The last three weeks have been a busy mix of small weddings, cooking demonstrations, meeting with brides, recipe planning and general catching up with myself. Enquiries have been coming in fast and furious for next year - and I am genuinely delighted to be catering so many weddings that are completely 'out there' in terms of the food that will be featuring on the day. We are also taking a lot of bookings for day before and day after food - creating bespoke bbq's, picnics and grazing tables for couples keen to make the most of having friends and family all in the one place.
One of the challenges in all of this is that not having fixed menus means that a lot of my time is spent at the moment creating very tailored ideas - I love this, but it's time consuming and I also have to make sure that whatever we jointly (the couple and I) come up with is doable in terms of numbers; and, as importantly, will work in the kitchen space (or not kitchen space!!).
We then have to test everything out to make sure that the flavour combinations are spot on, and that I've got the timings right. So this week I have been experimenting with a variety of vegetarian momos (Nepalese dumplings) and cauliflower vadas (asian spiced fritter/pancake) for a vegetarian couple who have recently returned from 6 months travelling around the world. They are really keen for the majority of their menu to be vegetarian and want to wow their guests with incredible flavour combinations and textures.
We have come up with the concept of a Grazing Table of the foods that they have most enjoyed from their travels, but using seasonal local produce as the base. I've only just started doing grazing tables, and will have photos soon. Essentially though they work really well in place of canapes/starters - enabling people to graze at their leisure during the drinks reception, and then go straight into main course dining.
This is an incredibly sociable, convivial and relaxed style of eating - set out like a buffet, looking incredibly awesome, but designed so that people come back frequently to try another bit of culinary delight and I love that we can incorporate a couple's favourite things in this way. We've also designed a Scottish charcuterie Grazing Table - showcasing the best of Scottish meats and cheeses and game pies - and again this is proving incredibly popular.
Another lovely couple have introduced me to the concept of the Groom's Reception. You all probably know exactly how this works, but I had never heard of such a thing before. The Groom's reception is effectively a ploy to keep the groom relaxed and unflustered prior to his lovely bride's arrival at the ceremony. You'll recognise these moments - when the guests start to arrive and typically the groom is standing at the front, nervously chatting to his bestman and trying not lose it emotionally in front of the congregated throng. The Groom's Reception is a well thought out alternative to this uncomfortable scenario: guests are greeted with some 'manly' canapes and possibly some ale shots whilst they chat to each other and to the groom. Those emotionally charged tense moments are beautifully dissipated as the Groom relaxes into the occasion. I love this idea and am sending a virtual hug to the lovely couple who shared this with me.
In between these busy times, I have been enjoying reading cookery books, watching the finals of masterchef (Ping soooo deserved to win) and adding to my collection of vintage crockery. A fleeting visit to friends on The West Coast saw me coming home with a skip in my step and some freshly laid eggs. Simple pleasures.
And this coming fortnight I'm heading up to Comrie Croft to meet a couple who are holding their very laid back wedding there, Monchlymhor to meet a couple who are getting married at the beautiful Altskeith House on Loch Ard later this year, and inbetween times starting the preparations for the first wedding at The Byre at Inchyra at the end of this month. Today therefore, is a feet up, plan a nice Sunday dinner, potter in the garden, watch the tide come in kind of day. I hope that you are all enjoying something similar!