Tag Archives: Corporate Catering

TV Chefs: Anthony Bourdain

With his explosive and inciteful entré to cookery writing, Kitchen Confidential, in 2000, Anthony Bourdain laid bare the journeyman career of a kitchen hoodlum inspiring readers to get stuck in and cook like they’re in ‘Nam. It was a memoir that in part romantiscised the nitty gritty of the kitchen and stole away the Mummsy preserve of food writing from the Martha Stewart/Delia Smith generation that had preceded it. His writing is enthralling, “honest” and vital, though probably to the point of bravado but who could deny a chef the cinematic machismo that a fast paced, sweaty, oft near perilous workplace might encourage? His follow up A Cooks Tour was a “Boys Own” compendium of daring foods and exotic locations and his Les Halles Cookbook , a “go on I dare you” collection of classic French cuisine of the sort his now famous former restaurant supplies.  There in no denying, among the numerous books and TV shows Chef Bourdain has produced, there is a whirling, at first centrifugal, now gravitational, if not magnetic pull giving density and mass to his ego. He is engaging but has his latest serving pushed the boat out a little too far? Christine Muhlke of the New York Times discusses the man’s career and new collection of essays titled, Medium Raw.

“Medium Raw” follows his 2006 sausage-maker, “The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones.” This “bloody valentine” contains pointed critiques, astute asides and semi-reported stories that tend to circle back to himself — the real reason, he presumes, you’re buying this book.

It’s a great review and the extract barely hints at it’s insightfulness. Click on the link above and read it in full.

In the mean time here’s Bourdain doing his thing:

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Kiwi Chutney and the importance of spreading yourself thickly!

Kiwi Chutney - Mildly spicy and deliciously tangy

So it’s been a hot minute since I last posted on this blog  – my apologies if you have checked back and not found anything new to get your mouth watering. We’ve been a busy bunch with our Outside Catering and Cafes with new sites being considered and wonderful wedding upon wedding to help celebrate . We had a successful Border Union Show where the food-hall was buzzing. I have some lovely Chorizo Iberico to cook something up with and I’ve already scoffed the Boerewors I get from Peelham Farm each year.  There was lots of fantastic produce on show and our own wee stand got quite a few visitors. Old and regular customers popped by for wee complimentary shortbread punnets wrapped with Tartan ribbon. Many new faces enquired after our services and we were only too happy to show them our menus and food images. We had a stall packed with lovely Border Tarts, Meringues and Cakes all freshly prepared by our bakers Maryna and Kate. It was a sell out show! Here’s a pic our our wee corner:

Border Union Show Food-Hall Stand

I digress, I have a kiwi chutney recipe to share and I shouldn’t keep you from it any longer.  For this recipe you will need:

500g of  cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced
230ml of cider vinegar
110g of  dark brown sugar (you can use light brown sugar for a more delicate taste)
100g of sultanas
2 tablespoons of lime juice and the zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
½ teaspoon of cumin
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
¼ teaspoon of allspice
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 clove garlic, minced

6 large, ripe kiwifruit, peeled and diced.


In a large pot bring all ingredients except the kiwifruit to a boil.

Boil gently for 18-22 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the kiwis and boil gently for another 20 minutes or until chutney is thickened, stirring frequently.

Ladle the chutney into hot sterilized canning jars, filling to within 5 mm of top.

Seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove jars from bath and cool away from drafts.

Store sealed jars in a cool place until ready to use.

All that is then left to do is to enjoy your chutney with some nice spicy boerewors or some tangy mature cheddar. You can also serve it, as I did, alongside some lightly spiced prawns or any other curry dish… but you know that.

Deep Fried Prawns in Spiced Cashew Batter & the Po’boys of Kerala

Mustard Seeds & Hot Chilli Powder

I’ve been thinking about this dish for a while. I’ve been concious that I’d not posted any recipes or food for a while so I wanted to make a bit of an effort. We have the Borders Union Show on this weekend and I will be holed up in the food hall on our stall for the duration, so getting anything new up will be a challenge. On the Plus side I will be able to go around the stalls of some of my favorite producers and get some great ingredients for next weeks entries.

Garam Masala & Fenugreek

The accompanying pictures are of the constituent parts of the marinade I created for the Prawns I cooked. I’ve used roughly a heaped tea spoon of each spice, though I was a little light on the chilli powder adding only a half  tsp. All of the spices I’m using are going into a pestel and mortar – I’m doing things the old fashioned way… or trying to.

Turmeric & Ground Black Pepper added

I probably should have used ground white pepper but there was none to hand – I was kind of winging it. I had a stash of cashew butter base left over in the fridge from last week and I’d thought it would be nice to use them with some prawns after having read about Po’boys on another blog, the dish in that case was a personal take on the original Po’boy dish as described on Cooking The Books Blog. So in not really knowing how to get to my end culinary destination and feeling the need to use some of the goods I had previously produced I set about cannibalising a recipe I had found with the vague hope of creating an Indian Influenced Po’boy and maybe a starter dish I could serve at a function.

Add a couple of cloves of Garlic and about a cubic inch of Ginger

I decided to deep fry the prawns rather than cook them Tandoori style as the original recipe suggests and further more my batter would be much more of a batter and less of a crust… or croute if we’re getting fancy. Anyway, back to the marinade. I added a glug of sunflower oil to the mix and the juice of 1 lime. I swiftly set about beating the hell out of the mixture and crushing all the mustard seeds. I did it all in a very Steven Seagal in Under Siege kind of a way and felt pretty good about it. I thought to myself, “Be like Steve”… “Be Zen, Serene… at one with the the marinade but ready to kill at a moments notice.” This sort of tempered urgency whilst preparing food is what I’d like to think of as called being “in the Zone” but in reality it’s probably more borderline psychotic… here’s a picture of the lime I squeezed with ninja precision:

It didn't even hear me coming. Whoooosh. Slice.

