Tag Archives: Scottish Borders

2013 – The Highlights

It was our busiest year ever, a year that saw us welcome my brother Christian Orde and his young family back from New Zealand to join the business and help with what would be an amazing Summer season.

Tasting Plate of Cherries - Charity Dinner June 2013

Tasting Plate of Cherries – Charity Dinner June 2013

In the previous year and early 2013 we recruited some excellent staff; a pair of first class chefs, a tireless event manager, a Duracel restaurant management team, waiters, cooks, secretaries and a kit manager. These new additions slotted admirably into our existing and long serving brigade and without the esprit de cours they developed over the winter of 2012/13 I doubt we would have coped quite so well in the virgin territory we were to forge. New staff at Abbotsford’s Ochiltree’s Dining even managed to get some training for the Winter Olympics in! 

All our staff come from the Scottish Borders and we are all proud to cater to the good people of our region (and further afield) using locally sourced quality food and drink cooked and served to high standards, standards we are always trying to better!

Trio of Border Salmon - Gill Orde in Catering Ltd

Trio of Border Salmon – Gill Orde in Catering Ltd

We kicked off our 2013 events with snowfall at Abbotsford and a spree of private dinner parties. Once staff holidays were through we prepared for March with a Silking dinner for the Faculty of Advocates, Corporate Catering at the ever popular Buccleuch Point to Point for Lycetts and a wedding in an unusual location – St Georges School, Edinburgh! We prepared and served 150 guests from a maths class room we had converted into a kitchen. The menu of Trio of Border Salmon, Smoked, home cured gravadlax and hot smoked was followed by Wild Highland Venison carved at the table. Apple Tarte with Over Langshaws Vanilla Ice cream finished off the meal in style.

With Spring and April came a special Wedding for a fellow caterer and family friend from the South for whom we provided one of our favorite dishes of the year. We really enjoyed preparing all the sweet treats that went into this dish and getting the puddings out for the 200 guests was fun but hard work. The vibrant colours really brought a wow factor to the meal, great fun!

Dessert Sharing Platter - Gill Orde in Catering

Dessert Sharing Platter – Gill Orde in Catering

We also were busy opening our Tea rooms and Cafes for the season, Mellerstain and Harestanes had a good run over the year with increased visitor numbers and some very nice weather helping things along. Unfortunately Thirlestane Castle needed to be closed for refurbishment during all of 2013, however we did cater some very nice weddings there.

Charity DinnerMid Summer 2013 was unlike anything we had experienced before. The official opening of Abbotsford House by HRH Queen Elizabeth II was  day to savour for all involved. We provided a taste of the Border’s for her Majesty and 28 VIPS showcasing Tweed Smoked Salmon, Border Lamb and Tweed Valley Strawberries. A further 600 guests enjoyed picnics using local produce from Shaws Fine Meats and Standhill Dairy. All the packaging was made from Scottish produced 100% recycled and biodegradable Vegware. Our team really pulled together and it was a honour to serve such high profile guests and to work with such committed and talented staff.

Prepping desserts for 200

Prepping desserts for 200

Swiftly following the opening of Abbotsford were a series of high profile weddings and events which saw us cater for over 5000 people in the space of a fortnight! It’s all a blur now and to have worked at that level of intensity with such professionalism deserves great respect and recognition for all our staff. When people ask us if we are busy it’s alway set in comparison to those two weeks and when doing multiple weddings and events over the rest of those Summer days, week in week out, we simply dust off  our shoulders and say “It could be busier.”

We had great fun on the 13th of July… some people are superstitious but we had a couple of events on that day, clearly we have some care free and fun focussed clientele. One in a marquee dramatically jutting from the front of a Georgian Mansion house – what could go wrong???….


….And a wedding for over 250 guest where we served an ambitious dessert including an Ice cream bombe… again… what could go wrong in 31 degree heat??? Everything went to plan, come guys, what did you expect? It’s GILL ORDE IN CATERING! I left the marquee the night before at 11pm and was back at 9am prepping the puddings. The freezer was running at a steady 0 degrees and close to packing in but thank heavens we got the meal served!

