26 February 2012

PRIVATE DINNER PARTY, Grayshott, Feb 2012

I have started cooking for the Grayshott Gallette Dinner Club  on a regular basis on the last Saturday of each month,  being a brilliant opportunity  to cook some great food up for some hungry diners. Noel and his wife Michelle waited on the tables and helped in the kitchen along with their daughter, Ellie. I received great positive feed back on some delicious dishes so I was really pleased with the whole event. We will be continuing to work together to promote what has become a brilliant Dinner club in Grayshott, East Hampshire. 



Smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh chives, granary toast, 
Bruschetta: Cranberries, orange, crumbled Stilton ,
  Sticky sweet chilli King prawns in filo, with pastry, fresh coriander.

To Start:
Tian of crab & avocado with pink grapefruit and chervil dressing.

To Savour:
Roasted breast of free range chicken, wrapped in smoked pancetta,, 
stuffed with asparagus mousseline, white wine and cream sauce. 
Buttered new potatoes, glazed carrots, savoy cabbage.

To Delight:
Freshly made warm plum and ginger bake well tart,
 Vanilla creme Anglais, caramelized plums.

Noel and Ellie Reidy

Grayshott Gallette Dinner Party, December
Grayshott Gallette Dinner Party, January
Grayshott Gallette, Dinner Party February
Grayshott Gallette, Dinner Party March 
Grayshott Gallette Dinner Party, April 
Grayshott Gallette Dinner party, May

22 February 2012

PRIVATE DINNER PARTY, James and Sharon Sothcott

I cooked for Sharon and some of her friends for a "Girls night in" a few weeks ago and it was great to be asked back to cater for Sharon and James together for New years eve. Also attending were Jules and Sue Porter who recommended me to cook for Sharon the first time round. Jules and Sue did the photography for our wedding, making a lasting impression as such a great friendly couple, taking fantastic quality modern photographs and producing the most amazing job of our album that we have stayed friends since then. 

I have been looking forwards to cooking tonight for a good while as we came up with a very special menu, including six courses, with my utmost favourite of fillet of beef Wellington appearing as the star main-course.


Caramelised figs, Dolcalatte, balsamic, cinnamon,
Goats cheese, blush tomato, olives, filo pastry,
Crispy duck spring roll, sticky sweet chilli sauce.

x x x 

Cream of parsnip and apple soup, parsnip crisps.

x x x 

Grilled asparagus spears, Parma ham, Bearnaise sauce.

x x x

Saute King prawns, chorizo, chilli and garlic butter.

x x x 

Raspberry and pink champagne sorbet.

x x x

Fillet of beef Wellington, red wine gravy.
Dauphinoise potatoes, roasted chantaney carrots, winter greens.

x x x

Chocolate and cinnamon tarte, fresh raspberries, raspberry coulis.

I arrived just before 6:00p.m with my lovely wife to set up with James and Sharon greeting us very warmly and we were all looking forwards to the evening. As I had cooked for Sharon before, I was familiar with the kitchen and got things organised fairly quickly with the help of my wife. I cater for most Dinner parties on my own so it was great to have the extra hand. Canapes went out about 7:00p.m, which went down very well and we were in good stead for the remaining courses.

The whole evening went exceptionally well, with lots of great feed back from the guests. The whole group had a fantastic atmosphere and everyone was in the party mood. Karen and I joined the table for a celebration drink and it was really brilliant to be involved with the evening as much as we were.  After the dinner was finished we stayed on afterwards and it was a brilliant way to see the new year in. I look forwards to cooking for James and Sharon again as I had such  a rewarding night.

"It was an amazing night Gary and Karen, what a great team you are, the food was the best yet and I predict not the last time we all get together, top night with great food and beautifully presented. Thank you" Jules and Sue Porter

"It was a top evening thanks, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The food was amazing and everyone is raving about it"James Sothcott 


I evoke so much passion and pleasure from my cooking and I love to share  it with as many people as possible,  bringing smiles to their faces simply by providing amazing food.  I am always willing to travel to do so and my latest Private Dinner Party was in London to celebrate Joel's 21st Birthday Party. It was great to meet and cook for a fantastic bunch of people who made me feel very welcome in their home and who really appreciated their food.

Simon initially contacted me over the telephone after finding my blog on line and from there, Rebecca and I worked together to build a menu that would suit their occasion. I have been looking forward to the event for the past few weeks and was especially buzzing nearer the time, when I got down to starting the food preparation on the day. 

My wife came to help me as we had a fantastic menu planned and I could definitely do with the extra help. I also had a photographer friend arranged to come with me to give a hand and to take some great photos in the process. Stuart Webster is a very keen food photographer and I have been looking forwards to working with him for a while as he has taken some great photos which I know will bring out the best in my food.

I arrived about 5:30p.m with my lovely wife to set up, with the canapes to be ready for 7:00p.m. It was the first time I had met the hosts as all our menu planning had been done either via telephone or email. I was welcomed very warmly with a cup of tea and both Simon and Rebecca were really friendly which set the tone for all the other dinner guests to come later. 

It was another new kitchen for me to work in which can be tricky but I got my head down and was just about on time when everyone started to arrive. The canapes went down really well and we were in good stead to go with the starters, which again received warm compliments. The rest of the evening went down fantastically, with all the diners being great sports and enjoying their food and champagne. Rebecca had worked really hard to pick a menu that would be well received all round, giving thought to her brother Joel, who's birthday it was. It certainly paid off as I was personally thanked by all, which really made the evening. 

