Tag Archives: Pecorino

Rocking Dog’s Alternative Wedding Snaps

Let The Feast Begin!,Rocking Dog

Let The Feast Begin!

Sorry to anyone wanting to see photo’s of the bride, bridesmaids, knickerbockered page boys and a murder of monstrous hats. Alas, there is no such frippery in this post….it’s all about the food! Rocking Dog came out of catering retirement (yet again) to provide a feast for a family friends wedding. I was given free rein with the menu, the only request came from the groom asking for chocolate brownie and hot salted caramel sauce. You wish will be granted young sir!

Rocking Dog came up with a cunning plan a while ago and bought back a wonderful stash of salami’s and Pecorino (plain, with truffle and with red peppercorns) from Umbria. These were sliced and put on rustic boards together with truffle flavoured crisps, parmesan biscuits and olives to eat on arrival in the garden. Bubbly was flowing and the boards were offered to some spectacularly dressed guests.

The sun tried to shine and the guests truly marvelled at the gloriously verdant garden. After an encounter with a drone taking overhead film of the waving crowd it was time to venture into the beautiful guy roped marquee. The sides of the marquee were jubilantly up and there were wonderful views of the gardens very own lake.

The feast kicked off with a mezze plate, it was rather strange to be eating my own food, for today I was a guest as well as being the cook and chief bottle washer! Delicious sourdough bread from Harts was served in Rocking Dog hessian sacks and there was no buffet line up, everything was put on the table. It was all very relaxing and sociable. The majority of the food on the mezze plate came from recipes in Skye Gyngell’s book “A Year in My Kitchen”. Thank you Skye I love this particular book.

Moving on to the main event I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi and did recipes from “Jerusalem” and “Plenty”. I was trying to think of a way of serving the spice rubbed slow cooked lamb and accompaniments. Just a few days before the wedding I had a light bulb moment and decided to serve it takeaway style in foil boxes atop a rustic wooden board. The large flat breads from “Bristol Sweetmart” were given sewn paper bags made from M&S Adventures in Food. Guests seemed to love the informality of the presentation.

The piece de resistance were the eleven brown card pudding boxes which were each magically frou’d by Rocking Dog. The flat pack boxes were bought in Ikea and then given tops of artificial grapes, vegetables, ribbons, bird houses, pom poms and the like. Very scarily I had to buy nothing, all the frou was scavenged within the kennel. The boxes were packed with three types of meringue, local strawberries, a tub of clotted cream, brownie and mini kilner jar’d rosewater & cardamom panna cotta’s. There was also cheese and biscuits as well as a baby milk bottle of Liv’ made salted caramel sauce. Oh! I forgot to mention each box was lit by fairy lights and the lid had a calligraphy’d “Raindrops & Roses, whiskers on kittens etc..” verse stuck on the underside of the lid. Kitsch or what!

Finally there was coffee and Rocking Dog chocolate salami.

It really was a wonderful day. The bride looked absolutely amazing in a completely unembellished, un-blingy dress. Understated classy elegance. Beautiful, as were the flowers.

“My” trusted team were really Trojan-ly wonderful, Liv’s app showed she had walked 8 grassy km going to and fro from kitchen to marquee. Thank you to you all from the bottom of my rusty old heart. I missed being with you all but I was tied to the chair under strict instructions to be a guest for the day!

We left the reception leaving the bride and groom together with young friends happily dancing in the rain. Magical.

The fall out of the day still resides in my kitchen with washing up still to do and china to sort, organise and put away. Yes, I now vaguely remember why I gave up wedding catering!

Have a wonderful week and thank you for tuning in.

Love Rocking Dog x

Ps For the record there were no knickerbockered pageboys, murders of hats or indeed bridesmaids!

Starter Menu,Rocking Dog

Starter Menu

The Feast Kicks Off,Rocking Dog

The Feast Kicks Off

The Main Event,Rocking Dog

The Main Event

Wedding Takeaway,Rocking Dog

Wedding Takeaway

The Aubergine,Rocking Dog

The Aubergine

The Rice,Rocking Dog

The Rice

The Tomato & Lemon,Rocking Dog

The Tomato & Lemon

Bread Wrapper,Rocking Dog

Bread Wrapper

Piece De Resistance,Rocking Dog

Piece De Resistance

Boxes To Delight,Rocking Dog

Boxes To Delight

Rocking Dog Frou,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Frou

Grooms Food Of Choice!,Rocking Dog

Grooms Food Of Choice!

Umbria’s Spectacular Floral Cloak

Poppies In The Olive Grove, Rocking Dog

Poppies In The Olive Grove

We literally gasped when we saw Umbria’s spectacular floral cloak. Drifts of wild poppies adorned the hedgerows together with other spring flowers with names that sadly allude me. Blue skies, soothing warmth, butterflies and birdsong completed this gorgeous picture.

In November there are yellows and rusts, mists, the distant barks of hunting dogs and of course …the olives. Winter brings a very different landscape, with different smells and a particular hazy stillness.

