In At Home

Ever a sucker for a pun, I love the name that Tina came up with for her (now legendary) supper club - canTina! Autocorrect and spellcheck are going bonkers, but I’ll look past the uneasy feeling of having red squiggly lines all over my document in favour of deep appreciation for finding a word that means Latin American bar, incorporates her name, AND has positive connotations. ‘Surely Tina couldn’t have set up the very first and hugely successful supper club in Brighton, opening the front door to her own home since 2010 and also be named one of the best UK supper clubs in Stylist Magazine, Grazia and BBC Olive? YES! TinaCan!!!!

Since the ghastly pandemic messed with so many of the wonderful independent businesses that Brighton is famous for, we’ve witnessed the way that these incredible people have adapted and the locals have supported. A supper club set up is generally a mix of different guests, all entering the chef’s home to sit with strangers to enjoy a relaxed meal, make new friends, drink your own drinks, and try new things. This can’t happen in lockdown, but Tina switched it up by using her extensive food knowledge & talent to create a special menu in her own house and delivering it directly to yours. No Deliveroo. No Uber Eats. No huge soulless corporate making loads of money. Just an elegantly simple and effective ‘from my home to yours’.

Having had several ‘finish at home’ restaurant offerings in lockdown means that I…..

1) am very Greedy

2) can tell myself I’m a good person for buying local

3) know roughly what to expect in terms of cooking (read: heating).

However, what was clear from the moment that I opened the box that there was even more thought put into this. Is it ridiculously corny to say that you can ‘Feel the love’? Yep. It is. Sorry. But it’s true. I regret nothing. I’ve never met Tina before, but I already like her a lot.

What’s in the box?

Well, every supper delivery night has a different menu, although it is always a surprise (but you can spot a few teasers on Instagram!) Of course, you need to say if you have an allergy, but otherwise leave it to canTina to introduce you to a mix of wonderful food combinations that you wouldn’t necessarily make yourself; the dishes all have a touch of luxury, but overall feel is comforting and delicious. It’s exactly how I imagine Nigella Lawson cooks for her close friends.

  • Snacks. Carrot Blinis, Smoked Carrots with Lemongrass & Ginger Crème Fraiche, White Crab with Celeriac Skordalia & little toasts. Sounds super-fancy, right? It’s right up my Skordalia! :-D Thing is, my kids who (I had not ordered this for) are pro ‘freezer tapas’ and anti ‘anything that might provide nutrients’ decided they wanted some of these. My husband & I had to share with them. The gumption!
  • Baked. Pizzetti with Artichoke, Courgette, Chorizo & Pico Blue. Mini homemade pizza with a beautiful combination of toppings it would never have crossed my mind to try. Lush. Plus, the artichoke and courgette meant the kids didn’t even want to try them. Mwah ha ha! Suckers!
  • Dips & Bread. Jerusalem Bread. Squash & Harissa with Chopped Salad. White Bean with Wild Garlic. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, never underestimate the power of a good dip. And these were better than good. They were excellent.
  • Fish. Slow cooked Salmon with Herb Mayonnaise, Fennel & Cured Lemon. As the only salmon fan in my household, I got all of this to myself. I didn’t even serve it on a plate – ate it right out of the pot.
  • Main. Sussex Lamb Albondigas with Tomato & Sherry Sauce. Roasted Peppers with Tomatoes, Olives & Feta. Spring Vegetable Couscous – Courgette Tzatziki. Ugh. Back to sharing with the kids (who had their own dinner I hasten to add!)
  • Pudding. Lemon Pots with Whipped Yoghurt, Fig & Sour Cherry & Almond Biscuits. Even using the word ‘pudding’ instead of ‘dessert’ makes it feel homely and snug. Although this dish would be completely at home in a fine dining restaurant.

Cooking Benefits the Community

canTina have been running various cookery classes including ‘Easy Entertaining’ at the ‘Brighton and Hove Food Partnership Community Kitchen’ where the profits go to funding their Community Cookery Courses for specific groups - people with low incomes, dementia, learning disabilities and mental health issues. If you’ve been to Brighton in recent years, you may have even spotted a bright blue building with bold white line drawings of fish, eggs, cherries and other ingredients on the windows as you made your way from the train station to the beach.

Cooking Community Benefits

Despite being more of a ‘seasoned eater’ than a ‘seasoned chef’ I follow hundreds of Brighton foodie types on Instagram and am familiar with the fabulous food players in the city. So much so that I had my 40th birthday celebration at another exceptional Supper Club – ‘Dine at 39’. (Have a peek at their gorgeous home and wonderful food @dine_at_39, plus they’ve got a homemade chutney side hustle now.) There is so much good feeling between the local Brighton independent foodie peeps on Insta –that’s other way that these businesses are being brilliant - by supporting EACH OTHER and sharing the adoration. It’s a strong community and they flippin’ LOVE each other as much as they Love Brighton. And food.

Lucinda

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