Saturday 19 September 2009

Lost Postcards from the edge: Part III

All SetAll set…

Hallloooo out there. Did you think I’d fallen into a vat of butter, flambéed myself to ashes, run off with the groom? A combination of work crises and computer meltdowns and, oh, life has kept me away from you all these past two weeks and I’ve been a very bad blogger. Smack me then read on.

The wedding was heaven - ankle-swelling-bone-achingly-exhausting heaven. The sun shone, the bride looked ravishing, the guests glamorous and the band’s tunes drifted over the trees into the woodland late into the night.

If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘Can you get a wedding for 140 into a mini?’, I’m here to tell you, you can. Lady de B picked me up at 5am the day before the Big Day in her shiny blue car. (When Sean was ill , she used to drive me back and forth to the hospital so often, we christened it ‘The Glambulance’, now I think it needs an altogether more festive name – ‘The Marriage Mobile’ perhaps?)

The passenger seat was pushed so far forward to accommodate pans and plates, wooden spoons, newly-sharpened knives and plastic spatulas, heart-shaped cheeses and wooden trugs of French butter, I had to take out my hair slide to give me a little more room. But this wasn’t all. We had to stop off at New Covent Garden Market to pick up the fresh produce. As we pulled up, the man at the gate did a double take and laughed. Laughed so hard he had to wipe his eyes. You can hardly blame him – the Marriage Mobile is about the size of one of the tyres on the huge refrigerated wagons he normally ushers into the market. Somehow, we managed to load trays of raspberries, boxes of herbs and two litre bottles of cream into every spare crevice. But we still had two trays of lemons. In the end, we crammed them into pans and bowls, tucked them into baskets of tea towels and jammed them into the glove compartment. But it still wasn’t enough. We were reduced to throwing them into the back and hoping the dear little things would find their own cosy nests. I’m convinced, months from now, Lady de B will be driving along and the last little citrus will roll forward into the foot well.

We arrived at Paula and Jack’s at 9am and the following 48 hours were some of the most exhausting, exhilarating and blissfully exciting of my life. I didn’t sit down for two days. It was wonderful. I loved it. Everyone else seemed to love it too. When can we do it again?

Here are some snapshots of the day. I just hope I didn’t get too much butter on the lens and they’re not too out of focus – there wasn’t much time for pictures in the middle of assembling all of the deliciousness, so I hope you’ll forgive me. In the coming weeks, I’ll share with you some more of the recipes, but for now I give you…

Paula and Jack’s Wedding Menu


Three crostini:
Potted mackerel, crème fraîche and dill;
Goat’s cheese, figs and Parma ham;
Roast butternut squash with feta and thyme

Muhamarra, roast red pepper and walnut dip, with crudités

Persian lamb meatballs with a mint and yogurt dipping sauce

Spinach, ricotta and pine nut filo parcels



Spit roasted hog and lamb

Marinated aubergines with tahini sauce and oregano

Roasted beetroot salad with feta and chervil

Green bean, mange tout, orange and hazelnut salad

Roast butternut squash with apricots and couscous

Green salad with vinaigrette

Sweet potato gratin with sage and crème fraîche

Minted new potatoes



Lemon posset with blackberries and lemon shortbread biscuits

Chocolate, raspberry and almond brownies



Cropwell Bishop Stilton

Heart-shaped Neufchatel cheese

Hawes Wensleydale

Pears, grapes and figs

Paula and Jack’s apricot and ginger wedding chutney


The marqueeBunting ahoy…

Mismatched vintage china Mismatched vintage china.

The top tableGorgeous scabious, roses and stocks mixed with herbs in little posies. Note the olives in vintage teacups and you can just see the jars of wedding chutney on everyone’s seat.

The kitchen Getting ready for the wedding. Our little army of helpers and ‘waiters in waiting’ in Paula and Jack’s kitchen.

The meat roasts The hog and lamb roast.

The buffet The buffet.