Once I had the marinade prepared I took half of it and used it to flavour the prawns. I put them in a bowl and let them absorb the flavours in the fridge for about an hour.

The Batter:

I took a couple ot table spoons of my preprepared basic cashew butter and started bashing it in the pestle and mortar to make a fine paste. I had begun to feel tired as I do not actually have the strength and stamina of Steven Seagal in Under Siege so I turned to my Food Processor to finish the job. Into the processor I placed the butter, the remaining marinade, two eggs, a tbl spn of creme fraiche and a tbl spn of plain flour. I then blitzed the be’jesus out of it until it had all come together – I tasted it… no dice. A whole, fresh mild chilli was de-seeded and added. Blitz again. Result. The batter was then decanted into a bowl and placed into the fridge. Just before I battered the prawns I added 150ml of tonic water and whisked it in to make a light velvety consistency. Batter up, you could say.

I heated 500ml of Sunflower oil to 190°C in a wok and got ready to deep fry.

The prawns were taken from the marinade, dusted and tossed in plain flour then dipped and allowed to drain of any excess batter. One by one the spicy coated prawns fell to the bubbling oil, I counted them all in and I counted them all out – golden, crispy and ready for assembly.

Deep Fried Prawns with Cashew Batter on a bed of Kiwi with Sour Kiwi Chutney

Like a true Scotsman - I can not resist deep fried food

I had made some Kiwi chutney earlier in the week so I put that on the side as a condiment for the dish. It’s a pretty standard chutney recipe and I’ll post it up in my next blog entry for you – today is about the prawns but here’s peek at the chutney anyways:

It made a nice accompaniment  and it was also dolloped into my Kerla Po’boy as you’ll shortly see.  I have no idea if anyone from Kerala would recognise my dish or if anyone in New Orleans would make the connection with their own famed Po’boys. Here you are though, my attempt, of someone else’s attempt, at some else’s attempt at making a Po’boy. Let’s call it the Inception Po’boy – the chilli in the batter could be the kick. (You’ve seen the film Inception, right? You Get what I’m saying… this isn’t just the ramblings of a chef intrigued by social and cultural memes?)

Kerala Po'Boy under construction

I topped the prawns with a Raita I threw together and some salad leaves and the chutney. The  components were laid on a warmed Chapatti and rolled to form a tube of Sub-Continental Po’Boy awesomeness. This was then scoffed by me.

No too much poor about this Po'Boy in the end.

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TV Chefs: Rustie Lee

Rustie Lee, along with my Mother are probably the first people who got me excited about food. Both are great fun and perhaps a little eccentric but in the case of Rustie, no other could be more mad cap! Every morning I would watch her throw together improbable recipes that were in many cases the polar opposite of what you’d want to see at that time in the morning. The great thing about her was that she was so natural and clearly enjoyed cooking and providing for other people. If anything it’s her generosity of spirit I want to salute. “G’aun Yersel’ Rustie” as we say around here.

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Events: A taste of how we do things

Setting up at the start of an event at one of our Stately Venues

I know that this is predominantly a food blog but I thought I should make a quick post relating what it’s like to be catered for by us. We do all manner of events from Product launches to Weddings and every other kind of shin-dig imaginable that requires good food, friendly staff and bottomless glasses of champagne!

Marquees can be dressed for any occasion

When clients get in touch with us we find it useful to have at least two face to face meetings. It’s important that we understand exactly what you want for your event, we want to help you create special memories for your guests. A large part of what can make an event unique is down to the food. We have access to fantastic local produce here in the South of Scotland. The other important factor in making an event special is the staff. Our smiling, friendly team are well informed on the food and drink they are serving and in the history of the buildings we work at, it’s the little details that make the difference.

Working in Private Homes needs a considerate touch

Discretion is a large part of our service, once you’ve selected the exact dishes you want to serve your guests and confirmed the wines for the party the last thing you want is a caterer or event manager pestering you when you should be celebrating with your friends. If you’ve forgotten something in the rush we won’t bother you with it, we’ll fix it.

Here’s a wee snippet of some good folks getting down at one of the weddings we recently did:

Enough of this shop talk though, you know we love your tummies and only want to supply you with the tastiest morsels served with a sense of fun!

I’ve been working on a couple of ideas and I’ll be blogging them shortly so keep your peepers peeled and your taste buds prepared.

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Booze!: Brew Dog do it again.

Scottish based, independent brewers, Brew Dog have yet again come up with another ingenious beer/marketing idea. Not only have they produced arguably the strongest, highest ABV% beer on earth at 55% but for £500 a pop it’s also probably the most expensive. The Fraserburgh-based artisan beermakers, have named the special brew “The End of History”. They have only produced twelve bottles and each one comes covered in a stuffed animal. It brings a whole new slant on drinking high powered alcohol concealed in a container… perhaps out of the purchasing reach of park drunks but maybe inspired by the combination of woodland creatures and inebriation akin to some kind of Faustian Bacchanal.

Here’s a video explaining the concept in full:

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If music be the food of love: Dee Dee Sharp – Gravy

If music be the food of love: Dee Dee Sharp – Gravy

Hope this little number will help inspire you to cook up something tasty in the kitchen this evening!

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