Thursday, 10 November 2011

Come to dinner..

Secret Supper.. a warm and hearty autumn meal awaits.

Spaces still avialable for Friday 18th November.. just email me
to book a place.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Time for Tea...

Come and join me and new faces for Vintage Afternoon Tea..

A selection of sweet and savoury treats with leaf and flowering teas will be on offer. All served on vintage china, white linen with various accessories to complement.. plus Sunday papers and board games. Think proper cakes - not a cupcake in sight !

Bookings are made via email, with payment in advance.

See you soon Ladies and GENTLEMEN - yes I know you eat cake too.

October 23rd Sunday
November 13th "
December 4th "
3pm - until your sick of cake !

Dress code - elasticated waistband...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Happy Birthday to you..

My daughters birthday recently... a happy day for all.

Friends and food are her joy, not necessarily in that order, so friends came, single, married with babies and one not yet fully cooked.
Plus ...a newly acquired kitten. The strangest, most fragile little thing ever seen joined us. All old man whiskers and new patchy baby fur.

So I did what all mothers do - welcome warmly, watch in admiration, try not to embarrass and then fed them all.

Tips.... for Supper clubbers

Having hosted now for approximately 2 years, donning various 'hats', literally and figuratively, I have naturally formed opinions from observation. Without wishing to offend guests past or present I thought I would list some of them..
They are simply my ramblings, feel free to ignore them !

1. DO dress up.. I do! I know everyone is busy these days and we can all wear what we like without comment, with comfort often taking precedence, but it really adds to the night injecting a sense of occasion into an often tedious working week and contributes to the general wierdness of eating with strangers in a strange home! Think Downton Abbey formality or 1950s glamour or sexy, quirky whatever suits.

2. Bring alcohol and plenty of it! I don't drink and neither am I able to supply alcohol but I notice the difference it makes in getting people to relax especially those who are not naturally gregarious. Remember you will be at a shared table so that could mean another guest may help themselves to your bottle without thinking, if your parsimonious you may struggle with this but your not at a restaurant and sharing openly is nice.

3. Bring a camera. I am busy, forgetful and camera shy so photos are always forgotten, but they
make a difference, not just a memory but really helpful for me to steal and use !

4. If unlike me you are blessed with a creative talent - singing, drawing, have a great story, want to play a game, propose... please do.

5. Thank you everyone who has booked, paid and bought a bottle - I couldn't have done it without you ..!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Supper.. .an observation

Thanks once again to those of you who booked 'Love Poppy ' last week.

Really nice group, SO well behaved! I think the 2 new breastfeeding Mums
who bought apple juice set the scene for a calm evening ! A smaller group
too as a few cancellations. With just 2 men the conversation was dominated
by the ladies of the night !

Derren of 'Devour Sussex' and his very gorgeous wife came instead of Steve who couldn't make it last minute. Derren is a Chef and writes resturant reviews.. I did let out an audible groan at this point but he was all charm and consideration.

I was a little concerned at one point that it was all a little too subdued and they might all be in bed by 9.30 but the lovely Lillie got a second wind and seemed to cheer everyone along. Very funny. Watching everyone, is the best bit for me. Each guest is different and brings something different to the table, the ideal is a mix of age ranges, nationalities and interests. But I never know who is going to appear through my door so whether everyone gets on is pot luck.

As I don't disclose the menu it is interesting to note that the guests never appear at all fazed by what I stick in front of them ! Clearly I need to be less pedestrian. I never have food left over which is exactly what I want, though this time I did overdo the desserts somewhat. 2 on the plate and then a passion fruit pavlova set in the middle of everyone to help themselves. Not quite enough sugar? Oh ok here's a bit more then! They didn't finish this so I did, for breakfast... YUM...

I liked watching them with their phones comparing baby photos and exchanging phone numbers etc... and a huge kiss goes to lovely Stephane from Tic Toc cafe who charmed us all with his French accent, resplendent in a new jumper!

Well done to Nike who came dressed with elegance and alone. That takes courage. Thank you also for sending a thank you note with you thoughts - perfect.

I hope everyone went home satisfied...x

Please read review of the night at

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Secret supper..

Saturday October 8th.. next supper date.

Come and join me in the intimate setting of my home for dinner and meet new faces.
You will be seated at a shared table.
Menu is not disclosed so come with a broad palate. Dietary concerns can be catered
for with advance warning.
Payment is in advance and bookings are made via email.
Alcohol is BYO..

