Category Archives: event catering

Black pudding regrets and other Green Man food stories…

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Early morning haze over Glanusk

Every August I disappear into the hills of Brecon to cook for the crew and production of the Green Man Festival. It’s a fantastic, frantic, hard-working month filled with highs and lows, time spent catching up with friends and making new ones, parties, hangovers, sleepless nights, topped finally by one big festival in the middle. Every year I intend to catch up with writing over the few days I have a break, but always I fail. Tiredness catches up and my brain just can’t compute.

This was my third consecutive year so I’ve pretty much cracked the routine bit and so with Lizzie my assistant from last year we ran like a well oiled machine! We even had an extra pair of hands to help with washing up! This gave me more time to think about being creative with the cooking. Even though we work to a budget I still like to experiment and try new dishes. Old favourites, big one pot meals and hearty pies make up the staple diet but it doesn’t take much to create well-flavoured, tasty grub and as ever our efforts are greatly appreciated. In fact even as we sat down to dinner at The Bear (our traditional first night on site evening out) talk turned to what was on the menu for my first week of cooking and everyone has their special request….fish pie, cottage pie and a good curry, which along with the Welsh cheese board, honey baked gammon and vast array of cakes, have become standard Green Man fare. I try to vary the menu to keep things fresh. This year I cooked my first crew roast dinner, finally getting over my fear of screwing up the timings for so many people so I braved it.

Spiced pulled pork with crispy crackling followed by warm chocolate torte with ganache was the triumph of the week…and the dinner that saw me peak too soon! The torte, as expected, was so good it broke a few grown men. Ben arrived in the morning claiming he would not be eating cakes and puddings this year..before devouring two lots of chocolate torte the same evening. Another was overheard declaring “holy shit!!” as he took a mouthful….I took that as a compliment).

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Spiced roast pork

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The cake that broke a thousand men…warm chocolate torte with ganache and strawberries

By Monday the numbers had increased and I never quite reached the heady heights of that dinner again.  Embarking on a lemon meringue pie for fifty with home-made pastry, nearly gave me a nervous breakdown as I struggled to get it ready on time and my battles with a temperamental Aga raged over the week…its constant use meant it cooled down rapidly refusing to cook the food. Fair enough if you have all the time in the world, not so good if you have half an hour until dinner and the carrots still haven’t come to the boil. We peered despondently into the pot willing them to be ready in time….they weren’t, and dinner was half an hour late.

Still, we hit a few high’s; poached pears with rum and cinnamon caused our dairy free crew member to come over all unnecessary, potato pancakes at breakfast got everyone a bit excited and of course cake formed the basis of everything…even a bit of sculpting to mark out the stage set-up

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Hi-tec design: main stage and speaker lay out in cake

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“How will I live without potato pancakes” (Tash)

and lots of black and white pudding was consumed…over heard from the kitchen…

“I’m having black pudding regrets”

“From eating it?”

No, from not eating it”

Being part of the Green Man experience is unique. It’s hard to explain to others the family feeling this festival evokes. As a group we spend time with people we might only see once a year, live closely together and share the excitement, the highs and the lows of building a festival. We see the love, care and attention that goes in to every bit of the build and the dramas that go with it. We gear ourselves up for the party, almost to the point of elation and then its over in a flash and we find ourselves on the other side tired, broken and bereft as the family goes its separate ways. Its hard and emotional but worth every second.

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The Green Man team (for the build): Claire, me and Lizzie

And as the tiredness creeps in, it gets harder to stay creative and on the ball. One kitchen, an Aga blasting out its heat twenty-four hours a day as the sun beats down outside, it’s easy to end up a bit hot and bothered, distracted and lacking focus…although to be fair on this occasion I can’t just blame that on the heat in the kitchen ….but that’s another story altogether.

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The wonderful world of wedding catering…behind the scenes at our latest gig

If you’d said to me when I started running my little supper club back in 2009 that in three years time I would be catering for two hundred people at a wedding I’d have laughed. Now, as the weddings get bigger, more intricate, stylish, particular in their tastes, its hard to see life without such full on, demanding and monumentally satisfying jobs. These days cooking for twelve at supper club is like making an intimate family evening meal, all be it an experimental and slightly exotic one.

The one down side of it is that it takes up so much of my head space; planning, prepping and cooking become my life while writing and everything else gets pushed to one side. I’m only so good at multi-tasking and I get to the point where even family shopping is beyond me. The kids rifle through the ‘home’ fridge asking if there is anything to eat while the ‘work’ fridge overflows with cheese, salmon and pate and stacks of cakes line the counter of my prep room.

This weekends wedding was the biggest i’ve ever catered for. A sit down meal for two hundred. Starters served family style, hot buffet and plate served desserts. Rules learned from earlier jobs helped make it work….

1. Employ a good team that you trust

2. Over estimate the food and not under as big eaters will always want a bit of everything

3. Big flavours always hit the spot

…But there are always lessons learned from every job.

Considering the numbers the kitchen ran pretty smoothly. No real stress and only when the salads started to run short ( a surprise as there was a lot of salad!) did we feel rather pressured.

Offering a choice of desserts proved our downfall making service slow and I guess that is the main lesson for next time….don’t offer a choice of desserts (or at least get people to choose in advance if you do)…All in all the best reference of the day was this email received from the mother of the bride..

What can l say! You did great and given the numbers involved that was a pretty big great! Thank you so much. The food was lovely and it all passed beautifully despite the fact that it must have been an enormous piece of work for you to organise and complete on.

 Thank you Denise and team for helping to give Nonn and Chris and all their family and friends a day to remember with so much pleasure for years to come.

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View from the venue

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Working the young chefs hard….while my second chef drinks coffee!!

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staff dinner break

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Boxes of chocolate torte…we made fifteen in total

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always bad when the waiters and waitresses get hold of the camera….

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…don’t ya just love them 🙂

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the bride’s mum just heading off for the service

and last but not least…..the beautiful bride Nonn…before the ceremony

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….and later during the evening with Chris

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Street Food North Wales

I was recently asked by Richard Johnson , Food Journalist, Independent and Guardian columnist, and author of Street Food Revolution (a book about the emerging street food scene in Britain) if I would like to review for the new British Street Food website and app. Of course I said yes, but having done so started to wonder if we actually had a street food culture here in North Wales.

