Buffet lunch delivery

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Herb pitta crisps with cheese and onion dip
Fillet of beef open sandwich with mustard cream cheese on sun dried tomato foccacia  - luckily for this party there were some fillet ends after cutting the fillet steaks for the parties we were cooking for the following day 
Homemade millionaires shortbread (link to recipe here) - a million times better than shop brought!
White chocolate and raspberry cupcakes - this recipe  for the sponge (couldn't find a  grown up to help me - so I had to operate the gas myself) and a buttercream icing with raspberry coulis
Pear and mincemeat cake - like this recipe with the crumble topping 

Spoons of orange segments and coconut - healthy living. This was originally one  of my Nana's standby desserts. My mum used to make it too when my Dad was away on business.  

Millionaires shortbread aka caramel shortbread

Saturday, February 25, 2012
The 'million' in millionaires shortbread is for the million years that it takes you to get round to making your own. 
But you're in for a treat when you do! As with most things shop brought versions can get nowhere near what you make yourself. Used this recipe - it's a good'un!
The above version we served yesterday for a corporate lunch delivery. This one I served for a party in Chipping Campden tonight:
Assiette of dessert with millionaires shortbread, tarte tatin, strawberry meringue roulade, chocolate torte and lemon tart
Shame - there seems to be some left........

See more assiette dessert on our assiette of desserts facebook album

Related posts:

Previous assiette desserts we have served
What does 'assiette' mean? Assiette of desserts 12 July 


Blueberry pancakes with banana jam

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Hey it's that day again - no more indulging for 40 days & nights from tomorrow - so make the most of your pancakes today!

Blueberry pancakes with banana jam

Been meaning to try these out for ages - what better time. American style pancakes - see recipe posted a few years back. To this just add a handful of blueberries. Or anything else to hand. Blackberries? Raspberries. Those berries you picked in the summer and froze for the winter.

Banana jam - see recipe here, really useful thing to make when you have left over bananas hanging around. Combination is really good!

Related posts

Pancakes recipes - crepes & american style
Gingerbread pancakes with grilled mango

Wales vs England - Hen party canapé cookery competition - a fight to the bitter end! .... or not :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hi James, I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for what was incredible activity on Saturday. The girls had such a brilliant time and it was exactly what we wanted. The canapes were fabulous and all the girls have commented on how brilliantly you organised us all! You have such a wonderful business and we wish you well!
We will all be recommending you to friends of ours as it was such a perfect event for a hen party. The bride to be loved it! 
[There's a PS right at the end of this post - wait till then.......]

The 'before' team shot - Let's go!
"Suprise!.... Today we're all doing a cookery lesson"
"I don't cook!" said the horrified hen's mother
"You do today!"
"Ooh - I love an assertive man!....."

Oh yeah - you've got to love hen parties!

Somehow the hen's friend who had organised the whole weekend had managed to keep this part of it a secret - to everyone. They'd all paid for something, just didn't know what. 

Once again we were crossing The Apprentice with Hell's Kitchen - a cookery event is good, but it's so much more fun when you're competing against your friends. In this case there was a welsh team and an english team. 

Snowy Cotswold hills from the terrace of hill house - like you're transported to the Dolomites
After a few demonstrations from me of techniques they would find useful it was over to the team captains to organise their teams. It may look daunting at the beginning, but actually - as they quickly found - when you split your group up into sub groups which take on one canapé each, actually it's quite straight forward - and rather enjoyable.

As always they had their trusty recipe booklet with all the info and I was going round everyone to give a bit of help, support & tips.
Complete with recipe booklet

Cold Canapés

Vegetable sushi
Mini beetroot rosti with smoked salmon and dill mustard

Hot Canapés

Saffron risotto balls
Mini Yorkshire puddings with roast fillet of beef
Spoon of scallop wrapped in pancetta with asparagus puree and shiitake mushroom

Beetroot and potato on the mandolin to make beetroot rosti
Making smoked salmon rosettes to go on rosti  & cutting brie for risotto balls - eyes down!

