Trio of fish starter for the annual dinner for the Royal Naval Association Tewkesbury branch

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
This is becoming  a bit of a fixture - the 3rd we have done for them - can't be bad! Nice venue - only thing missing is a kitchen. All we have is a room and some tables. Luckily I live almost across the road so I could use the kitchen at my house plus chafing dishes in our wannabe-kitchen. The other folk who were supping pints in the bar thought I was cooking it all outside in the van..... well there's an idea!

Trio of fish starter - tiger prawns in garlic butter, salmon rillette wrapped in smoked salmon and shot glass of smoked haddock chowder.
So I came up with this trio of fish starters - always trying a different variation. The smoked haddock chowder in a shot glass had gone down so well at an event we did just before Christmas we had guests coming in to the kitchen begging for more. And garlic prawns - well everyone loves those. We had those frying in a wok on a camping gas ring - the aroma filling the bar making everyone hungry.

The pork tenderloin en croute went out so fast no photo. There is a dessert pic on the way - once my handy assistant has his iphone repaired......

Tapas delivery near Stratford on Avon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
"Oh that's at the door!"
"It's either that woman or your tapas delivery"
"It's not a woman!"

Broad Marston Manor was like one of those winter scenes you see on the front of Christmas cards. The last few miles had been dicey with the snow filled roads frozen to an ice rink. Like a bit of adventure though.
With a week full of events everything had to be made fresh on the day so it was rush-rush, hence not many new photos :(
Pan rustico - halfway to sourdough using this recipe  - so good I am going to have to make it again and try some this time. Also made corn bread like this one.
Paella - similar to this one from last year
Spicy beef empanadas
Asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon (like the ones seen above from a previous event).
Spanish style mussels in a fennel bread bowl - see how to make the bread bowls here

Brie and spinach croquettes + GLUTEN FREE version

Insalata mixta
Patatas bravas

Gluten free brazo gitano - as there were a few gluten free guests I made the whole thing gluten free. Amazingly light. - the end pieces were amazing! Filled with whipped chantilly cream and strawberries.

Whole vanilla roasted pineapple just after cooking. 

Rice pudding tarts with blood oranges + some gluten free tart cases 
(As it was a delivery the rice pudding made with half evaporated milk, tart cases and blood orange segments were delivered separately so they could simply be put together just before serving to be at their best). Definitely one to do again!


Pan Asian theme meal

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
"Had a good Christmas?" Everyone asks when they get back to work in January. Makes you laugh - do they not think that in the hospitality world things carry on as normal during Christmas and New Year, just much busier? The guests I served on Christmas Day actually had to remind me that it was Christmas Day - one day was blending into another.

Served this Pan Asian meal the day before New Years eve. Of all the theme meals I have done I think this one was the most involved - so much preparation - but so worth it.

Homemade pan de sal
From this recipe - you roll it into a rope, roll that in breadcrumbs and then cut with a blunt pastry scraper so you get a rustic top.

Starters served on platters on the table for guests to serve themselves

Black sesame salmon balls
From this recipe - so delicious! Steamed them over boiling water in batches. Found the black sesame seeds in East and West - a great find of a shop in Cheltenham.
 Red bean paste sesame balls (v) - made the same way as the salmon version above but with red beans.

Vegetable tempura (v) (never got a photo of that - in the rush it almost flew from the fryer to the table)

Tuna tataki with ponzu

 Tilapia larb - based on this recipe. More usually larb is made with ground pork - it is possibly one of the best tasting things - this was a fish verison and equally as good! I topped it with toased rice - an interesting texture & flavour. "Ooh - I've never seen that" said one of the guests as I was preparing things.

 Avocado and vegetable rice paper wraps with peanut dipping sauce(v)

 Main course

Blackened cod

Red thai seabass baked in banana leaf
Had to wait in the rain outside the Rannee supermarket in Cheltenham to pick up these leaves. Love this place - if you need to go out for a few minutes you just close up the shop: a refreshing change. 

Sesame crusted tofu with broccoli and shiitake mushrooms

Indonesian (vegetarian) fried rice - with some of the red curry paste from the seabass
Stir fried bok choi, sprouts, snow peas and onion
Soy bean and sesame noodle salad


Trio of desserts
Mini coconut pancakes - used this recipe. Also sprinkled with a dusting of mango powder
Lychee and pomegranate panna cotta - used this recipe
Shotglass of mango sorbet - a variation on the orange sorbet recipe

Coconut pancakes must have been good - one of the guests said they didn'tnormally do desserts. But then she came back for another of the coconut pancakes.... and then another!


Coffee, tea and homemade pistachio barfi (was I really peeling pistachio nuts at 1am or was it my imagination?)

Dear James

Thank you so much for the wonderful evening you created for us all at Oak House and Stables on Sunday 30 December.  We had a really memorable evening and your food was delicious.

We are looking forward to more trips to the Cotswolds and will definitely ask you to cater for us again.

With best wishes for good health and happiness in 2013.



1001 Kitchen Tips #70 - How to make self raising flour

Wednesday, January 02, 2013
What? You've run out of self raising flour and you've got 10,000 sticky toffee puddings to make (slight exageration - it was only 9,999). Save the food miles - no need to pop to the local shop, make it instead!

450g Plain flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda in US)
Pinch salt

Wasn't that easy now?