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Providero’s coffee van…battered by the waves on a blustery day

A few years ago there wasn’t much of a Street Food culture in the UK at all. Burgers and chips selling from catering vans, Mr Whippy drove up and down playing tinkly child catcheresque music and doughnut stalls were actually quite exciting. That’s not to say there was never a culture of street food. Historically food was always served on the streets…in Norman times there were cookshops that sold hot food from market stalls and in London street-sellers strode about hawking their goods. This continued into Victorian times (think Oliver Twist and the who will buy? scene) where they sold all manner of food; everything from jellied eels to fruit pies, muffins to pea soup it was all there.

So why did it all disappear? Perhaps it was the ever more stringent food hygiene regulations that slowly crept in, or the lack of cash that crippled Britain after the war. Rationing and food shortage must have played a part with only the wealthiest able to eat out…and that would have been at the fancier restaurants in town. Average Joe Blogs couldn’t afford to buy ingredients to make the food let alone have enough customers that could afford to buy it. My essay on the decline of British food can be found in this earlier post, but I can imagine that street food was viewed as one of the worst examples of dull British food and shunned in favour of the new fad…French cuisine!

Now, with inspiration from exotic food vendors in the USA this is beginning to change. The British food scene has woken up and a new breed of food lover taken over. They are younger, more in tune with both British and world cuisine, less hampered by rules and regulations, more entrepreneurial and  inventive. Most couldn’t afford a shop rental in London so have found ways round it so they can bring their ideas to life….and its spreading. Major cities from Birmingham to Bristol, Cardiff to Manchester are following suit with their own crew of vintage van, quirky wagon and market stall sellers vending the kind of cheap and exotic dishes once only found in restaurants and cafes.

There are websites too…EatStreet (now Foodhawkers) set up by Petra Barran of Chocstar, lists markets and independent street food traders in London, while Richards new website (which should go live in the next couple of weeks) and app (due for release in April/May) will list traders across the UK giving fans the opportunity to seek out something cheap tasty and unusual.

Sadly here in North Wales we are still a little behind the trend and street food is still the domain of the old school burger and chip van outside the football ground, and the doughnut wagon on the trading estate.

Pinpointing ‘good’ street food is hard, like looking for a needle in a haystack since the area is wide and rural stretching from the borders of Cheshire all the way down to Aberystwyth. it would probably be something like a two hundred mile round trip to check out the area. Not easy then to nip about reviewing street food.

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Jon from Providero

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One thing I quickly discovered when I started talking to vendors is that they are strictly governed by the rules and regulations of the rather old-fashioned town councils. As Providero told me, licenses are limited on the grounds that there are plenty of ‘local’ cafes (albeit some not particularly great ones) and business should go to them and street sellers forced into ‘hidden’ spots. For traders like Providero: Fine teas and Coffees this has not been a problem. As a travelling barista, selling great coffee and home-made cakes from their converted vintage Citroen van they are much in demand and people travel to find them.

They advertise their location via Facebook and Twitter – one update states “North Wales Weekly News now, followed by North Wales Police office’s approx 3pm and Old Colwyn Prom from around 3.30pm” . Their Old Colwyn pitch (at the end of the promenade and just under the railway bridge) seems bleak and isolated but there was a steady flow of passing trade. From dog walkers and cyclists, to joggers and an enthusiastic crowd of regulars, they all seem to flock to their van to pick up a welcome, but generally hard to come by, ‘proper’ coffee, and at between £1.50 (for a 8oz cup) and £2.00 (for a 12oz) who could deny they are good value. Their coffee and cakes are worth seeking out if you are passing that way.

The best quality street food is still mostly found in and around the local produce and farmers markets and food events that pop up across North Wales. Unlike bigger cities, the area lacks the high density population, good weather and disposable income to have a burgeoning street food scene, but look closer and in the right places and you will find a few hidden gems. Small local markets with a regular clientele are friendly and welcoming with interesting food on offer, but don’t expect anything too experimental or fancy; a nicely cooked locally produced lamb burger, pulled pork or bacon bap attracts more attention than falafel, spicy wings or a bento box ever will (not saying there aren’t those among us that wouldn’t welcome this).

I run my ‘street food’ stall (or pop up cafe…however you want to look at it) and tend to stick to seasonal soups, local bacon and sausage buns and dishes made from ingredients sold at the Ogwen produce market. Good quality fresh coffee made by local roasters always goes down well, plus dishes such as spicy Welsh-made chorizo stew or wraps. It’s worth noting though, that  customers often prefer a nice leek and potato soup!

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Dylans bread van

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Robin and the sourdough bread selection

Another member of the cool van brigade is Dylan’s, a local seafood restaurant and pizzeria in Menai Bridge, Anglesey. Owners David and Robin also run a street food stall selling artisan bread and freshly cooked ‘dishes of the day’ found primarily on the third Saturday of the month at  Anglesey Farmers market.

Robin was on duty on the day I visited, but they didn’t have hot food just their artisan bread which is extremely good. Rows of sourdough, focaccia, buns and wholemeal grace the shelves of the van, all made by a lad that looks like he just stepped from the set of TOWIE… he is actually from Essex, but moved to Wales as a child (hence the hint of Essex/Welsh accent).

It was a shame I didn’t get to taste their famous fish chowder or lob scouse which I’d heard so much about from regulars at the market.  Robin explained that they only bring out the hot food and marquee during the busier market periods. But I picked up a bag of sourdough buns to bring home for lunch. They were beautifully soft and fluffy, with the distinctive sourdough tanginess and at 30p each were something of a bargain. The bread is pricier at £3 a loaf which might be a little steep for this area, but is definitely worth it.

Dylans restaurant is on  Twitter @Dylanspizzeria and their van, although mostly at the Anglesey market, they hope to move around to seaside areas such as Rhosneigr during the (hopefully) warmer months this year.

Mags and Maldwyn are not new kids on the block. They have sold their organic Welsh mountain lamb and mutton online for almost ten years and have run their mobile catering outlet Oen Aran lamb for around eight. They stick to a simple principle; to only sell quality meat produced on their own farm (which for your information is in Bala, North Wales). The menu is small and features just a handful of tried and tested dishes; dry cure bacon or sausage baps, roast lamb and lamb burgers which have something of a local reputation for being pretty damn good.

