by Lucie Emerson
Nazareth’s passion for delicious Ethiopian cuisine began as a child when she watched her mother cooking. Fast forward a couple of decades and onto a new continent: Nazareth was thrilled to finally find all the Ethiopian spices and herbs in the shops of Shepherds Bush. Spurred on by unbeatable feedback from friends and her first customers, she started her business, Delina, bringing Ethiopian supper clubs, catering and cookery classes to London.
I’d been lucky enough to savour her dishes at a number of fairs and events and was delighted when she invited me to one of her supper clubs. Unfamiliar with the concept, I found the whole experience was great fun and added to the outstanding food.
On Delina’s website, Nazareth tells us: ‘One thing we’ve learnt is that good food makes people happy! Our aim is to share some food and share some happiness!’ It is hard not to gush too much but now, as a loyal customer, I can testify that this is a business that achieves its aim. I arrived for the evening, welcomed into Nazareth’s home by the warmth of spicy aromas and her large smile. I joined one of the two tables with guests from Germany, Hungary, Malaysia and The Bush.
The main course was a selection of the five most popular vegan dishes, the contrasting colours and flavours striking. The bed of the food was teff injera, a trendy spongy sourdough flatbread that puts quinoa’s nutritional superpowers to shame. Carefully placed on the injera was misir, the spicy red lentils; kik alicha, a creamy, mild split-pea stew; gomen, a gentle green vegetable high in vitamins and minerals; shiro wat from the humble chickpea; and finally azifa, a green lentil salad.
Our evening was a vegan, gluten-free dinner but the selection of dishes converted the most hardened carnivores. The conversation flowed easily and I would recommend this type of event to anyone new to London as well as all those of us who enjoy good food and interesting people.
Dessert followed, cardamom bula, which tasted to me a bit like coconut ice-cream, a soft and gentle completion to a gratifying mix for our palates. It was also gluten- and dairy-free, made from banana tree root and coconut.
The meal was rounded off with coffee from its birthplace, Kaffa, and the Ethiopian ritual of making and drinking coffee with friends. Nazareth came to each table, passing around the roasted coffee beans for us to smell, and then delicately poured us cups from a clay pot.
I have never visited Ethiopia but Nazareth seems to succeed in bringing us the best of its cuisine and hospitality. She also cooks and caters meals with meat, dairy and gluten, which is something I am eager to try next.
However, if right now you’re keen on following a healthy diet after Christmas indulgences, I would recommend her supper club—in your home, hers or in the venues she hires around London. It’s a great way of having fun with friends, or meeting new people, whilst not breaking the diet or the bank. East African cooks have been mastering for thousands of years how to combine the right spices, herbs, vegetables and pulses to substitute meat during their equivalent of Lent. Now it’s our turn to try them.
Delina supper clubs are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month; the next are on the 23rd of January and the 13th and 27th of February. Cookery classes run on the first and third Fridays of each month; in February, they’ll be on the 5th and the 19th.
Book on the website or by phone on 07828 870 306, and get a special West London Mum offer of 20% off your first booking.
Also visit Nazareth’s website for more information and for catering for businesses and events.