I think everyone has a secret and sometimes not so secret pleasure.
Mine is Eating. I love to eat.... I love the taste of pretty much anything and eveything... I love the new experiences, the old ones, the refreshers, the good, the bad, the rough, the smooth, the wet and the dry.
Many people that I know and indeed perhaps some clients of mine would tell you "Rachel just loves to cook", "Rachel is happiest in the kitchen", "Rachel is clearly driven by recipes and cooking". In some ways they are not wrong... there are always several ways of looking at things, this is society, this is how we roll and as for all people, I have clients that really know me and I have clients that I really know - rarely do the two meet.
The reality is that I love to eat - I love to dine out and I adore being cooked for - whatever it is, no matter how grand or how simple..... food is always a present, its exciting and a surprise. Following a recipe once is fun because the result is a surprise... the whole process is an adventure and it should be interesting and exciting. What I hate is bad food, careless cooking and a absence of immagination. The surpression of ingredients. What really find abhorent is a lack of surprise, the mundane and the "beige", beige taste. Yuk! This is what dragged me into the kitchen......
Many Chefss will tell you that they were drawn to food, that they have been obsessed by food for their entire lives, that their mother was an amzing cook and that they have fond childhood memories of wafting fresh bread, chicken roasts and their Mum's 'special gravy'.
They will then go on to tell you that they were naughty children who didn't like school - that their father was a monster and that they struggled with discipline or that they 'weren't very academic' or that they saw a way out of their environment....or another similar such story..... you get the vibe.
I fell into cooking and despite this being my full time profession for the last ten years, I never feel established, not only because I am poor financially but I still feel 'undecided' and under established within in my cooking repatoire.
Everything still feels new and fresh and like a brand new challenge. What to decide to cook, how to make the dish, will the client like it? Where shall ige tthe ingredients from....how can I impress.... or simply try to please.....???
I guess this means that I still enjoy my work and as the old Confucious quote goes "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life". I did not actually choose cooking... it sort of chose me......And it still does.... every long single day. I wish I could do something easier, I wish I could follow a more conventional path and I wish that I could conform to a different way of life. But I cant. I am addicted to the pressure, the burden for flavour, the relentless chasing of creativity, the travel and the praise. Each time has to be better than the last and always different from the last.
Now, here in lockdown, I realise how much I miss my career, my vocation, my purpose and I know I am not alone. 'Cooks' cook for the sake of it.....'Chefs' cook for the excitement of the adventure and every, single, dish is a brand new trip. Have you ever wondered why there were so many drugs in the kitchen? And, indeed, why so many chef's stay in the kitchen long after the drugs left? Because we are all Junkies.....it's just a matter of finding the bigger buzz and for most of us the dish is the drug and the Pass is the 'line' to our brand new high.
I am piling on weight faster than a turkey before christmas because I can't bear to waste food and I can't bear not cook every day. It's an addiction you see and a sort of worship that must be practised every day. I have a freind who is an artist and now, thank god, she teaches art and artistic prectices to a group of willing students. Gosh they are lucky. She says that every person has an artisic streak within them and that if it isn't 'watered' properly, whatever that streak may be, that part of us will wither and die.
Cooking is my art and if I don't check in once a day then I am simply existing..... do you see? Atheletes I'm sure are the same... A good number of my freinds are professional Three Day Event riders and I know that they would agree.... Our jobs are not just jobs and professions...they come from our cores. If we don't check in every day then we are simply existing....this is not a good state for any 'junkie'.
You see the predicament.....? Ive just taken my lovely terrrier for a long walk around a deserted Hyde Park...... just as I was thinking that this is something we could do early every morning, he tore off a claw and will now be confined to barracks for a few days...... and so the weight piling continues as now I have even more time to create and then.....yep.... youve got it....EAT!
I only started cooking because it seemed to be where the interesting people hung out. I'd become addicted to restaurants in my mid to late teens when I started dating a wonderful man who introduced me to them. After a few years of working a number of different jobs I was fortunate enough to make it into the kitchen. And not just any kitchen....... We will come to that over the next few days...... if you want.....
