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
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
Pears, grapes and figs
Paula and Jack’s apricot and ginger wedding chutney