Creativity Corner Vive La Différence

Vive La Différence – Supper Club

May 2, 2013

Hello everyone. Hasn’t the weather been rather glorious?

This vive la différence was scheduled for last monday but i decided to leave my last post on for a whole week. So my poor guest, who was super early with her submission, has had to wait a little longer. Never mind that, you guys had to wait longer too:-)

So, without further ado, let me introduce this month’s guest – the lovely nicola from teaandgee. Most of you know her as the ‘tea lady’ but she has many strings to her bow. She’s a talented interior designer and an avid knowledge junkie. There is very little in the design world she doesn’t know about! The funny thing is that nicola never offered to join this. I simply asked and she agreed! (note to myself: must try that trick more often!)

For new readers:

The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

Nicola chose the theme: supper club with the objects: flowers, glassware, food. Here’s her take on this.

It’s April and a Full Moon. Spring has finally sprung. Blossom is blooming and buds show hope and new life, a fresh start to the cycle of the year. At last we can prepare the earth for future feasts. Today has been a good day for gardening; on our allotments, in our gardens large and small, in Bacsacs on our roof terraces, in containers on our balconies, in hydroponic window boxes on our sills, in Sky Planters in our kitchens, in woolly wall planters on our walls, even our jewellery. It came as a surprise to some to start seeing empty shelves at the supermarket and the only way forward as a nation was to Grow Our Own so we’re all doing it now, at schools, at clubs, in shared garden schemes and at home, whatever the size and space. This evening, a biodynamic tribe have come together to celebrate with the first Supper Club event of the year. All have brought some of their harvest to share, the first asparagus spears of the year are steamed and large bowls of fresh salad with herbs and garlic from the square Bacsac kitchen garden and a kitchen herb stand are prepared. A long table has been made ready outside with a sense of anticipation, an opportunity to decorate ready for the dramatic presentation of the lovingly grown and prepared food and flowers.

Late hellebores, white narcissus, scented viburnum and euphorbia decorate the table, Neon glass bottles are filled with filtered water, English Garden Pillar candles are lit, subtle Vessel lighting is around and blankets are ready on the back of every chair. A log fire is lit nearby with the tribes’ cuttings. Everyone is pleasantly tired from their day of physical work, relaxed and enjoying their food and drink. Discussion is of the main crop potatoes, globe artichokes and onions planted amongst borders today, the thyme and chives in window boxes, the rocket and lettuce in neat rows and rills, all planted with the cycle of the moon to grow better and taste better and to be shared at the next Supper Club. All are happy to be eating with friends, meeting new people and sharing their abundance, more connected to the seasons and cycles and more aware of the natural world around them. 

Vive la Différence - Supper Club - Nicola Trottman-Green

Supper Club credits

First row left to right: Woolly wall planter by Woollypocket, 2013 Garden Calendar from Rifle Paper Co, containers from Bacsac, photograph of green bowl of food by Jason Lowe, Sky Planters in kitchen by Boskke.

Second row left to right: Photograph of box of artichokes by Jason Lowe, pink Potato Planter by Turtle bags available from Clifton Nurseries, Tables and chairs image of Fiat Lounge by Arianna Lelli Mami and Chiara Di Pinto of Studiopepe, Herb Stand by Jakob Heiberg for Normann, English Garden Pillar Candle by Restoration Hardware.

Third row from left to right: Blackboard Hydroponic planter by Modern Sprout, Supper table Author’s own, yellow trolley by Fréderic Sofia for Fermob, log fire by EcoForest, Vessel cordless LED lights by Smart and Green, asparagus from Author’s supper table.

Fourth row from left to right: outdoor cushions by Fermob, wal/ planter in sitting room by Woollypocket, jug of hellebores and viburnum Author’s own, Wearable Planter by Colleen Jordan for Vespoe, Neon bottles from Oliver Bonas, Nehalem blanket from Tanner Goods.