Now, yesterday was my birthday and my good friends of the world all took great care and significant notice of the day and went to extraordinary lengths so that I could feel cherished...... and I did.... The last year of my 30's significantly waved off and I am now into my 40th year on the planet.... oh dear.....please GOD make it better than the last few weeks......
Coronavirus or no Coronavirus there has been time for some signifiacnt reflection in the Bates Household, as to how one has been living one's life and I can assure you, I'm not entirely delighted with the contents of that Pan. Changes must be made. These are not just 'strange times' for now.... these 'strange times' are going to be here for some time to come.....it isn't as if we can all wake up one day and things will be back to normal; the economy is fucked and will be for some time... globally.... and whilst the government have taken extraordinary measures to support us all through this time - I think it really is extraordinary, thank goodness and the great British public for voting for our wonderful Boris - at some point that 'bill' will have to be settled. Am I the only that feels that we have gone from a 'care-free' existence straight into an ALMOST 'war-time' existence? A frozen economy, mass unemployment, strained national health service and rising national debt? These are foreign times for my generation and the one before and the one after maybe...... Initially, i think that many of us felt that this would be like 2008.... sadly, I fear this is worse. This isn't just one arm of the global economy that has made a 'mistake'. We are all in crisis. People are dying, health care professionals cannot cope and the pandemic rages on.
So in true 'Rachel' fashion....... I have decided to eat! To cook and to eat until my money runs out (probably next week) and to share my Corona Cupboard experiences with you......God I hope you can bear it!!
Fresh off of the list from two days ago's supper was simply a handful of contents from the bottom drawer (the veg drawer) of the fridge. I quickly cooked some freekah in a small pan - only a tiny amount - a small handful and got that going. In another pan I cooked off some mushrooms, some cavallo nero, some brocoli stalk ~(diced) and at the last mintue I added a bunch of Spinach. In addition to this I added some fennel seed, english mustard, soy and chilli. Once cooked I drained the freekah, seasoned the grains and mixed it all together.......I was then very naughty and had this with some delicious chipolatas from waitrose that I found in the back of the freeezer! Bloody YUM!! Now, that isn't such an unhealthy supper, it could be served with fish, lamb or chicken or even the dreaded TOFU if you must. The important thing for me was, that this dish is mine.....I invented it, the flavours worked, it looks fresh and clean and I would have happily delivered it, as part of any dish, to any one of my clients at any level. If all of those boxes are ticked... then I feel the 'dish' wins and gets to be blogged...do you see? Its not actually quite as straightforward as blithering on to you about what I simply decided to eat? Where would be the fun in that for either of us? Im not a cook you see....but A CHEF.......
Originally I had planned to have the freekah salad with confit duck legs but I changed my mind...... that shall be tonight's treat!
As of tomorrow my birthday cake will have gone - delivered to people far more deserving, (and thinner), than me and I will be on a very strict diet and closely monitoring my weight. There will be recipes to reflect this and I am going to use it as an experiment to see IF my own personal low sugar and low carb recipes can work.
For the hoarders of you out there this blog update and rescue recipe file is not for you.... please turn away now.
For the rest of you struggling with the daily menu variety and perhaps having a hard time managing to get the ingredients that you want in order to follow more traditional approaches to cooking then we may be able to help you create delicious and nutritous menus for you and your familes.
For ten years now I have been working as a private chef all over the world, (well, im not actually that grand - lately I travel more... but I want you to listen to me!!) and the biggest thing I find that my clients like is something new. They want something created especially for them.....something that their guests and themeselves have never had before and is entirely bespoke to them and I, for one, get that.
What is the point of eating the same food made from the same recipe over and over again.... unless of course, that is what you would like and in which case, to all potential new clients out there (she writes hopefully), I am more than happy to oblige for the most suitable and "corona - related", reasonable fee!
Any scooch - lets not bore you to death.....
Walking into the kitchen with the entire family at home either working from home, children not at schoool, is perhaps becoming quite daunting and not to mention infuriating a you disvover that your precious stash of treats and ingredients have been raided, yet again. For this I am here to help.... each day I am going to put on here a recipe that is made from limited, mainly fresh, readily available ingredients that can be simply put together to make a delicious and intersting, varied feast!
To warn you all now, if you are after specific instructions then this blog is not for you.............
