|I always find some welly boots add a certain je ne sais quoi...|
On the other hand, us adults – all 60 or so of us were crammed into an area approximately 4m by 12m, made up of our dining room and decking – with the French doors open (for ease of access between the cakes and the fizz) and a gazebo keeping off the (thankfully infrequent) showers. Ok, so it wasn’t the kitchen, but in that fine tradition, we had all crammed ourselves into the smallest space possible. Believe it or not, the sun shone for most of the time, the bunting fluttered in the breeze, and if I do say so myself, I think it went rather well. A bit like a wedding without the commitment bit. My lovely, lovely Husband did a fab job with the fizz, Allotment Junkie, my brother and his wife, and my school friends were wonderful doing tea and topping things up and everyone was WONDERFUL. I have amazing friends and family - all of you - and I had a ball. Bring on 50 that's all I can say.
In case you were interested, this is what we catered – and ended up with literally one small plate consisting of 1 pumpkin cupcake, a few slices of fruit bread and 3 pieces of chocolate and walnut brownie – pretty good going, given that on Saturday morning I was worried that I didn’t have enough, and then just before everyone arrived, I was worried that there was far, far too much...
I decided that we ought to have a little savoury in the unlikely event of there being anyone there who didn’t like cake (I know, I know, but I do like to cover all eventualities, however unlikely), so:4 loaves of bread made into smoked salmon sandwiches (used 450g of smoked salmon) and cucumber sandwiches (2 cucumbers) (thanks Hugh and Natalie)
750g puff pastry made into marmite and cheese swirls, raspberry jam and cheese swirls and ham mustard and cheese swirls (see below).
And now, the important stuff:40 bottles of fizz (30 of prosecco, 10 of various - by that stage, I’m not sure anyone was really worried- brought by lovely guests)
70 mini chocolate éclairs and 2 trays of ginger shortbread (thanks, Allotment Junkie)
60 cupcakes (various flavours) (thanks Catherine, Emmie, Kathryn, Louise and Ruth)
1 tray of exceptionally scrummy peanut and Crunchie rocky road type thing (thanks Louise)
1 fruit loaf (thanks, Rachel)
2 trays of lemon drizzle traybake, 2 of raspberry bakewell slice, 1 of chocolate and walnut brownie
30 florentines – an afterthought, but I’ve been desperate to bake them ever since I saw a Nigella recipe for them in Domestic Goddess, and first thing on Saturday morning before anyone else was up seemed like a good time as any...
80 teabags (yes, we did actually drink tea... then more fizz)
I didn’t take any specific pics, but they're on the green plate on the right of the table, and in the interests of providing a recipe in this post, here’s what I did for the savoury swirls (with thanks to Sarah P, who gave me the idea ages ago):
Take 250g puff pastry, roll into a rectangle if not already rolled. Spread with e.g. Dijon mustard, top with chopped ham and grated cheddar, roll up long the long side, slice into rounds, approx 1 cm thick for dainty, 2 cm for chunky, place rounds on a greased baking sheet, whack into pre-heated oven (2000C fan) for 15-20 mins till golden – job done. You can make these with almost anything – marmite and cheddar – good for kids’ parties - pesto and parmesan, tapenade (I nearly did this, but my French friends had bought me some particularly delicious tapenade as a gift and I was feeling selfish...), sundried tomato paste and mozzarella...