE FLAKINESS. Again, this was absolutely humongous but because I had made it myself, and because it was too ooey gooey to take home, I polished off the whole thing. Which probably contributed to my overstuffed sore tummy the next day. But again, it was delicious, so my brain didn't think about these things.

And then, before we knew it, the evening had drawn to a close and only the stragglers (i.e. those of us who stayed long enough to finish the filo swirls - there were quite a few left sad and unfinished) were left behind. We said our thank yous, pocketed our crafty creations, wrapped ourselves up to brave the walk back through the caravan park in the freezy cold, and set off.

Thank you, Green City Events, for such a lovely evening! My chum and I also expanded our friend group by 50% which is a super lovely added bonus, and definitely comes from the fact that events like this attract people with very similar values and interests.

I'm already excited for the next supper club, and wholeheartedly recommend that you go to one too if you are in or around Cardiff! Or go in search of a similar event near you, because these things invariably do exist and don't get shouted about. Happy supper clubbing!

*All photos in this post are mine. If you wish to use any, please ask permission and credit me!*

Greek baklava pumpkin filo pastry swirl, Secret Squirrel Supper Club, Cardiff, www.imogenmolly.co.uk

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