Many thanks to Tina Bernstein for letting me loose on this opportunity
Photographs of artichokes and green bowl by Jason Lowe
More information and all the research on Pinterest here
Article written in longhand with a sprout pencil that was then planted.
___________________________________________________________________________________

Supper Club Extraordinaire 

It’s 2013 and the UK is definitely now regarded as a world food destination. Having arrived here in 1980, when good food was non-existent in this country, I am very pleased the food scene in the UK has changed so much over the past 30 years. However, what does not please me is the new trend of ‘gourmet’ food products, which are filled with non-nutritious ingredients. The ethernet is full of people blogging, instagraming and tweeting about macarons, cupcakes, muffins et cetera. Although fun and yes, even pretty, these so called treats should come with a health warning! On a recent trip to the Royal Academy, I was horrified to see that in the members café, which was full of elderly people, they served nothing but cakes, biscuits and sandwiches in many different varieties. It all looked scrumptious, but on closer inspection it’s all very starchy, full of fat and sugar. There wasn’t an apple or other fruit in sight!

I belong to the small percentage of people that mostly lives Dairy, Gluten and Sugar free and I was delighted when Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest book arrived on our shelves. It is so important that high profile celebrities get behind this very real issue of eating for ‘health’, while still tremendously enjoying your food. As a self-confessed foodie I know that the best food is additive free, left in its purest form and grown organic and seasonal.

With this in mind, let me invite you all to the first Dairy, Gluten and Sugar free Supper Club. (imaginary) I have hand-made the invitation and am going to show you how I shop for food in London (reality). Why don’t you join me on this little shopping trip for the best food and ingredients to be found in London.

Earth, Bumblebee, Planet Organics and Wholefoods – all my local health food shops that I visit regularly for staples.
Leila’s shop, for delicious and extraordinary produce. I’m always excited like a kid when I enter this food emporium ad Leila is one amazing woman.
Spa TerminusFern Verrow for all my biodynamic produce (my absolute favourite for the past 15 years. Jane is a genius!) – The Butchery, meat doesn’t get any better than this. I love Nat!
Frank Godrey for fantastic meat and the best veal in town. Meek and Wild Fishmonger – because I’ve known Paul forever and he’s passionate about great fish!
Islington Farmers Market – OR Marylebone Farmers Market – both on a Sunday
La Fromagerie – because I met Patricia in the 80’s when she first had a bread and croissant stall in Camden Lock and she’s so passionate about great food!!

There you have it. I frequent in all of these ad mix and match. So, anyone fancy coming to my Supper Club? Do RSVP!

Vive la Différence - Supper Club - Tina Bernstein

Thank you nicola for all your efforts and so many interesting links. I love your supper club. Maybe we could combine efforts?

I am still as excited as a kid by this weather so let’s hope the bank holiday weekend does us proud. Whatever you might be up to, i’ll be back here on monday. Hopefully see you then. Happy munching!

NOTE: I’ve had numerous requests by email to join my dairy-gluten and sugar free supper club! Unfortunately the invite is imaginary and only devised for this exercise here. Maybe one day i will host such a supper club, but for now, there is none scheduled. Thank you!

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44 Comments

  • Reply Nicola May 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Wow Tina – your Supper Club is full of life and energy, must be all that fabulous food you eat!

    And what an amazing selection of places where you shop, sourcing good quality produce and supporting the High Street.

    Meek and Wild mention Supper Clubs on their site and particularly liked the Silver Spoon Guerilla Dining in Copenhagen. Would be great to combine efforts, will RSVP at once xx

    • Reply tina May 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      Haha. Well your Supper Club isn’t too shabby either. You really covered all angles, didn’t you?:-) I LOVED all your links and found so much interesting stuff, the edible Cities Map (genius)… also really cool Pinterest board.. what a great idea to have one just for this feature. Thank you so much. Will start pinning shortly!

      Yep. I’ve been doing so for 20 years and hence am extremely spoiled. The reason for living in North London is because somehow I’m at the HUB of all the shops I need.
      Strangely enough, I was complaining this week how long it takes me to shop for all ingredients as I’m known to like certain things from each shop. However, as I’ve always said, it’s a choice, a passion and makes me happy. Real food equals life so I’m doing all right?

      On the subject of supporting the High Street. Well, in this case, it’s more supporting small grocers and farmers. I don’t like supermarkets, finding them soulless. The only one I support would be Waitrose as I like their Business model and the fact they are a Partnership. You get proper service there. I buy bottled water from my local one. This isn’t a rant against supermarkets because, actually, it’s all about demand and supply. It’s about making better choices and realising that the quality and pricing of supermarkets are OFTEN inferior to shopping at a farmers market AND you get to hear where and how the produce is made. Can’t think of a better way to nourish oneself.

