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Do you have to be young and trendy to visit a supper club or pop up?
11 Replies

A journalist friend just asked me this. Of course not I said. I have guests of all different ages. There are probably some in the East of London which are more directed at young trendies but mostly I…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Hari Covert Apr 10, 2012.

The Underground farmer's and craft market: discussion, suggestions, contacts,
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Hey ms marmite lover here,This is a place to discuss the market.Any queries, problems, suggestions can be posted here. People can also make contact with each other.One question: did having it at…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Ali Cook May 17, 2011.


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Chocolate and violet cake

chocolate violet cake

chocolate violet cake

When I started my supper club back in 2009, sparking a movement of home restaurants and pop-ups around the UK, I had to make some sacrifices. I gave up my living room, my TV and my comfy sofas to turn it into a 'restaurant'. Now I have 3 long tables down the centre, a side board with cutlery and glasses, the general paraphenalia of a restaurant. In the middle, a marble chimney place with a log fire adds a humming warmth to wintery events.

But this chef needs a comfortable seat at the end of a 16 hour day. I have ordered a purple 'Wilfred' sofa from Out and Out Original. which has a high back that is ideal for sitting in front of the log fire, keeping out the draughts. Its winged shape alludes to the Edwardian era, when my flat was built. I like a blend of vintage and vibrantly new, so this shade of lavender is just the ticket.

In baking I like to use floral flavours. This recipe combines violet, in the form of crystallised petals, sugar and sugared balls, with chocolate. Perfect for Easter! It's quite an adult cake in that I'm using dark chocolate, but use milk chocolate if you would like a sweeter confection.

Chocolate violet cake recipe

Serves 10


2 x 20cm round cake tins
Baking parchment or quick release spray


For the cake:
250g dark chocolate, broken up into pieces
300g salted butter, room temperature
2tsp vanilla paste
325g light brown sugar
6 large eggs
250g plain flour

For the buttercream interior:
500g icing sugar
250g salted butter
1 or 2tbsp milk

For the ganache exterior:
300g dark chocolate
150ml double cream

4tbsp violet sugar
A handful of candied violet petals
A few Violet sugar balls/pearls


Preheat the oven to 160C.
Grease and line the cake sandwich tins.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave (only 30 seconds at a time, we don't want the chocolate to seize) or in a bowl over a pan of hot water (the bain marie method).
Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer until fluffy.
Gradually add the 6 eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition.
Add the melted chocolate and continue to beat.
Pour in half the flour, combining lightly.
Add the rest of the flour.
Divide between the 2 tins, around 700g each.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the cake tins from the oven and let them cool.

For the buttercream:
Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the icing sugar. Add a little milk to loosen.

For the ganache:
Melt the chocolate and cream together in the microwave (30 seconds at a time) or use the bain marie method. Stir until well combined.

Putting together the cake:
With a sharp serrated knife, thinly slice off the top of each cake so that they fit together. If the sides are uneven, use the knife to trim round.
Use a palette knife or butter knife to spread the buttercream to sandwich together the chocolate cakes.
Use a thin layer of the buttercream to spread a 'crumb coat' over the rest of the cake, doing the sides first so you can spin it around by holding the top. Add the 'crumb coat' to the top.  A crumb coat is a very thin layer of icing or buttercream that allows the second coat to adhere.
Finally, using the palette knife, spread the ganache over the sides and top of the cake.
Leave the ganache to dry for a few minutes, then scatter the violet sugar over the top of the cake.
Add the crystallised violets around the cake.
Stud the sides with the violet pearls.
Optional: add a large purple flower to the middle of the cake.
chocolate violet cake

5 ways to cook Brussels sprouts

braised Brussels sprouts pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

There are many different ways to cook sprouts, my favourite method is braising, that is par-boiling in salty water for five minutes then transferring them into a frying pan to sauté. This recipe is so delicious that I must confess to scoffing the lot, by myself, in one sitting. I do like to combine Brussels sprouts with some kind of nut, whether chestnuts, pine nuts or pistachios. Nuts add a creamy earthiness that works well with the sulphurously sweet green of sprouts.

