I’d heard of mindfulness and of being “mindful” but I’d not really considered applying this to the way you cook up until a few weekends ago.
I was fortunate enough to be treated to a delicious meal cooked by Joey, a chef who recently made it to the final 12 on Masterchef Professionals. She’s now running supper clubs called Hare on the Hill which you can find on great foodie website Tabl
Tabl invite food lovers to discover new ways of dining. From super clubs to food adventures and pop-up kitchens, tabl events tend to take place in unexpected places which you won’t just stumble across. This ran true for Hare on the Hill’s location tucked away on an industrial estate in Clapham.
She’s teamed up with her friends; food photographer Stefan who’s incredible Lavender Hill photography studio-kitchen we dined in, and stylist Eloise who impressed with the table decorations and the pretty plates of food.
The evening was based around the concept of mindful cooking. This involves using fresh, seasonal ingredients and cooking healthy dishes. Joey spoke about how too often you’ll eat dinner out and feel unpleasantly full after eating rich food with lots of fat in it.
Hare on the Hill’s starters and mains are all vegetarian. It’s the sharing courses and snacks that contain meat, but there’s always a vegetarian alternative for these too. Joey believes in one menu for all and I really like this approach.
If you’re someone who doesn’t think a meal is a meal without meat then think again. Joey’s cooking was proof that vegetarian, healthy dishes are both filling and tasty. I’m not a vegetarian and nor were most of the guests at the table, but we all devoured Joey’s cooking.
I’ve never been to a supper club before. Food is definitely a very sociable event but I always like to share this with friends and family and not people I’ve never met before. I guess I’d been worried that at a supper club I’d end up with nothing to say to the others. I needn’t have worried. The great thing about supper clubs are that the people attending are into their food. They’ve eaten at great restaurants around the world, travel to eat (like me) and so you’ve got that love of food in common. It’s a great way to meet some really interesting people.
After a welcome cocktail, a snoop around Stefan’s beautiful photography studio and some gorgeous, perfectly crisp ham hock, leek & English mustard and wild garlic & mozzarella croquettes dipped in lemon & chive mayonnaise it was time for the starters.
When I saw kale on the menu I wasn’t sure I’d be a huge fan of the first starter. I’ve tried kale many ways; as crisps, massaged, just as it is and I just don’t get the fuss. Plus, it always leaves me with green teeth…
But whatever Joey did to the kale was lovely. It was served with ricotta and orange, sprouting green lentils and rye. Healthy and fresh. As mentioned above, Hare on the Hill serve meat for the starters so alongside this was a plate of pulled lamb rump, white bean puree, watercress and salsa verde. The lamb was incredibly tender and the two starters together worked really well.
Next was a roasted cauliflower & almond soup with sauerkraut, alfalfa and activated almonds. Alfalfa, it turns out, looks a little like cress – it was something I’d never heard of before, I don’t know about you? Far from being too strong a pickle flavour, the sauerkraut worked really well with the cauliflower flavour.
Our main was leeks vinaigrette, pinto beans, pecorino, radish, wild garlic pesto & anchovy mayonnaise with spring onions, nuts & radishes to garnish. It looks pretty and tasted even better.
Usually, if you’re eating at a restaurant and had eaten that much food you’d probably feel quite heavy or like you needed a lie down. The beauty of Joey’s cooking was that, whilst you felt satisfied, you didn’t feel heavy. You felt quite light still thanks to the mindful cooking.
Joey treated everyone at the table to three desserts which I washed down with a relaxing fresh mint tea to finish off the meal.
A raw, vegan, gluten free and sugar free cheesecake sounds like a bit of an impossible task but Joey managed to not only make one, but still make it taste great too. This was followed by a sugar free pistachio cake, rhubarb and buttermilk sorbet and a raspberry cheesecake macaron that definitely wasn’t sugar free – but was the best I’ve ever tasted. Take that, Paris!
Joey told us she always includes a macaron at her Hare on the Hill supper clubs because in one of her first jobs she was often tasked with making 400 macarons every day! Totally worth it when she can now make macarons that taste as good as that raspberry cheesecake one.
A five course supper with great conversation and food made with healthy, fresh and seasonal ingredients which don’t leave you feeling uncomfortably full and fat is something I’ll definitely go back for.
If you too want to see what’s involved in mindful cooking and have the pleasure of a Masterchef cooking for you then check out Joey’s other dates on Tabl. But be quick – they sell out fast!