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How did everyone enjoy the extra hour sleep in yesterday morning? I wish I could say that I did, but Bf-B had me up early due to an early morning bike ride..

So, today’s post is on some catering I did for Sister-A’s friend Miss B, who’s brother was getting married and needed someone to supply lunch for 30 family and friends the day after. Of course, I was happy to oblige, and together Miss B and I set about creating a stress-free menu that could be unwrapped and served with little to no preparation.

Miss B asked for some cold meats and salads to be served, which I translated as slices of cold roast beef and chicken terrine, accompanied by a roast vegetable salad with a creamy garlic dressing, a quinoa salad with cauliflower and chickpeas, a simple green salad for the less adventurous eaters, and a traditional Spanish fritatta made with potatoes.

If you read my blog, you know I love a good roast whole eye fillet. It’s quite lean so be sure not to over cook it – it’s best served medium-rare which is how I’ve done it here. While the recipe below will feed an army, feel free to cut down the portions to feed as many as you have – I usually allow about 200-250g of meat per person. Talk to your butcher for advice on how long to cook it according to your liking.

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I’ve made a terrine in the past for Father’s Day, and was keen to give it another try. It’s a great way to serve up cold meat without looking like leftovers you’ve neglected to reheat. While a terrine looks quite impressive it’s actually quite simple to make, though all my confidence did fly out the window when it came time to unmould the damn thing (I let out a huge sigh of relief when it worked). My one KEY bit of advice here would be would be to go to a good quality butcher for your chicken. You don’t want the tiny little fatty thigh fillets they sell at the supermarket as they don’t hold the terrine together as well (trust me, I’ve tried).

I also made a English cream to go with both the terrine and roast beef, as otherwise cold meats can be quite dry. English cream is similar to an aioli, but with capers and anchovies added for some extra flavour.

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The first salad I chose to make was a quinoa salad with roast cauliflower, as I’m having a bit of a love affair with cauliflower lately. Seriously. It has replaced regular mash in our house, and I am particularly fond of the nutty taste it aquires after roasting. Don’t be afraid to use lots of herbs in this one, as they act more like a salad leaf than a herb. Don’t chop them too finely either, as you want to feel the texture of the leaves amongst the grains.

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I found an interesting starter from Neil Perry, which combined blanched vegetables with a dressing made from potatoes and garlic. Intrigued, I decided to evolve it into a salad, and set about making the dressing. When it wouldn’t emulsify I began to stress, secretly wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew. After one failed batch and a lot of wasted olive oil, I tweaked the recipe, adding some eggs to help the potato and oil come together, and voila! Magic!

Don’t be scared of the amount of garlic in this one – boiling it in milk helps to subdue the flavour. Feel free to use any vegetables you like. Don’t boil the crap out of them either, you want them slightly crunchy and fresh tasting.

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I always like to do something plain to keep those with simple tastes happy, so I made a green salad with cucumber, avocado and sprouts. Make sure you buy your avocados a week or so in advance though, as they always seem to be rock hard whenever I go to the grocer.

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Finally, I wanted to do potatoes, but as everything had to be served cold my choices were limited. I didn’t want to do another salad, so I thought a traditional Spanish potato fritatta would be a nice alternative. It’s a good one, because it can be sliced in to portions, making it easy to serve.

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A cold lunch menu has it’s limitations in terms of what you can make, but is a great idea if you don’t want to be running around stirring pots while your guests are waiting. If you make this entire menu it will happily serve 30, but feel free to cut things out or halve the recipes to cater to how many you’ve got.


COLD ROAST BEEF

3kg whole eye fillet
olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Rub the beef with a little olive oil. Rub generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large griddle pan, and cook the meat on all sides until well browned, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Transfer beef to a baking tray, and cook in a moderate oven until cooked to your liking (40 minutes for medium rare). Remove beef from oven and allow to cool completely before wrapping in cling wrap and placing in the freezer. Freezing the meat for a short period will make it easier to cut.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the beef and slice thinly. Serve cold with English cream (recipe below).

