Catering for a birthday party in a bedouin marquee

Thursday, June 16, 2011
"So what have we got?....." asked one of the guests
"I chose all my favourite things" said the host, whose birthday it was, just behind her. That's what birthdays are for isn't it!?When your parents live in such an amazing house which lends itself to entertaining, it seems crazy not to use it. We were cooking in their garden - felt uncannily like camping, but that might be more because we were based in our own tent which has seen some times - the night of the heaviest ever thunder storm going overhead ('that lightning is getting rather close') is rather memorable - it's a hardy tent.

  • Thai chicken curry

  • Lamb tagine - see more here

  • Lamb cutlets with hoummous

  • Patatas bravas

  • Basmati rice

  • Asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon

  • Tex-mex salad in crisp taco bowls (see more here)

The whole night was about a relaxed atmosphere - the inside of the marquee was decked out as a bedouin tent with comfy floor-level chairs around the side where guests could sit and eat - or stand outside as the weather went in our favour. No waiting staff - we just served from a buffet.

I also found out in real terms the benefits of the hard flooring we get in normal kitchen marqee tents. As the evening ran on the oven was sinking deeper and deeper at the front into the grass till it was on a serious lean. So finishing the chicken and lamb dishes on the top, they started edging forward and forward as I was doing something else on the adjacent table. And then.... phew - good job I have lightning reactions.....


Dessert was a relaxed affair too - Japanese spoons of creme catalan and rosewater scented fruit salad in watermelons (less fruit is more - pineapple, mango, strawberries, blueberries and some of the watermelon middle)
Then, as the daylight faded down, the music faded up and so the real night began - what a perfect summer's night event.

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