Friday, November 18, 2011

procrastination 101 - Wedding Catering

my last exam for the year 'Issues in Taxation' is on Wednesday, we handed the keys on Friday we are moved out! no excuses MUST study... but no instead I think I will write about the catering we did at the wedding....

I remember when we first decided (quite early on in the piece) that we would self-cater I trawled the internet (as you do) for all different types of recipes etc we could use, tips on catering, quantities, waitstaff etc etc. We went from finger food, to brunch, to afternoon tea (my ultimate fave but my mother insisted no more sweet stuff!) and then we thought well maybe a ploughman's lunch would be ideal.

According to the ever 'dependable' Wikipedia a Ploughman's Lunch is described as "a cold snack or meal originating in the United Kingdom...sometimes served in sandwich form, composed of cheese, cooked ham slices, pickle/relish, apples, pickled onion, salad leaves, bread and butter." which was essentially what we served at our garden wedding as afternoon tea.

If you came across this Polka Dot Bride post I apologise I am going to repeat the images which are courtesy of Mike and Amy Photographers because unfortunately I was a little busy smooching my new husband and missed out on seeing all the lovely food properly dished up.

We originally considered having the food bought out in two stages so we would not miss out on seeing it all laid out while we were having our bridal shots done. I am not quite sure how it ended up happening on the day but Joel's mother made sure we had a special basket to nibble from while our photos were being taken and then also when we reached the reception we had our own special tray of goodies. The original plan however was to begin with an assortment of fresh fruits - I can't tell you the exact quantity we bought because we were so worried about not having enough that whenever someone went into town we asked them to grab some more.

I can tell you we had at least two big boxes left over after the wedding (no strawberries left of course) so we must have started with quite a bit.

Also you might have noticed in the above picture the blueberries are in a Christmas cup we still have no idea how this came about. The remainder of the fruit was displayed in the lovely wicker baskets procured by my sister from various op-shops.

We purchased all the bread from an organic sourdough bakery in Bellingen called 'Hearthfire Bakery', we got about 20 baguettes, 10 ciabatta and 10 rustic white loaves (maybe more I lost my spreadsheet) but all for about $150. It was delicious and again we had too much left over.

The cheeses came from the Hunter Valley Growers Market in Charlestown, they were by far the most expensive aspect of the food and therefore probably warranted a bit more investigation in retrospect. Here is a breakdown of what we got:

- 2.4kg Jarlsberg
- 3.4kg Wyke Farms Village Oak
- 2kg King Island Seal Bay Triple Cream Brie
- 2kg Blumello 60%
- 2kg South Cape Camembert

We had some shenanigans with our order and the 'piece de resistance' black beer and goat's milk cheese did not make it to the store in time so we had to substitute what little they had with the ordinary goat's milk (Manchago). I was also worried that we wouldn't have enough and sent a wonderful helper to get some more Camembert and Brie from a local deli (meaning we had a total of 4kg each). Again not really needed many of our guests were sent home with a little cheese package and we only just finished off the Wyke Farms block of Vintage Cheddar (it was SO good)

My lovely mother ensured we had the yummiest butter to spread on our bread and lashed out buying a couple of blocks of Harmonie Organic Butter and in the months leading up to the wedding collected various chutney and relishes (both homemade and shop bought), Caramelised Onion Relish being our favourite I still have a few stray jars left to eat now.

For cold meat we had a selection of roast beef, roast turkey and ham (about 3kgs of each.... until I sent someone out for just a little bit more). The beef came from a cow raised on the property and roasted by Joel's Aunt the week before the wedding, while the turkey and ham came from both Woolworths and a local butcher. Joel and I took a whole lot of this left over meat on our honeymoon making for a pretty yummy table picnic.

Of course we did also have a selection of salads I estimated about 3-4 times for each recipe and had three in total. There were no pictures taken of these but these were the recipes I found - I believe they may have taken liberties with all three for simplicity 

Surburban Tomato - Garden Salad

Jo Cooks - Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad
Tastefood - Warm Potato and Chive Salad
From what I gather the Warm Potato and Chive Salad was a crowd pleaser and when I made it at home a couple of weeks later it was pretty tasty and by using small potatoes cooked in their skin it looks lovely too. The Cous Cous Salad however we had mountains left of so probably didn't need to make so much because it was a) filling and b) not the normal fare for the crowd 

Ultimately we had pretty good reports off everyone and though it could have been better in terms of organisation (i.e. we had planned to have all bowls etc labelled so our helpers would know what was intended for what but time was pretty tight towards the end) I think we did pretty well for amateur caterers.

I should also mention that we hired an additional two fridges making four in total and also hired 3 waiters from the local TAFE along with 2 friends of Joel's mother to handle things during the reception.

This post is super long and I have Joel in my ear telling me I should be studying so dessert will have to wait :)

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