Had the Banker’s ’round last weekend for a full-on food fest, Orchard Cottage summer-style (photo gallery on Flickr). That meant lots of bread, salads and barbeque, plus echos of my past life in The City of London. Fortunately, business attire was optional, and most chatter about credit risk and portfolio analytics was quickly kiboshed by the universal compulsion to stuff our faces with food.
And really good food at that.
When my friends aren’t nerding out on data and hard maths, they’re busy honing their hearty, adventurous appetites and thirst for alcohol and karaoke. If I only had a microphone (or a New Zealander with an acoustic guitar – but that’s another story).
There were a lot of great moments last weekend, most of which which remain safely stored in our collective (though perhaps drunkenly forgetful) memories. I will share the food, though, and recipes where available.
Thanks for the help and company to all of my peeps, all of whom pitched to make the event a relaxed, convivial occasion for all.
And now, the menu, in all its glory…
- Bread – I made four loaves, including two sourdough loaves made with the new starter, one malted grain loaf and one seeded no knead white loaf. The winner, as always, was the no knead bread – a star among breads with a brilliant flavour and texture. Sourdough needs more practise.
- Hummus with Za’atar – Seemed a perfect pairing for the bread.
- Muhamarra – A roasted red pepper and walnut spread that is becoming a tradition at my BBQs; my friends demanded I make it and I couldn’t let them down. It goes with everything – bread, pickles, raw veggies, grilled veggies, sausages (I’m told). The recipe is from 101 Cookbooks.
- Veggies – Raw carrots, celery, broccoli. Nuggets of health and fresh variety, perfect for dipping in dips!
- Gherkins – Waitrose cornichons and onions, one of my faves as they aren’t sweetened.
- Crisps – Well, it was a BBQ after all.
- Cheese – Lok kindly brought some blue cheese along, more fodder for the bread.
Salads & Veg
- Jersey Royal potato salad – I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to make an American-style potato salad, with mayo and pickles and boiled eggs and all that jazz. But fearful of American recipes, I went for this one by Gordon Ramsay on timesonline.co.uk. I think it could have used more dressing, but overall I liked it, and we ate it all up.
- Cole slaw – A Shaw family recipe, and I’m told one of the highlights of the bbq. It’s simple: cabbage, spring onion, toasted sesame seeds, toasted flaked almonds, olive oil, cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper. Add dried Ramen noodles for a truly American effect.
- Chargrilled cauliflower salad – This Ottolenghi recipe was also well received, and rightfully so – I’ve made it before and I adore it! It’s also something interesting to do with veg on the grill, verses the usual portobello mushrooms or whatever.
- Eni’s famous salad – romaine, orange spring onion, salt. Another tradition at our parties – it’s just so fresh and delicious.
For the grill
- Steaks, sausages and chicken brought by my guests and prepared with flames and panache by Lok.
- Seabass, mackerel and prawns from New Wave Fish Shop.
- Corn – Another declared highlight, cooked on the grill with butter, salt and pepper.
- Peter’s apple and rhubarb crumble – He even brought his own crumble top. A secret recipe known only to Peter. Delicious.
- Ginger ice cream – A universally well-received ice cream I make using this recipe, which I realise is another Gordon Ramsay (swear I’m not a total Ramsay fan girl).
- Wine, and lots of it
Thanks again to the bankers for making this a wonderful weekend. I feel a new appreciate for my banker friends, having been reminded that they’re also chefs, comedians, photographers, nature-lovers, campers and great company. See you in autumn for the Orchard Cottage Apple Fest.