Assiete of Summer Puddings - Mini Pavlova, Gran Marnier Ice Cream Bombe, Lemon Mousse

Assiete of Summer Puddings – Mini Pavlova, Gran Marnier Ice Cream Bombe, Lemon Mousse

I like the story behind this dessert. I managed to have a chat over a pint with the Bride and Groom before the wedding and discovered that they both loved Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – I knew i had to get those flavours onto the menu somewhere so we asked local ice cream producers Over Langshaw Dairy to make a chocolate and Gran Marnier ice cream which we would cast in chocolate spheres. It was a charming moment when, at the top table, the bride and groom got to share one of their favorites treats whilst everyone else commended them on their good taste!

We must mention the fantastic marquees and dining spaces we served our food in over the past year too! We had African themed marquees, brilliant cream and gold interiors and flowers that filled the air with really luxurious scents. We were well looked after by our event suppliers too, a big thank you needs to go to:

Best Intent Marquees

Carnival Chaos

Get Knotted

Michael Wares

Sitting Pretty


Tower Productions


As Summer merged into Autumn we found ourselves looking after some lovely guests at some of the large holiday homes we cater for. We’ve had guests from China, France, USA and across the UK. It’s been a pleasure hosting them and giving them a taste of the Borders.

We look forward to a busy 2014 with bookings through January and February to keep the wolf from the door. We will be pushing ourselves harder than ever to improve upon this years successes and we thank our wonderful loyal clientele for supporting us through this year and the many years previous to that.

Roll on 2014!

Justin Orde


Weddings: The Farmers Daughter June 10th 2012

We’ve just received a lovely thank you letter form the Mother of a recent Bride. We did the Marquee wedding with Best Intent just outside of Melrose on the family’s farm, overlooked by the picturesque Eildon Hills. I thought I would just paraphrase some of the Mother of the Brides kind words, it’s thanks like this make our job so rewarding! We’re very lucky to be part of such intimate and special family occasions:
…just a wee note to say how outstanding your service was on the day of Judith & Andrew’s wedding. A guest form Kent is still drooling over the beef you cooked!! … Again my thanks, all the best for the remainder of the Summer.
We provided a champagne and canapé reception on the lawn which was serenaded by the St Boswells Concert Band. The location was fantastic as this little bit of video will show (please excuse my amateurish shaky filming!)


The table settings were quite traditional and combined with the champagne bar, cocktail bar and the exquisite floristry  the marquee interior was just the right mix of celebratory exuberance and formal style.

Copyright J.Orde

Copyright J.Orde

Copyright J.Orde

We served a choice of two starters, Fresh Italian Figs, Parma Ham & Rocket with Parmesan Shavings or alternatively, Seared Scallops on Black Pudding with Greek Cress Frills and a Sour Cream & Chive dressing.

Copyright J.Orde

Copyright J.Orde

Copyright J.Orde

The main course was Roast Sirloin of Beef Carved at the table with all the trimmings – a big favorite with the men and ladies alike! For pudding we served delicious Fresh Berries set in a Prosecco Jelly with a Creamed Meringue on the side. The Wedding Cake looked amazing too. We used the bottom and middle tier to serve with coffee & peppermint tea. Later we set up a buffet of Cheeses and Sweets – a “Munchie Table” if you will – it helps soak up all the drink and keep the dancers energised!

Copyright J.Orde

Copyright J.Orde

As the night continued and the guests partied into the wee small hours the Cocktail bar was inundated serving an unending flow of Mojitos, Martinis, Juleps, Daiquiris along with lagers, beers and regular spirits.

The menu and services we were asked to provide are typical of the food, drink, dressing and special touches we can supply.

If you would prefer to have your wedding at a venue why not check out our list of exclusive and exquisite Country Houses and Castles here in the Scottish Borders!

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Seared Scallops on Black Pudding with Greek Cress Frills and Sour Cream & Chive Dressing

Weddings: Fine Occasions and right Royal Days

That was the Winter of our discontent…. no, no, no, that will never do. That was the Winter of our disconnect… still fraught with cliche, it’s not going to work. THAT WAS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCOTHEQUES? Sod it, I have to start some where and so here I will start. Amid a super cold, powder heavy winter we continued to assist revellers in their partying aided by our 4×4 catering van, some expert driving and a steely determination to keep the wheels turning on the hypothetical catering wagon. As we began planning for our first big Marquee Wedding of the year the continued onslaught of Snow seemed to have even the most stoical of Event Planners perturbed. Though January was harsh February seemed to beckon in a milder more considerate climate for the outside caterer. Over the course of two events, a cocktail party and a wedding reception we catered for almost 600 guests suppling some wonderful canapes, venison, wines and more through out.

