Wednesday, April 27, 2011
WEDDINGS! INDULGENT FANFARES! THE WHOLE CATASTROPHE
Whether a Monarchist or a bearer of the Republican flag, it matters little when it comes to a royal wedding.
It seems like only yesterday that we watched in awe as Charles and Di tied the knot (although many cringed, me included, at Diana's over-the-top, all-engulfing monstrosity of a gown). I guess we forgave Diana for that choice as she was only 19 years of age at the time...such an innocent child, really, thrown into a den of lions!
In the ensuing years Princess Diana stole our hearts with her stylish beauty and generosity of spirit. Those same hearts were broken by her untimely death. Transfixed in front of our television screens, our tears flowed as we reluctantly and sorrowfully bade her farewell to the haunting strains of “Candle in the Wind”.
We’ve watched her two sons grow and blossom into young men of whom she would have been very proud.
The years have flown by; once more we’ll sit in wonderment as we witness Wills and his lovely young bride, Kate walk down the aisle. Let’s hope everything goes smoothly for them on their special day with no disruptions from the radical idiots of this world!
Funny things, weddings - they’re capable of fracturing the most cynical of hearts! Personally, I’ve never been one for the ostentatious pomp, fuss and ado, or for the excess expenditure, or the frilly, fussy, frou-frou gowns.
In the four years before moving to this hilltop I was the chef at a restaurant-function house wherein weddings were major weekend activities! (And I continued this practice for some time after relocating to my present address, before coming to my senses!!!)
During those four years barely a weekend passed without a wedding reception being the main event on my catering agenda. There were times, too, that I had to feed the madding wedding crowds of more than one celebration on a weekend. Much to my annoyance, I even had to show up for one such performance on the millennium - 1st January, 2000! Ouch! That one hurt!
I’ve lost count of how many weddings I’ve catered for over the years. Some are more memorable than others; some unforgettable, but not in a good way! On one occasion two over-zealous, bossy (think “arrogant”) bridesmaids prefaced the ceremony by insisting on dancing (?) down the garden path that led to the arbor! I still shake my head when recalling that apparition! And this was performed long before the current rush of wedding party members cavorting down the aisles that we are seeing on YouTube etc., these days!
Many couples chose to conduct their ceremony beneath the jasmine-clad arbor set romantically amongst the beautifully-manicured garden; its lavish green lawns embraced the banks of Gympie's Mary River in the background.
As in all things - each to their own – but I’m the “less is more” kind when it comes to weddings. However, it goes without saying really, if you’re looking for me on the 29th April, you’ll know where to find me!
Now - where did I leave my trumpet?
Smoked Salmon Boats: Combine 150g smoked salmon,chopped, 150g mascarpone and 1/2tsp chopped dill; season with lemon juice and ground pepper; spoon into pastry boats. Garnish with strips of smoked salmon and dill or capers.
Pastry Boats: Process 185g plain flour and 90g butter with pinch salt until resembles breadcrumbs. With motor running, add 1 egg yolk and about 1tbl iced water to make dough. Turn onto floured surface; knead lightly until smooth; wrap; chill 10mins. Roll out 3mm thick between 2 sheets greaseproof paper. Remove paper; place pastry over lightly-buttered boat moulds; cut excess pastry away; prick bases; place on tray; bake at 190C, 10-12mins.
Avocado-Oyster Boats: Mash 1 avocado; season with lemon juice, salt and ground pepper; spoon into pastry boats; top each with an oyster. Sprinkle with finely-chopped chilli and coriander.
Prawn Bloody Mary: Drizzle 15 large prawns with 1tbl olive oil; season; place on baking sheet; roast in preheated 200C oven, 6-8mins, turn once; cool. Sauce: combine juice 1 lemon, 1 can pureed tomatoes, 2tbls horseradish, 2tbls Worcestershire sauce, 2tsp Tabasco, 1/2c ice-cold vodka, salt and ground pepper. Serve; put tablespoon sauce in ceramic Chinese serving spoons; top with a prawn and julienned celery stick.
Brie Puffs: Preheat oven 200C. Cut 1 sheet puff pastry into 16 squares; put squares into cups of mini muffin tins; prick bases; bake until puffed and golden; cool. Whip together using beater, 240g brie, 1/4c cream and 1tbl honey until fluffy; put in piping bag with star tip; pipe mixture onto pastry cups; drizzle with little honey; serve at room temperature.