Friday, August 24, 2012

Curry night! Chicken passanda & lamb madras with soda naan bread, bhajis, kachumber & pilaf rice

Chicken passanda - based on this recipe, but loads of other things from the spice shelf added as well to taste.  
Madras powder for making lamb madras using this recipe souped up at the end with a bit of this, bit of that.
Toasting whole spices, then grinding them  - it 's the secret to  real flavour. The curry powder you buy ready made is so dull in comparison. You roll the raw diced meat in this powder then leave it to marinade overnight in the fridge. 
Cucumber, tomato and pomegranate kachumber - a recipe from  Ms Marmitelover's  Eat Pray Love press night which I helped out with last year
Soda naan bread (using this recipe) - with one guest having an onion and yeast allergy it meant everything being made in 2 batches - apart from the naan bread which we made all soda. Actually first time I'd made naan bread - something you keep putting off, but then realise how easy it is, and how many million times better it tastes than a brought version. 
Looking back now it all looks a similar colour - but this is without the lamb madras, slightly darker. This is everything they had asked for - but colourwise it's something worth thinking about for next time......
Pilaff rice from the rice cooker (essential piece of kitchen equipment)
Onion bhaji - a combination of this recipe and this one.
Bombay aloo - using this recipe with a few added extras including tomato coulis
Sweetcorn pakora - adapting this recipe

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blackberry and apple küchen and raspberry ripple cake

Ever since I'd picked up Nigella's Bites book I'd been wanting to try this blackberry and apple kuchen and finally last Tuesday was the day. A cross between bread and cake topped with bramley apples, juicy blackberries and a crumble topping - what could be better!? Well making it for yourself rather than giving it away, but c'est la vie.




Then there was this raspberry ripple cake. File this in the recipe file under 'n' for 'naughty but nice'
With raspberries inside, more are sprinkled on top with marshmallows  when you're almost  finished cooking, then put back in the oven to finish and toast the marshmallows - what could be more decadence on a Tuesday?
Will try with larger marshmallows next time which should melt. But seriously - marshmallows! There's a real cake topping!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

1001 Kitchen Tips #69 - What can you substitute for buttermilk in soda bread?

Can't find buttermilk? Annoying huh? The Cotswolds is amazing, but finding ingredients can be more time consuming and involve further distances - as with everything there are good sides & bad sides. The good far outweigh the bad! It's annoying too sometimes how shops keep changing their stock - sometimes they'll have certain ingredients, you go another time and they've discontinued it - as was the case with buttermilk.
Soda bread 2009 (above) - one of the most popular posts I've done - testing the difference between water and buttermilk in soda bread, see more & the 2 recipes here. Soda bread is the answer for guests with yeast allergies.
Back to 2012, and the soda bread I made last Saturday. As I didn't find any buttermilk, I searched for a substitute, and found the answer to be acidulated milk.

It's always worth reading the comments under recipes - sometimes the measurements in recipes can be wrong slightly and people who have tried them give helpful hints below, or things they would do differently if they made the recipe again. Sometimes the comments section can be the difference between trying the recipe out or not!
Little & large soda bread. The sun dried tomato, olive and thyme roll was for the dinner party that night and plain soda bread loaf for breakfast. 
Underneath this soda bread recipe was a handy hint - use the same amount of milk as buttermilk (500ml in this case), heat the milk up gently and add 2 tsp lemon juice and let it cool. It makes a lumpy yogurty like mixture - but works just the same. And it did - above. And you know what - cheaper too!

Related posts 

Soda bread - buttermilk vs water & vinegar
Other breads we have made

See other 1001 kitchen tips

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Country style wedding - starter served family style and hog roast main course - wedding catering on Stow on the Wold cricket field

Mud, mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it..... when you're trying to get from the entrance of the field to the marquee. And that was just the beginning - it had been raining for weeks prior it seemed - and the rain set in as we were en route to the venue. Essential equipment for weddings - full set of waterproofs, waterproof non slip shoes and a high tolerance level. Pushing vans through mud and unpacking in the rain is so refreshing!
Wet chefs dry off after the 'get in' - the first round of chef jackets slung up to dry
Bunting and paper lanterns give a lovely homely country feel. The country look is definitely in this year - it's funny how wedding fashions go. This looked really good - especially when you compared with the dreariness of the outside!
Even the flowers had a country feel - I love the understated look - it makes it much more of a family celebration.
Beetroot rosti with goat’s cheese and rocket (there was also pear & cranberry chutney to go on top of this after the pic was taken)
Home-cured trout blinis with dill and lemon crème fraîche
Buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomato and basil on skewers - suggestion by the bride - this was big on flavour, just what you need in a canape!


