20 May 2011

Menu Inspiration: Wedding Tapas

Brief: how do you turn tapas into an elegent wedding breakfast? This couple yearned for an informal, Mediterranean family feel to their wedding reception but with top service and fine tapas style foods. We made sure that the food flowed from the kitchen, a steady stream of treats straight to each table. Delicioso!
on tables ready for guests as they take their seats
Char-grilled flat breads
Marinated olives
Baba ganoush
Tomato and pepper salsa
An extension of the starter the food kept coming out until it is all served
Grilled sea bass with green peppercorn sauce
Fabada white beans, chicken, chorizo and black pudding stew with a touch of saffron
Marinated artichoke salad, sweet peppers and olives, with green leaves throughout
Red onion, monchego and parsley tortilla
Arroz verde - green rice with loads of parsley, herbs, garlic and chilli
Steamed green beans with shaved almonds and sultanas
Individual puddings to go in the centre of each table
Mini Pistachio flavoured cheesecake on small square plates
Chocolate and raspberry mousse, served in shot glasses
Little lemon posset – delicious!
Fresh fig and Dolcelatté on walnut bread

13 May 2011

Award Win!

I am thrilled to tell you that Nonsuch Mansion were winners at the Time and Leisure Food Awards.

Our Surrey venue beat some very (very!) stiff competition to win Best Private Dining.

The award was presented to our team by Michelin star chef Bruce Poole during a ceremony hosted by The One Show presenter Angelica Bell.

I am so delighted about this award, It is is a well deserved piece of recognition for the entire team, especially our chefs. It is a real acknowledgement of eighteen months of hard work and a steadfast dedication to providing clients with fresh, homemade food and great service.

Nonsuch Mansion is our first in-house venture. We became lease holders just eighteen months ago and relaunched the venue after refurbishing the event spaces.

Many, many thanks to everyone who voted!

10 May 2011

Menu inspiration: Salmon Starter

Salmon Gravlax with wafer thin cured salmon, fennel and radish salad, fresh grapefruit

7 May 2011

Menu Inspiration: Fulham Palace Wedding Menu

Something elegent and fresh for Joanne and Tristan's early Spring wedding at Fulham Palace.

Portobello mushroom with parmesan, roasted garlic and thyme
with a demi tasse of wild mushroom soup, truffle oil

Homemade ciabatta, herb bread and butter

Scottish fillet of beef served with dauphinoise potatoes,
wilted spinach, fine French beans, shallot tart tatin and a rich Burgundy jus

Warm caramelised pear and thyme tarte tatin
with fresh vanilla ice cream

(photo by
Lloyd Dobbie)

3 May 2011

The Royal Wedding: What they ate, When they ate it and Why

What a wonderful day, it made me so proud to be British! Especially the Royal Wedding menu which said so much about the wealth of incredible food we have in this country.

Unfortunately unlike many of my wedding industry friends who can comment on the dress, the venue, the hair and the flowers, I can only speculate on the look and taste of the food!
As I predicted in this previous article, the theme around the food was “seasonal, local and organic”. Clarence House made sure to point out that “All the ingredients were carefully sourced from Royal Warrant holding companies using UK-based ingredients”. Free from French or strawberries - refreshingly unusual given Royal Wedding menus of the past!
Ingredients included:
Gressingham duck, English goats cheese from Paxton and Whitfield, English asparagus, Welsh organic celery salt, langoustines from the North West Coast of Scotland, pork from the Cotswolds, English crayfish, Windsor Estate lamb, smoked haddock from the East Coast of Scotland, Beef from the Castle of Mey, selections in the North Highlands of Scotland and English rhubarb

1.30pm – The Canape Reception
A total 10,000 canapes were served to 650 guests over a two hour reception. Whilst this would have meant about 15 canapes per guest, I do feel a little sorry for those who had been inside Westminster Abbey since 9am and probably up since 6am.As predicted, every choice is an absolute bite-size classic, no spoons, no forks, no skewers or faff. The canapé selection was biased towards vegetarian options, five choices compared with four fish and four meat options. Believe it or not, choosing a lot of vegetarian options is a great way to ensure most guests are kept happy and fed. What did surprise me was that there were eight (eight!) sweet options - four bite sized puddings and four types of chocolate truffles - although I suspect proportionally less of these were served than the savoury options. Someone at the Palace clearly has a sweet tooth! Guests drank non-vintage champagne and soft drinks.