      Yes, saw that. Paul started off working for Steve Hatt many Moons ago and now owns his own fishmonger. What’s better than to get the freshest fish and be fed tasting samples every time I go in there. I am so spoilt!!

      Thanks Nicola, great effort and such a pleasure to have you here xx

  • Reply Chi @ 106 May 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Oooh, can I come to both?!!!

    As you know, I’m a HUGE fan of living/eating organically and holistically so this post has got me VERY excited.

    I’ve often harboured dreams of starting my very own Dairy/Gluten/Sugar-free Foodie Supper Club here in the sleepy countryside. I wouldn’t say a word about the ingredients and I’d revel in the delight on the guests faces as they wolfed down their sumptuous repast – tee-hee!!! 😀

    It’s at times like this that I fervently wished that I lived in London. So many great resources and wonderful havens of culinary bliss – superb job, ladies! 😀 xo

    • Reply Nicola May 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for your kind words and great enthusiasm Chi
      So here’s a great opportunity for you to start your own resources in your area! It has to work locally to succeed. We need to be on the Edible Cities map!
      Nicola x
      http://www.ediblecities.org

    • Reply tina May 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Of course you can… we’ll have a feast for all our senses!!

      Err, let me think, no, I don’t think I knew that (hahahahahahahahahahahaha). I believe that’s what first connected us over a year ago now.
      Food ALWAYS gets you excited!!

      I think that’s a fab idea… start your own ‘healthy’ supper club and tackle that bit of the UK. Bet they would love it. yes, don’t tell, just seduce them with great recipe names et cetera.

      You know, you can come down anytime and I’ll take you food shopping xx

  • Reply Kristen May 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Celebrating Spring in lovely London…thank you both for some wonderful seasonal food and design inspiration.

    Love that bright verdant green running through both your images – such organic, fresh energy! And a lovely reminder to put some big bundles of asparagus on the shopping list 🙂

    • Reply Nicola May 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks Kristen, happy cooking! xx

    • Reply tina May 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Welcome and thank you:-) always happy to inspire!

      Ah, yes, first Asparagus… love them! Happy greening! Thank you for your visit.

  • Reply leah of sang the bird May 3, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I am so glad your weather has been so glorious. I have been enjoying your pics on IG so much.I love both of these. Supper club is such a fabulous theme. T, I love how you introduced Nicola!
    p.s I love you! I am dairy and gluten free; and primarily sugar free. I would love to have supper with you xx

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      It’s quite tricky finding good products that are dairy/gluten/sugar free and not too stodgy and calorific. I think the cannelle et vanille website and cookery book is a good one to follow, as well as Gwynnie’s of course!
      Nicola x

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Thank you love. After I’ve been ranting on about the long and harsh winter, I just have to post sunny pics on IG:-)

      Ha. How come after following each other for so long we didn’t know we have a similar diet?? We know we want to have TEA, lunch and dinners together. ALl that has to happen is some sort of teleporting facility that affords us to meet and hang out regularly. Australia and UK is not quite round the corner. If you would live in Europe I would have already invited myself:-)))

      I think you should join me and Nicola in doing a Supper Club… we would have such fun and you are the guru in ‘simple living’.
      xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen May 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Ohh Tina and Nicola – looks so inviting, and where so I sign up. I love both takes on the supper club, and how both encompass living organically, living healthily and of the land. Here in Denmark it is very much ‘being green’ and this is right up my street. FAB, Happy weekend ladies, I really enjoyed this.
    Ax

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks for your comment Anya, look forward to sharing some nourishment sometime! x

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      I did actually get an email from someone asking whether she could join?:-)) I think we might need to do this is real life, what do you think?

      Thank you you veteran Vive la Différence contributor. Thought you might enjoy this. You Danish are always in the top list of sustainable and best living places xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey May 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Quite a different post Tina & Nicola. Very much enjoyed this one. I don’t always treat food with the respect that it deserves, so you have both put me to shame 😉

    Both scenarios are vivid and inviting. Nicola I love the idea of sharing around a long table with friends, candles burning and blankets there to provide warmth in the late evening chill. For some reason I immediately think about Italy and Tuscany.