Serves 15 / Serves 30 as part of this menu


CHICKEN TERRINE

1 kg chicken thighs, skin on
1 kg chicken thighs, skin off
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp chopped tarragon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp salt

  1. Preheat your oven to 150C.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, lemon zest, tarragon, allspice, pepper, nutmeg and salt. Allow to marinate for a few hours if possible.
  3. Layer chicken in a 30cm x 11cm rectangular cake tin or terrine dish, alternating between chicken with skin and without.
  4. Place terrine in a larger dish and fill with water until it reaches half way up the sides of the terrine dish. Place both dishes in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the terrine reaches 70C. Remove terrine from over and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover terrine with foil, and place a weight evenly on top (I use a few tins of tomato). Place in the fridge and leave overnight.
  6. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the terrine to loosen it, before turning it out onto a plate or board. If the terrine is stubborn, dip the bottom in hot water for 30 seconds and try again.
  7. Cut into 1cm slices and serve with English cream (recipe below).

Serves 10-12 / Make 2 to serve 30


ENGLISH CREAM

1 egg
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
175ml canola or vegetable oil
1 tbsp capers, chopped
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
salt and pepper

  1. In a food processor, process egg, mustard, lemon juice and garlic until well combined.
  2. With the motor running, slowly in a steady stream add the oil until aioli is thick.
  3. Add the capers and anchovy fillets and wizz to combine. Check seasoning.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


SPANISH POTATO FRITATTA

2kg potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 brown onions, finely diced
12 eggs
250ml milk
salt and pepper

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add potatoes and cook for 5-10 minutes or until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add onion and cook until tender but not brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, gently beat together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potato and the egg mix to the onions and stir gently to combine.
  4. Leave fritatta on the stove top until the edges begin to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer pan to the oven and cook until the center is set, and doesn’t wobble when you shake the pan, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before turning out onto a plate or board.

Serves 12 / Serves 30 as part of this menu


CAULIFLOWER, QUINOA & CHICKPEA SALAD

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
400g red quinoa
2 x tins chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
200 gm Greek feta or labne
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan forced).
  2. Place cauliflower on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until just golden. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa and place in a saucepan with 1L of salted water. Bring the boil, and cook until all the water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level – make sure it doesn’t boil dry before the quinoa is cooked. Add extra water if needed. When cooked, rinse quinoa under cold water and drain well using a fine sieve.
  4. When cauliflower and quinoa are cooked, toss quinoa in a large bowl with chickpeas, parsley, mint, spring onions, lemon juice, 100ml olive oil, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add cauliflower and toss gentle to combine.
  5. Transfer salad to a serving tray and crumble over feta before serving.

Serves 10-12 / Double recipe to serve 30


VEGETABLES W/ BAGNA CLAUDA DRESSING

1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled, cut into 3cm cubes
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1/2 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 bunch baby carrots, trimmed
1 bunch baby radishes, halved
1 bunch baby turnips, peeled, halved
1 bunch baby beetroots, peeled, halved
3 small chicory, leaves separated
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
salt and pepper
3 spring onions, sliced thinly, to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Place pumpkin, onion and cauliflower on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook in a hot oven until pumpkin is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile blanch carrots, radishes, turnips and lastly beetroots in boiling salted water, separately, until just tender, about 3-5 mins. Refresh each under cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
  4. Prepare the dressing (recipe below)
  5. When all the vegetables are cooked, toss them all together except the beetroot and chicory, with 3tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp of the dressing, and salt and pepper.
  6. Spread the remaining dressing on a serving tray. Top with mixed vegetables, chicory leaves, and beetroot, and scatter over spring onions before serving.

BAGNA CLAUDA DRESSING
300ml milk
12 cloves of garlic
80g potato, peeled, cut into 2cm cubes
300ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg
6 anchovy fillets

  1. In a saucepan, bring milk and garlic to the boil. Add the potato and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off milk and discard.
  2. Mash the potato and garlic together, and push through a fine seive. Add back to a clean saucepan with 100ml of olive oil and whisk together over low heat until warmed through. Don’t worry if the two don’t mix together, they will when we add the egg!
  3. While still warm, add potato mix to a food processor. With the motor running, add the egg, then in a steady stream pour in the remaining olive oil. Mixture should look like a thick mayonnaise. If your mixture still looks separated, try adding another egg. Add anchovy fillets and wizz until well combined.

Serves 12 / Serves 30 as part of this menu


SPROUTING GREEN SALAD

1 red oak leaf lettuce, leaves washed and seperated
1 punnet sprouts (such as broccoli, sunflower, snowpea or alfalfa)
1 cucumber, seeds removed, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1 tbs sunflower seeds
1 tbs pumpkin seeds

DRESSING
2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper

  1. In a dry pan, toast sunflower and pumpkin seeds until beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  2. For the dressing, in a jar combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, sprouts, cucumber, avocado and dressing. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle over seeds before serving.

Serves 10 / Double recipe to serve 30