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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The fine-dining picnic

Delighted that our fine-dining picnic captured by this talented couple is featured in Red Magazine (July 2012 - out now) alongside the family feast, the gourmet affair and the kid's treat sincere apologies to our dear friends who posed (in the Edinburgh "Summer") and whose pictures were not selected to grace the pages. I can confirm, that is Olly's hand  tucking into the rare beef and Jen's sunny cardigan in the background of the beef shot! Let's hope this sunny edition can bring the picnic weather back, please.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Gently does it.

To ease us back into hosting, we held a private supper for one lovely lady and some friends to gather and celebrate her special birthday. 

We set the table with pretty pink flowers and candles and selected delicious ingredients that showcased the best that Spring has to offer including delicate tulips, baby gem lettuce, locally foraged wild garlic, new season lamb and rhubarb.

Here's how it looked:

Work in progress.

Hazelnuts toasted and used instead of pine nuts in the pesto.

Wild garlic pesto.

More wild garlic becoming soup.

To welcome Hot smoked salmon mousse, homemade buttery oat biscuits.

To amuse Wild garlic pesto toasts...


...and a taste of wild garlic soup.

 The Table.

To start Crab, apple and celeriac with scallops.


To follow Braised little gem lettuce with

 lamb noisettes, broad beans, peas, potato rosti.

 To finish Rhubarb tarts, orange Mascarpone.

Monday, 21 May 2012

If you go down to the "woods" today...

Admittedly, any first birthday is as much of a milestone for the parents as it is for the child but we still wanted to have a little fun. We dug out toys that had been our childhood favourites and encouraged our grown up (and younger guests) to bring their bears to join in. Then we added in, Eva's carefully posed teddies, some hampers, bunting, a picnic and a tiger who came (to life, thanks Katie) and for tea!

A tiny tea set all ready.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

We must say a huge thank you to both of our Mums for believing that the party would happen despite seeing the chaos beforehand, for their help and for making the delicious teddy bear cake. Also to Carrie for her beautiful baking and creative branch complete with edible nests and to all of our friends near and far for celebrating with us.

Edible teddy.

Edible nests.

Treasured toys old and new.

A help yourself picnic.

Amazing ready to bake goat's cheese from Henri's.

More cake. This time a triple layer lemon and blueberry sponge by Daddy.

It didn't last long!

Best dressed Ted, first prize!

Friday, 18 May 2012

All things bright and beautiful.

Unlike our last wonderful wedding experience where we were gently persuaded to step into the unknown,  we willingly and excitedly agreed to this special Spring occasion. We naively assumed that our kitchen would be completed in a month and that from that new space, we'd arrive organised, maybe even relaxed. The kitchen took nine weeks and this wedding took place in week eight. Hum. Nevertheless, we arrived at the venue and began to watch a vision realised.

We contributed every ounce of our love for food and hospitality, pushing our skills to new limits and pouring in creativity, organisation, stamina and every last bit of our energy to successfully serve a bright and beautiful Spring wedding feast (with extra special lamb sourced from the fields next door to the bride's parents' home) in a rather secret Northumberland location.

Pretty bows ready for the ceremony and celebrations.

First tastes Blue cheese gougeres.

A room transformed.

Getting there.

Each place carefully set.

The smiling and wonderful team.

Final check.

Just before the guests were seated.

The menu (part of it).

                                           To start Spicy parsnip soup with apple crisps.

Earlier that morning, cocktails being layered.

To follow Prawn and avocado cocktail, bird's eye view.

For main Amazing lamb noisettes with peas, shallots, roasted carrots and minted new potatoes.

The cheese course.

Balancing act.

Something sweet. The cake, topper and me.

Pretty china.

Tables set for afternoon tea.

A selection of finger sandwiches.

And finally, all this feasting was rounded off  at night with chilli con carne and chicken curry to refuel the dancers.

The sun wasn't still shining when we left but these blooms were still smelling sweet. Phew.

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Kitchen Diaries, part two.

After yesterday's cliffhanger, the work continued...

Could that be drawers under there? (Day 19.)

I spy new extraction and a new ceiling in place. (Day 19.)

Plaster. (Day 19.)

Plastering completed and drying.  (Day 24.)

New carcasses are built. (Day 24.)

Wall units go up, chimney hood in place, extra part needed. (Day 25.)

The island takes shape. (Day 25.)

Templates for the worktops are started. More carcasses in place. And if you're really eagle eyed, the island is extended. (Day 31.)

Topless drawers, waiting for templates to be cut. (Day 31.)

Doors and drawer fronts. Hinges. Knotting primed ready for painting and a smiling face! (Day 32.)

Double sinks and draining board in place. (Day 34.)

More templating and switches covered. (Day 34.)

A new wall and an original door (made to slide) in place. (Day 35.)

Big progress. Shelves fitted, worktops fitted and it looks like a kitchen again. (Day 40.)

Shiny new worktops. (Day 40.)

New worktops and panelling fitted in the utility. (Day 42.)

Tiles and a hob in place. (Day 42.)

It's amazing how excited you can be over a tap. A hose tap. (Day 46.)

The contents of our kitchen are in the Dining Room gathering more dust. Painting begins, I give up taking photos. (Two weeks later.)

Painting completed, all appliances in, handles added, lights hung. We move back in with dust and daffodils, just in time for a special girl's first birthday. (Three weeks later.)

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