Monday, May 08, 2017

7 Course Tasting Menu in Chipping Campden

What better thing than to come away to the Cotswolds for your birthday weekend and be cooked a seven course tasting menu in your holiday house?
We have done many of them now - it's great for people who enjoy their food & wine. Some have friends who match wines to the menu, or know a sommelier who comes along for the evening as well with their selection of matching wines - you have to do these things in style.

I introduce each course to the guests at the table as we go along - highlighting where the ingredients come from, or sometimes preparation methods/ techniques. They also get to ask questions as we go along - it's quite fun & interactive!

 Tasting of Evesham Asparagus - Roast spears, asparagus puree and raw asparagus carpaccio (which went on the plate after this photo). With rosemary flowers picked outside another venue I had dropped food off on the way & flowering sprout leaves.  
Bit blurry picture - but the first course is always the most stressy. Once you're a few down you've got more space on the kitchen work surfaces.
 Although the asparagus season is strictly mid April to mid June, and this was March, you can still find asparagus around here grown locally. This was from Evesham - home of asparagus growing in the UK. If you've been in this area long enough, and know where to go, you can get asparagus long before the official season starts and ends - it's limited supply, so it tends to stay local.
 Home Cured Bresaola with Pink Grapefruit and Celeriac Carpaccio
Had this maturing in my friend's Cotswold cellar - keeps it cool. It's approximately 10,000 times better than anything you can buy in a deli or supermarket - but so is anything homemade really. 
Underneath is lemon dressed raw Jerusalem artichoke. So often we spoil vegetables by cooking them, in this dish they're all raw. 
 Roulade of Bibury Trout poached in Elderflower
Raw veg features in this dish too - crudites wrapped in courgette carpaccio with pea shoots grown on my windowsills.
There's grilled leek on the trout, pea puree brushed on with sprouting lentils & herbs dotted on top. Beetroot coulis dots finish the array of flavours. 


This was followed by our Cotswold Gin and Cucumber Sorbet - it's so popular each time we serve it. I give them the gin bottle on the table to pour on a bit so they get the gin hit. Last time I forgot the bottle, had to go back the next day for it, and the hosts found it on their bookshelf hidden behind a book. Lol. The time before that, one guest liked it so much they brought the rest of the bottle from me.

Free-Range Duck with Nettle Gnudi and Rhubarb Compote
served with;
Fondant Potatoes
Roast Carrot Ribbons with Cumin Seeds
French Beans wrapped in Pancetta

But why is it called gnudi? Well that was the story for this dish. Picked the nettles by the river Severn here in Gloucester that morning (further up the river than the duck live) - couldn't be much fresher.
There's also orange powder over the duck - with the rhubarb they both give it a little tartness. 

 Lemon and Blueberry Tart
First time try out with the deco spoons - takes a bit more practice.....


Cerney Ash Goats cheese with honey and walnuts
No pic for this one - rush, rush. You know how this cooking malarkey is......

Plating plan needed for tasting menus so it runs smoothly. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Canapé Party Catering

My favourite plate - picked this up in Murano. Where else?
Black pudding with scallop and creamed leeks
Asparagus and gruyère wrapped in pancetta
Tuna Niçoise (topped with poached quail egg)
Scotch quail eggs

Tuna Niçoise (topped with poached quail egg) - love a runny egg shot, right?

Bloody Mary shots with crudité
Asparagus and gruyère wrapped in pancetta

Black pudding with scallop and creamed leeks

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Barbecue for your open day in the Cotswolds

Bringing a bit of summer to your open day, like this one last Saturday at JCB in Hereford
Unlike other catering companies we use charcoal barbecues so you get that authentic flavour & aroma. 
 You only need a few sales of these beauties on your open day to make the whole thing worthwhile!
This is the most high-tech JCB around right now. What a mean machine - a 4 year old boy's dream!

Afternoon Tea Catering in Hardwicke, Gloucester

Feedback from a recent wedding 😀

Forget the evening meal, the best thing next to a brunch menu has to be afternoon tea, surely?

It's always good to know a chef! These guests that we know were having family over for afternoon tea, so we volunteered out services, if we could photograph the food we were serving.
They say less is more, but on this day it proved that actually, more is more.......
 Afternoon tea is all about the best sandwiches, but simple works best, as you don't want to confuse the taste of the tea too much. 
Here we have ham & watercress, Smoked salmon & chive marscapone, beef & rocket, cucumber & cream cheese and everyone's favourite egg & cress

Savoury style homemade crumpets with parma ham and lemon chutney
We normally serve  a couple of savoury items along with the sandwiches, scones and cakes - it's the way my Grandmother used to do it, so I kind of keep the family tradition going!

Homemade lattice sausage rolls - everyone's favourite when they go out slightly warm from the oven!
Melty chorizo and gruyère cheese danish. 
Last year I went on a croissant & danish pastry making day course. Making your own is time consuming, but infinitely better quality and taste. Plus you get to choose your fillings!
  
 Fondant fancies. 
Blue food!
 Chocolate eclairs - you can't beat them!
 Double chocolate torte - dark & milk chocolate
Chelsea buns. Tear them apart at the table.  
 Fruit tartlets
 Jammy dodgers
These should actually come with a warning label - HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! I finished off the spares in one go that night......
Recipe comes from Ms Marmitelovers Afternoon Tea book.
 Rose and lemon flavoured macarons
Individual lemon meringue pies
 Pecan pie
 Ubiquitous scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. 
At the end of the day the simple things are often the best, and you can't beat a good scone, right?
Vanilla, blackberry and pistachio danish. 
Also great to eat on the go. Just saying........

Friday, March 10, 2017

Valentine's Dinner in Halesowen, Birmingham

...'cos  ......
Life is busy! It certainly was for the couple in Birmingham that I cooked for on Valentine's Day this year - they had only moved in to their house three weeks before. Both doctors, one of them was on nights, the other on days. 
Then there comes the pressure of what do for Valentine's Day. Go out to a restaurant and you're just one table of 2 out of a whole roomful, whereas, when you're dining in your home it's all about you.... and your other half. Even better when you don't have to spend all of that time in the kitchen though!
Heart shaped bread rolls
Starter - Salad of herb roast salmon, king prawns and mango
Main course - Involtini of chicken, brie and apples, heart shaped fondant potato, french beans and roast asparagus
Dessert - Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream (it's a romantic dinner winner!)

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Ahoy Me 'Arty! Pirate Themed Children's Party Near Cheltenham

You can have your Michelin starred foods an' all, but you can't beat a good kids party, right?
This one was right at the end of last September, and the good old English weather as it is, plans had to be changed in the few days before this 7th birthday party, going from an outdoor bouncy castle party, to an indoor one in the village hall next door to the birthday girl's house - convenient, That's where we came in, 2 days before the event. Always here to help!
Shiver me timbers! It's a pirate galleon watermelon with fruit skewers for a starter. Those Japanese skewers work great as oars  
Pirate watermelon in panorama shot
Pirate watermelon with fruit skewers
Jolly Roger pirate plates with cucumber pirate faces, carrot swords and cherry tomato boats waiting for the main addition - chicken goujons and chips in newspaper cones.
Was sculpting these cucumber faces with Red Leicester cheese bandanas from 4am.... as you do.
Carrot swords - a bit of early morning work with the craft knife
Pieces of Eight! Pirate party table - minimalism is so over!