Royal Recipes for the Reeds - Day 304
Oh my - it's an evening of Royal Recipes for the Reeds and our friends the McCormacks.
There was an exciting buzz in the room. Hands were being raised but over time these were getting fewer and fewer. Just a couple of hands left, one was from a lady who had obviously drunk a whole glass of white wine. On the opposite side of the table, her husband was signalling her to stop, but the enthusiasm, as well as the wine, had got in her veins. She wanted it…. She got it. That was me last year at a Charity Ball for UpsNDowns which supports families affected by Downs Syndrome in Northamptonshire. I had got carried away and successful outbid the rest for a fine dining experience for 8 people cooked by two award-winning chefs in the comfort of your own home. The only issue was that we had sold our house and moving out within a few weeks, ready for our #grownuptravels but too soon for the chefs to visit. Instead, we enjoyed the wonderful dining experience this weekend with our friends Hugh and Fiona’s house with our sons and their girlfriends plus Ewan, Hugh and Fiona’s middle son as it was his birthday. Enjoy is an understatement. Oh my! What a time we had. The kitchen was cleared and the dining room laid out for the event…At 5:30pm Chefs' Rob Kennedy and Stuart McLeod from @ZuidamUK arrived, after their long journeys from the other side of London and Monmouth respectively. I had already done my research and seen that they have both won many esteemed awards and Rob has in fact cooked at a number of prestigious meals for Royalty, appearing on 3 of the BBC1 ‘Royal Recipes’ programmes recently. I went to get my glad-rags on, a newly dry-cleaned cream dress, ready for the occasion. What? There was a whacking great big red stain on the skirt! How did that happen? It certainly wasn’t there when I dropped the dress off at the dry cleaners. Tim zoomed me into Oundle. These things happen so no point getting worked up. I am sure the company will sort it out. At least I still had my pink cat-suit with me so squeezed into that…just!
We all were seated around the table, waiting expectedly. Rob and Stuart entered the room and announced the first course – the chefs’ taster. Duck with Citrus Avocado (I had compressed Cucumber instead). There were lots of “yum”, “mmmm”, “Oh my” around the table – the tastes were exquisite. If you are hungry, go and eat something now. You will be salivating by the end of this! Next was salmon with beetroot on horseradish crème Fraiche. The beetroot had been vacuum packed with sherry and tasted incredible, taking the slight earthiness away and was so succulent. The main course was braised beef, mash, carrots, spinach with a beef jus (I had cauliflower steak instead of the meat). Now, this may sound like an everyday meal, however again, there wasn’t much talking going on while people were eating. The flavours were extraordinary. Rob did tell us some of his secrets, but you’ll just have to win a charity auction to discover what these are.
We were then given a taster pudding of Thai Basil Cheesecake; a whirl of a creamy tangy mixture on berries with passion fruit bubbles. Stuart announced the main pudding. Apple Crumble. Forget your stewed apple underneath a layer of sugar, flour and butter. Now imagine a block of wood with a small red apple on a layer of crumble mix and honeycomb with homemade honey ice-cream. As we scooped the apple, we discovered that it was a sphere of scrumptious apple mouse that just melted in our mouth. Snow White, eat your heart out! We thought the meal had come to a close when Rob and Stuart surprised us with some homemade chocolate lollies. I was about to burst, but it seemed rude not to have one!
What an amazing couple of men. They do three of these events for charity each year, freely giving their time, creativity and skills so that a Charity benefits and 9 people around the table have an amazing time. We all were so inspired by them and grateful. It wasn’t just one evening of their time, they each drove a round trip of some 6 hours, there was tons of preparation to do as well. Fabulous. Huge thanks to Rob and Stuart from us all, and for leaving the rest of the Thai Basil Cheese Cake mix and a wooden box of growing herbs – a great reminder of a right royal evening.