I can hardly believe it. Another catering job’s finished and once again, I’ve no photos to show for it. Every catering job, this happens. I take careful photos of the preparation from days before, and then as the hours collapse into minutes into platter after platter of food, dirty counter tops and ambient darkness, so does any opportunity to record the atmosphere, and my pride.
Friday night’s party for fifty people happened virtually hitch-free. I couldn’t find any pomegranates, which sucked, as they look super lush and extravagant in my parsley and bulghur salad. I have some on my trees at the moment, but there’s been so much rain, their red gems have turned a juicy beige that tastes more of water than Persia.
But otherwise, Allen from Warialda Belted Galloway Grass Fed Beef pulled off the ‘beef in post pak’ feat, and I had at my disposal the most incredible hunk of breseola, which I carved away at all night. In one platter, I paired it with the juiciest end of season white nectarines and slow roasted almonds. In the next, thin slivers of persimmon that were still a little bit crunchy and tasted like butterscotch. Then, fresh Meredith Valley Goat’s Cheese, crumbled onto its fleshy curves, dripping with a peppery olive oil infused with lemons. Its final pairing, slices of celeriac slow cooked into a velvet pickle with coriander seeds.
Allen also sent me some elongated salamis, that are rich and subtle. I scattered them with lacy unpasteurised Manchego that smells like drying grass, and a relish of white figs, young celery and walnuts.
And just in case you though the vegetarians missed out, in came the williams pairs, piled on platters with thin ribs of fennel, walnut and very old parmigiana reggiano, glistening in equally old balsamic and a very new olive oil.* As well as a punchy gorgonzola dip, turned green from all that mould, sprinkled with marinated artichoke hearts, fresh figs, and vino cotto.
And then there was a smoky eggplant puree layered with sweet and sour bulghur, parsley and mint.
Finally, out of the oven, ‘pizza’ kibbehs, one lamb, the other pumpkin. Both topped in jammy caramelized onions and pine nuts.
And no final photos. Not the one. Ok, a couple, but they’re too blurry to dignify with a showing. You don’t have to tell me how disappointing this is. I’m really really sorry. For the moment, words and prep will have to suffice, until I have time to write up a few individual recipes, make them all again, and photograph them in their glory. A display of my penance.
*So many of this menu’s elegant combinations owe to the genius of Judy Rogers. I’m fairly new to this particular type of catering plating so this menu is a homage to her. As I gain understanding of my local ingredients, I’m sure more original combinations will emerge. Til then, I take credit for none above the first asterisk.