Friday, October 28, 2011

Thai theme meal for a hen party

A few weeks before we had done a similar meal for the same organiser (but different set of guests). This time round they chose a similar menu - must have been good last time round.
Satay - prawns, pork, chicken & lamb

Prawn crackers - much better when you fry your own. The hens delved straight in.

Thai beef salad - love the purple carrots ......

Seabass poached in soy, chilli and ginger













Thai green curry from this amazing recipe. None of this left - always a good sign!







Thai style trio of desserts - Mango sorbet (amazing how everyone loves sorbet - so refreshing), black rice pudding and pinepple pastries - see links to recipes here.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chef in Venice #7 - Poached eggs with parma ham on toasted ciabatta

"We should write a 'survival guide to Venice on a budget'" said my friend last week.

Chiesa St. Barnaba..... at 8am (early start that day)

Chapter one would certainly be titled 'Cook for yourself'. Self catering should mean just that - it's hard to get out from a restaurant under €100 for 2 - and believe me, everyone you meet will like to tell you so, and that's before they start on the price of drinks. But go to the local Billa supermarket and markets in campo St. Margherita (not the Rialto - that's where tourists go) and that €100 goes a long way!

This was breakfast one day - poached eggs with parma ham on toasted ciabatta. When you're traversing the Ventian streets in search of Biennale exhibits you need a decent start
The eggs were supposed to be for making pasta - hence the vivid orange yolks. Didn't stretch to making pasta - it was a holiday after all - but they were rather good like this!

Don't forget the coffee though - it starts every Italian's day. It also has to get a mention in surviving Venice on a budget - make a macchiato at your place and it's going to be around 10 cents vs €2 - €3 (most often around the €3 mark) when you are out and about. Might be wonderful coffee (actually nobody makes it like the Italians, but still, when you're just a poor chef.......

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Beat the double dip recession - £5 off per person Sunday to Friday!

Planning a last minute Christmas dinner party at home? Staying in is the new going out!

Click on the picture above to link to more info.
For our catered meals we set up at your home, cook, serve and clear away afterwards leaving you time to spend with your guests.
We have hundreds of happy customers - hear what they have to say here.
Assiette of desserts on our dinner party menu
* Does not apply in some holiday houses. 

Monday, October 03, 2011

All vegetarian buffet lunch year 4 - new cakes & salad

4th year running - can't be bad!

As they let me come up with menu choices I try and add in new things each year. This year there were 2 vegans as well - so we had a few different things for them as well.

  • Black forest cupcakes Who can resist the old classics? From recipe here.
  • Blackberry and apple shortcake














I raided a few recipes from over here - the first being this one. If you want a recipe you know is going to work go for one on a blog - you know it's tried and tested :) I just added blackberries as well.

  • Individual tirimisu cheesecakes - quite possibly the ultimate cheesecake flavour!
Base
250g Amaretti biscuits

125g Unsalted butter


Filling

270g Ricotta

270g Marscapone

120g Caster sugar

2 1/2 Eggs

180 ml Creme fraiche

2 1/2 tbsp Cornflour

2 - 3 tsp Coffee essence

2 - 3 tsp Tia Maria

For method see normal recipe. The amaretti biscuits seem to soak up more butter than others - so you need more butter. I also did a vegan version - with nice biscuits and the same kind of filling but using alpro soy dessert with coffee essence & tia maria set with gelatine.
  • Vegan beetroot and chocolate cake. From recipe here. Last minute. com topping was sweetened soy milk with vanilla thickened with cornflour.
  • Pineapple puff pastry tarts - "That was lush!" said the guy we had helping us with the washing up. Eevryone had to try one. He was right. They were! Recipe again from here. I tried adding a bit of lemon curd under the pineapple slices. Seemed to work well. Other than that - maybe you could try frangipane. These literally came out of the oven and went straight on the road - can't beat that for freshness. So busy didn't manage to get a photo of finished tart - this pic actually comes ©Ms Marmitelover from this event we did.



  • Cauliflower, fennel, red onion and radish salad. Earlier in the year at a dinner party we were serving I had made a cauliflower and fennel coleslaw when those were the only ingredients we had left, and we had found ourselves with a little bit of extra time as guests sat down late. It seemed to work very well, and I tried it out as a salad here bound with mustard vinaigrette. A few basil leaves finish it off.
  • Benedict bars
  • Another hit. These were the two off-cut pieces. A photo at dusk earlier tonight - now you see why I'm a chef not a food photographer. Another recipe via Lucy made in this case with hedgerow jelly from Dove Cottage in Broadway made from berries picked from the local fields.


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Anti pasti meats with baked ricotta and grape and olive compote

Set up for a Friday night delivery a few weeks ago - nice when you arrive at your Cotswolds holiday cottage on the first night of your weekend and your meal is ready for you.
For a smaller party - with baked ricotta 



Grape and olive compote (no pic yet) was one of those things you make and think 'why haven't I ever made this before?'. Was rather nice. Recipe came from here.