Carpaccio Cipriani of Hardiesmill Smoked Aberdeen Angus

It hasn’t been all work, work, work, though in the start of 2011. We managed to get along to the belated St Andrew’s Day Dinner (Now held just before Burns Night due to the bad weather in November). It was a great Industry night for local producers and suppliers in the Scottish Borders where some great Local Chefs were recognised for the wonderful food they have been producing  with goods sourced through the Scottish Borders Food Network.

We have been particularly busy dealing with an increase in enquiries for Weddings in 2011 and 2012. I’m not saying that it’s specifically down to this years Royal Wedding or that the long nights at home over Winter produced an especially romantic frisson but perhaps these things and a little bit of our own hard work have inspired more Brides and Grooms than usual to contact us about their own Special Day. Our wedding brochure has been whizzing around the place and gaining a lot of interest. You can download it here and have a look for yourselves:  2011 Wedding Brochure

We’ve launched a fantastic wedding package in conjunction with Mellerstain House for 2012 and we think the menus and excellent value for money make it the perfect marriage of historical atmosphere, fine food and wine. Your very own fairytale wedding of sorts. We also have exclusive rights to Makerstoun House just outside Kelso where we will be developing a number of Marquee wedding packages to allow couples to make the most of the Parish Church on the Estate, the wonderful Tweed-side setting and the seclusion and privacy of that this location brings.

Next up on the Horizon are Potato Day at the Borders Union Show Ground and the Buccleuch Hunt Point to Point meeting where we will be supplying the hospitality in the Lycetts Tent.  We are kept busy with requests for private chefs, dinner parties and  Canape receptions amongst all this. I’d like a holiday, maybe then I could post some more food up on this blog and tell you more about The Scottish Borders Brewery, Tempest Brewery, Citrus Braised Lamb with Shallots, Celeriac Gratin, Apple Malva, Home Made Biltong and much much more. Our Guest blogger Jenny Rhodes will be returning immanently and to the roster I hope to made some new additions.  Over and out.

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Guest Blog: Jenny Rhodes on London Food Markets

January 2011

The 17th century author Samuel Johnson once said “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” I like to think the majority of Londoners or ‘temporary’ Londoners such as myself relate to this quote in someway or another. Whatever your vice; clubbing, the theatre, shopping, or in my case food, London offers it all in abundance. And what better way to celebrate a vice but to indulge it.

A Mountain of Calories inside Borough Market (image courtesy of WhatsJamesDoing.com)

If your vice, like myself, is food, then there are many ways to scratch the itch in London, my favourite being food markets. There are many dotted over the city, from the larger, more well known to the smaller & slightly obscure. The perfect morning out with the chance to have a wander, a nice lunch & to stock up on delicacies, more & more city dwellers are turning to weekend markets. Organic, fair trade, royal appointed or your cockney run back street stall, markets in London are the staple of many a cook- professional or aspiring.

The most well known is certainly Borough Market, and for good reason. A caldron of sights, sounds & smells, it offers something for every palate. Pork pies, jams, organic vegetables, game, pastries, olive oils, bottled beers, delicious cheeses…the gluttonous list is endless. Produce from around the world nestles comfortably with British home grown, and the stall owners are all exceptionally helpful & informative, if a little rushed off their feet… Being such a popular market, it’s best to get there early, as by midday it’s crammed with people browsing for Saturday night treats. Running every Friday 12am-6pm & Saturdays 9am–6pm it does mean it’s an incredibly popular Saturday morning haunt. Look out for favourites like ‘Artisan du Chocolat’, selling beautiful chocolates, salted caramels & their signature ‘Os’ – wafer thin chocolate discs with flavours such as pecan and cinnamon or lychee and rose. The Ginger Pig Butcher is another quality purveyor not to be missed, proffering an assortment of traditional cuts along with over 20 different varieties sausages, scotch eggs, pies & pates. There is nothing that these boys don’t about meat. They also offer superb butchery courses, which by all accounts are incredibly popular.

Image courtesy of SeriousEats.Com

As well as a good turn over of temporary stalls, there are also a number of permanent stalls & shops dotted around Borough, which are well worth visiting. One such is Neals Yard on Park Street, which offers an array of over 70 cheeses from cheesemakers across the UK & Ireland. The Montgomery’s Chedder & Stinking Bishop are definitely my two favourite choices from this fantastic supplier, although I would warn anyone, Stinking Bishop is not for the faint hearted!