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Mags and Maldwyn of Aran lamb

Aran lamb burger

Brunch!

Aran lamb are part old school burger van, part local produce pioneer. The grease and chip fat are nowhere to be seen, replaced by their own high quality organic meat. It’s slightly disturbing, but also reassuring that they knew every single animal now being served in a bun.

Of course I had to try their famous lamb burger for myself. I’d skipped breakfast and moved straight to brunch…and oh what a brunch it was! Juicy, full of flavour and the quality of the meat shone through. Topped with lots of freshly cooked onion and a fab home-made mint sauce it was just what I needed to cure my stomach grumbles.

Mags and Maldwyn don’t do facebook or twitter, but they can be found at most local food events, from the Farmers market in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, to Porthmadog produce market on the last Saturday of the month. They certainly get about!

On another trip, this time to the Conwy Farmers market at the RSPB reserve I came across Harvies Ltd, a Mold based artisan bakery that sells rustic pies across North Wales and Cheshire. I didn’t manage to meet the owner Carole Harvie, but I was lucky to meet any of them at all; this was their first time at this market. I spoke to the woman running the stall and she explained that at some markets they sell hot pies but due to our wonderful Welsh regulations, this time those of the RSPB reserve which has an on-site cafe, the sale of hot food is discouraged.

It was a shame, the day I visited was freezing and I could have done with a hot pie but still I decided to pick up a selection to take home for later. With flavours such as ham and pheasant, steak and ale, courgette, feta and pine nut I was spoilt for choice. I eventually took one of each plus a hefty slice of macadamia brownie and lemon frangipane cake. Pies ranged in price between £3 and £4 which I think is pretty good value, considering the size of them. Pasties and sausage rolls cost slightly less and cakes were about £1.50 which was exceptionally cheap. Later, I warmed the pies in the oven and ate them for tea. They were delicious. Tasty filling, perfect pastry and I’m sure they would even be nice cold (on a less freezing day).

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Harvies pies

Harvies artisan pies….and cakes…

Now I know street food trade increases in the summer months and in some ways it’s a shame I was asked to do this review in the winter.  My visits to both Porthmadog and Dolgellau were hampered by snow and a number of markets close until March. I will try again later this month.

In the meantime if you know where the best street food is in North Wales drop me a line….email:moelfabansuppers@gmail.com or just leave a comment and watch out for the launch of the new look British Street Food website later this month.

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Happy New Year! A round up of 2012 and a fresh start for 2013

So that was 2012, the year of the Dragon, a year of change. Well, the world didn’t end, but for many including myself a new chapter of life began. Last year was certainly a busy, interesting and highly enjoyable journey! All that I hoped for happened and lots that I could never have anticipated.

My goal for 2012 was to build Moel Faban Suppers into a business with a good reputation and one that paid the bills. A simple wish really and something I have worked hard to make happen. It was a slow and inauspicious start. January was quiet and I worried that work wasn’t coming in. Had I made a mistake believing I could build a business in a recession? I fretted a lot as we lived a very frugal family life. I hadn’t anticipated how quiet the month would be and I cursed myself for not saving more the previous year.

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There were odd moments of fun though as we hosted our first ever Sunday brunch which was a great success and I indulged in a bit of sausage making with my local butcher. I also had more time to cook and develop recipes and I had three summer wedding bookings to plan for.

By February and March things started to pick up. The local produce market and supper club restarted with a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I also had a few nice private chef jobs and demo’s booked in. One was for nine very lovely firemen, while one of my demo’s was in a local secondary school.  Following on from this Big Ideas Wales contacted me and asked if I would like to join their list of Dynamo Role Models. I did and so now I go out to schools and colleges in the area to talk to students about entrepreneurship and starting a business.

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I still had just about enough time to visit some of my local producers; The Mushroom Garden were kind enough to sponsor a competition.

April saw the arrival of lots of goodies in the post. It was like Christmas all over again as I spent the month creating recipes and reviewing products for the blog. From Montezuma and Green and Blacks chocolate to Rachel’s Organic Yogurt and Clipper teas, my family and friends enjoyed being recipe testers. I also got out and about visiting various foodie destinations; a trip to Brixton Market and lunch with French and Grace and a visit to The Real Food Market at the South Bank.

By May the festival and wedding season arrived with a vengeance. I didn’t know it at the time but the Spanish supper club held early in the month would be our last for the year, but all of a sudden weddings just took over. As well as the three bookings I already had, I received another two. One for last-minute canapes and another mercifully for later in the year.

I zoomed into another frenetic gear as the first of five weddings arrived. This was rather too closely followed by a food stall at Kaya Festival that coincided with the Jubilee weekend, a teaching trip to Germany and another three weddings on consecutive weekends. At the end I was fit to drop. It was a fantastic learning curve and I hope I did justice to each wedding despite my relative lack of experience. I know that at three of the weddings my team got a special thank you and round of applause for the food which totally made our day! This year I will remember that two weddings a month is more than enough for me!

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I took no bookings for July as I intended to take a long family holiday. I did manage a week in Ireland but out of the blue I received an email from Kerstin Rogers (AKA ms marmite lover). She and Alex Haw of Latitudinal Cuisine had joined forces to host an event that coincided with the Olympics. Global Feast 2012 was a kind of food olympics, held over 20 consecutive nights and with a different chef/world cuisine each night and seated around an amazing world map table designed by Alex’s Atmos design team.

Alex and Kerstin were looking for supper club hosts and up and coming chefs to cook on each night. They asked me to cook on British food night, serving dishes that represented the best of Wales. I made tiny tarts as canapes and crammed as many Welsh products into my dessert as I could manage!

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This was one of my best experiences of the year. I was buzzing before, during and after it. Stressful as it was, I loved every minute of it. It gave me the opportunity to meet other supper club hosts and chefs and work on a unique collaborative project. I knew then that I wanted to do more pop-up events (and later in the year I did exactly that!)

