Friday, September 17, 2010

Closing down

Yes you just read that - we're closing down on Monday.

Don't worry though - it's just for a week. After a mammoth 14 months I've been forced into having a holiday. Back on Thursday 30th October but have stacked up a really busy weekend to come back to - 5 consecutive days of corporate lunches a 3 day weekend catering package and 3 Saturday night parties, so it may be Wednesday 6th Oct before things have calmed down. Hang in there friend!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Childrens party food delivery in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Edit 03/03/13
To see more from another children's party we did recently click on the picture above.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

You know me - turn my hand to anything (bar celebration/ wedding cakes - one day I'll go on a course). Childrens food? No problem. Great fun to make actually - it had been a while.
This was a delivery I did to Cheltenham at the begining of July - this took care of the morning, then in the afternoon it was off to Ross on Wye to start the 8 day breakfast, lunch and dinner holiday chef job - never like to do things by halves.

As well as the requisite finger sandwiches (marmite, jam & egg - though not all together) we did a few Home Farm sausages made into cocktail size on sticks, chicken goujons and sausage rolls. And mini cheese and tomato pizzas:
and cheese and pineapple aka Mr & Mrs Prickles.
Raspberry jelly
Cupcakes - how can a childrens party be complete without cupcakes at the moment?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Afternoon tea and hog roast wedding catering, Fladbury near Evesham and Pershore, Worcestershire

Springhill Barn in Fladbury may look unassuming from the outside
But inside it is transformed into a beautiful wedding venue:
The good thing about church weddings are you know when the wedding is starting and finishing due to the bell ringing, and when you hear them the second time you know it is time to get a shift on.

We served afternoon tea on the terrace as guests arrived back from the church. Here the Party Angels are just finishing the set up.
Scones were topped with Cotswold clotted cream and hedgerow jelly from Dove Cottage in Broadway. Delia collects all the berries from the fields around Broadway to make the fabled jelly which she uses for her B & B guests.
We also served elderflower cordial too - another Dove Cottage 2010 vintage from the elderflowers in the fields on the Broadway hills. And my legendary chocolate brownie - how can you resist?

Hog roast wedding buffet

I had picked up the pig around 8am from Home Farm. I passed Mickey the farmer on the way up as he was off to the Stroud Farmers market driving the opposite way. Just a tad too late for him to help lift it out of their fridge. But as luck would have it there were a couple of cyclists waiting for breakfast as B & B guests at the farm. One of them and Anne the farmer helped lift it on to the roasting tin. I was halfway through sawing the legs off the pig so it fitted in the tin when Mickey rushed back in "QUICK! Get the dogs and get up to the top field!" he said to Anne hurriedly. "130 sheep have broken out of the field, if we leave them they'll be all over the village!". It all happens on Saturdays. Anne rushed off in the car with the dogs, Mickey showed me how you reduce the height of the pig (that's not for here) so it was the 8in high that they need for the height of the bakery oven, and the cyclists were left to their own devices for breakfast as Mickey rushed back off towards the Stroud farmers market - can't afford to miss the stand. Meanwhile I rushed to pig back to the Tewkesbury bakery, picked up the larger hire van and went back to the kitchen to finish preparations for the other 2 parties we had going on that day - so much happens before 9am.Crispy crackling - along with pig tail (along with the cheeks & ears one of the tastiest parts)










  • Potato salad
  • Beetroot, fennel and radish mixed leaf salad
  • Tomato, basil and olive salad
  • Cous cous salad with grilled vegetables

  • Dessert was their wedding cake which we served with berries and raspberry coulis. And Adam used their cheese to make a cheese wedding cake which we served after the dessert and guests ate throughout the night.

    XXXXXX

    Dear James

    Apologies that it is quite belated but David and I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your help in making our wedding day so special and unforgettable.
    All the guests loved the food, especially the crackling from the hog roast which was claimed to be 'the best - EVER!' by several people. My fussy Dad even ate cous cous for the first time and went back for seconds! We really appreciated that you were so organised and we could trust to leave you to get on with things and not worry about anything on the day, and also that you were able to help us suceed in our ethos of using local produce where possible.

    Best wishes and all our thanks
    David and Joanna Kelly

    Jerk pork with curried nectarine relish and baps

    Sacriliege or serious flavour?
    Pig roasts have been so popular this year - more this year than ever before. This corporate party in Stanton, Gloucestershire however was only 16 but still wanted the pig roast experience. As a pig roast will feed 50 - 150 in the end we agreed smaller cuts of pork along with a couple of cajun spiced free range Madgetts Farm chickens. I was keen to try out the jerk pork again, and they liked the sound of it too.

