Regather – Eating Seasonally #3
I was invited to attend the Regather – Eating Seasonally ‘pop up’ event by Komal Khan, a talented local chef who has masses of culinary experience from places such as Fusion Organic café, running her own supper club and latterly, Amici & Bici on Abbeydale Road, where she now works.
Before I go into the food, here’s a bit of background on Regather.
Regather is a trading co-operative which helps to organise and facilitate projects in Sheffield from the Folk Forest as part of the Tramlines festival to supper clubs.
Their philosophy is all about inclusivity and giving ‘…access to quality, healthy, organic food for all Sheffielders. We work to create a local Sheffield food system that is good for our economy, people & environment. All our food-related projects actively encouraging a vibrant, shared food culture and supporting local producers.’
So on a wet Thursday evening over 20 of us were gathered at Regather Works in a Grade II listed building on Club Garden Road to enjoy a 4 course vegetarian menu, which had been designed to make the most of local and seasonal ingredients.
We were all sat around a long table in a welcoming space which had been decorated for a cosy and informal dining experience. I got chatting to some interesting like-minded foodies and spotted a few familiar faces, Nick & Nicky from Porter Brook Deli and Moya from Barra Organics.
As we enjoyed nibbles of olives and mixed nuts, the evening began with a talk from Peter Van Vliet who runs High Riggs farm in Stannington, which provides vegetables for the Regather veg boxes (and for this evening). He gave an informative (and informal) speech about the biodynamic farming methods they use and the work experience they provide to students from Freeman College relating to growing crops and craft skills, e.g learning about the land and making implements from materials such as wood.
Peter explained how it is sometimes chaotic as there are lots of people on the farm, as students come along with support workers and many have special needs or emotional difficulties. It is all worth the hard work though as by giving these young people a chance to work outside, they get the chance to, in Peter’s words ‘re-imagine their potential’ and gain a future vocation. Inspiring stuff.
Before the first course Komal gave us a brief run through of the menu and after having our taste buds tantalised with all this talk of food, it was time to eat.
Starters was an ‘Okonomiyaki’ which is a savoury Japanese spring onion pancake. Having looked it up since, I can share that the name means (as a rough translation) ‘what you like cooked’.
It looked the part and was packed with flavour, with a kick of ginger, spring onion and then you had the cheffy zig zags of sauces which gave a balance of spicy zing and richness. (The secret in the condiments involves HP…).
After a break we had the main dish, which was a kale and goats cheese galette (a open style pie/tart) served with glazed balsamic roasted beetroot, a colourful comforting parsnip and squash dauphinoise plus salad leaves for freshness. The plate celebrated the best of autumn’s harvest.
Onto dessert; Komal had made pumpkin pie served with a cinnamon whipped cream with the added sophistication of candied nuts. Not too sweet, it gave crunch, spice and the subtle sweetness of pumpkin in a mouthful.
There is no doubt that we were all well fed and the night wasn’t over. We had a chai tea (beautifully spiced) or coffee to finish and we got to try Tim ‘I heart Bikkis’ biscuits. There were three to try and greedy that I am, I had one of each which were:
- Mexican Dark Chocolate Chip with Whiskey & Walnut
- Salt-Sprinkled White Chocolate Chip & Toasted Hazelnut
- Rum-Soaked Raisin & English Jumbo Oat
So to sum up…I had no idea what to expect from the evening and I left feeling satisfied in every way. It was a lovely evening celebrating seasonal food with a delicious vegetarian menu, which was inspiring, with a few twists including new ideas for me to take away and try.
I enjoyed good company and getting to meet new people. Most importantly, we were all well looked after by our hosts Nicole Jewitt and the team at Regather. Thank you to them all (and Mike Taylor for the professional photos).
So look out for the next food events coming in 2015 and if you are interested in renting the space, get in touch with Regather. I had a nosy round the kitchen and it is well-equipped and spotless, I might even volunteer myself to cook for a future supper club. Keep that to yourself though…
57-59 Club Garden Road