I was back home a week before I hit the road again, this time to cook at The Green Man festival for the second year running. A new assistant accompanied me this year, lovely Lizzie, who became the fried egg queen and serial washer upper and we were all sad when our ten-day opening stint came to an end. On the out my sister Kate (freelance photographer and art blogger at exporingartinthecity) helped but this may well be her last year as she heads for new horizons.

As we headed into the Autumn more cookery demo’s and my last wedding of the year awaited. Conwy Feast and Moelyci Harvest Festival were highlights, topped only by the five stars awarded me at my environmental health inspection. Its likely I am the only five-star domestic property in the vicinity!

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My wish for more pop-up events came true in December with a three course, 1930’s German themed cabaret supper. Tickets for the collaborative Weimar Productions event sold out. Guests came clad in their 1930’s finery and we Charlestoned the night away to some absolutely fantastic music. It really did cap a wonderful year.205128_122144001281111_1138279861_n 430807_494225723955258_1313142107_n

So now we are back in January and like last year it is quiet. This time I’m ready. I have jobs a plenty to keep me busy; lots of paperwork (yuk, but it has to be done!) and planning and organising for the rest of the year. It’s nice to have a clear month to think about what I want to focus on and where I need some help. More weddings, festivals and more private jobs are on the horizon so there will probably be a few additions to the Moel Faban team, but I also want to get back to basics. Supper club is where I started and I don’t want to let that go despite having a very quiet year.

Dinners will therefore restart on January 26th and we will return to small events for up to eight people at £25 a head. The last Saturday of the month will become a regular slot with the produce market taking place on the second Saturday of the month. I’m also hoping to make a return to selling jam and chutney as that has fallen by the wayside this year.

For now though all I can say is happy new year and I look forward to seeing some of you in my home, at the market or elsewhere….

 

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Next event: Pop-up 1930’s Berlin dinner and dance

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My Global Feast dish: Apple and cinnamon tart with bara brith ice-cream and Welsh Penderyn whisky

It’s rather remiss of me not to have posted this recipe yet. The glitz and excitement of Global Feast, the Olympics and Paralympics have already faded as Autumn kicks us up the backside with its sudden chill and yet more rain.

So what better to refresh the memory than a recipe that transcends that moment, staying with us well into the chillier months of the year. It is aptly seasonal, warming and British, but also light and full of the exotic spices that remind me of that hot and heady night back at the beginning of the Olympic celebrations.

Sponsored by Penderyn Welsh whisky the dish was accompanied by a shot of their Madeira finished single malt. Whisky isn’t always my drink of choice, but this is to die for! Smoother than some whiskies and with the toffee and honey undertones, this is definitely my kind of whisky! So nice was it that I kept making people try it (even though it was only 10 am!!), most claimed it was too early for whisky, but Kerstin (msmarmitelover) happily joined me for a taster.

I’m no going to pass over the recipe for everything I served on the night. A simple slice of apple and cinnamon tart, a bit of ice cream and some salted caramel sauce is more than enough to satiate the sweetest tooth and topped off with a shot of that damn fine whisky the dish is complete.

For one loaf of Bara Brith….of which you will need about 100g

200ml Strong Cold Clipper English Breakfast tea

50ml of Penderyn whisky

175g mixed fruit

200g brown sugar

425g Doves Farm self-raising flour

2 beaten eggs

A large teaspoon mixed spice (I used Steenbergs. Their spices are probably the best I’ve ever used!)

Soak the fruit in tea and whisky for at least an hour.

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl then put into a 1 litre greased, lined loaf tin. Bake for about an hour and a half gas mark 5/150 degrees C

For the ice cream:

1 litre double cream

1.2 litres single cream

8 egg yolks

200g caster sugar

3 vanilla pods split lengthways

Put the cream in a large heavy bottomed pan and heat gently. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pods out with a sharp knife and add to the pan along with the pods. Heat until it just starts to come up to boiling point then remove from the heat and allow to infuse.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl for about 5 to 10 minutes until pale and thick.

Remove the vanilla pods from the cream and pour a little of the cream on to the eggs. Whisk slowly to mix in then continue adding the cream until it is all combined.

Return the pan to the heat and cook slowly stirring constantly until thickened. Once it has thickened pour the mixture into a large cold bowl. It needs to cool quickly to stop the egg over cooking and to speed up this process you can also stand the bowl in a washing up bowl full of cold water or ice. When cold transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until almost frozen.

Once the ice cream starts to thicken crumble in about 100g of cooled bara brith, plus an extra shot of whisky (if required). Serve with the apple and cinnamon tart.

Vanilla salted caramel sauce: ….for decorating the dish really…

150g unsalted butter

400g caster sugar

100g golden syrup

250ml double cream

A couple of pinches of Halen Mon Vanilla Salt

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the cream and vanilla salt and give it a quick stir. Test to see if it needs more salt. Cook for another minute or so and then remove from the heat and transfer to a jug.

Swirl some of the sauce on a plate and top with a slice of apple and cinnamon tart and a scoop of ice-cream

Apple and cinnamon tart:

Now, this isn’t really a Welsh recipe, but it does reflect my Kentish origins. I grew up in the garden of England before decamping to Wales so I suppose in a way i’m fusing food from my English upbringing with the Welsh produce that influences my cooking now. This recipe is really a variation on Canterbury tart, very traditional down that way!

400g sweet short crust pastry (200g plain flour, pinch of salt, 100g butter, 60g caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, iced water: Mix the flour and butter together, add sugar when the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add egg yolk and a couple of tables spoons iced water. Mix with a flat knife until it forms into a ball. Rest for about half an hour then roll out to fit a 9 to 10 inch tart tin. Bake blind for about 15 mins gas mark 6/200 degrees C. Remove from the oven and take out the baking paper and beans then return for a further 5 minutes.)

6 or 7 good-sized dessert apples (Discovery & Worcester Pearmain are early UK varieties although the apple harvest isn’t so good this year)

2 lemons (finely grated zest and juice)

2oog caster sugar

50g butter

125ml double cream

3 large eggs

40g demerara sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus 1 extra)

Coarsely grate the apple into a large bowl and mix with lemon zest and juice.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs and caster sugar together for a couple of minutes. Add the melted butter, cream and apple mixture and a couple of pinches of cinnamon.

