Monday, July 28, 2008

Corporate lunch menus

Menu A1
Open sandwich of prawns with marie rose sauce

Deli style sandwich of ham, vine tomato and Gorsehill Abbey Farm St. Kennelm cheese
picture to follow
Croutes of Chadbury goats cheese with tapenade
Shown here before mounting on toasted French bread croutes and topped with tapenade and basil.
Pear and almond tart
Shown here before spreading on frangipane and sprinkling with almonds the final result looking like this earlier sample.

Chocolate nemesis with crème anglaise




Menu A2

Open sandwich of parma ham, rocket and parmesan

Confit of duck wraps with hoi sin sauce

Tortilla wraps on the bar grill to give them extra flavour

Duck confit is slow cooked for 3 – 4 hours before being cooled and mixed with hoi in sauce. It is rolled in the tortilla wraps with cucumber, spring onion and coriander

Open sandwich of vine tomatoes and mozzarella

Banoffee sponge cake

From grated banana to finished cakes:

Menu A3

Open sandwich of tuna and apple
Deli style sandwich of chicken, mozzarella, roast pepper and mango chutney
Lamb kofta and hommous wraps
From raw kofta mix (minced lamb from Home Farm, Bredons Norton, onion, fresh chilli, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, cumin seed and cinnamon, breadcrumbs and egg)
To cooked and cooled koftas.

These were rolled like the duck wraps shown above with iceberg lettuce, yogurt and coriander.

Spiced carrot cake

Shown here before cooking


Blueberry and almond tart

Buffet delivery and catering to Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester and accoss Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. For details and menus click here.

Related posts:

All vegetarian buffet menu

Other buffet events

1001 kitchen tips # 28 - Glazed goats cheese

Life changing results can come from accidental discoveries. In 1928 Alexander Fleming found that a mould floating around in the air in his laboratory had landed in one of his petri dishes of staph and was halting it’s growth. He’d discovered penicillin. Possibly with less life saving ability, but just as important in around 2001 we discovered the perfect goats cheese glazing technique.

"Make sure it's good....." That's what we were told at the weekly menu meeting at Claridges the week the executive chef added a new canape to the menu - glazed goats cheese with chilli jam and rocket. How to actually do it? That was up to us to find out. As we found out it isn't as easy as cutting the goats cheese (as you need to roll it to a smaller size for a start) and blow torching the top – because by the time the cheese was glazed it had also melted away. A couple of hours to go to the canapé party and we had no goats cheese.
“Get it in the blast freezer and then try it” said the sous chef. We clingfilmed it and took it down. The blast freezer was located in the pastry kitchen, so was full of parfaits, chocolate cases and the like. There was a small time slot for the goats cheese before the next round of pastry. It worked. Better. This time less melted away, though it lost the perfect edges but we finally got a glaze.

How do I make this?

You may ask.
Skin removed, the cheese is mixed in the mixer. It is then rolled by hand into a long sausage shape in cling film (using the cling film tightening technique shown last year) and chilled.

You learn by experience. Over time we came up with a better technique to cut it. Once chilled the roulade can be unrolled out of the cling film by 1/3.

Then you cut using the hot knife technique to the bottom of the cheese but not through the bottom layer of cling film. It’s important you have a good quality sharp knife for this, and watch your fingers.
Then unroll the cheese and all the slices come away in one go. Speed is important when you are doing 200 or 500 at a time as we were.
Now you dip the knife in hot water and run it over the top of the goats cheese slice to smooth it off and fill any holes. This is as far as we got till one particular day when we ran out of preparation time in the afternoon. We had to set aside the prep and go to set up our starters for the evening functions. We got a commis to load all the trays of goats cheese in to the freezer saying we would come back to it later. We forgot to tell him to cling film it as you do with everything in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. After the next morning’s meeting we found the goats cheese still in the freezer and, rather worringly (heart in your shoes), uncovered. Would it be freezer burnt? Dried out? Was it situation critical? We tested one.
It had glazed almost before the blow torch flame had touched it. For some reason the exposure to the freezer air made it glaze instantly – so it kept its shape without melting away. Our Chef was happy with the result as he did his tour of inspection, though we didn’t tell him how we did it – I mean who would give away secrets like that?

These days I use my blast freezer for this purpose - as it is much faster there isn't a chance of it drying out, though your domestic freezer will be fine, it will just take a bit longer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Free range chicken and duck at The Smallholding at Chadbury/ Ballottine of duck



FAQ - What does the term ballottine mean?

Ballottine is a french term for meat that has been rolled into a cylindrical shape and filled with a stuffing which enhnces the meat being prepared. You can read more information by clicking this link.

Ballottine Masterclass

This is an example of a duck ballottine. If you are squeamish look away now.



The duck is turned over, breast side down, then the breast meat is taken off the bone, while keeping the skin in tact. This is like jointing a duck or chicken for saute, but in reverse. On the right below you have the boned out carcass, on the left, the duck remains whole skin side down. Next the leg and wing bones are taken out. You run the knife around the knuckles and bones literally removing the meat from the bone, then pulling the bone free.....

..... leaving just the meat. The bones can be roasted then boiled up to make a stock to use for the sauce.
The meat is then removed.
You will notice that the duck breasts have a thick and a thin end - thick at the neck and thin at the wing. If you roll them up like this when you serve your guests a slice of ballottine, some of them will have a nice portion of breast meat, whilst others will get short shrift. To avoid this, ease one of the duck breasts from the skin, first by hand, then finishing off with the knife, and turn it round so you have a thick end to a thin end.

