Wedding in the Cotswolds

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Hello James, I can't thank you enough for the wonderful wedding buffet you provided for Paul and Sophie at Wellacres on Saturday. The food was amazing and everybody was so impressed with the quality. You certainly helped to make the day one to remember. Good luck for the future and we will certainly recommend you to our friends.
Kind regards
25kg of goose foie gras. There's some things you never forget, and the divine aroma of 25kgs of foie gras filling the Claridges larder on the week of Joan Collins' most recent wedding (8 years ago? You can not be serious) is one of them.

For this event two days ago at Wellacres (which I know now better than my own kitchen at home) I was emailed a wishlist of what the bride and groom would like. Quite traditional - which is fine. As it is the wedding couple's special day I am always quite happy to cook whatever they want. Even simple food can be made special if you bring the best out of your ingredients. As they wanted to serve and clear up themselves, I just set up everything ready for them.

The best thing about holding a wedding reception at a luxury holiday house rather than a hotel or wedding venue is that in the holiday house you have exclusive use, all day, and all weekend, so it can be much more relaxed as a result. I always feel in wedding venues you are rushed through so the next wedding party can arrive, so if something overruns, the time of your reception gets cut. In the holiday house this never happens - because you're the only party there, and you have the freedom. There was a wedding we did at Wellacres a couple of years ago when the weather was once again favourable and after eating some of the younger guests dived in the swimming pool and hot tub while others relaxed on the terrace in the sun - that's how to enjoy a wedding.

Crudités with dips - blue cheese, onion and chive, tatziki

It took quite a while for them to decide whether they wanted canapés or not. In the end they asked for crudités and dips which they tucked into after the champagne had been flowing and the band had been playing on the terrace.

Homemade walnut and raisin bread rolls, soda bread, sun dried tomato, olive and basil knots and clover rolls, granary bakers knots, sesame and poppy snail rolls, lemon and dill bread.

All they had put was 'Selection of breads (i.e. granary, white, wholemeal, baguettes and fancy etc.) ' . So this is what I came up with, and two large interlocking bread rings (shame I didn't snap those). As the soda bread (left) is so easy that was made first thing in the morning.

Platter or cooked meats – beef, ham, chicken with homemade chutney

For the ham I used a piece of gammon from Home Farm and cooked it in cider, apples, onion, carrot etc. which gives it a sweet flavour, then finished it off in the oven with the skin scored and studded with cloves and coated with a molasses and wholegrain mustard glaze.

The chicken was a Madgetts farm chicken ballottined and roasted.

The beef was roasted last thing, timed exactly so it would be ready just before I left, and could rest on the way. I sliced the other two meats but left the beef whole so they could carve it themselves at the table - this would stop it drying out or discolouring, but also add a little theatre to their dining.

Smoked salmon

.....and poached salmon too. Some crème fraîche, chive and lemon dressing to go with it.

Nicoise vegetable tart - as seen here

King prawns with cocktail sauce

These never fail to please. They actually went out with the crudités in the end.

Potato salad - Like this one we served at Wellacres in February with the whole lamb roast

Rice & pearl barley salad

Adzuki beans and fresh (uncooked) peas in there too along with peppers, onions, raisins, coriander, cumin etc.

Tomato and mozzarella salad

Grilled vegetables

A bit like these from February but with asaparagus as well. They were cooked fresh on the morning.

Cucumber, yogurt and mint salad - Like the one served for a barbecue last month

Green salad with vinaigrette


Summer pudding -
like this one but larger

Chocolate brownie

Same recipe as the one seen here, but cooked in individual tins - like the one, left, from Easter.

Berries with crème fraîche

Strawberry tart

Well this wasn't on the original proposal, but you know how it is - you see recipes on food blogs and you bookmark it, but never get round to making it. Well this one I did. When I saw it over on Kevin's blog, I knew it would fit perfectly on this wedding buffet. Without the nuts though, as there were nuts in other things.

Fairy cakes

They had asked for these for the children, so while the grilled vegetables were grilling, the roast vegetables roasting, the base for the rice salad sweating, the soda bread baking, the beef roasting and the salmon poaching I made these fairy cakes. Think they call that multi tasking.

Must be over 20 years since I made any. I remember making and entering them for a cub scout county craft fair when I was about 9, and that was a while ago, so I had to look up a recipe and found this one. I didn't use their icing recipe, but instead used equal quantities of butter and icing (confectioners) sugar and a drop of vanilla essence. As I had some candied orange zest on the shelf I sprinkled those on top. One taste, and it was like being transported back in time. Should make these more often.

As we had a spare lemon drizzle cake from the day before, I cut this up and added it as well.


After this it was a quick clear down and back to base to whip up 3 strawberry meringue roulades and 2 duck ballottines for the evening while Adam packed up everything we both needed. Soon enough I was back on the road to Blockley again, and Rock Bank Cottage, while he was at Upper Court. Now that's a lot of food in 2 days!

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Sam said...

I'm sure they were very happy with all that, it all looks so good!

James said...

They were - I've just added their comments at the top.