Carefully fill the pre baked pastry case (see above) with the mixture.

Mix the Demerara sugar and extra cinnamon and sprinkle it on the top of the tart. Bake in the oven gas mark 6/200 degrees C for about 40 minutes (maybe less) until the apple looks soft and the top is golden brown and set.

All photo’s courtesy of Kate Withstandley freelance photographer

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The Green Man cake diaries (part one)

Curry and tins of lemon cake photo courtesy of Lizzie Morrell

If there is one thing the crew of the Green Man love as much as their cheese its cake. Lots and lots of cake.

During my cooking stint I made more cake than I probably make at home in a year. I baked cake with fruit, cake without, steamed sponge cake, plain sponge cake, cake with jam, cake with cream, cake with caramel sauce and cake with chocolate. We made cake for lunch, for afternoon tea and various sponges for dessert after dinner. If we didn’t make cake we made pudding (bread pudding, sponge pudding) or flapjacks. We even made dairy free cakes (more on the challenges of that in another post).

Cake became such a fixation that it even penetrated the radio system used by the crew to communicate with one another….at four o’clock a lone voice could be heard crackling across the airwaves, “cake or death”? (For anyone unfamiliar with Eddie Izzard’s cake or death’ sketch check it out here…this is my nine-year old son’s favourite version).

Huge tray of Apple sponge photo courtesy of Lizzie Morrell

Anyway, now you understand how much they love cake you will perhaps get some insight into just how many we had to bake. It’s hard to keep the choice varied and although we are full of good ideas at the beginning this becomes increasingly difficult as the days roll on and our cake repertoire becomes depleted, our energy levels droop and our enthusiasm for baking cake begins to wane.

To ease the burden we bought in a few staples (bara brith and Welsh cakes from Askews bakery) but that crew are a picky bunch and they inevitably chose the ‘posh’ freshly made cakes over the simple buttered bara brith (even though it is delicious) leaving it rejected on the side of the tray.

At home I make dessert maybe once or twice a week and bake cakes even less often (unless required for supper club). At the Green Man there were times we made three cakes a day! And not just any normal sized cake either, but industrial quantities, six times the usual recipe, in huge trays. We made so much cake that Kate, from the production team really did start a cake diary!!

Over the past two years I have discovered that the crew have a few favourites….so with that in mind here is our very own cake diary with a list of our top festival bakes (with recipes for all of those that asked!)

1. Rich chocolate cake or chocolate mousse cake with strawberries and cream or chocolate brownies

All a variation on a theme, that theme being chocolate. Whether it be Nigella’s chocolate mousse cake or Hugh FW’s chocolate brownies (recipe below taken from his book Everyday), everyone loves something with chocolate in it and this version is very hard to beat!

  • 250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 275g dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  •  3 medium eggs
  •  125g caster sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 150g self-raising flour (I use wholemeal, but white works well too)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Grease a shallow baking tin, about 20 x 25cm, and line with baking parchment. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4 and put the bowl in it until the chocolate and butter start to melt. Stir, then put back in until completely melted. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until combined. Next beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth then fold in the sifted flour and salt gently with a large metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm but the underneath should still be a little moist. The heat will help finish the cooking process and if you leave it in too long they will become dry.  Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.

2. Lemon trickle cake

Recipe taken from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book Everyday as well. Its pretty similar to most other lemon trickle cake recipes, or in fact any Victoria sponge cake recipes.

175g unsalted butter, 175g caster sugar, zest of three lemons, 3 eggs, 175g self-raising flour, a pinch of sea salt and a drop of milk or lemon juice if needed.

Grease and line a 1 litre (2lb) loaf tin and preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170 degrees C.

beat together the softened butter and caster sugar with a hand blender. It should be very pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour each time to prevent the mixture curdling.

Fold in the remaining flour and salt. If the mixture is a bit stiff add a drop of milk or lemon juice to make it looser. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes. It should have risen quite well and started to split on the top.

While the cake is still warm pierce the top with a thin skewer  making lots of little holes all over the top. Mix together 200g icing sugar with 75ml lemon juice. Pour this over the warm cake slowly, so that it all soaks in. Leave in the tin to cool then cut into slices.

Lizzie icing lemon trickle cakes

3. Apple sponge with vanilla salted caramel sauce

For the apple sponge:

Peel and core 1k dessert apples and place in a pan with a couple of pinches of cinnamon, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons honey. Cook gently until pulpy and almost a puree. Spread this over the base of a deep oblong or square dish.

Cream together 200g caster sugar, a few drops of vanilla essence and 200g unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 eggs one at a time adding a little flour each time so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Fold in the remaining flour. Spread the mixture over the apple puree and smooth the top. Cover lightly with a piece of damp baking parchment and cook in a preheated oven, gas mark 4/180 degrees for about 25 mins. To ‘steam’ it in the oven place a tray of water in the bottom, this helps keep it slightly damp and prevents it drying out too much. Cut into squares and serve on top of some vanilla salted caramel with the apple puree on top.

For the caramel sauce: 150g unsalted butter, 400g caster sugar, 100g golden syrup, 250ml double cream, a couple of pinches of Halen Mon Vanilla Salt

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the cream and vanilla salt and give it a quick stir. Test to see if it needs more salt. Cook for another minute or so and then remove from the heat and transfer to a jug. Pour a little over the sponge

4. Jamaican rum and ginger cake

Another Hugh FW recipe. The reason I’ve used his book so much is that the cake recipes are very simple, don’t have too many ingredients, are quick to prepare and are effective. Hugh knows his stuff so why change it? As they say ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broken’.

This cake I did tinker with a little (by adding more stem ginger, Morgans spiced rum and a little cinnamon too)

100g unsalted butter, 125g dark muscavado sugar, 150g black treacle, 150g golden syrup, 75ml Morgans Spiced Rum, 2 eggs, 225g self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of sea salt, 6 to 8 balls of preserved stem ginger finely minced (plus some of the syrup)

Prepare a loaf tin as per the lemon cake recipe. Preheat the oven gas mark 4 / 180 degrees.

In a saucepan melt butter, treacle, syrup and sugar. Leave to cool a little then mix in the rum then eggs.

