23 Mar 2010

16 Mar 2010

In Season - Forced British Rhubarb

I was delighted to read this morning that forced rhubarb has recieved EU protected status officially making it a jewel in the crown of British foods.

The North of England has long been known amoungst chefs as "The Pink Triangle" as this is where this humble vegetable (yes, vegetable) is still grown in darkened sheds and harvested by candlelight.

Now is the best time both to eat and to sow a crown or too. A great option for anyone seeking a guaranteed high-return for the bargain price of the occasional bucket of manure.

- Orange braised rhubarb with cool ginger soufflĂ©
- Cardamom scented panna cotta with rhubarb coulis
- Rhubarb crumble and fresh vanilla ice cream

7 Mar 2010

Hidden Treasure: Leighton House

Last week I was offered a first glimpse at the completed refurbishments at one of my all time favourite venues, Leighton House. It took my breath away, or (to quote The Independent's Charlotte Philby) "It has never looked better."

Bovingdons have been a listed caterer at this Holland Park gem for fifteen years and I must admit we have missed it dearly over the last 17 months. Leighton House has always been of those rare venues that feels both extravagant and intimate, opulent and elegant. I imagine this is why it has always been a favourite venue amoungst media and publishing fraternities.

If you would like a shortcut to their rapidly filling diary, call me quickly.

* Hidden Treasure: London's Leighton House is about to re-open after a £1.6m facelift, The Independent, Saturday 6 March 2010
* Leighton House Museum will open after revamp, The Metro, Monday 9th March
* Front Row (listen again), BBC Radio 4

1 Mar 2010

Very Vegetarian

It’s very rare (but not unusual) for me to be asked to cater a whole event for one special diet – although once or twice a year we do find ourselves creating a completely vegetarian menu. More often than not, the host presents us with a range of meat / no meat related menu requirements that need to be met anything from religious considerations and ethical sympathies, to fad trends and phobias (yes food phobias) and everything in-between.

Whilst I am a definite carnivore, my sympathies truly go out to those poor guests destined to spend most of the wedding season eating quiche and roulade because of uncreative, uncaring catering. I always design any special diets around a main menu and find something that looks similar. This level of attention to detail always helps a host to show that they care. For example...

(these example cover all bases and are delicious for all guests)

 Tea marbled quail’s eggs with smoked paprika and herb mayonnaise
Shots of warm white bean cappuccino with lemon oil
Brick pastry parcels of artichoke hearts, parsley and lemon
Broad bean falafel with pecorino and a fresh mint dipping sauce
Bamboo pots deep fried feta with prism skewers

Vegetarian Buffet
(examples from our first 100% vegetarian wedding of 2010)

Chickpea, spinach and coriander Tagine with apricots and dates
Warm cous cous with quinoa, orange and pistachios
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with lime yoghurt
Roasted sweet red peppers filled with Kosheri rice
Roasted winter vegetables with sage and roasted garlic
Jerusalem artichoke and Swiss chard gallette

Vegan Three Course
(remember vegan often means no dairy or fish as well as no meat)

Saturn bowl of fresh asparagus, artichoke hearts, blistered
cherry tomatoes and avocado, with chervil and mustard dressing

Roasted vegetable stack with marinated aubergine, char grilled zucchini,
piquello peppers on grilled radicchio with pine nuts and salsa verde

Muscat marinated fruits with a fresh mango and vanilla bean sorbet