Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

OMG can we really be half way through the year already? People are soon going to start mentioning the C word at this rate! On the positive side its almost time for Summer Holidays. I definitely need to get some Spanish Sunshine as the UK weather seems to think we are still in the middle of winter! Anyway, enough with the weather chat, time for a rundown of all the #foodieparcelsinthepost that Mr Postman and assorted delivery drivers have brought me in the last month.


Lets start with what has to be the most amazing organic beef that I have ever tasted. Silverside from The Hebridean Food Company. I roasted this with no additional flavours or seasoning and the taste was absolutely incredible. The beef is from Highland Cattle (the hairy ones with the horns) that are traditionally raised on an uninhabited island in the Scottish Hebridies. For 8 months of the year they graze on machair grasslands and shoreline seaweeds before they are moved inland to the sparse heather hills. The cattle are reared for 3 years, longer than industry standard and the resulting beef is dry-aged on the hook for 3-4 weeks. The company founded in 2014 by 24 year old Douglas Stewart, son of a lobster fisherman recently launched its range of organic beef and lamb which is available online alongside the existing range of Hebridean seafood products. Orders are shipped to the whole of the UK by dedicated 24hr courier to ensure freshness.


The Fabulous Bakers - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

The Fabulous Bakers boys have grown up and are now The Fabulous Bakers. A new name and a new ethos baking fabulous cakes, muffins, flapjacks and bars using only natural, honest ingredients and no artificial nonsense ever. Sounds like a winning formula to me, but is the taste still there? I was sent a selection comprising of Popcorn Bars, Berry Nice Muffins and Golden Oaty and Chip off the Old Block flapjacks. I'm a huge popcorn fan so wasted no time in trying an Apricot, Almond and White Chocolatey Popcorn Bar. Unfortunately I'm not much of a white chocolate fan and it was too sickly sweet for me and the popcorn was chewy rather than crunchy. I reckon Popcorn with milk or dark chocolate would be more my thing. The flapjacks were fab and as with all the products were individually wrapped which made them great for my kids to enjoy as break time snacks and in packed lunches.

McVities personalised Jaffa Cakes - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

Full moon, half moon, total eclipse. I can't eat a Jaffa Cake without thinking of the iconic advert. Could the cakes with the smashing orangey bit possibly get any better? A wee bit of personalisation wins me over every time. Check out the online McVities Sweeet Shop where you can choose from over 500,000 names, nicknames and popular greetings. A little tarsier told me that mugs and greeting cards will also be available soon. Personalised packs cost £2.49 each plus P&P of £2.50 per order. Be warned however that having your name on the outside doesn't necessarily mean you get all the contents. I only got two from the dozen. Life is so unfair. 

Urban Fruit - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

Hands up if you genuinely manage to eat your five a day. I must admit that I don't always make the magic number. Urban Fruit have developed a range of tasty treats that can help you on the way to target. There's no funny business, just pure gently baked fruit with no added sugar, oils, sulphites or concentrates. Perfect to munch on the move. My absolute favourite was the Tremendously Tropical bag which contains mango, pineapple, bananas and coconut. I've just read the PR blurb which says it comes in a larger bag so is perfect for sharing. Whoops. I managed it pretty sharpish all on my own. Of the individual fruits the Pineapple got my vote whilst Girl couldn't get enough of the Mango. The Cherries and Strawberries didn't float my boat but with 8 varieties there's sure to be one to suit all fruity tastes.

Global Ni Knife, Steamer Trading Cookshop - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

I've had this knife for less than a week but I absolutely love it. It's new and exclusive to Steamer Trading Cookshop and is from the prestigious market leading Global Knives UK. Steamer Trading are a 30 year old family owned business with 34 stores throughout the UK in addition to their online shop. They pride themselves on their wide range of expert cookware and staff who know their Santoku’s from their Sashimi knives. The Global Ni is the first new consumer range to come from Global in over 30 years, taking all the qualities from the original series and making them a little bit better. Heavier steel, thicker blade and a stronger bond between blade and handle. I found the Cooks Knife to be super sharp and unbelievably comfortable to use with great balance. It has a really distinctive and sleek look with its iconic Japanese styling. It's the first one piece knife that I've owned and I'm definitely converted. Prices are from £59.99 with an introductory half price offer on the 11cm Cooks Knife (fluted). 

