Well, what a busy year 2021 was! As soon as June hit it was all go until Christmas and actually January and February (the months I thought I might catch up with stuff) have also been busy – which is great. Its lovely to see people coming together once again and enjoying good company and good food!
Last year we said hello to a new team member! Coco, a Chocolate (not edible) Cockerpoo – she’s totally nuts and Barney, our 10 year old Cockerpoo, wasn’t sure this was going to go well but after a few months he caved and they are now firm friends. She just loves him and he nicks her food so its a relationship based on love and food!!
It’s been a long, long time since things have felt normal and we could socialise with family and friends however, it does seem that there is a brighter horizon.
At The Rustic Caterer everything has largely been on hold during the Pandemic, we’ve managed to do a couple of bits and pieces here and there but generally it’s only now that we are beginning to see the road to normality opening up.
It’s exciting though and we can’t wait to get back – fingers crossed our Summer and Autumn weddings will go ahead, plus other special occasions we have pencilled in.
So it’s time to get busy organising the diary and organising all the stuff! Check everything still works! Time to put on the Marigolds!
2020 has arrived here at The Rustic Caterer and we started it with a 30th Birthday party in Catworth, Cambridgeshire. Actually, it was a revisit to the Village Hall in Catworth where we did the catering last year for a two-day wedding. The bride of that wedding is the sister of the lady celebrating her 30th Birthday last week and it was lovely to see lots of the same faces from last year. Fish Pie was on the menu last week which is just the sort of comforting, warming food for this windy, wet January we’re having. For dessert we did a trio, which included a White Chocolate Torte which is a new addition to our menu this year – very delicious but not so good for the January diet! Never mind you only live once!
We are back in Catworth in July for a wedding, which currently, with the blustery days and dark evenings, feels a world away but its surprising how quickly it all comes around.
This week we are catching up with a few admin bits and bobs and I’m going to start planning this year’s vegetable growing attempts. Last year there were some definite hits (potatoes, lettuce, beans, squashes, tomatoes) and some failures (carrots, garlic, chilli, leeks) – so its onward and upward this year.
So we are nearly at the end of another year – its been busy (which is good) and I’ve not really stuck to my New Year’s Resolution to blog (which is bad) – ah well there is always next year. There is still more cakes to make before the year is out – actually a really lovely one with the surprise of a holiday to Florida revealed on it which is going to be given on Christmas Day – what a fantastic present. Then of course, the attention turns to our own Christmas lunch – which needs a list drawing up pretty soon to make sure everyone’s requests are taken into account, including my own which is definitely for bread sauce which I love and no one else seems to like, which I always make too much of and which I end up throwing out on Boxing Day – however, I’m still making it! Just in case you feel the urge to also indulge in some delicious bread sauce making of your own, Delia’s recipe is my top tip – here’s a link to her recipe https://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/british/traditional-bread-sauce
Then is pudding! Of course Christmas Pudding but what about those who aren’t keen – like my Children. Will it be Sticky Toffee? Chocolate Mousse or stay traditional with Trifle (actually they don’t like that either but everyone else does) – I’m thinking Chocolate is a pretty safe bet.
After Christmas we are off to Cornwall for a second one and some bracing sea walks (which will be needed to walk off all that food!). A break from the cooking but not the eating! And then 2020 and it all begins again. We have weddings, birthdays and anniversary parties all in the diary (check out our new sample menus on the website Sample Menus) its going to be busy but before that its time to reach for the mulled wine and mince pies! (Here’s a link to the best mince pie pastry – https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pate_sucree_39572)
Where does the time go? The festive season is nearly here and this week Christmas cakes are being made and recipes reviewed for Christmas festive food! This year we have lots on to keep us busy right up to the 24th December – a mix of Christmas markets, demonstrations and Christmas catering – its going to be busy – I can’t wait! Added to that the Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and yet more Mulled Wine – its sounding pretty delicious! Better get started!
