Tag Archives: Yotam Ottolenghi

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!

Ottolenghi Vegetarian Feast At The Kennel

Hummus a la "Jerusalem", Rocking Dog

Hummus a la “Jerusalem”

There was an Ottolenghi Vegetarian Feast at the kennel last night. Vegetarian food really doesn’t have to mean an eggy quiche or lasagne. My culinary high priest Yotam O’ includes many fantastic vegetarian recipes in all his tomes.

Before eating we walked three dogs along the Frome and the “boys” all seemed to rub along quite well.

Inspired by the sharing feast enjoyed at the Souk Kitchen, I created a table of sharing plates for our guests. Baby spinach salad with dates & almonds, Caramelised fig, orange and feta salad, Spicy beetroot,leek & walnut salad were offered together with Hummus and Burnt aubergine with garlic, lemon & pomegranate seeds. Time unfortunately ran out to make flat breads so shop bought bread had to suffice.

Pudding was a repeat performance of the Middle Eastern tiramisu. Just to over-gild the goose we broke open a bottle of dessert wine.

A supremely musically gifted guest, i’m afraid what I know about music can be written on the back of a postage stamp! He was very kind, even when the conversation tipped into how many of my Christmas links are Michael Buble related, cringe! And wife guest, an amazing eye, amazing house and so much knowledge of dog behaviour. Thankfully Real Live Rocking Dog was not on too grumpy form, and unlike Saturday didn’t choose to roll in any wet cow pats! That’s my boy.

One of the best things about the evening? Yippee there are leftovers, I won’t have to cook tonight!

Table Set, Rocking Dog

Table Set

Vintage Table Chic, Rocking Dog

Vintage Table Chic

Napkin Ring, Rocking Dog

Napkin Ring

Caramelising Figs, Rocking Dog

Caramelising Figs

Aubergine Magic, Rocking Dog

Aubergine Magic

Ottolenghi Yumminess!, Rocking Dog

Ottolenghi Yumminess!

Distant Leeks, Rocking Dog

Distant Leeks

Spinach Salad, Rocking Dog

Spinach Salad

Repeat Performance, Rocking Dog

Repeat Performance

Feeding The Family With Rocking Dog

Into The Oven You Go!, Rocking Dog

Into The Oven You Go!

Rocking Dog has enjoyed having people to cook for this week. Sometimes cooking for two just isn’t much fun…. but there again so much less stressful than cooking for 120 wedding guests!! The newly weds rang to say they were popping in after a climbing wall session in Bristol. Not quite the same as a mountain climb to witness the sunrise over Bali, but heh ho! Popping in… usually means us mums (or dads) popping food into the oven, and last night was no different. Luckily the fridge was plentiful in ingredients and the garden plentiful in herbs.

I chose recipes from a recent Guardian food supplement, “Easy Ottolenghi” (yes that old chestnut!) 20 quick and simple recipes for spring. I prepared Roast leeks and soya beans with buffalo mozzarella and another dish, Roast cauliflower with chorizo and green olives. Sometimes food writers rather hoodwink readers into thinking recipes are quicker to prepare than they actually are. However, these dishes REALLY were simple to prep and cook.

Ah now, what to cook for pudding. Some cheap punnets (56p per punnet) of apricots bought in Lidl, together with some blitzed pistachio’s (a cooking remnant from the wedding) got me thinking. I lightly stewed the stoned apricots with a little sugar and water and meanwhile conjured up a crumble topping. I used flour, sugar, butter, nutty muesli and pistachio’s to crown my apricot compote. A further scattering of blitzed pistachios and a sprinkling of caster sugar and this comforting pud’ was ready for the oven. Apricots are one of those rare fruits which generally taste much more lovely cooked than when eaten fresh.

I served the two savoury dishes warm, and accompanied them with some Tomato and rosemary focaccia which I pulled from the freezer. A quick blast in the oven and the bread was ready to be enjoyed with our own handpicked Umbrian olive oil.

Guinea Pig food served, we all ended up praising my idol Yotam (Ottolenghi)- he really is a magician with ingredients and flavours.

As for the crumble, I knew I had to make custard for the boy. Milk was infused with a vanilla pod over a low heat and then left to stand. In a jug I beat two egg yolks with sugar and a little cornflour (the cornflour really does help the custard from curdling). I reheated the milk, removed the vanilla pod, and poured a little of the milk into the jug with the beaten egg. The egg/milk mix was then poured into the pan with the remaining milk. Over a moderate heat I constantly stirred the custard until it was thickened. I then triumphantly took the custard jug to the table… happy days…happy boy! The crumble got a thumbs up and was strangely comforting in the wet, cold and wind of the evening beyond the window pane.

Unflustered cookery, people fed, witty conversations had, tea drunk (Kylie), they went on their way. Waved off there was the usual conversation mimed through the car window “text us when you get home”- it’s only 20 miles or so, but they are SO very precious.

Dishwasher loaded, recipes filed, table wiped, I was left to ponder on who was going to be coming to eat at Rocking Dog’s table next!

The Hungry Climbers!, Rocking Dog

The Hungry Climbers!

The Joys Of Cauli'!, Rocking Dog

The Joys Of Cauli’!

Before A Roasting, Rocking Dog

Before A Roasting

Lovely Leeks, Rocking Dog

Lovely Leeks

Fruit For The Crumble, Rocket Dog

Fruit For The Crumble

Where's The Custard?, Rocking Dog

Where’s The Custard?

Food For Friends -Persian Style

Middle Eastern Tiramisu, Rocking Dog

Middle Eastern Tiramisu

Rocking Dog whizzed up an easy to prepare supper for a house guest yesterday evening. Tried and tested, I cooked Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak, serving it with Jewelled Rice. Dessert was an untried recipe so Kelvin was a guinea pig! I chose to make Middle Eastern Tiramisu because it included Persian ingredients, so complemented the main course. Pomegranates, pomegranate molasses, rose water and sumac all featured.

Ideally the chicken, fennel slices and clementine slices should be marinated for a few hours, or indeed overnight. The marinade is made up of wholegrain mustard, olive oil, orange & lemon juices and fennel seeds. It also includes Arak which is an aniseed flavoured drink served throughout the middle east. Arak I did not have, so I used French Pastis, alternatively you could use Pernod or Sambuca. Once the chicken has enjoyed its alcoholic acid bath, all the ingredients are popped onto a baking tray and roasted. Voila the main course is sorted! I served the chicken dish with basmati and wild rice with dill, tarragon, parsley pomegranate seeds and pistachios folded through.

Unlike Italian Tiramisu’s my Middle East version had absolutely no coffee in its make up. A recipe from the Food section of the Saturday Guardian I wanted an excuse to try it out. I did alter my recipe by using Ricciarelli (Lidl) instead of sponge fingers, and replaced creme fraiche with Turkish yogurt. It was delicious.

Interesting food without the labouriousness!

I’m volunteering in a kitchen with a group of Young Carers this evening. There really isn’t a dull moment in their presence!

Marinading, Rocking Dog

Marinading

The Recipe, Rocking Dog

The Recipe

Ready To Serve, Rocking Dog

Ready To Serve

Jewelled Rice, Rocking Dog

Jewelled Rice

Recipe For Success, Rocking Dog

Recipe For Success

Sweet Ingredients, Rocking Dog

Sweet Ingredients