I've been told there is a genetic component to whether you like Brussels sprouts or not. Fortunately I like them.

braised Brussels sprouts with lemon and pistachios pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Braised Brussels Sprouts recipe

500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1tsp sea salt

40ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
Half a glass of white wine
A handful of pistachio nibs
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan on a medium heat, cover the Brussels Sprouts with boiling water and sea salt.
Boil for five minutes only then strain. Prepare a frying pan, on a low to medium heat. Tip in the sprouts, then add the garlic. Stir for a few minutes then add the wine.
Sauté for a few minutes, then add the pistachio nibs. Finally add the lemon zest and season to taste.
Can be prepared in advance and covered with foil or reheated. But this dish is at its best served hot immediately.

Brussels sprouts on a stick pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

Roast Brussels Sprouts on a stem

In Norfolk you see Brussels sprouts 'walking sticks' sold at the roadside. Sometimes I just roast the sticks whole. Click on this link to see the recipe.
roast Brussels sprouts on a stick pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

BBQ Brussels sprouts on a skewer

bbq Brussels sprouts on a skewer pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

This is a good recipe for people down under who are having their Christmas dinner in the middle of summer. Australia is known for Christmas on the beach but in South Africa, even further south, they will spark up the braai (Afrikaans for BBQ).  Hence a BBQ recipe for Brussels sprouts!

Depending on how fresh your Brussels sprouts are, you can pre-cook them in salty boiling water for five minutes or microwave them briefly, in order to soften them. If very fresh, you can BBQ or grill the sprouts directly.

6 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for at least half an hour before cooking
500g fresh Brussels sprouts, small size or if large, cut in half
3tbsp olive oil
1tbsp honey
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped or dried chilli flakes

While soaking the skewers, toss the sprouts in a large bowl with the olive oil, honey, vinegar, chilli and salt.
Leave for half an hour to marinate.
Place the sprouts on the soaked skewers and place on the BBQ, turning every few minutes to make sure they are evenly grilled and slightly charred all around.

Serve hot on the skewers. 

Purple Brussels sprouts with pine nuts pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Purple Brussels sprouts

You can reduce the cabbagey taste of sprouts by cooking them in wine. I do them in both white wine and red wine. I've used both purple and green Brussels sprouts, just to add colour and exoticism to a vegetable that is often regarded as a tad dull.

4 shallots, diced
50g salted butter
1 bay leaf
clove of garlic, minced
400g Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, cut in half
A glass of white/red wine
3 tbsp of pine nuts or slivered almonds (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, fry the shallots in the butter until soft, add the bay leaf and garlic then the sprouts. Add the wine, a glass or more cooking until the Brussels sprouts are tender.

Brussels sprouts tops pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts tops

Don't forget the tops - the large cabbagey head at the top of the sticks. These can be cooked like cabbage or kale. Here I sautéed the finely chopped leaves with chilli, garlic, and almonds.

Serves 4 to 6

500g spaghetti
1 tbsp sea salt
3tbsp olive oil for frying
2 Brussels sprouts tops, sliced finely into ribbons
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of blanched almonds
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for dressing

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salty water till al dente.
In the meantime, fry the Brussels sprouts tops, chilli and garlic in the olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. At the end sling in the almonds.
Drain the pasta and toss with the vegetables, adding a little more olive oil to serve.

Brussels sprouts tops with pasta pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

My next supper club is on New Year's Eve. The theme is Hogmanay and the Outlander books/TV programme. I plan to serve home cured and smoked salmon, Cullen Skink soup, oatcakes and various other First Footing goodies. Bring your own champagne and whisky. Price £75. 

Tickets here. 

British weekend trips: Durham and County Durham

Durham Cathedral, a location for Harry Potter films, Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Since the Brexit vote and the resulting downturn in the value of the pound, I've been spending more time in the UK. This year I took acid for the first time in Cornwall (oh yeah forgot to mention that in the post), drank whisky in Oban, floated about on the Norfolk Broads, ate vegan in Stockport, ate puddings in Aberdeenshire, and walked around Winchester (to come). In early September I finally visited the city of Durham. 

Durham is famous for the cathedral, the Hogwarts courtyard, Saint Cuthbert, The Venerable Bede (religious historian), the mines, the university, and the North Sea. 
Durham Cathedral Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Durham Cathedral, the venerable Bede Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Durham City, Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Colliery miner's banner, Durham Cathedral, Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Durham Cathedral, Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/
Durham Cathedral, Pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Durham Cathedral, the historic town and Miner's galas.