Homemade sage and onion bread rolls - people keep telling me it would be  much easier buying them from the bakery across the road from me. Wouldn't be the same though - noone can make them as good as you. The difference in quality is worth the time!
Also, we've noticed, another wedding fashion has definitely been sharing platters - like a buffet, but served on platters at the table for guests to pass among themselves. Great idea - much more informal, gets all the guests interacting and saves on all the queueing at buffet tables - I love it!
For this one the bride and groom had asked for platters of smoked salmon (above, with diced onion, capers, parsley and lemon scattered on top) and beetroot, wild nettle and feta filo tarts as seen here. We also served a bowl of fennel, radish and orange salad per table. 
Another addition for the vegetarians who obviously couldn't have smoked salmon we served some vegetable carpaccio.
Gloucester old spot / Berkshire breed pig roast - quite the centre piece (all the waitresses were snapping away on their phones). We plated up the pork and rosemary roast potatoes, thn served salads in bowls on the table, again for guests to serve themselves.
Colours, textures, flavours - all prepared fresh on site just before being served - makes the difference.
Greek salad
Crunchy coleslaw - request from the bride & groom. With added celariac & sultanas. There was the all-time favourite grilled butternut squash, rocket, pommegranate and walnut salad
Cotswold mess (aka Eton Mess) with local seasonal berries
"Best food we've ever had at a wedding" we kept being told by all the guests we passed outside as they took a breather outside after coffee. Wahoo! Makes it all worthwhile!

Ahhhh! That's it then. Sit back and relax. Or is it? Well not quite. Time to pack up, push the van out of the field through the mud (beats weight lifting in a gym), back to base to unload, start clearing up, back home to put the first load of laundry on, then back to the venue around midnight to pick up the next load of equipment. By this time the mood has changed completely in the marquee, and the traditional wedding tunes have changed to live rap with an MC. Just what you need to keep you going while you work! 
Completely caked in mud by this point of the day I didn't want to drive back on to the field again and get stuck in the mud again (only a tractor could have pulled us out at that point) so parked on a road nearby and had to haul all the equipment over a stone wall. 01:30 off we go again back to base via the 24 hour supermarket for last minute supplies. Back at base by about 03:15 to unload where the overnight guys were busy washing up the first load of crockery & cutlery for the wedding the next day. Finally 04:30 and time for a bit to eat and a couple of hours rest, then soon enough it's time to set up for the next wedding and off we go again! Keeps you on your toes this business - every day is a challenge, that's why we love it!   

Canapés, roast loin of pork and trio of desserts for a wedding in Tewkesbury

The nearest wedding venue to Tewkesbury Abbey? Quite possibly. Certainly the closest we have catered at.   Another couple we are catering for in September are getting married at Tewkesbury Abbey too - can there be a better venue around the Cotswolds?
Hardwick House
When we commit to an event we go into it wholeheartedly - we get there whether through floods, digging ourselves out of snow drifts, or days when the road melts and the kitchen is 35 degrees and you get sunburnt cooking  serving a barbecue wedding (we've done all 3 and so much more!). Sadly the same can't be said for the original caterer for this wedding - we had been called in when the chef they had originally booked had decided to go away on holiday for his 30th birthday - how could anyone do that? I remember cooking for a dinner party on mine. You have to have 1001% commitment in this business - we play a big part in our clients' celebrations - never more so than their wedding day! And with that comes great responsibility to getting it right.
Smoked salmon blinis, air dried ham with Tewkesbury mustard,  croustade of Oxford blue and pear, croustade of brie and caramelised red onion
As we were coming in to this event at a late stage all the menus had been set up already so we took them on and prepared them in our own way - which had gone down well at the pre-wedding tasting with the bride and groom.
Picked up this pear shaped board a few days before - went with the  country  feel of the wedding
Scotch quail eggs
Quail eggs for the scotch quail eggs the night before - I've started so I'll finish!
Choral group performing on the lawn - real music! Amazingly  large & varied repertoire. Made the afternoon so much better!
Roast loin of Old Spot pork with apricot stuffing, crispy crackling  with Tewkesbury mustard mash, baby vegetables and Herefordshire cider jus
Summer vegetable risotto with poached Burford Brown egg and Double Gloucester cheese crisp - we were going to add marrow to the risotto until I saw it just about to be cut - then thought the marrow could make a great bowl for the risotto instead. So we hollowed out the middle and roasted them and the risotto could go in the middle. The poached egg swung quite a few meat eaters too - so we ended up with 12% risotto vs 88% pork.
Then for dessert........
Trio of desserts - Black Forest of Dean cheesecake, hedgrow pavlova  and pink champagne jelly
Originally the idea had been to serve these just on platters at the table for guests to help themselves. At the tasting I had suggested serving all on one plate like this. It does look rather impressive when it goes out!

Black Forest of Dean cheesecake using this recipe  - the griottine cherries might be terribly expensive, but they're so worth it - this was a revelation!  

Hedgerow pavlova