Saturday, 10 November 2018

Country Homes and Interiors Magazine - a 7 page feature that means so much!

I've always been a magazine hoarder, and in cupboards and under beds and in baskets throughout the house you will find stacks of my favourite publications - filed according to title and date - never to be thrown away or discarded.

I have a few favourites but my most favourite magazine ever is Country Homes and Interiors - I love the contemporary/classic focus and become probably unhealthily covetous about much that is shared of lifestyles and product.

I also love the recipe pages - there's an earthiness that I really enjoy - so to find Lazy Sunday featured across 7 pages, and in the DECEMBER issue, is almost unfathomable to me. I kid you not, when I opened the magazine and found us there I did a not very gently skip along the high street until I found someone that I could show it to. I then bought every copy in the shop and sprinkled them amongst friends and family with every single bit of modesty that I could muster (and which was in short supply due to pride, excitement, and a whole raft of emotions inbetween!)

What I loved most of all, within the beautifully shot 7 pages, was the story telling around a really fabulous day - the building of a winter's feast that looked and felt exactly how Lazy Sunday feasts should feel. I got to use my beautiful amber glasses - they work so well in candlelit spaces and are some of my most prized possessions. At home I use them from the moment that the nights begin in the afternoon; and larger pieces, like the dish showcasing the pearl barley risotto in the image above, look utterly splendid on a simply dressed table.

So as you go from page to page you can see the story telling evolve - of a beautifully set wintery styled table; guests enjoying our sharing style food; of laughter and clatter as the courses progress; of steam escaping from the 'bashed at table' salt dough baked lamb (which we first experimented with for my eldest daughter's wedding). And of ch(i)ef Tomasz proudly delivering to the table the dishes that we had spent most of the day preparing in The Byre at Inchyra's beautiful kitchen.

But there's a 'behind the scenes story' too; of a day spent cooking; of working together with everyone involved in the shoot; of feeling just unbelievably immensely proud that Caroline of Inchyra had invited us to take part in this most special of days. I remember standing on the side lines at one point, just before everything came together and thinking that if I wanted to bottle the essence of Lazy Sunday then this day, this experience, this enjoyment around cooking hearty, generous, food and sharing it with friends and family - this would be it.

There is a quote from a bit of a revolutionary chap called Cesar Chavez that sums up the essence of Lazy Sunday almost as  beautifully as the beautiful seven pages that feature us. 'If you really want to make a friend' says Chavez, 'go to someone's house and eat with them...The people who give you their food give you their heart." And that's the behind the scenes story; the essence.  And I think it shines through in Dan Duchar's beautiful photography: ' The people who give you their food give you their heart.' 

 So thankyou thankyou thankyou beyond words to Country Homes and Interiors for featuring our food and our recipes . If you would like the recipes, go buy the magazine - I have photographed the pages on my iphone, so you won't get a real sense of Dan's photography unless you see if for real

Thankyou to Caroline for inviting us; to the awesome team that is Dan Duchars and Sara Bird (Art Director); to the Lazy Sunday team for entering into the spirit of the day; to James for being such a brilliant laaaaambassador. I've always wanted an Oscars moment - I think that was it!! And no. I still haven't come down to earth yet.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Passing the taste test!

As we tip toe out of a wonderfully busy season and into a quieter Autumn, I always find myself keen to experiment with new dishes and new ideas. Typically I head West for 2 or 3 thinking days and really enjoy playing with flavours and textures and seeking inspiration from some of my own food heroes. Over the summer I have been reading (again) Olia Hercules beautiful books and love the sharp/sweet flavours that come with her ideas around fermentation, so I sense a move towards a little bit of pickled crunch in more of our dishes.

Usually I start by trying out new ideas for 2 people - really to work out if I like the dish in the first instance. If it passes the 'taste' test, then I try to work out how it would scale up. Could we cook this dish for a hundred people, sometimes with unfamiliar ovens (thank heavens for temperature guages!) and without, usually, all the trimmings of a professional kitchen on site. Does it work plated and sharing? What sides would we serve? Does it fit one of our core pre-requisites - that food can be beautiful, flavourful and generous?

I also like to see what we can do to bring new life into some of our staple and most popular dishes. Lemon Posset, for instance, is the pudding of choice for so many of our couples. It's sharp; it's lemonny and it's beautifully smooth. We serve it in lovely little vintage glasses - either alone, or as part of a dessert table -  and this year we've been adding a jaunty little white chocolate and pistachio meringue hat. How can we change this up, I've been wondering.

It's quite self indulgent to hide away like this - hoping that it will continue to rain so that I'm not distracted by being outside. And so far, so good. Some new dishes have come into being; some tweaking has taken place and some inspirational fairy dust has worked its magic!

Bashed ginger, garlic and cucumber salad with pickled radish and sesame seed
Tamarind and orange baked salmon with coriander and orange zest (can be served plated or sharing, and as a starter or main)

Pickling cucumber, celery and radish in rosemary spiced vinegar. This became the 'filling' for a venison carpaccio canape 

Chicory, clementine and candied pistachio salad with pomegrante and watercress

So, the lemon posset stays the same but maybe you would like it with a almost savoury pistachio and cardamom shortbread. Almost savoury shortbread is delicious if you get the flavour combinations right!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

100 lime custard tarts (to die for!)