When you run out of space in one kitchen you overflow into the next kitchen. Making  asparagus puree here.

Yorkshire puddings fresh from the oven - haven't they risen well!
Seasoning sushi rice - vitally important you taste it! Their's tasted great!
Rolling arancini

Plating up time (note the beer bottles - these events are relaxed affairs!)
And when you run out of space in both kitchens you spill over into the dining room to make your sushi!

Judging time!

  • Vegetable sushi

We judge on presentation & taste. On the left was the english team - much more uniform round shape. But the seasoning of the rice of the welsh team (right) was much better - don't forget the seasoning dulls down as the rice cools, so it needs to be slighty more seasoned than you think it should to take account of this. This is why supermarket sushi tastes so awful - it's too old by the time you buy it. 
The carrot decorations got bonus points though!

  • Mini beetroot rosti with smoked salmon and dill mustard

The hen with her beetroot rosti & smoked salmon.  "Good enough to be on Ready Steady Cook!" I quipped. Actually she had been. "Ainsley Harriot!" gushed the hen's mother "Such a lovely man - gave me a great big hug!" Everyone loves Ainsley!

The english team on the left again, and the welsh on the right. Equal points on taste - it's just so good. But on presentation -  maybe the english teams rosti could have been a bit more bite size - such a good effort & labour of love though! Great result from the welsh team!

  • Saffron risotto balls (arancini)

The welsh team above - an iphone is never far away......
Any dip? Quick ransack of the fridge turns up some tomato salsa - great dip!

The english team goes more rustic (above).

Well presentation-wise the welsh teams were much more uniform shape. Also turned out more flavoursome risotto. The english team's risotto maker had added a lake of stock half way through to try and speed it up. Turns out it's better just to wait and let the rice absorb the stock naturally - rice ends up more creamy: well you live and learn! :)

  • Mini Yorkshire puddings with roast fillet of beef

What a great job on these - everyone's favourite canapé. The english team (left) went for a bite size canape version, while the welsh team went for a more rustic brunch size version. Who's right? Both are good! Slight overcooking on the beef though for the welsh team - not sure what my wedding guests would say if I served them like that - so I think the english team won through on the taste there - judging's a hard thing!

  • Spoon of scallop wrapped in pancetta with asparagus puree and shiitake mushroom

Welsh team above and below right. English team below right.  On this one both were as good each other! A national tie!

Final results though as I added up the marks - the welsh team won by 5 points - hoorah! for Wales. And hoorah for all my canapé chefs and their wonderful creations - you all did a wonderful job! Amazing what you can do really - isn't it!
The 'after' group team photo - cheers!
"Seemed like a lot of faff at the beginning" said the hen afterwards "... but then you get going, and get into doing your own thing - and it's really quite easy and so worth it - it all tastes amazing!"

Yay - fun time was had by all!

PS - Thanks for choosing Wales as winners - always good to get one up on the old enemy!

Well... 'choosing' had nothing to do with it - it's a fair & honest contest!

Related posts

30th birthday canape cookery event
Cook your own dinner party - a corporate cookery event


Smoked haddock kedgeree - just what you need for Sunday brunch!

Monday, February 13, 2012
"So what do you do the rest of the week then?" Common question lots of people ask when we're chatting as we're preparing their dinner party. I was asked it last Saturday too as I was in the middle of making beef wellingtons - it does actually make you lol inside. There is actually quite a lot of preparation behind what we do. Organising packing lists, shopping lists, prep lists, to do lists, lists of lists. And emails, quotes, accounts, VAT, the odd weekday corporate event, seemingly endless laundry.... and somewhere between that you have to do a bit of cooking - it's amazing how the week fills up from one weekend to the next :) I long to live in Hogsmeade and the food would magically appear on the table, only I don't and it doesn't. Wouldn't be any fun anyway! 