There are also plenty of less well know markets dotted across London and, while they may not rival Borough in size, they certainly do in quality & selection. In East London you can find the Sunday UpMarket, located just off Brick Lane. Every Sunday from 10am –5pm, it’s a small but interesting selection of stalls. More geared to buying & eating on the spot, rather than take home fare, there are trestle tables lined up where you can sit down & tuck in. Look out for the Mayjay Tout stall, which serves up traditional home style Caribbean food. Delicious chicken curries & spicy soups, they also offer roti-the Caribbean version of a tortilla, delicious when filled with goat curry. For the tea snobs out there, there is Yumchaa, stockists of loose tea, with every flavour you could want, from traditional builders tea to fruity summer mixes. Take a sprinkling of Japanese, Turkish, & Ethiopian cuisine to name but a few, along with a healthy dose of cupcakes, pastries & brownies & a whole host up & coming designers, vintage clothing stands & accessories makes for an eclectic and not to be missed mix.

Photo: Lonely Planet

While you are ‘out East’ its worth spending some time on Brick Lane itself. Nicknamed ‘Banglatown’ it’s the heart of the city’s Bangladeshi-Sylheti community & where you will find the best curries in London. As you wander up the lane, waiters stand outside their restaurants beckoning you in with the promise of free starters, half price naan bread or two for one drinks. Every curry house seems to have won some sort of title & are all exceptionally proud of their establishments. Take time to look around before you take your pick-but as a rule of thumb, go for busy places filled with locals.

An hour West of the city you will find Barnes Farmers market. Running every Saturday, from 10am-2pm it’s a small but well thought out selection of producers & suppliers. Located at Essex House Surgery opposite the duck pond in the heart of Barnes, it’s not difficult to see why it’s such a firm favourite with the locals. Offering everything from vegetables grown by Coleshill Organics, fresh handmade pasta from the inventive La Tua Pasta Ltd & a good range of fish & shellfish from the Portland Scallop Company, it really is packed full of choice. You can find delicious produce from Flour Power City Bakers, a London based team offering a wonderful range of artisan breads, pastries & cakes, look out for treats such as their traditional wholemeal bloomers & walnut & apricot loaf. Lastly don’t miss Outsider Tarts who produce a dizzying array of biscuits & tarts-the perfect way to refuel after a morning of tramping around.

About Jenny:

A lass from the  Scottish Borders who grew up in a house run by a culinary obsessed mother, food & cooking have always been close to her heart.

While studying Textiles at Gray’s school of Art in Aberdeen I spent a month in the heart of Somerset completing a cookery course, which then inspired me to spend my summers working as a cook for hunting lodges across the Highlands & Islands.  Looking for adventure I headed off to Switzerland & ran a ski chalet for 6 months where I learnt the art of making a full cooked breakfast for 16 people in under 20 mins. Once reality kicked I moved back  & ended up in London town where I became a handbag designer for a quirky but sadly defunct label named Birdy Num Num.  Now living in South West London & currently working for a custom install AV company, I spend most of my spare time cooking, baking, roasting & serving up lots of homemade goodies to friends & family.

You can following her musings at http://loveinatimeofgluttony.blogspot.com

You can find out more about private chefs or apply to join our team by contacting us via email or through any of our social media links.

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If music be the food of Love: Mr Scruff – Jazz Potato

Daaaammmmmn! It’s been a minute since I put some info up here. We’ve been super busy down here in the Borders catering for all manner of events, not to mention preparing our wedding brochure for 2011. We’ve also been rejigging our wine lists and sending our chefs out to all manner of private functions catering for some well heeled visitors to our lovely corner of the World.

I thought I’d get back into the swing of blogging by posting up a food related tune from the Tea loving DJ genius of Mr Scruff. Like us he brings plenty of flavour and is a purveyor of fine taste, and aural epicure… if you will allow me yet another bombast flourish.

If you are free later on in the month of October come and visit us at the Borders Wedding Show.

Later on in November I’ll be holding a wine tasting event at our Catering Unit so get in touch if that’s something your interested in. There will be the chance to buy some very fine Wine and Malt Whiskey and even a few Craft Ales! Watch this space.

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.