Fish sharing platter starter and whole rib of beef main course for business away day/ Christmas celebration

Thursday, December 27, 2012
"....basically, we are all out at restaurants all the time, every day on the expense account with clients, so what we are after is something much more simple, like home cooking, something we can serve family style at the table....."
The boss of this company talked so fast and so passionately about food. Always a bonus!

Didn't do so well getting food photos - so hectic getting everything done and out.......
Beer battered mussells - served in the cleaned shells (my personal favourite of the night - simple is good!)

Home-smoked mackerel with elderflower and gooseberry compote - a platter sized version of the starter above - smoked over hickory chips and lady grey tea. 

Mini size version of the trout en papillote - above (again pic taken from a previous event)
Smoked trout risotto balls with courgette ribbon salad

 Mini fillet of hake with parsley coulis and celariac chips. Hake - such an underated fish sadly - it's so nice!

Crab and apple salad in filo basket - never got a pic of this one in the end.

Phew - totally epic starter!

Then for a main course came these babies:

Huge ribs of beef which the group carved themselves at the table - great fun! We served these with dauphinoise potatoes, glazed Chantenay carrots, steamed kale with chestnuts and a raw vegetable, basil and lambs lettuce  salad.

Then for dessert - large sticky toffee pudding,
large tarte tatin 
and large lemon meringue pie 

... which again all the guests passed round the table family style - if they could steal themselves away from the cocktails being served in the hall way. The same cocktail makers that we recognised from the October wedding near Redditch - small world round here!
Time for those embarrassing office party photos complete with dressing  up kit courtesy of the cocktail guys.


Italian sharing platter for a first birthday party at Watermark complex in the Cotswold Water Park

More for the adults I got the feeling (3 generations of family + guests) than the birthday boy. Like most parties then ;)

Bit of deja vu when I turned up at the house, realised I had cooked there about 4 years ago. Love those Watermark houses - what I imagine New England is like. It feels so un-Cotswold like, but they still fit in. You can see from above how close they are to the lake too......

Mulled wine poached pear and gorgonzola foccacia - proving on the way to the house, and cooked it when I got there - who can resist the baking aromas as you arrive back for lunch?
Italian style cheese selection
Italian style cured meat platters
Skewers of baby mozzarella, sun blush tomato and basil 
Grilled and roasted vegetables
Pesto pinwheel bread
Also made garlic doughballs - went so fast no time to even take a pic - and some tapanade croutes.

And that was just the starter!

Crown of lamb with red rice stuffing

A 40th birthday from the 1st December near Stratford on Avon. I had been trying to tempt people with the idea of a crown of lamb for ages - finally we did one for this party. 

 They wanted a lighter starter so this is what we came up with:
Salad of watercress, poached pear, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts with hazelnut dressing

Crown of lamb raw in the morning - based a little bit on this recipe

Cooked and ready to go - we carved this at the table infront of the guests - it makes quite a wow dish as it is taken to the table - the whole point is it has to be served whole. Served with dauphinoise potato and vegetable accompaniments. 

Then, as we were preparing their assiette of desserts, there was a odd noise coming from the living room, like a window had blown opened and something was blowing in the wind. Alas, it was just their pet hamster going full steam ahead on the wheel.......
Dogs, birds, cats, snakes, lizards, stick insects, goats, horses, sheep, gineau pigs, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks, fish, rats, tortoises - you name it we've  worked along side it. Sometimes chased/ pecked by them too!


Japanese theme menu

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

 So back from a Scandinavian theme dinner party in London at 4am the day started again at 7:30 with last minute shopping at the Ranee supermarket in Cheltenham and then a lunch party, then finishing setting up another 5 evening parties as well as this one. As the rain set in it was a quick race down to Berkeley with one dinner party for the guests to serve themselves before going back up to Blockley to serve this one. Epic day!

We served these on large dishes at the table for guests to share between themselves - great for an informal hen party celebration!

 Sweet potato and prawn tempura with dashi dipping sauce [I was partially dressed in tempura batter after this. As was the kitchen work surface. And floor. Messy, but rather moreish!] - from this recipe
Chicken yakitori with tare sauce
Selection of sushi: salmon, tuna, avocado
Sushi doesn't come much fresher - made, cut and straight to the table. Forget the nori wrapping - you've had that everywhere else surely - the tuna was wrapped in cavalo nero leaves (trim out the middle stem), avocado wrapped in sesame seeds and salmon sushi coated in chives & coriander - interesting tastes!
 Tuna tartare and avocado salad with sesame soy dressing

 Beef tataki and raw vegetable rolls with chilli, soy and lime dressing - inspiration from this recipe. Sadly no shiso leaves at the Ranee supermarket.
The hens had decorated the table before we got there. I was obviously so busy getting everything ready I didn't notice till the end of the night the shape of the table confetti they had sprinkled all over. Oh you have to love hen parties!
 Just in case this wasn't enough there was a main course as well......