In a large bowl sift the flour, salt and spices. Add the butter and syrup mixture and stir until smooth. Mix in the ginger plus some of its syrup. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer stuck into it comes out clean.

If it starts to go too brown on top you can cover it with a piece of foil. When cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool. Brush the top with a bit of extra ginger syrup.

This cake gets better after a couple of days. Warp in foil and keep in a sealed tin.

5. Banana and walnut loaf

200g soft butter, 200g soft brown sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional), 4 eggs, 200g plain or wholemeal flour, 4 teaspoons of baking powder, 4 large mashed bananas, 150g chopped walnuts or pecan nuts

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one by one adding a spoonful of flour with each to prevent curdling. Fold in the rest of the flour and baking powder, followed by the bananas and nuts.

Spoon into two 1lb loaf tins, greased and lined with baking parchment. Level the top and bake in a preheated oven (gas mark 5 / 190 degrees C) for 20 to 25 mins. It should spring back when pressed lightly.  Leave to cool in the tin for a few mins before turning out on to a wire rack.

This keeps well wrapped in foil and is quite versatile. Spread with butter, or eat warm without.

6. Carrot cake

I made a couple of versions of carrot cake during my cooking stint but this is by far the best recipe I have ever used and modified

300g plain flour, 175g soft brown sugar, 175g muscavado sugar, 3 large eggs beaten, 175ml sunflower oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla essence, half a teaspoon grated nutmeg, 2 good teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda, half a teaspoon salt, 300g grated carrots, zest of one orange and juice of half, 60ml sour cream (omit if dairy free)

For the icing: 120g cream cheese, 50g unsalted butter, 50g sifted icing sugar, juice of half a lemon or orange

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 / 150 degrees C. Line and grease a 20cm cake tin.

Mix together eggs, oil, vanilla, orange juice, zest and sour cream (if using) with a whisk until well combined. Add the sugars and mix well ensuring there are no lumps.

In a separate bowl mix flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, bicarb and salt. Fold dry ingredients into the wet and mix well. Then mix in the carrots. Spoon into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about an hour and a half. To see if its cooked insert a skewer, if it comes out clean its done.

7. Apple and orange sponge

  • 6 granny smith apples,peeled,cored and cut into quarters
  • 2 oranges,rind and juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200g unsalted butter,softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs,large
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Put the sugar and butter into a mixing bowl and beat until light and soft. Beat in the eggs one by one. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix well. Add the apple quarters, orange rind and juice and honey and stir together with a spoon. It will look rather chunky but don’t worry.

Butter and a small roasting tin. Pour the mixture in to the tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until well risen or until nice and golden. The apple should now be nice and soft although still visible in the sponge, which will have risen around the chucks. Serve with whipped cream.

8. Cup cakes for which we managed to enlist some help. In between manic cooking we opened up the kitchen to a few of the kids for an impromptu baking session. Their fab efforts were greatly appreciated at tea time, with each crew member having their very own bespoke cake!

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Olympic opening ceremony and Global Feast

There was a tangible buzz of excitement rippling through East London as I began my Global Feast journey. Despite predictions there was no travel chaos, my trip between Ebbsfleet International and Stratford international was simple and quick (ten minutes from Kent to East London!!) although I was travelling at 10am and it did get busier as the day progressed.

As mentioned in my earlier post, Global Feast is a twenty night dining extravaganza coinciding with the London Olympics. More of a fringe event, it acts as an antidote to the corporate pressures pushed by the Olympic sponsors and instead focuses on the glorious eclecticism of the UK. This country is home to so many nationalities, cuisines, personalities and talents all living cheek by jowl on this small island and each night of Global Feast celebrates these talents and heritage of a different chef or chefs.

Then there is the table where guests seat themselves in a different country and are encouraged to move around to a different continent between courses. Alex Haw’s Worldscape table is an equidistant cylindrical map of the world showing its peaks, troughs and centres of habitation marked out by tiny lights set into the table. It is a perfect work of art and design and I’m only sorry that it wasn’t finished on the night I cooked (its intricacy and problems with machinery meant that completion was delayed).

If Alex was the artist and host for the night, his counterpart Kerstin Rogers (aka msmarmitelover) was the talented curator and coordinator of food. She is a small explosion of a woman. Loud, bold, direct and disconcertingly (for some) forthright. She can be rude and blunt but working with her on this project, up close and personal, gave me an insight into how she makes big things happen and how open, generous, supportive and good fun she is. I had a fantastic time! Clearly staging such an event is highly challenging and stressful and there were moments of near disaster (when we lost power to the fryers; as I almost had a flap because my first batch of gingerbread went wrong, no numbers on the cooker dial meant I turned it down instead of up!!; and it was such a hot day that everything kept melting, but no one lost their head and with help of the ‘backstage team’ (my unsung hero’s) Colin (from lovefood), Kiren (highly accomplished chef from The Bladebone Inn) and Linn (guest chef for Northern European night but helping out in between) it all came together. In Kiren’s words that’s why everyone loves British chefs, they just get on with it.

So here it is, in fabulous Technicolor pictures (courtesy of Kate Withstandley art blogger and my official photographer for the evening…as of course I was too busy!)

Starter of blue cheese salad with mixed leaves, flowers, pickled radish, pickled sour cherries and toasted oats by Aoife Behan of Jelly&gin, my co-chef for the nights

The menu, map napkins and beautiful plates with a relief of London

waitresses at our field kitchen and Col from lovefood

plating main course

fish (sustainable pollack in beer batter) with crispy chips sprinkled with truffle salt, French peas (cooked in white wine) and home-made tartar sauce cooked by Kerstin as her quintessentially English dish

plating my dessert: Apple and cinnamon tart, salted caramel sauce, Welsh ginger bread

The finished dish, completed with glass of Penderyn Welsh whisky

Kerstin’s world pop’s

My roll call of sponsors and suppliers:

  • Penderyn Whisky. Gorgeous Welsh whisky with a smooth honey flavour that paired beautifully with the spices in my dessert
  • Nantmor Welsh shiitake mushrooms
  • Snowdonia cheese company. Black bomber cheddar
  • The tomato stall. Oak smoked tomatoes
  • Calon Wen butter
  • Shipton Mill Plain flour
  • Halen Mon sea salt and vanilla salt
  • Cotswold Gold white truffle oil
  • Steenbergs organic fairtrade spices
  • Redcurrants from Moelyci environmental centre

Thank you to you all x

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Global Feast 2012

When Kerstin Rogers (aka msmarmitelover) emailed me last week to ask how my supper club was doing, were we still up and running? I thought it was just a polite inquiry. The next minute she was asking me if I would be a guest chef at Global Feast 2012’s British food night!