Pressed Duck Terrine with Fruit Chutney
Grain Mustard and honey-glazed Chipolatas
Miniature Yorkshire Pudding with Roast Fillet of Beef and Horseradish Mousse
Bubble and Squeak with Confit Shoulder of Lamb

Cornish Crab Salad on Lemon Blini
Scottish Smoked Salmon Rose on Beetroot Blini
Scottish Langoustines with Lemon Mayonnaise Pressed Confit of Pork Belly with Crayfish and Crackling
Smoked Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole

Roulade of Goats Cheese with Caramelised Walnuts
Assortment of Palmiers and Cheese Straws
Miniature Watercress and Asparagus Tart
Poached Asparagus spears with Hollandaise Sauce for Dipping
Quails Eggs with Celery Salt
Wild Mushroom and Celeriac Chausson

Gateau Opera
Blood Orange Pate de Fruit
Raspberry Financier
Rhubarb Crème Brulee Tartlet

Passion Fruit Praline
White Chocolate Ganache Truffle
Milk Chocolate Praline with Nuts
Dark Chocolate Ganache Truffle

3pm-7pm – The Break
Take note if you are getting married earlier than 2pm: by including a “break” in proceedings, Kate and William have avoided two things; they have avoided a “black hole” in the momentum of the day and avoided feeding their guests twice (lunch and dinner). I imagine that guests that went to both the canapé reception and the evening reception appreciated the chance to refresh, recharge and have a small bite to eat to keep them going. I cannot stress enough how flat the atmosphere will be on your Wedding Day if you insist on having an early wedding and then don’t feed your guests properly or leave them hanging around in a black hole of proceedings. 2pm or 3pm remains my ideal time to get married.

7pm – The Black Tie Reception
300 closest friends and family gathered for the “party party” whilst The Queen, Prince Phillip and the young bridesmaids retired to bed. This time, guests were offered vintage pink champagne, peach bellinis and elderflower cocktails as they gathered for the formal meal.

8pm - Dinner in The Palace Ballroom
Decor was kept simple and elegant, tables with white flowers, candles and named after places special to the couple. By all accounts the table plan made sure to mix both Royals and the less regal guests to encourage a relaxed atmosphere. Details on the food are still coming through…

Start: Dressed Welsh crab with mini crab timbale, crayfish and prawns

Main: Highgrove Estate Lamb “done three ways”

Finish: Trio of mini-puddings: trifle, chocolate fondant and homemade ice-cream

11.30pm – Evening Buffet in The Throne Room
After speeches and fireworks, guests headed to a cocktail bar serving champagne, spirits and Mojito cocktails (I doubt it was a cash bar!) Bacon sandwiches and icecreams were served from food trucks in the courtyard for “survivors” before the hardcore party addicts headed back to the Goring for an afterparty.

May Big Picture

Ensuring that 250 perfect covers go out of the kitchen on time and on temperature takes perfection and precision.

Menu Inspiration: Champagne Canapes

The brief: to satisfy the equisite palates of a hundred guests who have come to drink rather than eat. Bovingdons recently catered for the French Trade Commission event showcasing the wares of twelve small domain French Champagne producers.

As you can see from this rather
 lovely thank you note, the secret to success was in providing great service and ensuring that the champagne flowed and flowed and flowed. The canapes were a mixture of flavours to compliment the champagne in both sight and taste. They were elegant, varied and interesting.

Our event could only have been as successful as it was  because of your amazing team! Tony and Aini were fantastic! I am sure this was deliberate and that they were hand-picked etc but really they effortlessly ran the show. They were delightful to all of us, charming to our guests, nothing was too much trouble... of course the canapés were also sensational but that we already knew!"


Scottish smoked salmon with cream cheese on baby bagel
Quails egg Royale
Fresh asparagus tortes
Blinis of crayfish tail with spaghetti of cucumber
Bruschetta topped with marinated eggplant and Chevre
Chopstick forks of seared magret of duck with honey dipping sauce
Mushroom croquettes
Vegetarian sushi roll with ginger
Lemon shortbread with blueberries
Almond biscotti with caramelised pear and mascarpone