Telling a life in Vegan Food - 31st March 2012

Post date: 11-Mar-2012 21:02:05

Two of the best, and most interesting, cooks I know are vegan. I met them when I ended up sitting in between them at a concert – and started chatting to them because something was definitely a bit odd. She was obviously of South Asian extraction and he looked, well, Italianish. But they were speaking French to each other. I had just moved to Dalston and thought this totally exemplified living here – I was not wrong.

My dear friend Veena is originally from an Indian family. But she grew up in South Africa, where her parents lived. Her husband, Maurelio, is from Calabria, deep in the South of Italy. They met on a polo field in Switzerland, and the only language they had in common at the time was French. Thus the French, although he’s now fluent in English. The whole family (they have 4 kids), speak French to each other. So that on its own would have been an interesting combo. But in their married life, they have lived in Turkey, Japan, Switzerland, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and India. This incredible diversity and richness of experience, cultures and cuisines has meant, as you might imagine, that we have a huge amount in common, not least food.

You are all incredibly lucky that they have agreed to cook a supperclub for us on the 31st March, shortly before their 25th wedding anniversary! They have found, as I do, that designing the menu makes you think back over your life, and the memories it dredges up are very special.

On the menu, reflecting their international life together, will be:

Polenta with caper relish (north Italy)

Courgette Spaghetti (Switzerland)

Broccoli, Tofu and Sundried Tomato antipasti (south Italy)

Aubergine and Mint salad (Tunisia)

Silken tofu with White Radish (Japan)

Cheese* Scones (South Africa)

Mercimek Kofte - bulgur and lentil sausages (Turkey)

Soya fish, Konnyaku and Mushroom Pasta cooked with cream* and white wine (Maurelio's fusion of Japan and Italy)

Jackfruit and Mushroom Curry (South Indian)

Kiribath (Sri-lankan)

Mixed Sprouts Bhaji (north Indian)

Mango Fool (Veena's mum's speciality)

Vanilla and Raspberry sponge with Champagne Sorbet (Veena's daughter's patisserie)

(*obviously, as this is vegan, things saying cream and cheese and fish will have vegan substitutes)

Veena and Maurelio exemplify why I love living in Dalston – all the different cultures, foods and amazing people make me feel right at home!

Cost will be £40 of which £35 will go direct to MSF. Please mail us with bookings on!