Post wedding buffet near Blockley, Gloucestershire - Beef wellington and salmon poached in wild elderflower

Wednesday, April 07, 2010
This was the 3rd leg of the wedding celebrations explained the bride's father as he made his opening speech while we put the finishing touches to the starters. The wedding had been in California where the couple live and there had been a 2nd leg in Spain, and this was the English leg for guests who hadn't been able to get to the wedding itself. If you're going to do things there's no point doing them by halves.Wellacres makes such a great venue for a more relaxed wedding - we have done so many events there now I know it better than my own house. This comes in useful when you have to make the most of the available space. The kitchen/ dining room is the size of a house in itself, so seating 43 wasn't a problem with some extra hired chairs and tables and we used the central aisle as a buffet table with the waiting staff serving from there. This week was the start of Easter, so it had been so busy with events on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and then this on the Saturday, and then more on Easter Sunday morning. In between I tried to catch up with all the enquiries and other things, so there was little time to photograph food till we had got to the main course.


Served with champagne 12:30 – 1:30 in drawing room & cinema room

Smoked trout roulades

Beef, horseradish and rocket on parmesan shortbread

Baked new potatoes with asparagus and hoummous

Mini stilton cheesecakes with red onion marmalade

King prawns in filo with pesto mayonnaise

Buffet Menu

Served from c. 1:30pm in kitchen/ dining area

Homemade walnut, raisin and rosemary bread rolls


Tartlets of Gorsehill Abbey Farm St. Agnes cheese with caramelised red onion

Marinated melon in mulled wine

Niçoise salad with balsamic dressing


Beef Wellington with peppercorn dressing

"That's quite a pie" said one guest as they gathered around the central aisle.
I tied up the beef fillet in string, sealed and roasted for 10 minutes at 200 oC. This keeps the right shape as it cooks in the pastry. Then allow to cool, place on rolled out puff pastry and top with mixture of chicken liver parfait, blanched spinach and duxelle field mushrooms. The chicken liver parfait really infuses a great flavour - and great meaty smells waft around as you slice it open in front of the guests. Cooked to 52 oC ish. I had started putting these together at 13:00 as the canapes were on the go and I estimated they were due to be served at 14:00 - 14:10. As it turned out the guests took a bit of time getting to the table, then the host made a speech which all added to the time. I was a bit nervous at one point, as the wellington keeps cooking inside the pastry even after you take it out of the oven due to the steam inside the pastry. So I turned down the heat of the oven and took them out a bit early so it would keep cooking ouside the oven. It all worked out well in the end and every single bit went, even the pastry crust ends.

Elderflower poached salmon with cucumber salad

In the summer when elderflowers come out I pick loads, soak them in water with a bit of lemon stops it going black) for 2 days, strain it and then freeze this liquid for use throughout the year. I used it to poach the salmon for this dish, along with some vegetable stock. It went in the oven as soon as I had finished the beef wellington. Once cooked I drained off the poaching liquid and turned this into an elderflower sauce to go with the salmon.

Salad of free-range chicken with tarragon mayonnaise

The (Madgetts Farm free range) chicken was the first thing to go in the oven when we got there. Celariac remoulade underneath.

Sweet potato cakes with wild mushroom stroganof

The sweet potato for these went in the oven along with the chicken as soon as we got there, and I was mixing it up as the host was making his speech as the guests sat down. As I was frying them up, I flipped one over and accidentally my elbow hit one of the guests lightly as they took their starters. Not exactly the conditions you're used to in a normal wedding venue, but that is the point - it's a more relaxed venue, and all the better for it. Some people I think expect a sweary loud chef (certain TV programmes have a lot to answer for) but in reality, as the bride's mother said afterwards, we're cool, calm and collected, and they often forget we're actually there in the corner.

5 children x chicken goujons and homemade chips

All served with:

Mixed salad

French beans and celery

Glazed Chantenay carrots

Mustard and honey dressed new potatoes


Glazed lemon tart with rapsberries

Fruit salad

Pineapple, mango, strawberries, passionfruit and blueberries in rosewater and mint syrup and served in a watermelon

Like the fruit salad they had requested for the meal I had delivered to them on Wednesday I knew I could make this one more interesting too. Instead of putting everything in a fruit salad, reducing it to a few really nice things seems to be far better. It's a while since I had used rosewater, and it tasted so good - rhubarb and rosewater would be such a good combination.

There was also a chocolate cake which they had supplied themselves. While I do so many things, cakes are not something I specialise in.


Coffee, tea and handmade chocolate, pistachio and almond fudge

I had also made english muffins the day before which and we left these with bacon from Home Farm and homemade tomato relish for them to serve themselves later in the evening. We also left any left over food in the fridge so they could graze through the evening or have for lunch the next day.

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Anonymous said...

Those glazed lemon tarts topped with fresh raspberries have my heart racing and the urge to start baking. Lemon is the ultimate dessert.
Any chance for the recipe?

James said...

Thanks - will add recipe next week.

Julie said...

Never had beef wellington, but this sure makes me want some!

James said...

Lemon tart recipe nbow here:!/notes/cotswold-food-year/lemon-tart-recipe/113708405317914