This is for people who are a little dare devil, who are a little carefree.... for those who aren't going to flood me with emails that strart off "dear Chef.... should I roast the chicken for 15 or 17 minutes and shoul I alter the temp when I reheat it? How much salt? How long shall I blitz it for? How long shall I boil it for? I'm afraid
I just dont have the temperatment for all of you accurate people out there..... you will all, sadly, i apologise in adveance, be subjected to, my universal, blanket response of "unitl its done!"
So - to the point - I feel that I am in quite a lucky position in central London with my little dog, "Stanley", who keeps me smiling and because I have access to a local market, from which I can get supplies...fresh supplies. I do feel for those of you who aren't so fortunate but fear not - we have some recipes to the rescue and they are NOT expensive. Stanley and I have limited ourselves to shopping only once a week... as per the government guidelines and as money is tight currently, we are trying to be frugal.
Our recipe today is a typical "thrown together" dish but it was utterly delicious... unusually I am using Pasta - not something I generally have around but tomorrow is my birthday and as I will be eating cake and chocolate I have jumped off of the "no-carb" wagon early as a wee treat....
So get the spaghetti water on and the spaghetti in...... salt and a dash or olive oil - get it going. In another pan melt some butter and add your sliced mushrooms with some seasoning (to your taste) and get them cooking..... i then add a few cilli flakes to mine to add flavour and a bit of heat.... I then add to the mushrooms sliced broccoli stalk - waste not want not - and they are very good for you. Once the pasta is 2-3mins off being done throw in the broccoli heads to the same water and get them going..... The add edamame beans to your mushrrom pan (from Frozen, they will quickly thaw) and then throw in the spinach... at this point I re-season and add a dash of soy sauce, a spoon of Tahini and a dribble of chilli oil - up to you..... this doesn't take very long.... turn off heat and leave in the warm pan. Quickly drain pasta and broccoli and then toss it all in the mushroom Pan for a quick flick about before serving!
Boom! Utterly yum, packed full of antioxidents and vitamins and CHEAP and simples!! Also - if you are vegan this can be done with coconut oil instead of the butter - not that I condone veganism at all but it is your choice!
WOOD FARM PIGS
A word from Head Swineherd, Rupert Mayo…
“Let’s get one thing straight – our pigs live happy stress-free lives and are fed a balanced diet. We grow pumpkins, marrows and apples to give the pigs variety and something to crunch. They root around for the pellets we feed them with their snouts, rather than being fed from a hopper controlled by a computer. This is bound to be reflected in the meat that they give us. And people have told us that it is totally delicious and a far cry from the tasteless, dry, pale pink stuff offered in supermarkets.
Our pigs are ‘rare breed’ animals. We cross a Saddleback onto a Gloucester Old Spot. Cynics say that they are ‘rare for a reason’ and that is because it is thought that everybody prefers their meat with no fat on it. If you are buying for the first time, you may find that there is quite a lot of fat on the meat before it is cooked. But this is the secret of truly delicious pork because the fat runs away as the meat is cooked, keeping it flavoursome and juicy. Ever wondered why crackling is so hard to achieve with ‘joints from modern’ breeds? You need a layer of fat between the lean meat and the skin to get that dark, salty, crunchy cracking. Put the lard to one side, as our mothers used to do, at the side of the stove.”
THE ORIGINAL BREAKFAST SAUSAGE
Approximately 96% fresh pork with a little seasoning. Simple. Our customers have described them as “utterly delicious”, “amazing”, “best we’ve ever had”, “coarse cut and not over seasoned". Six in a tray
£4.50 per tray (approx. 500g)
Little brother to the Original. Perfect with your Christmas goose or turkey.
£5.00 per tray (approx. 500g)
GLUTEN FREE RANGE:
THE RUTLAND PORKER:
Designed for the BBQ. A thicker longer banger with a little herb in the mix.
There are four in a pack. Totally delicious and meaty, but gluten free.
£4.50 per tray (approx. 500g)
THE RUTLAND PIGLET:
Mini Chipolatas perfect for canapes, snacks and pigs in blankets – gluten free.