The full menu is below, with some amazing pictures to go with it. I look forwards to another event where I can get to cook such a great menu again.



Saute King prawns, chorizo, chilli, garlic, fresh coriander.
x x x
Caramelised figs, Parma ham, cinnamon, balsamic, honey.
x x x
Crisp fried calamari, fresh chilli, spring onion, sea salt, mango and lime mayo,

To Begin:

Carpacio of seared beef fillet, rocket leaves, cracked black pepper, lemon juice, truffle oil.
Carpacio of tuna, roasted sesame seeds, oriental salad, lime, wasabi crème fraiche, soy.

Main Course:

Trio of Gressingham duck,
Seared breast, soy and honey glaze,
Confit of duck shank, redcurrant and rosemary infused gravy,
Crispy shredded duck roll,
Whole sea bass, blush tomatoes, rosemary and garlic,
Lemon and white wine butter sauce.

Served with:
Truffle scented mashed potatoes,
Roasted chantaney carrots,
Saute tender stem broccoli and pak choi.

To Finish:

Trio of desserts:

Vanilla and honeycomb crème brulee, tuille biscuit,
Chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream,
Toffee apple crumble, chilled vanilla custard, caramel sauce.

"I cannot thank you enough for last night. The food was amazing, every person complementing you and the food" 
Rebecca Bowman

Thank you soooo much Gary, the food was beautifully presented as well as  delicious.  All your staff were so lovely and friendly and gave a great service. It was very special to have it in our home and made it feel an exceptionally wonderful evening. Thank you so much, 
Annabel Bowman x 

18 February 2012

PRIVATE DINNER PARTY, Andy and Issy Feltham

My latest dinner party was for some good friends of ours whom I am doing the wedding catering for this June. I tailored the menu to include some of their favourite dishes, the occasion tonight being Andy's brother's birthday. I took all the ingredients with me to their house along with all my cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. It was great to meet Andy's parents, his brother and his partner. The atmosphere was nice and relaxed and I was able to set up in the kitchen quite quickly. 


Freshly baked tomato, basil and cheddar loaf,
Fresh herb butter.

x x x 

Crispy shredded beef salad, 
Julienne of spring onion, red pepper and carrot, sticky sweet chilli sauce.

x x x 

Pan roasted duck breast, 
Truffle scented mash, glazed chantenay carrots, saute green beans, rich redcurrant gravy.

x x x 

Trio of desserts,
White chocolate chip and fresh minted cheese cake,
Lemon brulee,
Honeycomb and vanilla ice cream with ginger tuille biscuit.


Italian themed menu    
To start;
Bruschetta with roasted red pepper and tomato salsa
Sliced Parma ham, dressed with olive oil, Parmesan shavings and blush tomatoes.
Mozzarella, black olive, tomato and red onion salad
Rocket leaves with basil pesto 
Freshly made granary bread, blush tomatoes and Parmesan.

Free range chicken breast,
Stuffed with blush tomatoes and mozzarella, wrapped in Parma ham and puff pastry.
Roasted cherry tomato and basil sauce.

Served with:
Italian style rosemary roasted potatoes,
Glazed chantenay carrots and saute baby spinach leaves with garlic.

To follow:
Trio of desserts,

Chocolate and orange Tiramisu, with coffee and Amaretto cream,

Lemon and raspberry pannacotta,

Chocolate and roasted hazelnut brownie.

My latest dinner party was for Nikki Connolly, celebrating her birthday. Her husband, Gary, had contacted me to arrange the menu a while back and wanted to have it as a surprise for Nikki's guests. The great thing for me was that Gary had contacted me through friends of his that I had previously catered for, so I was really pleased that my services were recommended.

Gary and Nikki had browsed through my website and blog to gain some inspiration for their menu choice. Once the theme of an Italian style menu was confirmed, I came up with some bespoke menus which I forwarded on. I was really pleased with the menu choices when they were finalised and I had a few weeks to plan ahead the logistics.

I planned to arrive about 6:00p.m which would give me about an hour to set up and half an hour before Nikki's guests were scheduled to arrive. I arrived in Portsmouth on schedule, which is about half an hour from my house and I was welcomed at the door and led to the kitchen. It was left very clean and tidy for me and I had a shelf reserved for me in the fridge which was great. I set up fairly quickly in the kitchen and I then laid up the table with cutlery and napkins.

It wasn't long before all the guests had arrived. They were all very friendly and They relaxed in the lounge while I continued in the kitchen with a glass of lemonade, kindly poured for me by the hostess. I laid out the starters buffet style in the middle of the table so it was a very relaxed way to begin the dinner. I was pleased that the ladies had an appetite and it wasn't long before I cleared down and started plating up the main-course. This was well received and I carried on back to the kitchen to put the finishing touches to the desserts.

After all the food had been served, I was really pleased with the way the evening had gone and welcomed the positive feed back from my diners. I really love to cook and take a lot of pride in all my dinner parties and this was no exception as I had a great evening cooking for some really fun and friendly people.

Granary bread, blushed tomato, parmesan and fresh basil.

Ciabatta bruschetta with roasted pepper salsa.

Mozzarella, red onion, tomato and black olive salad.

Parma ham, dressed with blush tomatoes and olive oil.

Rocket leaves, dressed with basil pesto and parmesan shavings.

Stuffed chicken breast

Trio of desserts.

"Nikki had a great night and would like to say thanks again. We will definitely have you back for another event"  Quote from Gary Connolly