A tenth and eleventh century Anglo-Saxon church, Durham Cathedral has been used for both interior and exterior shots of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film franchise. Behind the altar it houses the remains of Saint Cuthbert, a seventh century patron saint of Northern England. If you watched The Last Kingdom TV series, Cuthbert was one of the saints revered by Alfred The Great, and a symbol of a united England.

In the seventh and eight centuries, the 'Venerable' Bede wrote a history of the English which included St. Cuthbert. He taught and translated christian concepts to the Anglo-Saxons during the so-called 'Dark Ages'. It was Bede's idea to use the prefixes 'BC' (Before Christ) for dating history. His relics are also buried at the cathedral.

Practical tip: if you are driving to Durham, you need to park in one of the municipal carparks as the historic centre is paved. I know, I tried. There is no parking in the city.

The weather was drizzly in typical Northern England style. There are crooked streets, rain lashed cobbled paving, leaded glass windows distorted by time, little wooden shops and doorways. The cathedral and the castle are set upon a steep wooded peninsula, the river Wear coiled around the city. This is a characterful university town. 

Once a year, in July, Durham hosts the Miner's Gala, a nod to the long tradition of mines and worker's unions in County Durham. You can see a colliery banner in the cathedral. Coal was mined from medieval times, but many were shut down after World War 2. The death of mining was hastened in the 1980s under Margaret Thatcher and last Durham mine closed in 1994.
Durham, Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

Gardens and tearooms

On the outskirts of Durham, I visited the 13th century Crook Hall, a medieval house and gardens that has been refurbished by the Bell family. Despite the rain, the gardens were particularly beautiful, with outdoor 'rooms' displaying an apple orchard, a herb garden, statuary, wild sections and a maze you could actually get lost in. 

The house was atmospherically spooky, real fires and candles were lit, and I'm sure I felt the prickling presence of a ghost. You can wander around the different rooms from the medieval hall, the Jacobean and Georgian rooms. At the bottom of the maze, I enjoyed a hefty afternoon tea with home-made cakes at the Garden Gate Café. That's the thing about the North, they don't muck about when it comes to portions.

Tea room in Durham, Pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

 Crook Hall, Durham pic: Kerstin Rodgers/
Crook Hall, Durham pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

Stotties and Seaham

The North Sea is rough, cold and wild. Seaham is one of those old-style British seaside resorts where you will need an anorak in the middle of summer. I ate a Durham 'stottie', a kind of bread roll with a vegetarian sausage for breakfast at the Seaton Lane Inn.

Sea Glass

Seaham is famous for 'sea glass', a legacy from housing Britain's largest bottle factory. The broken bottles are tumbled about in the rough seas, and end up as delicately coloured glass pebbles of varying sizes, usually in turquoise, jade green, blue, yellow and occasionally pink or red. Sea glass collecting is a world-wide hobby, and I saw quite a few families bent over and sifting through the gravel.

The Northern Powerhouse?

The parade of shops in Seaham seemed to date from the 1960s: ice cream parlours, old fashioned sweet shops - windows crammed with tall confectionary jars which you buy by weight - and all-purpose stores which sell both wool and newspapers, fruit and veg. 
I did see poverty though, evident in people hanging around the streets and the run-down nature of local housing. This is a Brexit voting area and I could see why. People looked unemployed, many of the shops sold second-hand goods. Government spending has halved since 2010 and the transport budget for the North East of England is five times less than London. 

Elves old fashioned shop, at Seaham, County Durham pic: Kerstin Rodgers/

Luxury hotels and gourmet food in County Durham

Rockcliffe Hall

But there is money in the North East, evident when I stayed at the rather grand Rockliffe Hall, a few kilometres south of Durham. There is a spa, a golf course and a very good restaurant L'Orangery, in a greenhouse-style dining room. I ate one of the best tasting menus I've ever had, despite the fact that, and believe me this is a rare accolade, it was vegetarian. The kitchen is headed by chef Richard Allen, much of the produce is picked from the kitchen garden at Rockcliffe Hall. Allen and his team are doing all the pickles and fermentations so influenced by current food trends, but, and this is the point, they are doing it very well. 