£5.00 per tray (approx. 500g
THE JALEPENO PEPPER:
A runaway success! This aromatic banger has a delightful smoky taste, with a kick of chilli and garlic. Perfect for supper on a cold evening with a good glug of rioja
£4.50 per tray (approx. 500g)
Both original and Gluten-free sausage meat is available in 500g packs
£4.50 per tray
Boned and rolled leg joints (approx 2 - 3 Kg) - serves 6 - 8 with perfect crackling
Each joint is vacuum packed & priced
£9.00 per Kg
We have repeatedly sold out of this delicious unsmoked, rindless back bacon over the year.
Sliced and Vac-packed into 500g batches
£15.00 per Kg
Local delivery free. For all others, an overnight courier charge of just £15 applies (your order will arrive safely and securely packed with ice)
Phone: 07778 350500
French Onion Soup, Welsh Rarebit, Tomato and Caper Concasse
Mascarpone and Gorgonzola cheesecake, Smoked Chicken Breast, Beetroot chutney, Mandarin
Soft Shell Crab, Cucumber Carpaccio, Sesame and Ginger Dressing
Tempura Smoked Haddock, Sweetcorn and Caper Fritter, lemon shallot
Ham Hock Terrine with Escabeche of Pickled Baby Vegetables
Smoked Chicken Waldorf, Cucumber Carpaccio, Grapefruit
Tuna Ceviche, Mango & Tomato Salad, Wasabi dressing (mint and avocado)
Chicken Popcorn, Cracked Black Pepper waffle, Pancetta crisps, Greek yoghurt, Pesto
Griddled Asparagus, Loch Smoked Salmon, Poached Hen’s Egg, Hollandaise
Gruyere and Sage fritters, Smoked Eel, Pickled baby vegetables
Pan-seared Scallops, Black Pudding and Chorizo Hash brown, minted Pea Puree
Wild Mushroom and Blue Cheese Bubble & Squeak cake, Poached Hen’s Egg, Beetroot Relish
Crayfish, Loch Smoked Salmon and Avocado salad, Alfonso Mango
Pan-Seared Pidgeon Breast, Fig, Pancetta & Chicory Salad, Toasted Cashews
Chicken Liver Parfait, Spiced Figs, Raisin Sourdough
Chargrilled Vegetable Terrine, Baby Mozzarella, Pesto
Pan Seared Tiger Prawns, Garlic & Chilli Butter, Coriander
28 Day matured Rib of Beef, Dauphinoise Potato, Baby Vegetables, Porcini Red Wine reduction, Onion Rings.
Fillet of Beef, Fondant potato, Madeira jus, Fine green Beans
Daube of Beef Forrestiere, Roasted Baby Vegetables, Potato Galette
Braised Shin of Beef, Turnip Stew, Kale Mash
Rib eye steak (28 day matured), Portobello Mushroom, Pommes Frites, Stilton Butter, Homemade Onion rings
Sirloin Steak, Tomato & Mozzarella salad, Squid Rings, Pommes frites
Beef Wellington, Dauphinoise Potato, Porcini Red Wine Reduction
Steak Tartare, Hand cut Chips, Harissa
BBQ Beef Ribs, Sweetcorn, Red Pepper & Maple Smoked Bacon Macaroni, Watercress Leaves, Celeriac Remoulade
Oxtail & Shrimp Ravioli, Consommé
Sun dried Tomato, Pancetta & Belly of Pork salad, Lebanese cous cous, Rocket and Spinach leaves
Pork Tenderloin, Sage and Cracked Black Pepper Mash, Mushroom-Marsala Sauce
Slow Roast Belly of Pork, Creamed leeks, Black pudding bon bon, Pommes puree
“The Greedy Pig” Smoked Ham Hock, Belly of Pork, Liver and Leek Sausage, Escabeche, Rosti
BBQ Pulled pork, Onion Crisps, Asian Slaw, Sweetcorn Fritters, Avocado & Tomato Salsa
Rack of Lamb, Rosemary and Pomegranate salt crust…Mint, Feta and Black Olive Tabbouleh, Edamame
Rump of Lamb, Parmesan Risotto, Roasted garlic shallots, pan juices
Shoulder of Lamb, Celeriac gratin, Mint, Asparagus with 3 Beans, Pomegranate
Rump of Lamb, Jersey royals, Pea & Elderflower Puree, Redcurrant jus
