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!