I look forward to welcoming you..

Monday, 19 September 2011

Love Poppy's new website!!

Please have a look at my brand spanking new website and pass on to anyone who may be interested...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Casillero del Diablo come to supper...

Not being drinker, the contact from Cas Diablo and Cube PR communications enquiring if I would be interested in hosting a Supperclub alongside show casing their wines was slighty ironic. My wine knowledge extends to knowing it comes in 3 colours, none of which suit me.

Thankfully I was reassured beforehand that the wine whizz
Joe Wadsack would attend to that and all I had to do was stay in the background - my favouite place !

This was such an enjoyable experience for me, emails were easy, prompt and
encouraging and I didn't even have to worry about guests, they were to organise everyone. My biggest job was to inform them of the menu in advance, something I never normally divulge but essential in this case as wines were to be matched with each course. Often I will change things according to my mood, skill and the weather.This last one being more than pertinent than ever as it turned out!

2 deliveries of wine and glasses arrived. I am not sure what I was expecting but looking at the crates of glasses, wine buckets and enough wine to bathe in I was somewhat disconcerted.

We had confirmed that should the weather hold out I would serve nibbles, and a glass of their choosing in the gardens. Confirming that, yes of course Joe and Briony PR extrordinaire were welcome to come 'a little earlier as long as I was told beforehand'.

The weather forecast had been predicting a lovely day but what
actually happened was a mini heatwave. The hottest day of the year so far and I was cooking slow cooked 7 hr lamb. Ah yes.. With every window open, the fan oven billowing heat and lamb juices about the room, plus trying to exterminate the 2 obligatory flies that insist on visiting every single time I open a window, I was becoming mildly hysterical by the minute. I mean who wants hot lamb in 35 degree heat?

Guests were due at 7.30 to eat at 8pm.

6pm without warning the bell rung.

Now this is one of those moments so awful that you simply can't quite believe it. Dressed in what can only be called 'bedroom attire', hair stuck to head, fluffy slippers, I was putting the finishing touches to the desserts.

Mmm.. what to do ? Oh I know best to ignore it, this is NOT happening. Buzz, BUZZ. Nope it definately is !

Mobile - "Hello Poppy, it's us, sorry so early but as it's such a nice day thought we would come a bit earlier" What!! (When you host it is those final last moments that become so precious as that's when you aim to rectify not frightening your guests with a sweaty, fraught, hausfrau and wish to emerge glowing and swan like!)

Somebody spoke into the phone saying "oh yes hello, I've just popped out, perhaps you could go for a walk and come back in 15 mins" Oh god it was ME talking.. No, it was me LYING !

Charm personified she didn't bat an eye lid though did sound a little unconvinced.

There ensued the fastest shower & change ever, as I then had to face them.
Two of the nicest people came through the door, Joe big in stature,personality and humour with Briony a calm and charming sidekick. He immediately took charge, confident and quick to observe what needed doing, doing so without asking. Great.
Fairly sure he was looking around thinking "good grief how are we going to squash them all in" ....(I think it was somewhere at this point that I realsied the oven was actually on grill) !!

Guests had been told the location last minute and taxis had been prebooked, but not a local company so there ensued a drop off fiasco on a comedy scale. A scant few were in the gardens eating and drinking while the others were being dropped off somewhere else entirely so I did spend far too much time turning the beans on and off "there on there way, oh no actually there not"! One poor guest didn't arrive until half way through the starter, though seemed unfazed.

With everyone finally seated Joe did his stuff and charmed the pants off everyone with his knowledge and his natural gift for story telling. The wine worked it's magic and a couple of the guests were definetly under it's spell so to speak!

The lovely Andrew Kay, a natural at the dinner table and perfect supper guest, as wordly, warm and good humoured. He told us all a very naughty tale which bought forth interesting reactions! He came with a large camera which I did try to hide in the bedroom but thankfully he rescued it as his photos of the night are fabulous.

The food seemed to go down well and finally exhausted, perched myself on the sofa which prompted Joe to exclaim "look at you , you look like you've just walked in, not even broken a sweat". Little did he know.

I particularly liked the moment when the wife of a gentleman guest who had come wearing a hat decided that my hat hung on a picture was his. We tussled with both for a while until they swayed off into the night.