Excited is an understatement. When I took a look at the other contributors ( list at the bottom of those confirmed) many of whom I have followed and admired from the depths of the Welsh mountains, you will get an understanding of just how excited I am and how amazing it will be. I’m brimming with more than a little nervous anticipation of what promises to be a busy, but superb twenty days.

Global Feast 2012 coincides with the Olympics and is the brainchild of Latitudinal Cuisine (started by Alex Haw, whose team at atmos also designed the central table…more on that in a sec!), a collective culinary project bringing people together to create and enjoy great global food and local conversation and curated by Kerstin Rodgers (msmarmite lover from The Underground Restaurant).
Between Wednesday 25th July and Monday 13th August guests will be invited to take a journey into the world of food. They will  travel through the cultures and cuisines of the entire world, tasting a different specialty each night lovingly prepared and cooked by the best local supper club cooks and chefs from the UK. The diverse culture of London and the UK will be there for all to see as will the quality and variety of the British and local produce used to create the dishes.
Lets get it right; this is not a night for the corporate, the glitterati or the feted….this is a night for those with a taste for the underground; those who like something a bit more creative, different, real.  With that in mind you can guarantee this talented group of Londoners (as well as a few of us that do not have a Londoncentric life), proper food lovers, artists and entertainers will be loving the opportunity to create a unique and unforgettable experience. If this isn’t enough in itself, guests will sit at Worldscape – part architectural masterpiece, part art installation-which is apparently the tallest table in the world, made from its contours and designed by atmos.
picture courtsey of atmosstudio

Dinners will take place in the covered courtyard of the Old Town Hall in Stratford (pretty much next door to the Olympic venue) and the schedule is as follows…

18:00 Bar opens
18:30 Welcome cocktail and canapés
19:30 Starter
20:00 Entertainment begins
20:30 Main Course
21:30 Dessert
02:00 Bar closes (4am on Friday/Saturday)

 

I will be cooking Welsh inspired dishes on British food night (Friday 27th July) and will be bringing in as many of my favourite suppliers (and products) as possible…there are so many to choose from!…

These are some of our glorious Welsh producers…but the list is endless….Welsh lamb from my mountain, Welsh black beef …so many growers within a mile of my home…Halen Mon salt are on my doorstep….Welsh cheese (how many varieties?)…we also have the best goats cheese dairy ever!….a smokery (fantastic smoked Brie and paprika)…amazing Welsh grown shiitake mushrooms…so many food orgasms without having to travel more than 20 miles!! Of course these are very Northcentric… but there are many fantastic South Wales producers too….Calon Wen cream and butter, Rachel’s Organics, Perl Wen and Perl Las cheese, Trealy Farm, Caws Cenarth….I could go on forever!! Not all will focus in my dishes, but I’m damn sure I will wedge in as many as I can!

If you wish to come along to any of the evenings (see the website for a full list of events and more information about the project) you can buy the Global Feast tickets by clicking on the link below.

http://www.globalfeast2012.com/#Book/

Those who already make up the all-star parade of guest chefs from the very best supper clubs are as follows….

Arno Maasdorp of the  SaltounSupper club (representing South Africa)

Aoife Behan of My Home supper club and Jelly and Gin (representing Scotland and Ireland)

Moel Faban supper club (representing Wales)

Plus Six Five supper club (representing Singapore)

Sabrina Ghayour supper club (representing Persia)

Uyen Luu of Leluu supper club (representing Vietnam)

Lee Sylvester of Tan Rosie supper club (representing the Caribbean)

Martin Morales of Ceviche restaurant and pop ups (representing Peru)

Carina of Russian Revels supper club (representing Russia)

Chris Massamba of Full House supper club (representing West Africa)

Caroline Hobkinson (representing Poland)

Pistachio Rose (representing Indian desserts)

As a last thought…if anyone would like to comment on or suggest their favourite Welsh dishes and desserts please I would welcome it!

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Four weddings and a festival (part two – wedding number four)

Plas Gwynfryn, Harlech

And so we progress to our fourth and final wedding. This was the biggest and most elaborate of all. A barbecue menu, table service, tapas, all in a big marquee. Not only was I preparing a three course dinner, but for some reason I thought it would be a great idea to say yes to making a cupcake wedding cake as well!

This time we were keeping our fingers crossed for sunny weather and for a while things did seem to improve. A few warm and bright days made us all hope for the best, until we saw the weather forecast. Rain and high winds. Great. Just what we needed catering in a marquee.

I’d also lost two helpers so spent the beginning of the week stressing over staff. I contacted a couple of people who had emailed me at the beginning of May and eventually met up with Ursula. She was my fab front of house organiser for the day, which was just what I needed, someone to take the strain off me and let me get on with cooking and be able to organise and manage my two waitresses Rosie and Amber. I also found Jacky, an experienced local chef (runs The Bistro in Caernarfon) who was an absolute god send. I could never have managed three barbeques on my own and plated and prepped salads and tapas dishes.

I knew the event would be a challenge. I’ve worked in the odd field kitchen but never had to cook and prep like this so I was very nervous. I wanted to do a good job (obviously) but it did feel like everything was against us.

I’d initially planned to finish prepping and packing the van by two on Thursday. It’s a long way to Plas Gwynfryn in Harlech, nearly an hour and a half drive and further than my usual range. It’s also a long way to come back if anything crucial is forgotten. We rammed everything into my little van adding more and more as we went on. Vintage china, tapas dishes, trays, tongs, knives, bowls, jugs….on and on I went but I still didn’t feel ready. I realised early on that I’d not fit everything plus an extra waitress in the back, but Rosie ever the optimist kept saying “don’t worry Mum it’ll be fine”. She kept saying this until we shoved the last box in and it dawned on her that actually it wasn’t fine. We’d run out of room.