The Treat Kitchen - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

My kids eyes lit up as I unwrapped the parcel from The Treat Kitchen. This small, family run, confectionery business has shops in Nottingham and Leicester as well as an online store. Their USP is the clear packaging which allow the brightly coloured treats to shine. We received a selection of their best sellers - Gourmet Jelly Beans, Radioactive Sours, Sweetshop Heros and Gourmet Chocolate Pizza. Love the packaging for the jelly beans and will definitely be reusing the wee milk bottles. Short work was made of the pizza by my chocoholic daughter and her face was a picture when she tried the radioactive sours. The sourness is unbelievably intense for the first 30 seconds or so. She had great fun challenging her friends to eat one in the playground. If you fancy trying out some old sweetshop classics, traditional rock, pizza with a twist or one of the 36 varieties of jelly bean you can used code FOODIE10 for a 10% discount at The Treat Kitchen.

Mackays Savoury Preserves - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

I'm a long time fan of Mackays range of preserves and have developed a couple of recipes for them, namely Bucks Fizz Breakfast Muffins and Marmalade Flapjacks. It was great to catch up with their Marketing Co-ordinator Claire at the Royal Highland Show and see their newly launched range of a dozen savoury products. I used both their Chilli Jam and Red Onion Marmalade in the Scottish Salmon Canapes I was making at the show and they went down a treat as tasters. Back home I've been trying out some more of the range. The chilli jam and jelly both work so well with cheese and give a nice kick to a toastie. The chutneys are all great flavour combinations, just a wee bit different from the norm and I can't wait to cook up a leg of lamb for a Sunday roast so I can try out the Mint & Rosemary Jelly.

Degustabox - Foodie Quine Reviews - Foodie Parcels in the Post - June 2015

The whole idea of foodie subscription boxes really seems to have taken off of late. I was sent the June Degustabox to try out which was full of picnic treats. The concept is that each month you will receive 9-14 items, many of which will be new to the market. I went straight for the Love Chin Chin. These are west African snacks that crunch like a biscuit and taste like a cake. Absolutely loved them, so moreish. The kids made off with the Pasquier Brioches as they are already big fans and we shared the Kallo rice cakes. Hard to believe that the ones topped with chocolate and caramel pieces are only 65 calories. None of us liked the Vybe Coconut Water but the Zeo low cal sparkling drinks were fruity and refreshing. I'm planning to use the Coconom organic coconut sugar in baking and the Melba Thins were great for lunch topped with guacamole. Alas I need to finish a course of medication before I can sample the Rekorderlig strawberry & lime cider but the Icycl vodka ice pop is waiting for me in the freezer. If you fancy trying a Degustabox yourself use code SKB0U to get a £3 discount, valid until 31/10/15




Is it really possible to get excited about inanimate objects like kitchen utensils? It is if they are from Oxo Good Grips. I've always had vegetable peelers with swivel blades, I just don't get on with fixed blade ones. Bad experiences with them in Home Economics lessons in the 80's. I've gone cheap and cheerful in the past but they really don't last. The Good Grips Y Peeler does the job perfectly. Easy to use, comfortable to hold and a super sharp blade. However its the garlic peeler that I'm truly smitten with. It's the best one I've ever used. Heavy duty, works on unpeeled cloves with just one squeeze and has a built in hole cleaner that actually works. You flip the handles back on themselves and it pushes out the leftovers. Both items are dishwasher safe and when I posted about them on Facebook other users shared stories about how long they lasted so I'm optimistic on that count too.


The last parcel in this months roundup is a bit of a teaser for a full review post to follow. I've always been intrigued by the concept of a Tefal ActiFry but though you could only use it for cooking chips and as such it wouldn't really be worth either the money or the worktop space. We've had it for a few weeks now and I'm still in the experimentation phase but as well as cooking up chips, potato wedges and sweet potato wedges I've also used it to cook chicken tikka, all using just a spoonful of oil. Watch this space for the results of my participation in the Actifryday Challenge with the Actifry Express XL. 


Disclosure : Thanks to The Hebridean Food Company, The Fabulous Bakers, McVities, Urban Fruit, Steamer Trading Cookshop, The Treat Kitchen, MacKays, Degustabox, Oxo and Tefal for providing the above products. I was not obliged to review positively in return. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post. 

