Tag Archives: Skye Gyngell

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!

Oops! The Pesky Things Have Escaped!

Hanging Around!, Rocking Dog

Hanging Around!

Indeed, some pesky things have escaped! I just couldn’t help myself, I bought one or two new Christmas decorations and couldn’t resist hanging them. Those empty cup hooks along my cookery book shelves proved all too tempting for my haul. Pretty!

When I am reading an interiors feature in a magazine I always love to scrutinise the home owners book shelves/ coffee table. My shelves display a plethora of Jamie O, Nigella, Delia, Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell books. What I wonder does that say about me? I very rarely send cookery books off to the charity shop so there are remnants of my tentative first steps into culinarydom! That Hamlyn cookery book dating from 1973 started me off on my Pineapple Upside Down Cake odyssey. Sometime very soon a Jamie Oliver tome will be pulled from the shelf for his delicious Beetroot Gravadlax recipe.

Elsewhere in the Rocking Dog Kennel tangled fairy lights from my childhood tumble down Material Mountain. Alas no electrician seems to want to touch them – so unlit they’ll stay. Perhaps i’ll twirl some new lights around them to festoon them with light. I have such memories of my dad every year untangling the glittery chain, twiddling each bulb and exclaiming “God love a duck” when the lights refused to work. Eventually he’d manage to get the lights working. He’d then half heartedly but methodically swathe the tree with the lights before sinking into a chair with a tot of whisky and cigar. Mum and three tired kids would then set to work with boxes of oh so familiar tree ornaments, tinsel, lametta, and net skirted fairies. All the while Jim Reeves would be serenading our frouing.

Spanish Madonna has never gone away. A Christmas gift last year from Andyman, I could not bear to send her into the attic so soon after unwrapping her. In the workroom a jumbled jar of bottlebrush trees, cheery spotted mushrooms and ballerinas await cakes and parcels to adorn. Meanwhile a jar of old fairy light bulbs are hoping to be strung into a nostalgic garland if time allows.

I know, I am totally incorrigible regarding my love of Christmas decorations and you know who!

Cook Book Heaven, Rocking Dog

Cook Book Heaven

Strictly Come Dancing, Rocking Dog

Strictly Come Dancing

Oh Deer!, Rocking Dog

Oh Deer!

Heirloom Tangle, Rocking Dog

Heirloom Tangle

Spare Bulbs, Rocking Dog

Spare Bulbs

Mache Madonna, Rocking Dog

Mache Madonna

The Rhubarb Glut. Homemade Ice Cream.

Delectable Dessert, Rocking Dog

Delectable Dessert

A little while before Christmas my beloved Kitchenaid Artisan mixer decided it had simply had enough! For a while at least I tried to soldier on without it….but whisking meringues by hand is no fun, Yorkshire Puddings definitely suffered and baking dwindled. An expensive Shopping trip ensued and of course there was the difficult debate of what colour to choose! Purchased 16 or so years before, my previous Kitchenaid came in two colours, white or black, and a much cheaper price tag! Somewhat boringly I chose a graphite matt finish machine but excitingly it came with the bonus of a free ice cream churning bowl.

I am not a new convert to making ice cream, in fact I have a dedicated ice cream making machine. It has given good service over the years churning out ice cream for various parties and weddings when I was running my catering company “Heaven’s Cake”. Favourite flavours have been Gooseberry and Clotted Cream, Brown Bread and Sour Cherry and Praline. I would often serve the ice creams in spectacular ice bowls which encased borage flowers, roses, herb sprigs, fruits and pansies.

My new Kitchenaid Ice Cream attachment is proving simple to use and produces wonderful smooth ice cream. Unfortunately the fit of the beater feels as if it’s a bit of a Friday afternoon bodge job….but i’ll forgive the annoying design details.

I personally love Skye Gyngell’s basic ice cream recipe. To that you can then add your own flavourings. The recipe can be found in Skye’s “A year in my kitchen”. This is a well used tome, with the pages almost automatically turning to Skye’s recipe for “Roast chicken and bread salad with sour cherries and roasted red onions”. It is utterly divine, and great to serve for an informal alfresco lunch or supper. You may be alarmed by the list of ingredients -but it is SO worth it!

As with most ice cream recipes a custard needs to be knocked up using egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla pod. This needs to be cooked very carefully otherwise the mixture separates and your ice cream won’t be so delectably smooth. If I see the custard getting a little bit hot and bothered I simply remove it from the heat, stir it, and return it to the heat when it has cooled a little. Poured into a plastic tub the custard then needs to be chilled thoroughly. Eventually the mixture can be poured into your just out of the freezer ice cream bowl, with the beater already going. After about 20 minutes the mixture will have really firmed up and you can add your chosen flavouring. A further few minutes churning and you’ll have soft clouds of ice cream. If you want a firmer ice cream the mixture can be boxed up and put in the freezer for a couple of hours. For the rhubarb ice cream pictured, Skye’s book gives the recipe for the rhubarb compote to add to her ice cream base. I reserved a little of the compote for drizzling.

To serve I made some simple coconut macaroons from Nigella’s “Domestic Goddess”. It proved an economical way of using up some of the egg whites leftover from the egg yolks needed for the ice cream. Gluten and dairy free, they are a good recipe to have in the repertoire. Approximately 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook they’re a doddle! Prior to baking I pimped my macaroons with some little flecks of 24 carat gold because I love a bit of bling to match the serving plate!

Feeling like summer already!

Skye And The Rhubarb, Rocking Dog

Skye And The Rhubarb

Magic Machine, Rocking Dog

Magic Machine

24 Carat Macaroons, Rocking Dog

24 Carat Macaroons