24 Jul 2012

The Wedding Planners Wedding - The Menu

Here is the menu from our wedding planner Jade's Cotswold marquee wedding.

Selected Menu

  - Pancetta rolls of celeriac remoulade with marinated red grapes 
  - Chef David's vegetarian sushi rolls 
  - Little bagels of smoked salmon, cream cheese and chive
  - Ricotta cakes of slow roasted tomato and basil wafers
  - Watermelon cubes of seared beef, wasabi and pickled ginger

Tomato Trio: tomato tatin, cherry tomato petit salad and gazpacho shot 
Home made herb bread
Lavender and yoghurt marinated leg of English lamb
Served on an individual chopping board, served with big bowls of:
  - Dauphinoise potatos
  - Roasted  summer vegetables
  - Asparagus spears
Condiments of smoked sea salt aioli and redcurrant jelly


For the ladies 
Fresh vanilla bean panna cotta, lemoncello tapioca and macerated summer berries with mint and Cointreau

For the gents 
Rich chocolate pave, passion fruit mousse, tropical fruits, chocolate wafers

23 Jul 2012

The Wedding Planners Wedding - The Marquee

One of our team, the wonderful Jade, was married recently and of course the Bovingdons team went with her to the Cotswolds to provide the food. Menu to follow, in the mean time here are some photos of the pristine marquee and incredible dance floor. Photos by Lloyd Dobbie, more here http://www.lloyddobbie.com/2012/07/photographs-from-wedding-cotswolds/

17 Jul 2012

Less Potatoes, No Peas, More Slugs, No Bees - What Wet Weather Means For Food Supplies

This week's news seems to center around the two topics: how to hold a successful event in wet weather and how lack of foresight can lead to a dangerous lack of availability. The lesson is clear: when planning an event, never ignore the warning signs!

Similarly, woe betide the caterer who doesn't note the warning signs around the availability of ingredients, especially at the moment.

This summer's persistent rainfall and general lack of sunshine has meant terrible growing conditions for most British crops. As you can imagine, I have been keeping a very (very) close eye on farming news of late. Planning my menus around the ever-changing availability of ingredients is as important as adapting the event logistics and marquee aesthetics to suit wet weather. 

My two most reliable sources of up-to-date information are:

Syngenta - keeping an eye on news affecting crops Syngenta-Crop.co.uk
Pauleys - for watching out for crops "in the red" Pauleys.co.uk

Here are a few food related points that I noted from the last weeks reports:

Strawberry farmers in some parts of the country are reporting the "worst season in years" whilst others are suffering from a lack of demand as consumers shiver indoors with hot puddings.

Potatoes, particularly British varieties, have suffering not only from the wet soil but also the tough harvesting conditions - mud and flooding is not heavy vehicle friendly! The crop is being propped up French imports but it's a shame as I love British potatoes.
Leafy, green vegetables might be lower in quality because of the lack of sun for example broccoli, bok choi, lettuce, Savoy cabbage and curly kale.

Parsnips appear to be the surprise winners of the weather pattern although we're getting a lot of imports from Spain.

Asparagus (a famed British delicacy) has had a very odd season season. After a great early crop in March, we then had to wait for an unprecedented late start of the bulk season which didn't kick off until late May.
British Asparagus Association - End of the Season: Goodbye! 

Pea farmers are worried about a rise in disease because wind and rain creates a "perfect storm" for Botrytis Grey Mould. Wet flowers stick to the leaves and after infection cause the stem and pods to rot.
Fruit is also affected, not least because rain affects bees ability to pollinate. some farmers are already warning it might be a case of "hunt the apple" come Autumn with some predicting only a tenth of normal crop will be available this year. Imports, again, will be important.

Sadly whilst the bees hate the wet weather the SLUGS love it! 
Photo WikiCommons / Guttorm Flatabø
I'm going to have to upload some pictures of my new “Bovingdons” vegetable garden so that you can see how it has been turned into a veritable mollusc hotel!

Other than that, it's all about planning in advance, ordering from the best suppliers and ensuring that the majority of my clients remain blissfully unaware of what is going on in the fields.

10 Jul 2012

Bermudan Inspired Wedding Menu

Easily one of our most fun weddings of the year. Bermudan groom and a Londoner fiance plus 180 guests from all over the world descended on a very damp Fulham Palace for a fabulous knees up. Plenty of run cocktails served at the bar. I've uploaded some photos of the wonderful clearspan marquee in the article below.

  - Cucumber boxes filled with feta, mint, parsley, purple shiso cress
  - Baby bagels with Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese
  - Mini quails egg Benedict
  - Ricotta cakes with slow roasted vine tomatoes and basil wafers
  - Confit duck with foie gras in Savoy
  - Fresh crab tarlets with caramaised sweetcorn
Smoked salmon and smoked trout mouse tian, pickled cucumber and chive creamHome made herb bread

Rack of new season lamb, goat’s cheese mash, oven baked tomato, grilled asparagus and a rich honey infused lamb jus
V: Roasted butternut squash, feta and sage strudel with olive oil mash

FINISH:Rich salted caramel chocolate pave, fresh vanilla bean ice cream and berry filled profiteroles with white chocolate 

2 Jul 2012

Wet Weather - fail to plan or plan to fail!

As an event planner you can not choose to ignore the unpredictable British weather. Instead you can choose to accept it, embrace it or even to enjoy it!
Take this Fulham Palace wedding for example. Reception drinks were planned for garden but the forecast was looking heavy so we moved the reception to the Chaplains Garden and booked a transparent, clear span marquee. 
The marquee in the photos below is a transparent clear span. We put it on four meter legs which gave it three foot extra height but ten times the visual impact.
Here are ten of the ways that we ensured their wedding marquee stayed pristine and beautiful:
  1.  took plenty of absorbent door mattes for set up
  2.  ensured all suppliers remove their shoes before entering during set up
  3.  asked set-up staff to have slip on shoes and spare pairs
  4.  offered guests a box of plastic foot covers at the door 
  5.  double-checked (and checked again) the car park for flooding and mud
  6.  hid all lighting in the marquee boarders to ensure the ceiling was free of ugly rigging
  7.  brought spare carpet and changed the mats throughout the night as they get dirty
  8.  provided umbrellas and somewhere for guests to put them 
  9.  positioned site loos as close to marquee as we could
  10.  added sofas and a chill out zone with a full bar so that guests didn't want to leave!
Photos by Olivia Mann http://www.oliviamann.com