My husband's mum gave me her old baking tins years ago - and whatever I bake in them tastes better, I am convinced. I have used them hundreds of times for hundreds of things and today they have turned out fifty lime custard tarts for a lovely wedding coming up. You'll have eaten something similar, no doubt - those delicious Portuguese 'pasteis de nata' that make you want to have another and another. Well, here I bring you what I call my failsafe cheat's version , the basis of which involves only 3 ingredients - good puff pastry, (shop bought) good custard (shop bought) and eggs (from a chicken). Some lime or lemon to add a bit of zing is optional, but I promise you that once they come out of the oven - and sink, which is what they will do and are supposed to do- these little instant mouthfuls of deliciousness will bring a smile to anybody's face!

My only challenge always is to hide them from my husband, who will shamelessly eat them all if given half the chance. Which is why I know there are fifty So that I can catch him out later on today. You have been warned, Mr Fitzgerald

Just as a wee aside, beautiful Michelle of Lamb Loves Photography gave me her mother's recipe for a pastryless version of these where you bake the custard filling in the tin holes and they rise up just like the pastry encased ones - there's lots of demerara sugar involved in them, I seem to remember and I'll add the recipe here as an alternative when I find it.

 Recipe (makes about 24 depending on size of tin holes)

1 x ready rolled pack of Puff pastry
400 ml custard (Sainsbury's luxury custard is to die for!)
2 eggs
juice and zest of 1 lime - optional

Line the tin holes sections with rounds of puff pastry rolled out to about 1/4 inch ( you don't need to grease the bases - the flour used for rolling will be enough.
Mix all the rest of the ingredients together. Pour into the individual pastry cases and bake at 170 degrees (fan oven)/180 otherwise for 30 - 35 mins. 

They'll rise in the oven and then deflate again when you take them out. Don't worry, this is normal.
Hide from husbands.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Goodness we've been busy....

.....and my what fun we have had cooking up fabulous feasts in some of the most beautiful wedding venues across Scotland. Take a look!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

We love a garden wedding - this thankyou meant a lot.

We've had quite a few enquiries recently about creating Lazy Sunday style feasts for garden weddings. This makes me so happy as there is something totally unique and very very special about couples getting married and celebrating in their family homes. We've had mothers holding umbrellas over their peonies every day for a month so that they bloom at the right time; fathers frustrating overstretch tents and bar builds. And always always always these garden weddings bring us joy beyond words. I was writing to a bride this evening and wanted to put her mind at rest that our aim is not just to create awesome feasts, but also to look after all of the elements that might otherwise shift focus away from what should be the happiest of days. As I was writing, I remembered my most favourite thankyou email. Received from the father of the most gentle of brides, who stepped out of her parent's back door and into her beautiful garden wedding. I thought you might like to read this and I've removed the names to save the father's blushes!:

'Dear Carole and the Lazy Sunday team,

I want to, no need, to put pen to paper to thank each and every one of the great team you have assembled at Lazy Sunday that put yourself through the fire once more & produced what was a stunning meal on Saturday night. Tomas , Kasia, Ola and the rest of the team were professional to the core, an absolute joy to work with. Joanne and I have received very many thanks from wedding guests who thought the food was faultless. As my wife and I were heading to bed we stumbled across two of your ladies quietly working away clearing up at about 2.00 am and when I was back up I wandered into the garage and saw neat rows of carefully assembled boxes of bottles and cardboard boxes just ready to lift to the recycling centre. Such care and attention at a clients house at 2 in the morning was the tell tail sign of a well chosen, skilled and caring team. It really was a thing of beauty Thank you.
On Sunday we had the stragglers round and the talk was of how much they had enjoyed the beautiful meal. My wife and I really were able to enjoy a truly Lazy Sunday !
It is strange when you meet someone or a company for the first time and you have to entrust them with something as potentially calamitous as a wedding reception in your back garden (in Scotland); well you guys on Saturday were absolutely bullet proof. Proven talent. How much hard work , planning and attention to detail and sheer effort that went to it was plain to see to all.
You know I am very glad my wife and I had that stunning taster meal in February because as I was sitting playing with my Lamb, contemplating if my Father of the Bride speech - held together with paper and string - would 'fly' ! I watched the wave of nice warm plates carried carefully out across the 130 + guest tables I thought 'boy these guys are good'! My mouth got even dryer .......... Follow that I said to myself !
On behalf of us both a big deep sincere thank you to a great team. ''

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Looking back and looking forward

So the last month of last year was crazy busy and ended on an absolute high with the most incredible Hogmanay wedding at the fabulous Byre at Inchyra. But when I think back to all of the feasts we have created across 2017 I am not just proud of the food that we served but also the fabulous people who make Lazy Sunday what it is.

I think that I am exceptionally lucky to work with people who love what they do and who enter into the spirit of every single wedding... And I think that their dedication to making every single celebration outstanding is really very special. So please do say hello to some of the team below, and browse some of the food we served to genuinely appreciative guests this last year. We had a blast and we're already in the throws of planning for this year's weddings at some of the most fabulous venues across Scotland! (Myres Castle, Guardswell Farm, The Byre at Inchyra, Kirknewton Stables, Errol Park, Windmill Barn, The Cowshed Crail, Pratis Farm and Comrie Croft to name but a few!)