Lamb cutlets, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Ratatouille, Spinach & Almond Pesto
BBQ Whole Leg of Lamb, Tomato and Pomegranate Concasse, Coriander and Avocado Quinoa, Tzatziki
BBQ Lamb Ribs, Rosemary, Garlic & Sage rub, Curried Parsnip Puree, Pomegranate, Mango & Mint Salsa
Duck Breast, Puy Lentils, Parsnip Puree, Pancetta and pickled red cabbage
Smoked Duck Ravioli, Porcini Mushrooms, Poached Hen’s Egg
Barbury Duck Breast, Potato, Broad Bean & Samphire Salad, Warm Bacon Dressing
Duck Breast, Brussel, Chicory & Smoked Bacon Salad, Parsnip Chips
Confit Duck Leg, Poached Savoy Cabbage, Parsnip Puree, Sauerkraut
Spatchcock Poussin, Chilli Jam, Garlic Flatbreads
Crispy Wing-Tipped Breast of Chicken, Bubble and Squeak Cake, Poached Hen’s Egg
Parmesan & Ricotta stuffed Breast of Chicken, Jersey Royals, Creamed Leeks & Sun-dried Tomatoes
Wild Salmon, Langoustine, Pickled Vegetables
Pan Seared Fillet of Seabass, Minted Pea Puree, Charred Spring Onions, Samphire and Radish
Sesame Seared Tuna Steak, Soy, Chilli & Ginger dressing, Cucumber Carpaccio, Beetroot and Radish Salad
Roasted Monkfish Tail. Jersey Royals, Romanesc, Pancetta
Relish Bespoke Catering
For Delivery or Collection
Sweetheart Supper at HomeBook now before the 12th of FebruaryDinner for Two……………. At home!! All you have to do is pop in the oven and light the candles!!
Please choose from the following:
Baked Whole Camembert with garlic, rosemary and thyme oil, sundried tomato bread
Thai fishcakes, Mixed leaves, Mango and Chilli Salsa
Antipasti selection, Dry cured meats, Olives, Mozzarella
Wing tip Breast of Chicken, Tomato, Chorizo and Butterbean Stew
Beef Wellington, Dauphinoise potatoes, Roasted vegetables, Crispy Pancetta, Red Wine Jus (+ £10)
Crispy Belly of Pork, Kale Mash, Creamed Leeks, Savoy Cabbage
White Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse, Raspberry coulis and Mixed Berries
Treacle Sponge, Treacle Sauce Strawberries and Custard
Caramel centred Chocolate Mousse, Butter shortbread, Velvet coating
£35.00 PER PERSON
Tel: 07525623384 or 01572 868523
RELISH BESPOKE CATERING
IN YOUR FREEZER
All dishes can be ordered in portions of 1,2,4 or 8
Please add £3.00 for extra portions
Luxury Fish Pie, Scottish Salmon, Smoked Haddock, Tiger Prawns, Roasted Scallops, Spinach, Hard Boiled Eggs, Creamed Mashed Potato
Moroccan Lamb Tagine, Apricots, Butternut Squash,
Cinnamon and Ras el-hanout
Handmade Meatballs in a Rich Rustic Tomato Sauce with Garlic, Thyme,
Basil, Dill and Cumin
Traditional Lasagne, 100% British Beef, Creamy Parmesan Sauce, Tender sheets of Pasta
Braised Oxtail Stew, Carrots, Parsnips and Basil Dumplings
Shepherd’s pie made, Local Launde Lamb Mince, Crunchy Carrots, Creamed Mashed Potato
Beef Bourguignon, Chuck Steak, Baby Onions, Field mushrooms, Pinot Noir
Moussaka, Spiced Minced Launde Lamb, Toasted Aubergine, Parmesan Egg Custard
Relish Macaroni Cheese, Made with Lincolnshire Poacher, Mascarpone and
with or without Smoked Bacon Lardons
Vegetarian Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Lasagne
Ultra Crispy Belly of Pork
Slowly Braised Red Cabbage
Roasted Winter Vegetables
To order please text 07525623384 or email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the enquiry form on our website www.relishbespokecatering.uk