Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's your special event - your menu

So much repeat business at the moment, and guests at some parties recommending us to their friends when they are organising events - must be doing something right then!

While we have lots of menu suggestions on the website (it's grown over the years as more guests have suggested more ideas), as it is your special occasion we really like to serve whatever you want. Some previous examples can be seen here.
This was one we cooked for last night at Wellacres. We had cooked for this particular family 2 years ago at Wellacres. Like many groups they liked the house so much they came back, and we cooked for them (3 generations) on this occasion as well.

Smoked salmon
While there are lots of different dishes we can do with smoked salmon or trout (the smoked trout trio or the pink peppercorn cured trout and the smoked salmon parcels are just 3 examples) this party wanted plain smoked salmon which was fine. Plating it up I did have flashbacks to the larder kitchen of the Lygon Arms and Claridges where I had done these in the hundreds. There were full size ones for the adults, smaller ones for the children and a tiny one sliced into smaller pieces for the 2 year old. Served with (what else?) chopped onions and capers

Whole roast fillet of beef and ballottine of free range Madgetts Farm chicken


"Flipping 'eck that smells great!" said one of the guests as he wafted through the kitchen getting pre-dinner drinks. Ahhh the roasting of beef - it gets them every time.
"Cooked to perfection!" Said the host - well I had to agree really. It suddenly vanished and all I was left with to snap was the piece on the left. Don't worry though that went about 10 seconds later.
Most of the dinner parties we cook for are plated up and then taken to the table - just like a restaurant in your home. Occasionally we are asked to serve it like this too - as a buffet which is great for a more informal event.

Cutting the beef fillet earlier in the afternoon (left) into steaks for another party, a tail piece to make stroganof for a frozen meal, and the large piece to roast for this party. There is only one place I will buy fillet from and that is the Broadway butcher. I would buy it from the local farms (and did to start with), but its not really fair as I then deprive all their other customers, as there is only a small amount per cow, and then the farmers are left with a freezer full of other cuts they can't shift.

Roasted to 49 oC core temperature (there is more on using a temperature probe here). If you want to spruce it up there some great ideas here on finecooking.com.
Here it's resting (makes so much difference - but I don't need to tell you that do I?)
Served with rosemary roast potatoes, yorkshire (style) puddings and honey roast root vegetables.





Chocolate roulade and pavlova






It was really nice to be asked to make something different - and this was the best part.
I had to roll back the clock a bit to remember how to make a pavlova - it's been a while. It was something my mum would often make when I was young and we had guests. She would do the mixing and piping of the meringue and I would help with the decorating afterwards - this is the important bit after all. I remembered the secret ingredients too - cornflour and vinegar - this gives you the crispy outside and marshmallow-like centre.
I used 5 egg whites and 250g caster sugar, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp cornflour, 1 tsp vanilla essence. 1 hour at 140 oC. Aga would be nice though (you can dream). The vanilla really adds something. As I had slightly more meringue than I needed (should have gone for 4 white and 200g sugar), I piped some small meringues on the edge - how can you resist?

The chocolate roulade turned out.... well..... lets just say it's a good job there wasn't a pattern on the plate. Soft chocolate heaven.
I used the James Martin recipe. The chocolate ganache filling needed a lot of 'testing' - I think that could make a dessert just in itself.



Related posts

Some other requested dishes we have made previously
Strawberry meringue roulade
1001 Kitchen Tips #41 - Top tips for Yorkshire puddings
How to ballottine a chicken

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