This is a rich Chocolate Mousse, with homemade brandy snaps we are serving at one of our buffets in the lead up to Christmas.
I started this year with very good intentions about Blogging however, as life gets busy and the year takes shape I realise I haven’t really done much! The Spring and Summer were busy with weddings, lovely venues and lovely people, just one more wedding to go for 2019 and then it’ll all start in 2020. Scarily Christmas appears to be creeping in the shops and the diary is filling up with party bookings – I guess its time to start dusting off the mince pie tins! However, before Christmas really starts to take hold, I’m going to enjoy this lovely weather and dig over the veggie patch – we’ve had potatoes and carrots from it this year and I did remember to water it – in between cooking and ferrying kids about!
There has also been runner beans and squashes – the squashes are so cute! Not many so far but there are loads of flowers on the plants so hopefully those will all turn into squashes! It’s all a bit trial and error but its really fun and when it works and you actually get to cook and eat what you have patiently been growing it’s so satisfying. The kids are less impressed it has to be said and really don’t know what the fuss is about but I’m telling them in years to come they to will find it interesting! Currently they just scoff at me and turn back to their phones but I’m hopeful!
So about this time every year I start to think gardening – I tend to have grand plans about what to grow, how I’ll diligently look after my crop from seed to harvesting – I will absolutely water everyday if required and feed regularly!!! Often my grand plans go a little off track as we start to hit the wedding season and I run out of time – only realising I’ve not watered in days and rather than the promising little seedlings I once had all I’m left with is shrivelled little dried out plants.
Anyway, this year it’s going to be different! This year I will not forget to water them and I will reap the benefits of my efforts with a bountiful crop which I can use to create wonderful tasty treats! That’s the plan anyway! So, yesterday I happened to stumble upon a magazine whilst visiting Magazine Heaven at Rushden Lakes all about creating and looking after your Kitchen Garden AND it contained 10 free packets of seeds! Bargain.
So, after the dogs lunchtime walk I spend a sneaky hour outside uncovering the veg patch from last year and digging it over. It was incredibly therapeutic, especially after not being out in the garden for months. I now have a pretty much weed free patch – which I am now wondering if its be enough, given the amount of seeds I now have – the trick now is going to be keeping it weed free whilst I’m sowing the seeds and getting them all set to go.
Next step is working out when the seeds need sowing and a trip to the garden centre for some seedling compost but that is going to have to wait until the weekend as I have cooking to do………..
Happy New Year! As we are now nearly half way through January I think I can probably stop saying Happy New Year but it doesn’t seem five minutes since we were all planning for Christmas – where does the time go! Here at The Rustic Caterer we’ve had a rush of Wedding Catering enquiries, I think there must have been a few proposals over Christmas. Congratulations to anyone planning the big day and we are always happy to be a part of the festivities. Wedding food can seem a bit daunting to begin with – will Great Aunt Mildred like the same thing as my fiances five year old cousin? – who knows, which is why a rustic style buffet works for everyone, so we’ve been experimenting with a few recipe ideas for our buffet menus.
Pesto has always been a favourite here but we’ve tried a few different varieties and a stand out winner was the Sun-dried tomato pesto, which we smothered on to Roasted Red Peppers and rolled up and they were totally delicious – also vegan to which fits in nicely with the Veganuary theme currently running through the month.
Not vegan though but delicious and vibrant all the same are these lovely asparagus spears which have been seared in a little olive oil and rock salted and then wrapped in smoked salmon and tied with chives.
I think these might be appearing on our Wedding Buffet menu this year – not this batch though they have all gone in the name of research!
Time for some more research I think……………………..what to try next?
Catering at Oundle School today in the very lovey new Cricket Pavilion. It was a light buffet menu which included Yorkshire Puddings stuffed with Beef and a Horseradish Cream, Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Filo Tarts, Lamb Koftas with a Mint Raita, Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Pesto Skewers, Crostini’s filled Stilton, Walnuts and Pomegranate and Chicken Caesar Salad Bites.