Brownie points also go to Mr Graphic Foodie. Whilst listening to Joe's opinions of the lovely Nigella Mr GF said "well to be honest I've never got beyond the breasts" The calm, considered delivery
made us all laugh.

Thanks to all who came,you all made the night a success. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Joe and Briony, thanks so much for your hard work - Briony sorry you had to spend so much time in my bedroom with the taxi firm!

Please see Casillero del Diablo's write up here

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Restaurant Critic, Andrew Kay, and Food blogger, Graphic Foodie review Love Poppy

Please have a read of reviews from my Secret Supper night with Casillero del Diablo .

One published in The Latest Homes magazine by Brighton restaurant critic, Andrew Kaye - The Devil's Cellar and my second review from The Graphic Foodie - A Month of Revisits

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Dates for your diary..

2 new dates for this month..

Sunday 4th September- Vintage afternoon tea..
Saturday 17th September - Secret supper..

Menus are not disclosed so come with a broad palate, alone or with friends. for booking and further information. Payment in advance.

I look forward to welcoming you..

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Casillero del Diablo

Lovely evening hosting with Casillero del Diablo... will write in full soon

Thursday, 14 July 2011


' Mum have you ever made honeycomb' ? Just made some, really easy but it didn't turn out quite
right, do you think it's because my Bicarbonate of soda is a year and a half out of date ' ?

' Obviously ' !

'O Whatever'

'I'll give it a go, recipe '?

'Oh it's really easy, golden syrup, sugar, bicarb'

' and just tip all that into a bucket and mix I suppose ' !


So went the conversation with my daughter. She loves food and cooking as I do but our styles couldn't
differ more. Hers is all a bit of this, some of that, oh yeh I forgot that bit, no I dont have right size tin, oh well
I'll just cut that bit off, just give me a plastic bag and I'll carry it on my bike !

Mine is aiming at perfection and failing, anal about presentation and while I am still working out the width at
which the cutlery should be seperated she has whisked up ( with a fork of course ) some sort of delight all with
a disarming charm and endless optimistic cheer. And does it turn out ok, damn right it does.. Infuriating.
This is a glass half girl and I gaze upon her with pride and bemusement - where did she come from !

Honeycomb pictures to follow..

Multi Generational Afternoon tea..

I am assured by Maryon that I am allowed to mention her age , all 98 years ,without fear of offending.

This was a true multi generational afternoon tea to celebrate not only the above but just the fact that
Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Daughter and children were able to celebrate together at one table.It was both moving and a little daunting to be hosting and baking in particular, for afamily so adept in
the kitchen themselves, with many more years experience than I.
But as is usual with the guests my fears were quickly dispelled by their gracious good humour and obvious
enthusiasm of what I offered.
Maryon, calm and wise, a true Great Grandmother. She has lived through a time we
no longer understand, wars, deprivation and all the losses inherant in that. With a real understanding of how
to provide for a family with little, the ingenious ways to make food tasty and nutitrious within the stricture ofthe ration book. It is interesting to note how healthy they were, in both body and mind compared with the
excesses of today. Everyone at this table cooked or baked or both. Old teaching the young from memory, taste
and touch alone and I was envious indeed of 10 year old Jacks pastry knowledge, of which I am sorely lacking.

They all seemed to enjoy -

Scones cream and strawberries..
Banana loaf ..

Earl grey fruit loaf ..

Chocolate pear tart..Orange sponge cake..

Chocolate and almond brownies..
Selection of sandwiches with traditional leaf teas /hot chocolate on a stick/ fresh lemonade

A huge well done to Jack and Lizzie who sat through lots of grown up talk without a single complaint . I hope you enjoyed your goody bags !

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

One very tearful Hen.. !

This afternoon tea was for the lovely Katy organised as a suprise by all her friends for her forthcoming wedding - the day before the Royal wedding - but no less important of course!

With the usual consultations under way we arranged to meet to confirm everything. It is a moment I always enjoy as you get an immediate idea of who you are working with and you can put a face to the voice or more common these days the voiceless/faceless email.

I instinctively knew I would like this group, emails were easy, prompt and reliable, always a good sign. Two very pretty girls indeed arrived to meet me and after a chat I took them across to view the beautiful private gardens attached to my flat. I often use these as they are a perfect backdrop to any occasion and had suggested they could use them a possible option, weather permitting.