 Green bean, mange tout, orange and hazelnut salad Green bean, mange tout, orange and hazelnut salad.

 Marinated aubergines with tahini sauce and oregano Marinated aubergines with tahini sauce and oregano

 Roast butternut squash with apricots and couscous Roast butternut squash with apricots and couscous

 Roasted beetroot salad with feta and chervil Roasted beetroot salad with feta and chervil


  1. I’ve been longing for news of the wedding, and those images were certainly worth waiting for! The menu sounds fantastic. More images and some recipes please, as soon as you recover.

  2. You and Lady B are amazing, absolutely amazing! The menu is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Bravo! ~Mina

  3. Dearest D
    I heard the trailer and here is the main screening - this looks gorgeous, unique, individual, inspired. You and Lady de B are the most formidable team...
    No wonder you needed re-charge time...
    So well done...

  4. oh my
    oh my
    slice of heaven in those photos
    first i find the man
    then the money
    and i hire you, lady b and the marriage mobile
    hey, wait a tic
    just run over a good looking and kind enough bloke with the mini and we can go from there

  5. WOW!!! Where in the world have I been!? How have I missed these last few gorgeous posts? What an amazingly beautiful buffet and dining set up!! I am seriously bookmarking it for inspiration!! I have had several requests to cater weddings, but I'm far too chicken!! Really, really gorgeous :)

  6. What a gorgeous, elegant, fantastic feast!!! I want every single dish there...and I also love the mismatched china. It must have been an amazing evening.

  7. Fiona - Thank you so much - I'll do my best!
    Mina - Thanks, my dear. It was great to serve my favourite kind of food to such an enthusiastic audience.
    Mummy - It was great to work with Vanessa on such a big project. It made the hard work lots of fun.
    Lady P - You're on!
    Girlichef - You're too kind. I don't believe for one minute you're chicken, so I think you should take up some of those requests. It's tremendous fun.
    Catherine - Thank you! The china really looked so pretty and set the tone for the whole thing. None of the plates was very expensive, but in combination they looked terrific.


  8. Wow, what beautiful settings--love the mismatched china. The menu sounds heavenly. Best of luck to Paula and Jack.

  9. brilliant - looks absolutely gorgeous;

  10. A menu to die for -it looks stunning Debora - how brave you were to take it on, but then what a triumph.Julia would have been proud of you!
    Great to have you back on air - Avril x

  11. Darina - Thank you. I think people are tired of perfection, too much 'matchy matchy', it's soulless, boring. Imperfection is the new perfection.
    RRS - Well, darling girl, I hope I can provide just such a feast for YOUR wedding one day...
    Denise - Thank you so much.
    Miss Avril - And you too. Hope your back feels better.
    A Year on the Grill - It was delish and smelled heavenly!
    theundergroundrestaurant - Thanks so much. I'm CRAZY about your blog and am trying to pluck up the courage to do an underground restaurant in my kitchen one day soon.

  12. AT LAST (she yodeled like Etta James)...I ADORE these snaps and I kept thinking, if I ever got married again (which seems about as likely as the proverbial comet impact), I'll certainly ring you up and have you make it all go so swimmingly. Now, I must did your worries on the portions come out? Everyone staggering away from a groaning board happy as clams at high tide?

    Love, love, love,

  13. Hello Karen,

    Thank you, thank you. The portion thing worked out quite well. No one went hungry and I will not be eating leftovers at Halloween, so that's about right. And, by the way, look out for those comets...

    Big love, Dx

  14. Greetings from montenegro. I couldnt help but visit you. what an amazing feat. Congrats to you and lady de B. I look forward to catching up and reading more when I return home. I love how your experience although tiring was totally exhilarating for you. I hope some day to do the exact same thing. Congrats again.
    love mariana

  15. Hey Mariana! I am so touched you payed me a visit in the middle of your Montenegran odyssey. I hope your trip is everything you wish it to be. On a selfish note, I miss your posts. Lots of love, Dx


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