If you're a brand who'd like to have your product featured here, please do get in touch claire@foodiequine.co.uk

Friday, 26 June 2015

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

I'm delighted to once again be teaming up with Mandy Tulloch of Mud Pies to hold a series of eight outdoor food, fun and foraging events in Aberdeen over the summer holidays. We're heading to Hazelhead Park in Week 3 for Campfire Banana Boats, then in Week 4 we're at Countesswells Wood for a Summer Blaeberry Bash. Booking is essential for all events so secure your prefered date and session by booking online at www.mudpieadventures.co.uk


Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Campfire Banana Boats
Get muddy and marshmallowed in the woods with Mud Pies & Foodie Quine

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Go bananas this Summer with Claire Jessiman, the Foodie Quine and Mandy Tulloch of Mud Pies and have fun making camp fire banana boats! Collect sticks for a camp fire, toast marshmallows, play in the woods and eat roasted chocolatey bananas. This might just be our gooiest event yet so come in clothes you don’t mind getting muddy and marshmallowed! 

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Tuesday 21 July – 10.30am to 12.30pm (2 – 5 years): 2pm to 4pm (over 5s) 
Wednesday 22 July – 10.30am to 12.30pm (2 – 5 years): 2pm to 4pm (over 5s) 

£8 per person - Booking essential - click on the session links above to book 

Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen – our secret wood. Meeting point – the small swing park on Groats Road, towards Hazlehead Academy. 

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Summer Blaeberry Bash

A family foraging blaeberry bash and some hands on jammy foodie fun with Mudpies & Foodie Quine 

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Join Claire Jessiman, the Foodie Quine and Mandy Tulloch of Mud Pies for a family foraging blaeberry bash and some hands on foodie fun in Countesswells Wood, Aberdeen. We’ll be foraging for blaeberries and other tasty wild treats, collecting sticks, lighting a camp fire, baking pancakes, making jam and toasting marshmallows. 

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen

Monday 27 July – 10.30am to 12.30pm (2 to 5 years): 2pm to 4pm (over 5s) 
Wednesday 29 July – 10.30am to 12.30pm (2 to 5 years): 2pm to 4pm (over 5s) 

£8 per person - Booking essential - click on the session links above to book 

Countesswells Wood, Aberdeen. Please note, the Forestry Commission charges £1.50 to park in this wood for 3 hours. 

Summer Holiday - Kids Outdoor Food, Fire & Foraging Events in Aberdeen


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Native by Nick Nairn at The Hilton Garden Inn, Aberdeen

A meal can be made all the more special by its surroundings. This doesn't necessarily need to be somewhere grand and imposing, it can just as easily be a BBQ on a remote beach or a picnic beside a loch. The National Trust for Scotland's Fyvie Castle does however definitely fall into the grand and imposing category. Its amazing 800 year old exterior protects a lavish Edwardian interior which is home to a superb collection of arms, armour and paintings, including works by Raeburn and Gainsborough. The castle's exquisite Gallery and interconnecting Drawing Room were recently the venue for "An Evening with Nick Nairn" a private dinner which I attended as Foodie Loon's plus one.


I had insider knowledge about the presence of a celebrity chef and fine dining experience however the rest of the diners were somewhat bemused by the copious amounts of cutlery and glasses, the absence of menus and an extra place setting at each table. All was revealed when Master of Ceremonies Robert Lovie introduced the special guest and host for the evening Mr Nick Nairn. During the evening Nick introduced each dish sharing its components and their provenance and moved around the tables after each course. 


A fantastic eight course dinner with matched wines was prepared and served by GH Event Catering. No mean feat at any occassion but with the limitations of a tiny kitchen three floors down in an 800 year old castle with sensitive smoke alarms it was some achievement to produce 50 perfect meals. We dined on an exquisite menu of:

Chilled Heirloom Tomato Consomme
Pan Roasted Sea Loch King Scallops
Guinea Fowl, Pineapple Sage & Prosciutto Balotine
Elderflower Water Ice
Highland Estates Venison Carpaccio
Roasted Sea Reared Trout Fillet
Lemon & Vanilla Pannacotta Egg Cup
Artisan Scottish Cheeses

For me the stand out dishes were the Tomato Consomme with warm cumin sable biscuit and the Venison Carpaccio with a medley of leaves from the secret herb garden, roasted parmesan and onion seed crackers and a rape seed oil vinaigrette. The presentation of all the dishes was impeccable and with a room full of engineers the hot topic of conversation was how were the fifty egg shells that the pannacotta desert was served in cut so perfectly?!


