3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Dina's Club, Diana Cooper's Devon supper club for foodies

PUBLISHED: 17:33 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:45 20 February 2013

Food & Drink Feb 09

Food & Drink Feb 09

A quintessential foodie and founder of Tideford Foods, Diana Cooper recently started a supper club. Helen Stiles found out what was on the menu.

Where did the idea of Dina's Club come from?

I'm quite a sociable person and much as I like to think that I'm in everybody's soup, it's much more fun to cook for people who are going to eat it with you. A supper club was an obvious choice. What could be better than an evening out with fab food (hopefully), great company and delicious wine?

So what's on your menu?

I was idly dreaming of balmy summer days on the beach barbecuing freshly caught sea bass and crab and thought that what we need for a Valentine's meal are treasures from the sea, to remind us that summer is just around the corner.

Britannia Seafoods at Beesands is a marvellous place to buy seafood; you can almost watch them catching it. So we will start with a shot of velvety crab bisque - soup for the soul - followed by quails' eggs with asparagus and lime hollandaise, tiny delicately flavoured eggs with sexy asparagus to suck on.

For the main course we will feast on home-made linguini with 'sea treasure' - scallop, clams, mussels and some fresh wet fish (maybe some cod or bass, caught off Slapton), with a warm spinach and pine nut salad. Then for dessert, figs and chocolate - thought to be some of the world's greatest aphrodisiacs (the fig is believed to have been Cleopatra's favourite fruit, while the Aztecs linked the cocoa bean and sexual desire), so together they will certainly cause a 'rumpus'.

To finish off this dramatic dinner, dripping Elmhirst cheese (from Sharpham) - in my opinion possibly the best cheese in the world.

How did your passion for cooking start?

All my life I've been devising recipes, travelling, eating, trolling through wonderful delis and collecting cookery books. I'm always looking for the one thing that everyone wants to eat.

I'm inspired by ingredients. I brought back some basil seeds from Italy and planted them. Next thing I knew we had a greenhouse full of fragrant organic basil so I made pesto and sold it to Riverford.

Inspired by this I began to think about what else I could create. As we were rearing Norfolk Black turkeys at the time, Christmas hampers seemed the obvious answer. The hampers contained a plump bird, soups, Stollen cake and a vegetarian loaf.

You're famous for your soups. What inspires your recipes?

The soups are devised from food combinations that I like such as pear and Stilton. I was inspired by a school trip to Normandy when I first ate Camembert with pear. I loved it, and I remembered that wonderful combination. I just knew it would make a great-tasting soup.

Combinations are really important to me, marriages made in heaven for the taste buds. Take crab and mango, it makes a fab salad and a very sexy soup.

Many of the the soups for Tideford come from journeys I have made, Moroccan vegetable soup, discovered in the souk in Marrakesh (incidentally one of our best sellers). In fact, we always have a shot of soup with our aperitifs at the supper club. Last month it was Jerusalem artichoke, though I like to keep it as a surprise shot!

How do I get to sit at your table and taste your food?

Get on our supper club list! We send out invitations to dinner, places are given out on a first-come first-served basis. At the moment they are held at Fingals, a truly delightful hotel near Dittisham, with inspirational hosts Richard and Sheila Johnston, where we can entertain around 18 members. You can always make a night of it and stay.

The location may change from time to time, perhaps to a picnic on the beach, or dinner on a boat going up the Dart.

The supper club costs 25 per person. For more information about dates call (01803 712787).


More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 11:24

The inaugural England’s Seafood FEAST will see events happening across the South Devon area known as the English Riviera, which includes Torquay, Cockington, Paignton, Brixham and Babbacombe.

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

South Hams local MARC COWLING deliberates the increasing fascination with lure fishing for sea bass, and how a passion has become his full-time occupation

Read more
Thursday, September 6, 2018

This salad can be served as a main or a starter. The wild duck, celeriac and game hollandaise are delicious together

Read more
Thursday, September 6, 2018

After an overwhelming response to last month’s competition, Devon Life has teamed up with Food Drink Devon and its members for the second time to create another delectable foodie prize

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The owners of a famous Devon ice cream company have launched a new foodie venture, as Catherine Courtenay discovers

Read more
Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea, we’ve found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Verity Hesketh is enchanted by Devon’s renowned floating restaurant

Read more
Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Public Houses are a cornerstone of life here in Britain, dating back as far as the Roman invasion in 43 AD. Devon is no different and its humble establishments are steeped in history and nostalgia. We’ve taken a look at 11 of the county’s most historical pubs

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

Having two distinctly different and unconnected coastlines, Devon boasts some very fine, and very varied, beach and coastal cafés that really come into their own during the outdoorsy days of summer. Simone Stanbrook-Byrne picks 7 heavenly Devon beach and coastal cafés

Read more
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

With views of the coast, the countryside and our towns and cities, Devon’s eateries are home to some of the best views the county has to offer. Here are 23 places that are a treat for the tongue and the eyes

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

There’s nowhere better to make the most of the glorious summer sun in Devon than in one of our many delightful beer gardens. From north to south, we pick 9 of the best pubs to visit

Read more
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

For most of us, the difficulty of having a cream tea is deciding whether to put the jam or cream on first (cream first, obviously). But for coeliacs and the gluten intolerant, finding a place that caters for your dietary needs can be far harder. To help you out, we’ve picked 8 places for gluten-free cream tea in Devon

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search