One of my surprise favourite books from last year was River Cottage’s homage to veg, which was headed by a healthy eating campaign that saw a very svelte and wholesome Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall appear from nowhere! The book is a lovely one to work with, full of lots of colourful photography, making veg look fun and innovative. We always try and cater for all dietary needs but do like to put a full on veggie event at least once a year. Having said that around only 2 of our 14 guests were official full-time vegetarians, which says a lot for how far veggie food has come in the last 20 years. As a recovering vegetarian myself I eat meat-free often and so putting together a full menu of veggie delights was a pleasure rather than a chore. We also had a gluten-free guest and so, on the whole, tried to pick things that she could eat with the whole group rather than single her out.
Our guests were welcomed with a rustic blackberry mule cocktail. This was a sweet and tangy concoction that included blackberry puree, homemade blackberry vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Our canapes, rustled up by Susie, included moreish mini potato and swede pasties. These were spiked with tangy mature cheddar cheese and came encased in Susie’s homemade buttery puff pastry. Next up were crostini topped with Cambodian wedding dip which is a bizarre but extremely tasty spread made from mushrooms, coconut milk, spices and peanut butter (amongst other things). It was warm and spicy and extremely comforting to eat. The final canape was a mini cup of parsnip and ginger soup, this was velvety and full of warmth from the ginger.