    Pork, as always, was Berkshire/ Gloucester Old Spot cross from Home Farm in Bredon's Norton. As it was a last minute booking they didn't have all the pork shoulder I needed - the pigs still needed a bit more hanging in the cold room. So it was a combination of 6 hour slow cooked shoulder and roasted loin. Nice combination!
    Ever since Nigella had cooked gammon in coca cola I had meaning to try it. Cooking the jerk pork in coke seems to be quite a thing too. I took this recipe and adapted it, leaving the pork to mariande for a couple of days. And after 6 hours of cooking in pork stock, coke, lemon, ginger, garlic, onion, chilli, lime, herbs etc, I drained the liquid and reduced it to a glaze. This made a nice condiment to serve with the pork & baps or for smearing on the chicken they had brought and were just about to roast as I arrived with their delivery on the way to cooking abother dinner party. The loin roasted in about an hour and a half. I then gave them instructions on removing the skin to make crackling.

    Curried nectarine relish


    I had liked the look of this recipe when I found it a couple of months ago. I took the idea and just made my own - had lots of chutney making experience when young and one of my first jobs as a chef. Nectarines look better than peaches when I picked them up so I used those instead. Couldn't have been much fresher - barely had time to cool before it was on the road.

    Monday, September 06, 2010

    Wedding catering near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (ii)

    So just 5 days after clearing up after the last wedding at Upper Court near Tewkesbury, I was back setting up the next. This time cooking without an oven. We're flexible - I have done so many events there now I know the cottages better than my own house, so rather than hiring an oven for the marquee we used the oven in the coach house for cooking the chicken the main course and then ran it down the garden to the marquee. Grilled vegetables heated perfectly in the hot cupboard and potatoes re-heated in the chafing dish. Anything to help the wedding couples' budget.

    The bride and groom wanted an Italian themed menu for their big day and were very happy with the end result - I caught up with them as they came back to the Coach House much later in the evening to carry on the party.

    Salad of parma ham, poached pears and gorgonzola














    Pears poached with star anise, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest wrapped in parma ham.












    Free range Madgetts Farm chicken filled with roast peppers, caramelised red onion, mozzarella and basil wrapped in pancetta with grilled vegetables, new potatoes and wild nettle pesto

    Not these chickens though - these were the resident chickens at Upper Court who seemed very interested in what we were cooking (who can blame them?). If you stay there for B & B you can sample their eggs for breakfast. Never very good at getting pics of the main course - it's always such a rush to get the food out while it is hot - especially when you're running some of it down the garden....

    But the chicken looked very like this, and the grilled vegetables like this. The nettles for the pesto I picked shortly after dawn behind Tewkesbury Abbey - good to keep it all local. Nettles give the pesto a great earthy flavour.

    Tiramisu
    Sponge, espresso, amaretto, marscapone, Cotteswold cream, amaretti biscuits, vanilla - an old classic. I once had one in a restaurant in Stratford on Avon and have been trying to recreate it ever since. This was the best so far. Each glass came back empty - always a good sign.

    Related posts:

    Salad of parma ham, poached pear and glazed goats cheese
    Grilled chicken and grilled vegetables

    90th birthday lunch at Royal Court, Cheltenham

    90th birthday what a great milestone! The family I cooked for before at the Royal Court care home in Cheltenham on Mothers Day earlier in the year must have liked it - they booked again for their Mother's birthday on bank holiday Monday - this time for the whole family - 9 in total.As luck has it their mothers/ grandmother's flat is right opposite the communal dining room. I set up as the last residents had finished their lunch. There are no cooking facilities there - the cooking for the care home is all done in the main kitchen downstairs down and down a couple of coridoors - not at all practical for serving a lunch party, so I take my own electric oven and gas stove and use their hot cupboard. It's quite a tight fit - only a sink unit and small work space to use with all your ingredients and equipment on trolleys. Logistics are always fun. But as I always say we're used to anything - after the disused air control tower, the car showroom where we had to climb under the cars to get to the little kitchen, finding myself in a Portugese hotel kitchen on my own, and endless marquee events (including the one last week where we cooked without an oven) anything is possible.
    45 stone - I wasn't sure whether I should get in the lift or send it up on its own ;-)

    Down the corridoor from where I was serving lunch I passed the hair salon - that place has everything you need on site.