The following weekend we were again dining a la Nick Nairn. This time for a Father's Day Lunch in his Native by Nick Nairn Restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn on Aberdeen's St Andrew Street. The restaurant opened in November 2013 specialising in locally sourced steak and seafood using the best of what is available in the area. All of the menus are written by Nick and his executive chef Colin Halliday, with input from the chefs at the hotel. The atmosphere in restaurant and adjoining bar is informal and relaxed however it still very much has the feel of a hotel restaurant. The toilets are somewhat out of the way on a lower floor and best accessed via a lift, we ended up in the hotel car park trying to find them.


The Father's Day Menu at Native offered a choice of two courses for £19.95 or three for £23.95. This seemed good value for money and there was also a free pint for Dad. Although my children are now past the stage of requiring a kids menu I was very impressed by the choices on it. Proper food with the same freshness and provenance as the main menu. No indication of the price point for it though.


I started with the slow braised pork belly. This was absolutely melt in the mouth although I would have liked to have seen more crackling given that it was mentioned on the description. Round the table we also had Cullen Skink and Chicken Liver Parfait both of which were declared delicious and a request for additional toasted brioche was quickly met. The service throughout our meal was impeccable and the staff were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. 


For main I couldn't see past the Roast Rib of Inverurie Beef. Local provenance abounded with the beef in the restaurant coming from Davidsons Butchers of Inverurie and the Pork from Mossies. The beef was absolutely delicious as were the accompanying sides. It was however very pink which is exactly how I like it but I can appreciate that not everyone would and it was certainly an issue I overheard at another table. The whole plate of food could have done with being a wee bit warmer, it wasn't cold enough for me to consider sending it back but when I had a taste of my son's piping hot Gnocchi I realised just how cool my main was. His Wild Mushroom Gnocchi with Tarragon Cream and Aged Parmesan was absolutely outstanding. I am definitely going to try and recreate this at home. I dipped a forkful of my beef into the sauce at every opportunity. Girl had roast chicken which is her favourite meal so she was very happy. In general the presentation of all the starters and mains was good but not quite sure why they were all sprinkled with chopped parsley. I thought that practice had been left behind in the 80's.


Time for desert and despite girl saying she was stuffed full from her soup and chicken she managed to devour a White Chocolate & Raspberry Creme Brulee, as did boy. Foodie Loon opted for the Warm Marmalade Sponge with Drambuie Marmalade of Three Chimneys Fame. Very tasty but not very photogenic. I went for a delicious Pear Tarte Tatin with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. Cuppachio and Fudge rounded off the meal perfectly. Guests staying at the Hilton Garden Inn are in for a real treat when dining at Native by Nick Nairn, definately a cut above run of the mill hotel resturants. Locals would do well to check out this hidden gem of the granite city. It's located just off George Street where the old Bowling Alley used to be. Bet you know exactly where I mean now! Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for menu updates, special offers and events with Mr Nairn himself.




Disclosure - We dined at Fyvie Castle as guests of Subsea 7. Native by Nick Nairn invited us to review a complementary meal. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Rhubarb & Ginger Pavlova & A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

When it comes to BBQ you really have to strike when the proverbial iron is hot and the sun is shining. Forward planning never seems to work with the unpredictability of British weather. I slightly threw caution to the wind last Friday by planning a BBQ with friends for the Sunday. If al fresco eating wasn't going to be on the cards we could at least do the cooking outdoors and the eating indoors. Marks & Spencer provided me with a selection of goodies from their recently launched Tastes of The British Isles range (21st century twists on UK classics) so the main event was sorted but I needed a desert. I have long been coveting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and finally bit the bullet, splashed the cash and got myself one. The colour is Ice Blue and most importantly it matches my kitchen perfectly. Time to put it to good use.