    Tina I love your shopping list, although it is expensive to shop locally all the time (I think). I’m also a fan of the artisan cakes and buns… I have a sweet tooth 😉 So I’d a little bit worried about dessert at your rather wonderful supper party. Maybe I could sneak a cupcake under the table 😉

    Thank you both for this xx

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Gerard, thanks for your comment. The idea of doing this in Tuscany sounds very appealing indeed, especially since there is still the mentality in Italy of growing one’s own produce, jarring & storing to keep going through the Winter or fallow times.

      I wouldn’t worry about dessert, I’m sure there’d be plenty, we could use agave syrup, xylitol or you could start beekeeping and bring your own honey! Xx

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      Hello gorgeous. You are much missed in the blogging world so finish that painting malarky and enthral us with your fabulous writing….

      I remember when I first followed you on Twitter and IG (incidentally, why have you stopped using IG????????????????????)
      you posted quite a bit of rubbish you were snacking on and I remember thinking: this guy is so fastidious about his aesthetics in design et cetera (see, I’m a good student). Obviously he’s completely unaware and oblivious when it comes to food!

      No, don’t be put to shame. I’m always happy if something at all rubs off on people so maybe this post has sown a seed:-)

      I am so up for a get together in Italy, you have no idea. My dream has always been to buy a dilapidated villa in Tuscany and have friends come there to help do it up and join in the ‘simple way of living’. I am collecting my Tribe:-)

      Ha. Knew someone would pull me up about the expense of shopping locally… no it’s not. It’s about understanding that eating nutrient filled food will make you eat far less, so although some foods might be more expensive than in a supermarket you end up spending roughly the same. The only difference is your physical and mental wellbeing. Cannot put a price on that!!

      Yes, artisan cakes and buns… I suppose since I don’t have a sweet tooth it makes it easier for me. However, rest assured, when you come here you will have delicious deserts that don’t contain sugar, wheat and numerous preservatives but rather will satisfy your palette without these offenders. I’ll get you there one day, mark my words. xx

  • Reply Igor May 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Oh yes, I am in for a feast! I like how different both takes on the same topic are. The green/garden focused topic vs. the foodie topic is such a cool example, how individuals interpret keywords differently. Great! Oh and that ‘La Fromagerie’, gotta check that out…happy weekend!

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks Igor, a happy weekend to you too!

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      You like your feasts and parties:-)

      La Fromagerie is going to be your top food destination in London. Trust me…:-)

  • Reply Catherine May 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Both sound wonderful. I love the idea NIcola of everybody sharing their bounty at a long outdoor table and discussing their crop. What a fab way to build community. Tina, yours sounds so nourishing. As you know I’ve just started to delve into the healthy food world and was interested to see all the places you shop. Thank you Nicola and Tina x

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Catherine, I love the idea of bringing friends, families and communities together and sharing food, ideas and conversation x

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Did it make you hungry? It certainly did me when I first saw Nicola’s entry! Community building, growing your own crop, feasting on nutritious food and spending time with loved ones must be one of the most precious things in life!

      Come to London and I’ll go food shopping with you. (I know bit of a schlepp from Melbourne:-) x

  • Reply Grace May 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Nicola- a beautiful peice of writing. It has finally made Spring sink into my train of thougts!
    Very inspiring, making me want to run out into the sunshine and Grow-My-Own suppers!
    A wonderful blog filled with wonderful things
    Amazing!
    X

    • Reply Nicola May 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks for your lovely words Grace, looking forward to seeing what you grow xx

    • Reply tina May 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Hello Grace.

      Grow-your-own suppers sounds rather lovely!! Nicola and I would gladly be invited:-)
      Thank you for your comment!

  • Reply Shona May 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Tina,

    Thanks for an inspiring post which will further assist my new sustainable/healthy living eating plans. Went to shops yesterday with pre-planned menu items on a list and I’ve already harvested my first bean sprout crop. I love the idea of a dairy, gluten and sugar free supper club.

    • Reply Nicola May 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Very impressed Shona, wish you well with your new eating plan! x

    • Reply tina May 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Pleasure. Was going to link to your experiment… your website is not working!

