Canape spoon of seared scallop with asparagus puree and shiitake musroom

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Well this seemed to be a hit. Almost as much as the mini burgers - but not quite. It's been 2 years since Nick posted this, but I knew it would make a good canape one day. Simple ingredients - just very good. This was one of ten canapes we served for the wedding reception, then it was back in the evening to serve their dinner party - fish trio, beef wellington and an assiette dessert, while a few other parties went on elsewhere. Quite a day.

1001 Kitchen Tips #65 - Quick way to heat your plates before you plate up - especially if you have full ovens

Friday, March 25, 2011
They say you should learn at least one thing from everyone you meet. Well this tip is one I picked up last week and used again tonight (69 covers down, 117 tomorrow & meagre 37 Sunday).


Yes. 3 - 4 mins on high power. Easy when you know how.

There is an aga accross the courtyard in the Coach House at Broad Marston Manor, but a stack of plates in the microwave in the main kitchen though seemed much easier than lugging plates between kitchens (had ovens full of food funnily enough). And it so works - without burning the waiting staff. Now is that a good thing or bad?

St. Patricks Day 2011 at Upper Court

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Just loaded pics over on the facebook page here. Will update here sometime, but right in the middle of 3 really busy weeks.

1001 Kitchen Tips #64 - "Can I sear a steak on the griddle and then wait a few hours before finishing it in the oven - for entertaining guests."

Monday, March 21, 2011
Someone just found the blog through googling that very phrase. And as Obama would say - 'yes you can!'
Flame grilled steak

It's something I've been doing since a few months after I started the business. Originally I used to take the steaks raw and the grill pan and do them there. Of course, soon I found that every time we did that the smoke alarm in whatever house would go off straight away - and this really ruins the party atmosphere.

So since then I sear them on the griddle pan in my kitchen, blast chill them and keep them cool in the fridge till they are ready to be packed & then transport them in the refridgerated van. When we get to the venue they just need to be finished in the oven for c 12 - 15 minutes for medium (fillet) (slightly less for rib eye if they are thinner) - normally put them in the oven as we serve the starter. When done to the desired 'doneness' you can take them out the oven to rest, then flash them back in the oven before serving for 2 - 3 mins to re-heat.
If you are doing this is at home the advantage is, as well as breaking the prep in two, you also have a few hours for the smoky smell wafting through the house to dissipate - much better when you are entertaining guests.

Note - steak should be kept in the fridge till needed after searing and cooling - you want to keep your guests safe.

Grilled fillet of beef with chilli and garlic baked chickpeas, french beans wrapped in pancetta and rosti potato
Click on photo for more about this dish


Bah - I forget such details ;) No - course not. Just let them cool down (preferably on a cooling rack over a tray - this collects any dripping blood) after searing on the grill pan, then when cool you can refrigerate them. Covered with cling film of course, and on the lowest shelf in the fridge in case they drip blood over the rest of the fridge contents. How about that?


Assiette of desserts (including pimms jelly)

Monday, March 14, 2011
"Ooooh - that tastes just like summer!" said one guest
  • Shotglass of Pimms jelly
  • Mini lemon meringue pie
  • Spoon of sticky toffee pudding
  • Mini rum baba
  • Mango sorbet

The assiette of desserts we serve has become rather legendary since we started doing it 3 years ago. Each one is slightly different depending on what the guests choose. After doing the pimms jelly with barbecued lavender scented strawberries last year (see here - scroll down to Monday evening), I thought I would try out the Pimms jelly on the assiette too. There's a recipe here if you really need one.

Mango sorbet normally goes in a shotglass - but there was last minute panic packing up. Although we had over 140 shotglasses a few years ago to do a wedding we were down to 10 (breakages & some left at a delivery still to pick up). Just enough to set the jelly, but none left for the mango sorbet. So it was a quick dash into Cheltenham on the way to the venue. But, while the 3 supermarkets we tried all had loads in stock last year, now they had none. Apparently they only stock them for Christmas. Pah - some of us do fancy dining all year round. I did find these black egg cups in Waitrose though - and I think they look rather good against the white plates. Might carry on using these now.

Related posts

Other assiette of desserts
Assiette of desserts facebook album
Lemon meringue pie recipe

1001 Kitchen Tips #63 - How to hold vegetables down on the grill pan

Tuesday, March 01, 2011
How annoying it is when you find a new kitchen tip and realised you could have saved yourself so much time and hassle over the years previously. Like this one I discovered last Saturday.

Grilling butternut squash can be troublesome - you need to hold it down on the grill or it barely makes contact - just warps in the middle the way fish does.
All you need is a weight on top - like a second grill pan you've been given. This pushes the squash (or whatever else you're grilling) onto the grill so you get the grill marks and more inportantly, the taste. This way you can leave it to itself for a few minutes and carry on with the other 10 things you're trying to do at the same time.
Then you just need to turn them over.

Related posts

Other 1001 kitchen tips

1001 Kitchen Tips #22 - how to grill fish without it sticking to the grill

1001 Kitchen Tips #59 - how to grill onions