Rhubarb & Ginger Pavlova



RHUBARB & GINGER PAVLOVA



Ingredients

4 Free Range Egg Whites
200g Caster Sugar

500g Rhubarb
50g Soft brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Stem Ginger Syrup
2 Balls Stem Ginger
600ml Double Cream
Rhubarb Curd (optional)
Crystallised Ginger to decorate (optional)

Method
Preheat your oven to 100c fan.
Place the egg whites in a large clean bowl and use an electric whisk or stand mixer at the highest setting to beat them until stiff.
Then add the sugar a teaspoonful at a time until it is all incorporated. 
Pipe or spoon your meringue onto a sheet of baking paper/silicone. Use a wee blob of mix to stick the sheet to the tray. 
Bake for 2 hours then switch off the heat and leave the Pavlova to cool in the oven.

Cut the rhubarb into chunks and place in a saucepan with the sugar, 3 Tablespoons of the Stem Ginger Syrup and two finely chopped balls of Stem Ginger. Cook over a gentle heat for approx 15 minutes until soft but not too mushy. Set aside an leave too completely cool.
Whip the cream into soft peaks. At this point I stirred through a few tablespoons of my homemade Rhubarb Curd plus a further Tablespoon of ginger syrup. Alternatively you could strain some juice off the rhubarb mixture and incorporate it.
Pipe or spoon the cream into the Pavlova base then top with the Rhubarb & Ginger mixture and finally decorate with crystallised ginger.

Pavlova Kitchen Aid

With pudding sorted it was time to get the BBQ goodies ready. I removed the stalks and stuffed Chestnut Mushrooms with Welsh Cashel Blue Cheese and wrapped Wye Valley Asparagus in Air Dried Cumbrian Style Ham. Both of these are firm favourites when we are barbecuing. I cooked the mushrooms on a Sizzle & Serve platter from Judge Cookware. I can see this durable cast iron platter with its heat resistant maple wood serving stand having a multitude of uses. It worked really well on the BBQ preventing any mushrooms or melted cheese slipping through the grill bars and keeping the food hot when serving. The final side dish was Sweetcorn Wheels. These came with a smoked paprika, lime and sour cream dressing which I completely forgot to add before serving. It's still sat in the fridge! 

M&S A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

Breads and condiments came next. We had Flatbreads, Ultimate BBQ Buns and PoshPuppies Rolls. The flatbreads were really good, particularly warmed on the BBQ before serving. Absolutely loved the brioche style PoshPuppies Rolls which were perfectly sized to match the PoshPuppies sausages. The Sweetcorn & Flameroasted Burger Relish was a big hit with both adults and kids. Being a Gin aficionado I couldn't resist the Cucumber, Gin and Mint Relish even although it is recommended for salmon & trout. I'll be giving it a more fuller fishy taste test in due course.

M&S A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

Pre BBQ nibbles consisted of multicoloured Best of British Potatoes Crisps which proved to be a really talking point. These were dipped in Cornish Cruncher & Apple Dip and Pea and Mint Dip. The pea and mint was vibrant and delicious and it's bowl was scraped clean. To wash everything down we quaffed on Sparkling British Apple & Cucumber Presse and British Elderflower & Cucumber Cordial. Both were fantastically refreshing and had a real taste of summer. I suspect a splash of the cordial would work really well in a glass of Prosecco. Our "desert wine" was a bottle of British Rhubarb & Ginger Presse. The perfect match for my Pavlova. The gorgeous green and cream tableware is the Eden range from Premier Housewares. Perfect for picnics and BBQ's as it's made of Bamboo so is light, durable and easy to clean. Much more stylish looking than plastic or paper plates and bamboo has inherent anti-bacterial qualities as well as being a renewable resource.

M&S A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

What is it with men when it comes to cooking on a BBQ? Don't lift a finger in the kitchen all year but become all cave man like and territorial when the sun comes out and they don an apron and brandish BBQ tools. With all the hard work done Foodie Loon was in charge of the cooking. The Cumberland Whorl with Apple, Cider and Mustard Glaze both looked and tasted impressive. The Chorizio Burgers had a real spicy kick about them which took you by surprise but made you want another bite. The PoshPuppies sausages were a great size and tasted really meaty. All the kids loved them too. I skewered Coconut Chicken Escalopes and Ginger Beer Chicken Escalopes along with slices of pepper and red onion. Always best to be extra careful with chicken to ensure its properly cooked through on the BBQ. I had a couple of Gefu Twinco BBQ Skewers from Haus which did the job really well. These have twin prongs so solve the perennial skewering problem of rotating food. They also have an integrated slider to easily remove the cooked food. No more battling with forks, fingers and red hot skewers.