I was making this around 4am on Saturday morning - as you do - for a brunch delivery before setting off do to a hen party cookery session.
Curry rice pilaf - a variation on this recipe & using basmati rice. Add whole spices too - cloves, all spice berries, bay leaves, cardamon - whatever you've got on the shelf. I used the rice cooker.  Perfect  rice every time - it really is a life changing piece of equipment in the kitchen. 1 cup rinsed rice = 1 cup of water.
Smoked haddock poached in milk. Milk is then used to make the curry sauce that goes with it.  It's the curry sauce which makes it so delish!
Wait - something's missing. Oh yes - hard boiled eggs.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Couple of cakes we served back in Jan for a working lunch:
Coconut and passionfruit cake - see link to recipe here

Pinepple tarts - from this recpie with a little lemon curd on the base

Pineapple upside down cake

So many years since I'm made one of these - I had a great passion for pinepple when young. So much better when you make it with fresh pineapple. Sadly it was for a lunch delivery so I never even got to taste it - such is life in the kitchen.
Used this recipe.

30th birthday canapé cookery event - learn how to make canapes in your own home

Friday, February 03, 2012

Dear James,

I just wanted to say a big thank you to you and Gill for such a fantastic day and evening on Saturday. The canapé making was absolutely brilliant and everyone really enjoyed it. The food in the evening was delicious. 
I will certainly be recommending you to people in future and I expect we will be back at the house at some point.
Many many thanks again and please do pass my thanks on to Jill and the 2 waitresses.

Best wishes, 

Another cookery event success! We seem to be going cookery event mad - this canapé one was followed by a corporate one 3 days later and the next canapé one is a week on Saturday - rock and roll!

For this one we went for a mix of The Apprentice and Hell's Kitchen - I did a few canapé demonstrations at the beginning to help everyone out, then we split the group into 2 teams in two different places in the kitchen. Then those 2 teams had to split themselves into teams of 2 or 3 to take on one canapé each (we gave them recipes in a recipe booklet), do all the preparation (enough for about 20 portions to have later) and do one good one as a display canapé which would be judged at the end in a grand finale. After this we were going to serve their own creations as canapés mid evening before also serving their evening dinner party. 

With so many people to go round helping out & showing things to, clearing up a bit in between we didn't really get too many pics - usual story, too busy. I'm hoping one of the party might send some ;)

 Cold Canapés

Sushi – vegetable and cooked prawns
Sushi making corner
Using their initiative they came up with a creamy wasabi paste to  add to the sushi. The 2 sushi teams were most excited - they'd both always wanted to know how to make it........
One canapé chef decided to marinade smoked salmon in pickled ginger juice. When I saw it I thought it would make a great wrapping for the sushi. So prawns and spring onion were wrapped in nori and this became the centre - turned out very well!
 Mini beetroot rosti with smoked salmon and dill mustard
Rush hour at the stove. Play nicely now! Beetroot rostis are in progress. I gave away my rosti tips. The last rosti was a large whole pan size which magically disappeared - some people couldn't wait for their canapes.

 Hot Canapés

Saffron risotto balls
See these above next to the ginger-smoked salmon wrapped sushi. They had to make risotto from scratch. When we ran out of space on the stove one pair used the microwave. Innovative! 
One guest took the name of the recipe 'risotto balls' and went off on a tangent...... her results are x-rated. Won bonus points though!

Mini Yorkshire puddings with roast fillet of beef
Everyone's favourite canapé. Think that's definitely one they'll be trying at home - you get the recipe booklet to take home.

Spoon of scallop wrapped in pancetta with asparagus puree and shitake mushroom
Searing scallops

 2 different presentations from the 2 teams. We had to judge on presentation and also taste. The first one looked more messy, but had more puree so you got more of the asparagus flavour. The second looked much better - less is more - but you missed out a bit on the apsaragus hit..... judging's not easy..... :)

Related posts

Corporate cookery event - learn how to cook your own dinner party

Results time!