      Good on you for harvesting your first bean sprout crop. Amazing that if we put our minds to it, things don’t seem so hard..
      I might actually do a Supper Club if I can persuade Nicola..:-)

  • Reply noreen May 6, 2013 at 12:52 am

    t – stopping in to say – super busy – will be back to read and enjoy this. it looks really interesting! happy new week, n

    • Reply Nicola May 6, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Hope you enjoy the read Noreen, need to sit down with a (herbal) tea to read it! x

    • Reply tina May 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      Ha. Thank you for stopping, albeit busy. Thought you might like this:-) Fern Verrow is my favourite and Biodynamic. Check out their website.
      Have a great week.

  • Reply Lena May 6, 2013 at 8:49 am

    You were right – that’s A LOT OF LINKS 😉 I didn’t click on each one of them, but those I did click on were definitely worth it. And another great and fun column!

    • Reply tina May 6, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Hahaha. Told ya!!!! 😉 Thank you for clicking on some:-)) Glad you enjoyed it!!

  • Reply Nicola May 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I know. it’s a bit excessive with the links but thanks for looking! Have had lots of people interested in the hydroponic blackboard/planter x

  • Reply michaela May 7, 2013 at 8:03 am

    What an inspiring post. I also love food – my cooking skills are not bad, although they are probably not “foodie” status, but yes I do believe in fresh, seasonal products – preferably local. I bought some gorgeous watercress at the weekend; I went to Winchester and there was this lovely farm shop -it had watercress beds in the next field – surely a good excuse to make nice homemade soup!

    PS loving the montage Tina – I’ve just ordered some of those Artists pens – thank you for the link in your Boby trolley post – they were almost half price on amazon. I’ve just ordered a desk sized easle too (very cheaply) and can’t wait to get going with it all when I finally finish work and move, in only two week’s time – eek! xx

    • Reply tina May 8, 2013 at 12:41 am

      Oh, love watercress. I actually love land cress even more. Would have loved to see the watercress beds in the fields. Must be a great sight!

      Yay! Those pens are a real treat. Fancy Faber Castell designing such a wonderful box. When you get it, turn it on it’s side and pull the ribbon. There are actually tiered layers … I think
      that show on Amazon, right?

      Can’t wait for you to finish work and move house. How very exciting for you xx

    • Reply Nicola May 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Hi Michaela

      I know those watercress beds well outside Winchester, and it’s also one of my favourite foods. Happy cooking! x

  • Reply Holly May 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Nicola! Hi Tina! Both fabulous supper clubs you’ve created – and both of you, all these fascinating links! I must bookmark this post under “food” for future reference. So much info packed neatly into this post. Thank you.

    Tina, I must admit, I also thought for a minute that your invitation was real !! … until I read your *note.

    Nicola, the sprout pencil is the most perfect final touch. Never heard of those, so cool!

    Xx.

    • Reply tina May 8, 2013 at 12:45 am

      Haha. I know we did overdo it a bit on the links!!!

      That’s why I put a note… Nicola kept saying that people might turn up to Kings Cross on the day on the invite. I thought I better make it crystal clear!!!
      Yes, think the Sprout Pencil is genius. Nicola got an email… or, will let her tell you herself xx

    • Reply Nicola May 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      I’ve had a lot of interest in those Sprout pencils and the blackboard hydroponic planter, all found on Kickstarter – a fabulous way to support new ideas. I will let you know when and where they’re available in Europe, or find them here http://www.democratech.us/sprout/index.html
      Thanks for your comment Holly x

  • Reply Smita May 8, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Nicola,
    Such a lovely article- really enjoyed reading it- and it has inspired me to get a Bacsac for my 1.5 ft wide balcony 🙂 I guess we should order a few boxes of sprout pencils for the office.
    Thanks for sharing xx

    • Reply Nicola May 8, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      Hi Smita-thank you for reading & comment! Think you’d love a couple of BacSacs, look forward to hearing what you grow xx

    • Reply tina May 8, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Hello Smita,

      Thank you for your comment. Glad you enjoyed reading it!
      I’ve git some Bacsacs on my Roof Terrace and adore them. Lightweight, well-designed and beautiful, I can but only highly recommend them!

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