Chocolate cake baked in an orange. Warning: make lots of extras - they are addictive!

Friday, September 13, 2013
Just delivered to  a lunch buffet for a regular client - lucky people!
After the fruit salad in clementine and lemon sorbet in a lemon as part of a dessert for a dinner party I thought why not make a cake inside an orange - rather like the 'cup' cake I made last year. Chocolate cake seemed like the natural thing - you can't argue with chocolate and orange. The cake takes on the orange flavour as it bakes and tastes so fresh. I used this chocolate cake recipe - you can't go wrong with Mary Berry. I was addicted to one of her books when I was 12. It's amazing to see she's made such a comeback - deservedly so.

I found you probably only need to fill the oranges 1/3 of the way up. But this may be because I had made my own baking powder mix (had run out) so it was rather lively. They probably took longer to cook too (heat has to get through the orange skin before it can cook the cake inside).

It would be interesting to try it with limes and a white chocolate cake mix or a key lime cake mix.

Hen party pan-asian theme menu cookery event in Stratford (the Warwickshire one)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Who needs chef whites when you can wear a pink feather boa in the kitchen like the hen did at this hen party we did a cookery event for in Stratford-on-Avon a few weeks ago.

Mr. Burns' dodgy iphone pics
Top left - the hen herself (resplendent in feather boa) finishes her lamb massaman curry
Top right - Putting together the pan-asian chicken lettuce wraps
Middle left  and right - plating caramel pork (so popular each time we have served it)
Bottom right - trio of desserts - the tup tim grob is one of those marmite things - love it or hate it. I love it! Actually it turned out to be the best version I had seen/ tasted.
What fun these hen party cookery events are! It's amazing how hesitant everyone is at the beginning. It seems so many people think they can't cook. But give them recipes, ingredients, guidance and encouragement and it's amazing what they can achieve! I've seen that at every single cookery event we have done and this one was no different. 
With the cook-your-own-dinner-party events we split the group in to 3 and each team takes charge of preparing one course - starter, main course and dessert. Then later in the evening, after time to change and time for pre-dinner drinks, each team is back in the kitchen to plate up their course and see how it runs behind the scenes!
When I got back to base after midnight the computer had frozen from too many days use without being shutdown (so busy!) and when I re-booted it - all the recipes we had used that day had been lost. So I will have to re-do them for everyone at that event - they all want to try everything again - never a bad sign!


Homemade pan de sal bread rolls + GLUTEN/ WHEAT FREE VERSION


Homemade crispy duck spring rolls with suitable dips + GLUTEN FREE

Sesame prawn toasts + GLUTEN FREE

Black sesame salmon balls + GLUTEN FREE

Asian chicken in lettuce wraps

Caramel pork


Blackened cod

Massman lamb curry

Vegetable pad thai + GLUTEN FREE
Coconut and lime pilaf
Homemade lime pickle


Trio of pan Asian desserts

Chocolate and mango mousse
Lychee and pomegranate panna cotta
Shotglass of tup tim grob

Coffee, tea and homemade pistachio barfi


Wedding catering at Brockworth Court Tithe Barn, Gloucestershire

Monday, September 02, 2013
There are lots of houses in the Cotswolds called Dove Cottage or Dove House - a few hundred years ago they were kept for their meat. In a lot of houses and barns you see dove holes in the stone walls - but here at Brockworth Court Tythe Barn was a real dovecote. Makes a great talking point as this is where the guests were congregating for their reception drinks. 

Edible flower pots on the table! When I was clearing up the next morning all these had gone - they must have had a serious sugar rush!
Roast butternut squash soup with beetroot pesto served in a bread bowl - do you ever get so hungry you can eat the bowl? 
See how to make the bowls here.
Gill and Anton put together the other starter: ham hock, broad bean, mint and basil pearl barley risotto with beetroot pesto
Matador pie for the main course - similar to this one from a wedding a few years ago. This time we served it with dauphinoise potato, french beans and red wine braised red cabbage. At the tasting they said it was the matador pie that first switched them on to us - they had had the pieminister version at another wedding they had been to but much preferred ours. Not one to argue!
There was also a haddock, tiger prawn and mussell pie with sweet potato mash topping and a meditteranean vegetable pie with crispy filo topping.
When we were clearing up the next day there were compliments from the parents of the bride and groom The pies were the talk of the wedding apparently!
Trio of desserts - strawberry and gooseberry crumble tart, lychee and pommegranate panna cotta and chocolate & blackcurrant brownie

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