A tasting menu costs £80 and the wine pairing costs £60. The food was accompanied by an original and interesting wine selection by charismatic Swedish sommelier Daniel Jonberger. 

I increasingly think going for the wine pairing in posh restaurants is a good idea, even if only one of you has it. (I did this at The Ledbury, and shared my tasting glasses with the rest of my table, bit cheeky but they were fine with it). In this way you get to try a variety of interesting wines that you would never pick yourself - it expands your knowledge - the sommelier will explain them all- and costs you less in the end.
The Orangery restaurant at Rockcliffe Hall, County Durham pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

Seaham Hall 

After my wild walk along the brisk sea front, I visit the elegant 18th century Seaham Hall, which has had a rather checkered history: it's been Lord Byron's family home, a military hospital, a whisky bottlers, a tuberculosis sanitarium and is now a five star spa and hotel. Sadly I didn't get a chance to stay there but I did have a delicious Pan-Asian lunch. I was surrounded by posh Mackem or Geordie women at the other tables, done up to the nines, while wearing white towelling bathrobes. Women from the North East of England are very beautiful: all chiselled features and silhouettes, influenced, I'm sure, by their Viking heritage.

Seaham Hall, County Durham pic:Kerstin Rodgers/

I was hosted by Visit Durham.

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Day of the Dead halloween supper club October 29th at Msmarmitelover's at Kilburn, northwest London,

October 29, 2022 from 7:30pm to 11:30pm
DAY OF THE DEAD, HALLOWEEN SUPPER CLUB£50.00Mexican themed supper club at Halloween at Msmarmitelover’s house in London.Tickets £50 BYOSee More
Oct 9, 2022
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midsommar supper club 18th June London at Kilburn, northwest London,

June 18, 2022 from 7:30pm to 11pm
My first supper club in 2 years since the pandemic. I'm returning with one of my favourite dates of the year, midsummer. Seasonal food, Scandi influenced, botanical menu in the garden, weather permitting. Tickets: £50 BYOHope to see you all againKerstin msmarmite xxSee More
Jun 13, 2022
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midsommar supper club 18th June London at Kilburn, northwest London,

June 18, 2022 from 7:30pm to 11pm
My first supper club in 2 years since the pandemic. I'm returning with one of my favourite dates of the year, midsummer. Seasonal food, Scandi influenced, botanical menu in the garden, weather permitting. Tickets: £50 BYOHope to see you all againKerstin msmarmite xxSee More
Jun 6, 2022
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Socially Distanced Outdoor Supper Club at London, Kilburn,

August 11, 2020 from 7pm to 9:30pm in groups/social bubbles. Distanced tables.Entrance by side.Menu: pescetarian/vegetarianBYOSee More
Aug 4, 2020
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New Year's Eve supper club/10 year anniversary/msmarmitelover at Kilburn

December 31, 2019 at 8:30pm to January 1, 2020 at 1:30am
Yes this year is my 10 year anniversary and every year for 10 years I've hosted a NYE supper club. It's truly the best thing you can do for New Year's Eve: eat good food, somewhere cosy and meet new people.This year I'm rocking a Piedmont and Camino de Santiago theme as I've visited both recently.Plus home made seasonal goodies like home cure/smoked salmon.Bring your own champagne/sparkling wine.Tickets: £65…See More
Dec 11, 2019
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New Year's Eve supper club/10 year anniversary/msmarmitelover at Kilburn

December 31, 2019 at 8:30pm to January 1, 2020 at 1:30am
Yes this year is my 10 year anniversary and every year for 10 years I've hosted a NYE supper club. It's truly the best thing you can do for New Year's Eve: eat good food, somewhere cosy and meet new people.This year I'm rocking a Piedmont and Camino de Santiago theme as I've visited both recently.Plus home made seasonal goodies like home cure/smoked salmon.Bring your own champagne/sparkling wine.Tickets: £65…See More
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Spaghetti Nights at London; Kilburn;

September 14, 2019 from 7:30pm to 11pm
I'm resuscitating my spaghetti nights. Probably my favourite food to cook is Italian. Come enjoy home made focaccia, pasta and other Italian inspired dishes from the family cookbook. BYO £35See More
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Msmarmitelover's Blog

Sicilian wine

Posted on June 11, 2018 at 17:26 0 Comments

Win a pair of tickets to outdoor cinema this summer with Feeneys Irish Cream

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 15:00 2 Comments

Feeneys Irish Cream are sponsoring a series of outdoor cinema events from here until September.

