Ballottine of duck

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cheese wedding cake

Monday, October 27, 2008
"It was quite delicious as well as everything else."
- J. Lacey, mother of the bride

Created for a wedding at Upper Court in August 2008.

The advantage of a cheese wedding cake is that you can eat it throughout the evening as a buffet - it comes in to it's own around 10 - 11pm when guests have danced up some hunger pangs.

Given enough notice we can arrange your favourite cheeses. The ones chosen on this occasion were:
Bottom layer: Montgomery’s Cheddar
Next layer: Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire
Next layer: Colston Bassett Stilton
Next layers: 2 large Waterloo
Next layer: 1 small waterloo
Top layer: Petit Langres

As it was for so many people - 170 - we also added some St. Eadburgh's and St. Oswold from Gorsehill Abbey Farm on the side of the 'cake'. And after the 'cake' cutting we warmed up our homemade thyme bread pictured last month, oatcakes and Miller Damsel biscuits.

Wedding catering in Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Cirencester, Gloucester, Gloucestershire and accross the Cotswolds and Midlands

Related posts:

Wedding catering

Chocolate tart with creme fraiche ice cream and gold leaf

Friday, October 10, 2008
Chocolate tart served a few hours ago (as seen before here). The recipe comes from here:

Creme fraiche ice cream recipe is from here: . It's fair to say you haven't lived before you tasted it. The tartness matches perfecly with the chocolate tart. And it's soft scoop (if you use the ice cream machine).

The ice cream is garnished with candied orange zest, made the same way as the lemon zest shown here. After using the orange zest I was, of course, left with the whole orange, so the natural thing seemed to be to juice it and reduce it.

Orange syrup

Strain the OJ into a small saucepan, then boil up and simmer till it's reduced to a thick syrup. To make orange vinaigrette for a salad, add olive oil, but for a dessert sauce, as here, add icing sugar, and whisk it till smooth and refrigerate to thicken it up. Because it is so reduced, the orange flavour is intense so you only need a little on the plate.

Opposite the orange syrup are a few chopped pistachios.

Related Posts:

Vegan chocolate tart with vegan ice cream
1001 Kitchen tips #4 - A hole in none - How to get rid of the holes in your pastry cases
Candied zest
1001 Kitchen tips #46 - Which one is no dairy/ vegan/ no nuts etc

Kitchen tips # 31 - Lettuce leaf open sandwiches

Thursday, October 09, 2008
For those on a strict diet you ask?

The lettuce leaf here is used as a waterproof base. If you put on a 'wet' mixture on top like prawn marie rose, hoummous, or white bean puree it can turn the bread into wet sponge within a half hour or so - and there's nothing worse than a soggy sandwich. If you put the lettuce leaf on your slice of baguette first the 'wet' mix will stay on top of this, so your baguette below stays nice and crisp.

The finished article from above: white bean puree and roast pepper on an iceberg base

Gem lettuce used to make 'cup' shapes (above) to hold tuna, apple and spring onion mayo below


Kitchen tips # 30 - Butter or marge - spread faster not harder

Make the tea, put the toast on, put the washing machine on, put the slow cooker for the evening meal, iron a few shirts, get the kids up...... and that's all before you start work. Fitting in making rounds of lunchtime sandwiches in that schedule is hard enough, especially when noone in the family will eat the same as the other, so it calls for a time saving tip.....

How many slices of bread have you torn up trying to spread hard butter or marge? Melt it in the microwave (cling film the top so it doesn't splatter - less to clean) and spread it on with a pastry brush. If you line up all your slices of bread in a row, you can 'paint' them all in one long brush stroke. It's the satisfying time saving tips which make mornings bearable.....

Mozzarella, roasted pepper, lettuce mayonnaise and mango chutney on tiger bread


Sweetcorn and chilli fritters with spicy tomato sauce (can be made dairy free)

Thursday, October 02, 2008
I first came by the recipe for sweetcorn fritters when researching vegan dishes for a weekend-long vegan menu. I found I liked them so much I decided to put them on the menu permenantly.

I replace the soy milk (unless it is for a vegan guest) with normal milk and make them in a ring - like the crispy noodles.

A starter without salad? Yes - roast celery batons and peppers are mixed with celery leaves (a too often unused ingredient -the leaves have the best flavour) and parsley - in this case flat leaf parsley straight from a garden in Broadway.

The tomato sauce is similar to the one seen in the baked cannellini beans - onions, plum tomatoes and garlic cooked down for a good two hours till the flavour is rich and condensed. To this I added a dash or two (or three) of tobasco, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil. I added the vine cherry tomatoes for the remaining 2 minutes so they could soften while I was finishing off the smoked duck salad for the non-vegetarians. A sprinkling of chopped basil and the fresh parsley finished off the tomato sauce just before plating up.

Grilled fillet of salmon with steamed leeks and mangetout, a mussel broth and crispy noodles

While I liked my old salmon dish with creamed leeks, new potatoes and a thyme and mussell broth, I wanted to try something lighter this time round.

I do like the leek and salmon combination, so this time steamed them with mangetout and then seasoned them with soy sauce. What I absolutely did not want was a strong soy flavour - you can leave that for chinese cooking, but just wanted a background seasoning - using the soy instead of salt.

The salmon is grilled as shown here - 1001 kitchen tips #22 then finished in the oven. Hill House has an indoor barbecue which I might us next time.....

For the sauce I made a traditional moules mariniere recipe - white wine, onion, cream to cook the mussells and let them cool so I could take them out of the shell. I then re-heated the sauce, strained through a sieve to remove bits of broken mussell shell, and added some coconut milk. Again - I did not want a strong, sweet flavour (it's coconut cream which is the sweet one). The coconut milk has a lighter texture on the palette than cream and I added just enough for a background flavour, but not so much as to be overpowering. Coconut milk is one of the key ingredients in hot and sour soup, along with coriander, which I added in this dish too. So what you had was a light serious mussell-flavoured liquor with a hint of coconut and coriander. To finish off I added just a touch of curry powder (to see how this is made click here) again, just as a background seasoning, like you use black pepper.

To finish off the dish I added crispy noodles - a great light alternative to potatoes, pasta or rice.

All the plates came back empty on this first outing of the dish at Hill House (one of the Big Cottages), with rave reviews, which is always a good sign......

Potato gnocci with roasted root vegetables and sage beurre noisette

There's a simple rule I have for vegetarian dishes - they should taste so good that even non-vegetarians would want to eat them.

Celariac puree is the first component on the plate with roasted carrot julienne, lightly seasoned with cumin on top, twirled with a roasting fork to give it a bit of height. Roast parsnips (an autumn favourite) sit against it, a couple of roasted beetroot at the back, and parsnip crisps on top of the carrots.

The gnocci is pan fried to get the caramelisation flavour, and it is finished with a classic sage beurre noisette which always goes very well with gnocci.