The van now contained one hundred cupcakes, trays of part-roasted chicken, freezer boxes of salmon and minute steaks, a ton of salad and fruit, boxes of meringues (all hand-made), a tray of bread (half of which was hand-made) plus half the contents of my kitchen. But just as we were ready to go drama struck. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a little pressure in my life (otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this job) but really I wish it would give me a break sometimes. We discovered that our hens who had sat on eggs for 21 days without result now had two little chicks.

one of our little chicks

They flapped about the garden in a panic while Steve the cat watched, licking his lips. This led to emergency action one of the day. Phone Len. “Help” we cried. Len arrived with a wheelbarrow full of wood, wire and tools and restored calm. He put together a chicken run, added a base to the house, chucked in straw and various other bits and bobs to secure our little babies. Safe in the knowledge that we’d protected our babies we left for Harlech, an hour late. We still had to take a detour via Bangor station to put a parking ticket on Sean’s car (he hadn’t had time that morning before he left for another mates wedding in London) and collect waitress number two, who squeezed into the front seat with Ro in a highly illegal manoeuvre (don’t tell the cops!!).

The journey was slow and I was nervous of every bump, hill and bend. When we arrived at Plas Gwynfryn preparation was well under way in the main marquee, but my gazebo looked a touch flimsy. I’d had a call that morning to say the earlier one had blown down in the night so this was a replacement, but now the wind was picking up and I wasn’t convinced it would withstand a gale. Having unpacked the contents of my kitchen, the girls and I moved in to our over night caravan at the neighbouring Plas Gwynfryn Farm cottages.

The girls were as excited as two nine-year olds on their first camping holiday until they realised that Rosie’s idea of packing food for our tea consisted of a tin of tomatoes, some tomato puree, a pot of chopped fruit and the end of a loaf of bread plus the three remaining cupcakes. In the worsening rain I headed back to the venue, minus a raincoat which I forgot to pack, to fetch provisions that would make us a dinner. An hour later we made what Rosie christened “French bread pizza slices”…this consisted of a quickly rustled up tomato and herb sauce, some basil leaves, a few slices of mozzarella and a small salad of cherry tomatoes and red peppers.We didn’t starve at least.

As the wind picked up and the rain increased in intensity I popped back again to check on the gazebo. It was just as well that I did because it flapped about, minus tent pegs and with one guy rope snapped. I guessed it wouldn’t be long before this one took off as well. Fearing the safety of my vintage china and all the food we made an executive decision to dismantle it. At ten O’Clock at night emergency action number two took place. A small team of helpers moved all the food, china and equipment into the neighbouring barn (including a full and heavy fridge) and I returned to the caravan wet and tired, poured a large glass of wine and shortly after headed to bed to shiver and listen to the pelting rain on the roof.

Five AM the next morning and I was wide awake listening to the quiet. The wind had mercifully died down during the night and it even looked quite bright. By about eight the gazebo and kitchen had been reinstated and by the time I arrived at 8.30 everything was back in place, albeit in need of a good clean.

From then on in it was full steam ahead. Jacky, Ursula and I got to work on the salads, ceviche, and halloumi kebabs. We stuffed the peppers (with the filling I’d made the earlier…in the caravan!) and assembled the dishes for the tapas starters. With the rain lashing it was hard to open the sides of the gazebo for ventilation so once all the barbecues were lit it became really hot and smoky. Our eyes watered and we had to keep going outside to cool down.

My main aim was to make sure everything was perfect inside the marquee, whatever was going on outside. Caroline and her team from Plas Gwynfryn, plus the bridesmaids and best man took responsibility for setting up and decorating the tables and marquee. We took charge of the food, with Ursula out front ensuring it all ran smoothly and that Rosie and Amber knew what they were doing and felt supported and confident. Caroline’s team cleared the tables, while my girls served. There was a gelling of both teams and at the end of the day I think we achieved this.

Tapas starters on the table

The buffet table for the main course

Cupcake wedding cake

If you are wondering about the bat theme…Sam, the groom is an ecologist specialising in bat services.

Pudding was a choice of Eton mess (home-made meringue naturally) or fresh fruit salad. The Eton mess was most popular, waitress served, which left no time for photographs sadly.

Overall the day went without major mishap, although we learned many lessons from the small cock-ups along the way…

  • I couldn’t find kebab skewers for love or money and had to get the groom to phone a friend to bring them
  • The tablecloths (that I commissioned) arrived late and were not right. The couple ended up having to hire eight extra round cloths from the venue. I was rather mortified as I hadn’t checked them when they were delivered to my house.
  • Small items were forgotten…the blades for the hand whisk, a lemon squeezer…just little things
  • We had no waste water bucket for the out-pipe of the sink (I’m afraid we left a rather waterlogged lawn for Caroline) but when I asked what other caterers did she told me that no one else had ever ordered a sink unit. I asked her what they did then for washing up, hand washing etc? She didn’t know but stated that the food was already prepared when it arrived on site. I felt rather proud of our little team and the fact that everything was freshly made.
  • I think also I would need to check that I am in a professional catering marquee. Some of the stress came from not knowing whether I would have anywhere to cook in the morning.
  • Caroline will hate me because I forgot to take our bin bags home with us
  • And finally there was the coffee debacle. Our waitresses, plus Caroline’s must have toured the marquee pot in hand a dozen times. Still people came out saying they’d had no coffee. The problem was the sun came out briefly so people disappeared from the tables. We made tea and coffee until the boiler ran out of water and STILL people said they’d not had coffee! We could have stayed serving and making coffee all night but at 7pm the hog roast man arrived to set up for the evening so we had to call it a day and finish packing up.

Bev looked radiant and her day was (I hope) perfect…except the damn rain which we couldn’t have predicted. At the end she hugged me and said “oh Denise, thank you”….which meant the world to me.We arrived home at about 9pm. Too wired to sleep we ordered pizza (which we sat eating at 11pm with a couple of glasses of wine) before collapsing into bed after midnight slughtly drunk, very tired but happy we’d done a good job.

Its been a crazy month, but totally worth it. I love this job 🙂

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Filed under British food, cakes & Baking, event catering, home cooking, local produce, private catering, Uncategorized, Wedding catering