I love outdoor cinema, especially if the weather is good.

Take your own picnic and drinks. 

Choose from the following films/dates/locations. Battersea Park however is no longer available. …


Important information for supper club hosts re public liability insurance

Posted on May 19, 2017 at 11:00 0 Comments

Why public liability insurance is essential for supper clubs


Insurance isn’t the most exciting or romantic aspect of running a business, but it is absolutely crucial for every supper club entrepreneur.


Public liability insurance is one of the most important cover types to consider when running a supper club. Here, we explain why you need it, and how to get…


Advice on supper clubs and pop ups from Simply Business.

Posted on December 7, 2016 at 11:09 0 Comments

Insurance, tax and advertising: 6 things to keep in mind for your pop-up restaurant or supperclub

Planning on starting your own pop-up restaurant or supperclub? Here are six things to keep in mind before you take the plunge.

1. Location, location, location

One of the most important factors in determining whether your pop-up restaurant will succeed is the location. You may not be able to rely too heavily on your reputation, so you need to pick somewhere that…


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At 16:40 on February 7, 2017, Culinary Genius said…


I hope you're well. My name is Bex and I'm currently working as an Assistant Producer on a brand new television series for ITV called 'Culinary Genius' made by Gordon Ramsay's production company Studio Ramsay.

We are looking for amateur cooks who are passionate about cooking to apply to be on the show. There is a cash prize up for grabs, and the chance to be judged by Gordon and other top celebrity chefs!  Do you think this is something which may appeal to you?

If so, please email us at or call me on 0207 202 2353 for more information. If you email, we can send an application form through right away and we can go from there! 

If you think this appeals to you, or members of the supper club, please feel free to pass on the information and see below the flyer I have attached.

Many thanks and best wishes,

At 20:19 on June 3, 2015, Not Safe Boiling Water said…
Hi Ms Marmite, I feel a bit stipid about my ID - is there any way of changing it? :-) Iain
At 15:58 on February 16, 2015, The Fat Carrot said…


Thank you I am soooo pleased. :0)

At 9:41 on September 24, 2014, Hilary Adams said…
Hello and Thankyou for a fabulous event on Sunday my first supper club and definitely one of many now. The food was very tasty my favourite the soup and aubergine dish, the dessert wine was Devine thanks for were a great host along with fantastic elfs that served. Meant too purchase your lovely book so must do that next time.thanks again for a relaxed Sunday
At 10:23 on September 21, 2014, Annie said…
Hi Kerstin, Am attending today with my friend Hilary and really looking forward to meeting you and to a potentially sun-drenched Sicilian afternoon plus edible flower lesson! Just left a message on your blog to ask you to email me your house number..i know road but forgot my diary where I wrote it down. Please could you either reply here if private email or email me at with house name? Really sorry and thanks X
At 10:23 on March 1, 2014, Rose .G. Christaina said…

WelcomeTo Omni Mont-Royal Hotel Canadian Employment Offer Hotel Omni Mont-Royal
1050 Sher
brooke Street West
Montreal, H3A 2R6 CA.
Good day,
I am Rose from Canada, the manager of Omni canadian hotel, pls i want to inform you about the vacancies in our hotel, The management needs men and women, married and not married, who will work and live in Canada .The hotel will pay for his flight ticket and assist him to process his visa in his country, if you are interested contact us via E-mail:
And the Hotel informations will be sent to you immediately.
From the Hotel manager.
TEL.  (+1-77-264-785-65)OR (+1-51-64)-41-02-24)

At 21:00 on January 16, 2014, Daniel Ransome said…


At 1:35 on January 13, 2014, msmarmitelover said…

Do message me privately and friend me if you like.

At 18:20 on October 19, 2013, fat gay vegan said…

Hi there! Just trying to get to grips with your lovely supper club portal! xx

At 15:45 on October 15, 2013, Judy McGuire said…

Entirely the result of airbrushing, sadly!

Look forward to seeing you, love from Mike too x

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