Italian sharing platter style wedding menu tasting in Cheltenham

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Sharing platters seem to be the new thing for 2014 weddings - we have had so many enquiries. It's great for a more informal feel - everyone shares platters around the table which gets them all talking and it feels more like a family meal rather than a corporate event. Also rather than a traditional buffet it means nobody has to get up from the table - much easier. I have a large collection of vintage platters which we use - each plate has a story......
This couple in Cheltenham wanted an Italian theme menu for their wedding tasting - my favourite. This is what we came up with together......

Smoked salmon with marsacpone and rocket
Asparagus spears wrapped in parma ham

Canape spinach and pine nut stuffed mushrooms. Originally we had suggested the idea of using the mushrooms instead of bread as a pizza base - then changed it to this. 
Canape breaded mozzarella bites (with panko breadcrumbs)
Starter platter of grilled vegetables and Italian style cured meats with ricotta stuffed peppadew peppers and caper berries 
Italian style cheese platter - gorgonzola, taleggio, buffalo mozarella, parmesan, Italian goats cheese
Saffron arancini, fresh anchovies, olives and grilled halloumi. Originally part of the antipasti we decided it worked as canapes. 
Baked chicken marinated in balsamic, fresh thyme and oregano
Italian style butterflied roasted leg of lamb
Melanzane Parmigiana from Ms Marmitelover's book. They liked it so much it all disappeared and rather than just having it as a vegetarian choice they decided to have it more as a main course accompaniment for everyone. 
Peaches baked in marsala topped with amaretti biscuits - sometimes the simple things are the best. They loved them! Served with vanilla marscapone
Zucotto. This was a recipe I saw while having lunch the day before (no time is wasted). On the outside is lemon drizzle cake, inside vanilla cream with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. Then it is pressed and turned out and coated in white chocolate ganache and sprinkled with coconut. Absolute dessert heaven!
There was also tirimisu cheesecake - amaretti biscuits as a base, coffee and amaretto cheesecake filling, whipped vanilla cream and chocolate on top.
I also had mini lemon tarts and prosecco jelly from another party the night before so served these as well. They might go for all 5 as small versions. 
What a feast this will be!

Crown of asparagus

Funny when you use google images and come across pictures you took nearly 8 years ago. It's still out there. Somewhere. Just when you thought you'd never see it again. Like this one. 
Brings back way too many memories of making hundreds of these every Saturday morning during wedding season at Claridges all those years ago......


7 Course Scottish and Irish theme dinner party menu

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This dinner party we cooked last Saturday had been 15 months in the making. With friends and family from Scotland and Ireland the host wanted a Scottish and Irish theme menu. Here's what we came up with between us.......
Pre-dinner canapés 3-4 per person

Irish smoked salmon on potato farls
Skewers of Boilie goats cheese, beetroot and rocket
Canape spoon of haggis with neeps and tatties (never got a pic of that one)
Smoked venison with apple and ginger chutney on scottish shortbread. I like vintage plates which tell a story.....
Cullen skink served in a cup
The night before the event I was doing a little last minute research and found these toast spoons which I made to go on the side - you can eat the spoon, but not the bowl.....
Hendricks extra cucumber infused gin and tonic sorbet. 
Maybe not the Scottish or Irish theme. I had suggested others but one of the hosts best friends had a big pash for gin and tonic - but it had to be Hendricks. It was not something I had tried, but wow I was an instant convert. What a difference in taste. Great production story too. To get extra cucumber flavour I infused it with cucumber for a couple of days - you shake it a few times a day before straining and churning into sorbet. Every bit helps! Oh and try this in the summer - so refreshing!

Crab wars! (They were both cooked at this point).
Crab and langoustine salad with beetroot dressing
What to do with those gin soaked cucumbers from the kilner jar? I chopped them and mixed with avocado, mango and mango puree as a base for this salad. After cooking the crabs just before leaving it was a rapid-fire de-shelling and checking for shell while they were having the soup. Such a busy night. Had a few oranges, so following on from my cakes cooked in fruit shells I hollowed out orange halves and filled them with crab. When the crab meat is so fresh you really don't need to add anything else to it.
Chicken balmoral with leek stuffed fondant potatoes and whisky sauce
Chicken stuffed with haggis. Don't be put off by all those people who put haggis down - they've probably never tried it! It should have more menu space than just Burns Night. I had never heard of this dish suggested by the host - it's always good to try something new.
I flattened the corn-fed chicken supremes and rolled them in pancetta with the haggis in the middle. Also served with kale and a side dish of roast turnips with parmesan (parmesan not very Scottish or Irish, bu hey....)
Assiette of Scottish and Irish desserts.
Baileys tiramisu
Mini apple scotch crisp
Mini sticky toffee pudding - not Scottish or Irish but a favourite of one of the guests.
Cranachan with raspberries and shortbread
Homemade Drambuie ice cream
Never use flash on a food photo right? After the last broken camera I had been swotting up on the new one around 3am that morning as best I could. Had it on the wrong setting all night. Great. Now, how to switch that flash off? Easy when you're not rushing and someone is not waiting for their dessert.......

A selection of Scottish and Irish cheeses, coffee and Scottish tablet finished off the night well and truly.

Pineapple lemon drizzle cake cooked in pineapple rings

Monday, November 11, 2013
So you've cut the pineapple rings out, then what do you do with the pineapple skin? I was just about to chuck the skins away and Sean says "You can do something with those can't you?" Well necessity is the mother of invention they say, so this is what we did. Another addition to the cakes-cooked-in-unusual-'tins' opus.
It snowed heavily with icing sugar.......
Lemon drizzle cake cooked inside the hollowed out pineapple shell. The pineapple skin gives it flavour as it cooks. Then boil up the pineapple core (the core you cut out to make the rings - see how to cut pineapple rings in a post from 2010 here) along with lemon juice and sugar and use this as the drizzle to drizzle over the cake when it is cooked. Meanwhile the pineapple rings went with coconut and lime panna cotta.

Similar posts

Other cakes we have made
How to make pineapple rings 


Ginger cake cooked in a pumpkin

Thursday, November 07, 2013
For last week's lunch buffet on Hallowe'en we went festive with this cake - you eat the squash and the cake: 2 for the price of 1!