In our hosts’ garden the Wisteria with its gnarled branches was showing off it’s spectacular aromatic blooms. Soon the flowers will be no longer, in their place a plethora of limey green fronds. The pergola’s leafy canopy will soon provide dappled shade to those seeking respite from the heat of the day.

The welcome spring sunshine saw lizards lithely scuttle up sun baked walls and into the dark mysterious crevices of the dry stone walls. Meanwhile the olive trees were given a brutal pruning, all of us debating whether there was enough time to get olives growing on their branches.

A trip to a talented home baker to buy fresh breads from the wood fired oven, and then on to buy eggs from an owner who knows all her hens by name, all help to make this place feel simply idyllic.

As ever there was the inevitable trip to a market to buy vintage textiles. I left behind the beautifully embroidered piece which in German read “I am not worthy to have you under my roof”! Pleased with my stash these embroidered pieces are currently being laundered and will be sold at a later date. The market also supplied me with sun blush tomatoes, Pecorino (Ewes milk cheese) and salamis for the boys’ wedding. I SO wanted to bring home artichokes, wild asparagus and other perishable market treats.

Prosecco was quaffed and cicci little morsels were gobbled at Michele’s and very sadly the weekend came to an end.

Short, sweet, but oh so lovely to witness the spectacular arrival of spring in the Umbrian olive groves. Grow little olives, please grow!

Olives, Rocking Dog

Olives

Wisteria Pergola, Rocking Dog

Wisteria Pergola

Tulip Festival, Rocking Dog

Tulip Festival

Market Tomatoes, Rocking Dog

Market Tomatoes

.....Salami, Rocking Dog

…..Salami

......& Artichokes, Rocking Dog

……& Artichokes

Arancini, Rocking Dog

Arancini

Turmeric Bread, Rocking Dog

Turmeric Bread

.....& then Cake!, Rocking Dog

…..& then Cake!

Yippee! It’s Fantastical Fig Season!

Baubled, Rocking Dog

Baubled

Yippee! It’s Fantastical Fig Season and I couldn’t be happier! Used in both savoury and sweet dishes they are a welcome fleeting autumnal delicacy. Perhaps because they are so transient they have an aura of being special and decadent.

Originating from the Middle East, figs were first cultivated in Egypt. The fruit has much religious symbolism and many scholars believe that the forbidden fruit picked by Eve was a fig rather than an apple.

Meanwhile, in Roman tradition Romulus and Remus who founded Rome were said to have been suckled by a wolf in the shade of a fig tree.

Figs were used as a training food by early Olympic Athletes and figs were also presented to the winners. These were in essence the first Olympic medals. Mmmm, I wonder whether the para -athletes who are about to start competing at the World Championships in Doha would prefer a fig to a metal medal! Good luck to you all, and Alex I hope you are slapping on the factor 50!

What could be easier to prepare than fig segments lightly draped with cloaks of Parma Ham, and served with Ciabatta and a dish of olive oil. Incidentally a drop or two of good balsamic or pomegranate molasses could perk up even the most basic olive oil.

Cheese and figs are also a wonderful combination. Young Pecorino,figs, a drizzle of honey and scattering of walnuts would be a perfect starter or light lunch dish to delight guests. My cheese plate includes a yummy creamy blue number, Montagnolo Affine. Despite its very Italian name it in fact is made in Bavaria. It won the Supreme Champion award at the 2013 International Cheese Awards beating 3,900 other cheeses!

Figs could prove a great start to the day sliced over a bowl of granola or muesli. Add some Greek Yoghurt (I however love Lidl’s Turkish Style Yoghurt )and a little drizzle of maple syrup or honey and the day will start deliciously.

Sweet offerings include roasted figs. I made mine by melting a little butter together with 2 tbsp apple juice, honey to sweeten and a cinnamon stick. Cut any stalk off your figs, leaving them whole, cut a cross into each of the fruit. Place in an ovenproof dish and pour over the syrup. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar. Roast at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon over the hot juices, cover with foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve with ice cream, yoghurt or very naughtily clotted cream!

One of my favourite ways of eating my most favourite of fruits is on an authentic Italian pizza. No tomato sauce, just figs, goats cheese or Mozzarella, perhaps Parma Ham, a scattering of fresh Basil and drizzle of olive oil. And that is absolutely why i’ll never been a size 8 (or 12 for that matter!!)

Knowing their mad mothers love of this fruit, my girls recently bought me some glass fig baubles in the Christmas department at Harrods. Yep- definitely the sort of decorations that never find their way into the Christmas boxes destined for the attic! Thank you girls I truly and absolutely love them.

Bavarian Cheesed !, Rocking Dog

Bavarian Cheesed !

Roasted, Rocking Dog

Roasted

Parma Ham'd, Rocking Dog

Parma Ham’d

Granola'd, Rocking Dog

Granola’d

Book'd, Rocking Dog

Book’d

Next Years Lusciousness!, Rocking Dog

Next Years Lusciousness!

Romulus And Remus, Rocking Dog

Romulus And Remus