The menu was decided - a combination of sweet and savoury treats: -

Prosecco & strawberries..

minature pastry canapes - sour cream/salmon/chives..

cucumber/ham & mustard sandwiches...

fresh fruit cup...

blueberry and lavender cake... chocolate and guinness cake...

orange and almond cake...


old fashioned english sweets...

Tea/ flowering & english breakfast/coffee...

The girls had rented a house for their weekend in Brighton, one of the busiest of the year and as it turned out the day dawned with a flawless blue sky and glorious sunshine. The gardens were to be used as a champagne corner before coming on to me.

They collected borrowed rugs, sugar dusted strawberries, a cutsey umbrella and a 1960s Good Housekeeping magazine that I use sometimes as a bit of light literary entertainment ! With all preparations finally done through the haze of jet lag (from arriving back from Australia just 48 hours previously) , the table looking twinkly, elegant and decidedly girly, summoning my girls was due.

With their garden fun at an end the ' hen' was told to ring my bell stating her name only. Through the entry phone I could hear an excited but very uncertain little voice making her claim admist the giggles of anticipation of her friends.

I very naughtily kept silent while a very apprenhensive little face appeared in the door way, then after a quick glance at what lay before her she promptly burst into tears, closely followed by several others! Not my usual reaction it has to be said but very cute indeed. With a cuddle in

place and an explanation, the tears continued, a clear demonstration of simply being overwhelmed at the kindness and suprise of it all.

Food and drink were all happily consumed and I tried to be attentive yet discreet, within the limitations an open kitchen will allow. They wrote cheery messages to their friend and thanks to me on the bathroom mirrror, collected up their roses from each place setting and armed with doggy bags for later, trotted off happy and chatty into the April sunshine...

Lovely to meet you all... Congratulations Katy, I hope it was all you wished for !

I am promised photos and reviews....oooo scary !

More Sex and the City than Vintage tea..!

After a long cold winter, the long awaited spring was just waking up when I was unexpectedly summoned to my family in Australia this March. My usual stint has always been in the shimmering white heat of Summer, a blessed relief from the dreary gloom of the extended British winter.

Arriving in what is Autumn, it made me smile to see the optimistic Australians still able to don summer wear with the obligatory surfboard under arm, iconic Bondi beckoning as Sydney siders and tourists alike enjoy life in this most beautiful of cities.

As a way to show gratitude to my sisters friends she requested I do an afternoon tea before my return. Invitations went out -' you are invited to an eccentric English tea party '

Searching for the same ingrediants with which to bake proved not too difficult but what appears to be the same turns out quite different. The standard of food in Australia is high and the weather means everything ripens properly so fruit and vegetables are all bigger, brighter and without doubt superior in flavour that our dulled English palates have simply forgotton. The simple joy of eating a ripe mango or perfect peach is worth 24 hours in 'cattle' alone!

With the necessary adjustments made and a few failures in working with a different oven it was actually a delight. My sisters kitchen is designed as 2 in one so 2 sinks plus bench space on both sides. Space in abundance, a joy to work in, huge windows looking out over tropical gardens, pool, magnolia trees and as night falls the iconic music of the crickets. .. no, not a rock band.. insects!
The plan was for me to do everything but my sister is not only a talented cook, but a doer by nature and as about as anal as I am with regard to presentation and perfection!
With the table laid and looking suitably glamorous my sister dressed to match, with her friends arriving, champagne flowing and the compliments and cameras at the ready, I stood back and watched, feeling a flood of tenderness as she relaxed and laughed loudly, buoyed by the warmth and restorative power that good friends and family can offer...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Tic Toc..

Brighton has it's fair share of quirky places to eat and drink but I recommend Tic Toc in the old lanes not least for the charming, naughty front of house Stephane !

Finding a consistently good cup of coffee in England is not easy which is why for many of us, we return time and again to the same places. Tic Toc understands coffee, with a real pride and interest taken in food and presentation. It is quickly evident that his knowledge and ability is vast and this extends right across the board, from actual cooking to quickly and skillfully observing customers requirements.

Unlike in England, France has held on to it's culinary culture and there is pride taken in working in the food industry of all types. We all too often undervalue it and in this case it is a Frenchman who has shown us how it can be done.

P.S They also sell my Chocolate and Guinness cake, which is rather yummy even if I do say so myself!