You now also have a chance to trim up the inside of the skin, much like you do for a saddle of lamb - like shaving off layers of the inside of the skin so it's renders down better goes crispy, and you can really enjoy it at its best - but be careful if you go too far you can cut a hole in the skin which makes the ballottine burst during cooking.


Stuffing goes in the middle. Here I have used sausage meat from Home Farm, prunes, thyme and mixed spice

The leg meat is put on top of the stuffing, and the duck is rolled up and tied with string for roasting, removing excess skin, so the skin remaining crisps up nicely.

Barbecue

Summer. Barbecue. Those two words that go together like cheese and bisuits, melon and parma ham, roast beef and yorkshire pudding. It's just something that is.

Back at the Benson household when I was young I had the eponymous role of barbecue lighter, before Dad would come home to take up the role of barbecue chef on the barbecue he made at the bottom of the garden himself from old reclaimed bricks. Along with breakfast chef and kransakake maker it was one of his best culinary roles. We would pick the overgrown herbs from the garden and add them to the flames underneath cooking meat to give it a great flavour, and after the main course had been polished off we would stoke up the coals, add a few logs, switch the lights and the music on, and sit round the fire will after midnight, the sound (and warm breath) of the cows chewing the nettles right behind us.

These days the barbecue spirit lives on, as shown in a recent barbecue at Upper Court.
Skewers of tiger prawns marinaded in chilli sauce with rocket salad and chilli mayo.
Inspired by the quality and intense taste of the Home Farm bacon on the indoor grill at Rectory Park back in January, I added a barbecued bacon, vine tomatoes and St. Eadburgh cheese salad as a starter this year with balsamic dressing. I was lucky enough to arrive at Home Farm one once last year as they were curing their bacon. They take a pork loin, rub in their salt cure, vac pac it and leave it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. The bacon you buy in supermarkets normally bleeds water as you cook it. This is because it has been dropped in brine to cure it - and the bacon takes on some of that brine before it is injected with more water to increase the volume (weight) so you get less bacon for your money and it never goes crisp because it has so much water inside. The bacon from Home Farm is dry cured so loses excess water which means it goes crisp, and that, along with the fact that their pigs are roaming around free in the open air eating natural food, means, along with the bacon from Carol Webb in Chipping Campden it is the best you will ever find.
Barbecued lamb loin fajitas with coriander, iceberg and yogurt pictured just before being rolled up and cut into 3.

Barbecued skewers of salmon interleaved with basil.

Chadbury free range, organically reared chicken poached in Plum and brandy wine from Barnfield winery in Broadway and wrapped in parma ham, then barbcued:

For dessert there were skewers of barbecued caramelised pineapple and barbecued strawberries with white chocolate dip.

Lemon tart

Lemontartfest 21 July 2008

After 2 days of making 100+ tart cases, the mix was added and cooked off on the morning of the wedding in between making sushi and smoked trout roulade canapes.

The finished article in the marquee at Upper Court.

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

Assiette of mini desserts

Glazed lemon tart, chocolate and nut torte, raspberry shortbread (with both the shortbread and creme patisserrie being made fresh that afternoon), homemade prosecco sorbet and crème brûlée. Which dessert should you choose? Decisions decisions. Why not choose all 5 in mini form?

As served at Littleton Manor on Saturday 12 July 2008. To see another version done last month click here.

Edit 2010

This was one of the first versions of the assiette we served. Now it has become so popular we have a wide choice of different desserts which we add to as new ideas/ requests come along. We are also ever refining each dessert - for example homemade individual mini tart cases. You can see a lot of these on our assiette of dessert facebook album.

FAQ - What does assiette mean?

Assiette is the french term for plate, so literally translated it is a plate of desserts. But literal translations never quite purvey the full meaning - it also means prepared dish/ selection - hence you have an assiette of desserts, an assiette of charcuterie (USA - cold cuts), an assiette of lemon (desserts), an assiette of fruits de mer and so on.....


Other assiette desserts -

http://www.thecotswoldfoodyear.com/search/label/assiette%20of%20desserts

Strawberry and mango cheesecake

With a gingerbread base as used in my banoffee pie set in a ring, with a baked cheesecake filling combined with mango puree and topped with crystallized orange zest.

Sunday lunch

Traditional is good.

Roast sirloin of beef with rosemary roast potatoes (rosemary picked from the garden), glazed chantenay carrots, french beans and mangetout in red onions served with a red wine sauce.
Vegetarian nut roast for a vegetarian. Too see how it is made and a photo of the finished dish follow this link.
Followed by apple pie. After many trial versions, I have found the best way is to serve it like this, with a crisp pasty top. That way you get more fruit and less pastry, so the result is much lighter.
with creme anglaise served aside:
Photos taken at Broad Marston Manor near Stratford on Avon on Sunday 6 July 2008



Menu: http://www.bensonofbroadway.co.uk/sunday_lunch_menu.html


Sunday lunch delivered with simple instructions or cooked and served in your home by chef and waiting staff in Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Cirencester, Evesham, Gloucestershire, Worcestsershire and accross the Cotswolds.