M&S  A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

M&S A Taste of the British Isles BBQ

Rhubarb & Ginger Pavlova



On the day the weather really wasn't too bad. It could best be described as mixed with sunny spells. Too windy to sit outside but warm enough for all the kids to play out. The best part of the day typically came in the evening when all our guests had left. All the BBQ food went down really well with very little leftovers or cremated casualties and the Rhubarb  and Ginger Pavlova rounded things off perfectly. Fingers crossed for further al fresco dining opportunities in the coming months. That's assuming we actually get a summer this year! 



Judge Sizzle & Serve, Gefu Twinco Skewers
M&S A Taste of the British Isles BBQ
Eden Bamboo Tableware Premier Housewares

Disclosure - I was provided with BBQ food from Marks & Spencer, Eden Tableware from Premier Housewares, a Sizzle & Serve Platter from Judge Cookware and Gefu Twinco Skewers from Haus for the purposes of this post. All views expressed are my own. This is not a paid post.


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Saturday, 13 June 2015

A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette

La Belle Assiette is a French start-up that recently launched in London, through our website one is able to book a chef that will come to your home with all the ingredients they need to cook a delicious meal. They will cook in your kitchen, serve each dish to you and make sure the kitchen is left sparkling before leaving. Simply allowing you to enjoy the company of your guests.


How fantastic does that sound? When I was asked if I would like to host a test dinner for La Belle Assiette I entered my postcode into their website with some trepidation. Would a London based French company really have chefs in Aberdeenshire? I was thrilled to discover that they do with Rupert and Louisa who met while teaching at London's Leiths School of Food and Wine recently relocating to the area.

A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party

A date was chosen, menu provided and guests invited. Rupert gave me a quick call to introduce himself, confirm timings and ask a wee bit about my kitchen and what equipment I had available. I'm pretty well kitted out kitchen wise but no worries if your kitchen is on the small side. In that case the chef will prepare most of the work in advance and finalise the dishes at your home. Similarly if you lack any equipment the Chef will bring it. 

A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party

It felt rather surreal to be expecting guests to arrive for dinner but not having done any planning, preparation or cooking. I kept forgetting that it was happening! Pretty much all I had to do in advance was clean and tidy the kitchen (as much for the benefit of the chefs and photographer as my guests!!), look out cutlery and crockery and organise the drinks. 

AMUSE BOUCHE Flatbreads with beetroot, smoked mackerel and dill

AMUSE BOUCHE
Flatbreads with beetroot, smoked mackerel and dill

It was lovely to be able to spend time with my guests when they arrived rather than constantly popping back and forth to the kitchen to check on the food. Pre dinner drinks of Heather Mule from Tipplebox were quaffed and it was time to be seated at the dining table. Again it was a novelty to not have to sit in the chair that provided easiest access to the kitchen. As barman for the night Foodie Loon was of course positioned to give him best access to the drinks as Rupert & Louisa served up our dinner and introduced each dish. 

A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner partySTARTER Scallops with black pudding and cauliflower

STARTER
Scallops with black pudding and cauliflower



MAIN COURSE Chicken with Jersey Royals, asparagus and broad beans

MAIN COURSE
Chicken with Jersey Royals, asparagus and broad beans

A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party
A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party
DESSERT Creme caramel with Sauterne jelly and golden raisins

DESSERT
Creme caramel with Sauterne jelly and golden raisins




The whole meal was absolutely delicious and stunning to look at. A real fine dining experience in my own home. It worked particularly well because my dining kitchen gave a real chefs table experience. A little more interaction with chefs would have made the evening even more special and slightly more time between courses would have been better but the actual food could not be faulted. I did feel rather guilty when it came to the washing up. The promise from La Belle Assiette is that "your kitchen will be left sparkling". I had to sheepishly explain to Rupert & Louisa that unfortunately our dishwasher was broken and the repair man wasn't coming until Monday. I did however provide a pair of Marigolds. It's glamour all the way in the world of a private chef!


A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party
A stress free dinner party with La Belle Assiette, private chef, dining at home, fine dining, dinner party

Disclosure: We dined with La Belle Assiette at a discounted rate in return for providing feedback in order to validate the chefs.
All photos within this post are by Liana Mitrea Photography.