Chicken katsu curry - from this recipe - so delicious!
Japanese beef and shiitake mushrooms with soba noodles and crispy nori
Sesame crusted tuna with caramel soy dressing
 Crispy duck with edamame beans, crispy shallots and ponzu
Crossed 2 recipes and came up with something different - this one and this. The second is certainly an  interesting way  of cooking duck  - steaming (after marinading for 2 days) then deep frying in a wok to get the crispy skin.
 Pak choi with garlic, ginger and oyster sauce and Japanese kabocha pumpkin
 Vegetable doburi rice - there is rice under there honest! If you've only ever had sushi rice in sushi - you should try it in this as well. Another one where I mashed a few recipes and came up with something else - the flavours of this with a whole load of other vegetables added in with the rice including okra then topped it with raw veg - shiitake and enoki mushrooms, carrots, spring onion, coriander which you can stir into the rice at the table to take the raw edge off slightly. Either way the cooked rice and vegetables and the raw or just off raw topping is a nice mix!

Dessert? Skip dessert and move straight on to cocktails - it's a hen party darling!
They had a cocktail barman for the latter part of the evening who served from the front room, allowing us time to clear up. Job done.

Related posts
Other theme menus we have served
Marmite farfalle poached in miso with shiitake and kale


Triple chocolate panna cotta

Monday, November 19, 2012
So we made this for a party last Saturday. 
This is one we turned out this morning to have a look. As you do. Oh and eat it of course. As you do.

We used this recipe - but just altered it to suit working on our 150ml moulds. Divided the mix into 3 and then  alternated white chocolate, milk and dark. Added a bit more dark chocolate to get a better differentiation in colour.

Related posts:

Passion fruit panna cotta

Canapé party in Cheltenham

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Yes - it's that time of year again: canapé party season!
We served these for 65 people in Cheltenham last Saturday in between running a cookery lesson and 3 other dinner parties.
Cones of fish goujons & chips
Traditional favourites asparagus tartlets alongside smoked salmon blinis

Glazing lemon tart canapés
Strawberry meringue roulade with raspberry 

Cold Canapés
Smoked salmon blinis
Barquette of asparagus
Rosemary scones with parma ham and St. Eadburgh’s cheese

Hot Canapés
Yorkshire pudding with grilled fillet steak and horseradish
Scallops in pancetta with pesto mayonnaise
Cones of fish and chips with tartare sauce
Duck satay with satay dip
Chorizo and butternut squash filo tart

Dessert Canapés
Strawberry meringue roulade
Glazed lemon tart
Chocolate éclairs

Thanks to photography from Steph Wetton


Apple strudel for a buffet

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
 Apple strudel from an event in September - 750 covers over 4 days - phew! As soon as the last lunch for a party of 54 had been served it was time to clear up and get ready for the party of 80 to arrive. This was one of their desserts which we served as buffet style. It was actually seriously tasty!
Recipe from here - you could really taste the orange.

You can also add mincemeat for a Christmassy flavour.

English street food wedding catering near Redditch, Worcestershire

Monday, October 22, 2012
"So what we were thinking was street food...... but English....." said the bride and groom to be when I met them at the beginning of this year. The bride had Malaysian family, while the groom had english - so this was the perfect way to suit both families. The Malaysian contingent would expect having a number of dishes on the table from which they could serve themselves, so this seemed a good way of introducing them to some more english styles of food.

A few years ago we served a thai menu as overlarge canapes - a cross between canapés and finger buffet but served like canapés on individual mini plates by waiting staff as guests stood chatting. The bride and groom to be wanted to go for very much the same kind of idea for this event, but for the guests to be seated at the table.

What was more this was to be served up from an open kitchen - while we do lots of events in houses where the dining area is open plan with the kitchen so you're effectively cooking in front of the guests it is not so common for marquee weddings - but we'll try anything! The guests seemed to love looking over at what was coming to their table.
 "I love the sky in this one!" said Alys - part time chef, part time photography student. This was the real colour of the sky at around 2pm. You can guess what happened next.......
Weddings in tipis - I love them. This was the bar/ lounge/ dancefloor area with a more traditional marquee tacked on to the back for dining. So much more character than just a normal marquee!
As guests arrived we served mulled cider - a great winter warmer!
Open kitchen - almost ready to go........
English street food

If only street food was as popular in this country as it is in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and so on. If it was, I think these dishes might be something street vendors might serve.......
Mini beef wellington with red wine sauce
Beef wellington around midnight the night before.
Beef wellington - before the top - spinach, wild mushrooms and chicken liver pate inside
Chicken in Herefordshire cider and apples - served in individual bread tartlets
With so many different dishes I wanted to serve each on a different style of plate - this one we served in bread tartlets - 1 per person. You butter the bread, mould them into yorkshire pudding tins and bake them. So if you're really hungry at the wedding you can even eat the bowl!
Lancashire hot pot
Bubble and squeak cakes on watercress salad in bamboo boats
Found these bamboo boats for the bubble and squeak above - looked quite good!
Good old english fish (goujons) and chips 
There was also leek and potato pie which we served on mini sur le plate dishes with a heart shaped puff pastry lid - but unfortunately with so much going on we didn't manage to snap that one.

Mini desserts 

After so much food the bride suggested fruit salad which we served in a shotglass
The all time english favourite - sticky toffee pudding with sticky toffee sauce
Mini lemon meringue roulade and  mini chocolate torte
Also in background left were mini wild elderberry (had fun picking those in the rain a couple of days before) and white chocolate cheesecake and mini pecan pie