This weekend saw us host our last event for 2012 and close up the Manor for this year with our Vintage afternoon tea! This was a private event which we held for two lovely groups of ladies who wanted to start their Christmas celebration with some savoury and sweet delights! We love putting on these afternoon teas, if not only so Dan can whip out his fine array of vintage crockery, which I am very jealous of!
Once again we were able to put our baking hats on to create our version of an afternoon tea. Yes, it’s a tradition but we like to put our own spin on the proceedings, serving some hot and cold savoury treats alongside the usual sweet morsels. Continue reading →
Christmas has arrived at the Manor again and in honour of our favourite celebration we held a dinner inspired by some of our favourite festive Nigella recipes. We used Feast, Nigellissima, Kitchen and Nigella’s Christmas as our guides to put together a filling and enjoyable banquet. We’ve always felt that the Manor is at its best as a winter venue and so it was an absolute joy to have an excuse to get the tree and decorations out particularly early!
We welcomed our guests in from a particularly chilly night and led them up to our cosy library with roaring fire and Christmas carols. We had a mixture of new and repeat guests who were all looking forward to some Christmas fun!
The cocktail for the evening was a ‘yule mule’ a vodka based tipple with lime juice, cranberry and ginger beer. This was paired with canapes that included bocconcini, or ‘golden balls’ – little mozzarella pearls coated in breadcrumbs and fried til golden and crisp. Also on the agenda were sticky and moist chipolatas in a moreish ginger and mustard glaze. Finally the canape we’ve been excited about for ages was mini meatzzas. A meatzza is Nigella’s bizarre attempt at combining a pizza but instead of bread, the base is made of meat! She makes giant ones but Susie adapted the recipe and formed mini bite size beauties. They were a revelation for us, elegant and fun – plus they did indeed taste of pizza!
We’re very busy pottering away at the Manor in anticipation of our Nigellic Christmas event this weekend, however we’re also busy planning away for a private vintage Christmas afternoon tea we’re holding a week later! We’ve agreed on the menu so we thought you’d like to peruse the savoury and sweet treats we’ll be providing our guests to get them in the Christmas spirit!
There’s no particular theme for this one, rather a selection of traditional and modern flavours in a vintage Victorian setting!
If you’re interested in holding a private event at the Manor, do get in touch
We don’t hide the fact we have a massive love for all things Nigella – so much so we’ve decided to hold a second event in her honour and theme our Christmas event around her. Think glitz and glamour, coupled with relaxed entertaining!
We’ve picked through our favourite festive dishes from a selection of her books and created a menu which we hope will keep our guests excited!
This weekend we channelled our inner greediness as we opened up the Manor for an autumnal feast inspired by 90s gems the Two Fat Ladies. Susie and I have recently picked up this retro cookbook from charity shops and were keen to put it to good use. Full of game, hearty ingredients and no nonsense directions it’s a fun book to work with – or so we thought!…
We spent months picking the right dishes for our November menu and putting them to the test. It soon transpired that we were wise to do this as not all the recipes were foolproof, or even that tasty!
We kickstarted our meal with a welcome drink of sloe gin fizz that was spiced up with ginger syrup and lime juice. This was paired with Susie’s elegant canapes of scotch eggs made with quail eggs. These differed to Jennifer and Clarissa’s version, which suggested chopped ham and anchovy instead of the seasoned sausage meat that Susie used. Also on offer were crostini topped with poor man’s caviar (a smoked aubergine pate, baba ganouch) and deliciously sweet crab, coriander and corn fritters – both of which we’re afraid to say were also slightly adapted!
The nights are drawing in and the autumnal weather calls for some hearty food, which is exactly what we’ll be cooking up at Dinner at the Manor for our November event, inspired by Clarissa Dickson-Wright and Jennifer Paterson, the Two Fat Ladies.
We’ve selected some traditional and some new flavours to share with our guests, which will keep their cockles warm, and bellies full!
Last weekend saw Dinner at the Manor celebrate our 1st birthday, and what a year it has been! 245 dinners served over 18 events to some wonderful people, from all over the UK and beyond, who we hope have enjoyed it as much as we have.
Wow! What a year it has been. October 6th sees Dinner at the Manor celebrate our 1st birthday! When Dan and I began this little venture, we didn’t know what to expect – would anyone come? Would people enjoy the food? Would we enjoy it? Would we still be friends?!
12 months, 17 events and 231 guests fed, we’re still here and still enjoying ourselves.
We’ve created a menu which we think showcases some of the best things we think have cooked over the past 12 months. (Thanks to our blog readers for voting!). We’re looking forward to cooking these treats up again, and hope our guests are looking forward to trying them too! There will also be some surprise treats in store for our guests too, not mentioned on the menu, we want to keep some things secret!
We went all French and kooky this weekend when we held an afternoon tea inspired by Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen cookbook. This was a private event for a gaggle of hens who were celebrating the impending wedding of bride to be Lisa. Following a can can lesson in town they joined us for a selection of savouries and sweets washed down with teas, coffees and the obligatory kir royale. There was not a willy deelie-bopper in sight, and very well behaved they all were too!
This was a private event and we only do afternoon teas every now and then, on request. We like the fact that we can do far more in advance, plus it means we get to break away from the norm we have established with our usual Manor menus. We both love baking too, so it’s great to have a chance to challenge ourselves in this area.
Once again, we were without expert photographer Nick, however Susie did manage to take some snaps with her phone!
In terms of savouries we served up a range of treats inspired by Rachel’s book. I adapted the Nicoise wraps, stuffing the salad inside tortilla wraps instead of the suggested lettuce leaves, to make them a bit more substantial. I was impressed by the flavours of these – which consisted of sweet and crunchy green beans, radish, spring onion and tomatoes; piquant black olives and capers; and creamy free range egg – all bound together with a yummy red wine vinegar and lemon juice dressing. Atop homemade bread was a choice of radish with salted butter or a decadent fig, goat cheese and walnut option.
Susie’s offerings included gigantic platters of roasted root veg (including carrots, parsnips beetroot and apple). This was accompanied by a luxurious and creamy goats cheese mousse and was a popular addition to the table – only a few smears of beetroot and mousse were left! Susie also adapted the croque madame muffin recipe, making mini little bites of loveliness from quail eggs.
This weekend the Manor went al-fresco for our River Cafe themed event. This book really appealed to us as we both love Italian flavours and we thought it would be fitting for a summer event. However, the days leading up were fraught with worry due to the unpredictable weather we’ve been having. Would it be a wash out, or would British summertime actually make an appearance? As luck would have it, it did!
Whilst there was a lot of advance prep involved for this one, many of the elements required fast cooking there and then on the night – added pressure, that we were quite worried about! In addition to this Nick, who normally takes the helm behind the camera unfortunately had to work, so I had to double up on this role too! (He did help post edit though!)