Fish pie for Good Friday

Here’s a recipe for a delicious fish pie, perfect for a family supper on Good Friday.  This will serve 6 people comfortably.

Ingredients:

2.5kg Maris Piper potatoes
A little whole milk and butter
1 bunch dill roughly chopped (some parsley too or chives if you have some)
30g unsalted butter
Sea salt and black pepper
Cayenne pepper
4 leeks thinly chopped
2 lemons
800g smoked haddock
25g plain flour
800ml cider
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
400g cooked and peeledN orth Sea prawns
200g washed raw spinach
4 eggs hard boiled, peeled and cut into four

In the pie dish you are going to use, place the smoked haddock, some peppercorns, some dill, the peel of one of the lemons, and add the cider. Place into a preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes until the fish is just cooked.

Meanwhile, peel and boil the potatoes. Mash with some warm milk, butter and juice of one lemon.

Remove the fish from the oven, strain off liquid and keep. Flake the fish, in large chunks, into the pie dish (being careful to remove the skin), and set aside.

In a large saucepan melt the 30g of butter and sweat the finely chopped leeks until soft. Add the flour and stir. Still stirring, pour in the reserved liquid from the fish. Simmer for a few minutes and then add the zest of the other lemon, the dill, (and other herbs if you like), some salt and pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, the mustard, and the spinach. Stir until it is just wilted. If you want you can now add some cream or creme fraiche to the sauce but I don’t think it really needs it.

Scatter the prawns over the haddock and pour the spinach and sauce over the top. Lay the quartered eggs on top and then finish off by spreading the mashed potatoes over all. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.

Fish pie is pretty much ideal for serving with hot sauce.  Some of our favourites at the moment are:

Scorpion Hot Chilli Sauce by Nervous Nigel.  Nigel is from Wales.

Susie’s Calypso (or any of Susie’s sauces to be honest).  Tricky to find in the UK so stock up if you’re anywhere near Antigua)

Arizona Gunslinger.  Again, elusive in the UK but worth getting hold of.

Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce. Not wildly hot but perfect with something like fish pie in our opinion.

Happy Easter from everyone at Simpkin & Roses!

A lovely riverside wedding

Last weekend we had a great time catering for a wedding at the spectacular Westminster Boating Base. The scene in Love Actually where the canapes are ‘a bit dodgy’. Happily we can report that that ours were completely delicious and really enjoyed in the beautiful venue on the banks of the Thames.

The guests arrived at the venue by Champagne-laden boat, and proceeded to the gardens where we served a selection of canapes, including a popular favourite, the macaroni cheese fritter with homemade hot sauce.

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Dinner was served in the glass walled main room of the venue, with great view up and down the Thames.  Each table was served a chicken, mushroom and thyme pie with a filo pastry top, and two beautiful salads, and everyone helped themselves.  It’s a brilliant way to have good food in a relatively informal setting, and has been quite popular this year.

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Here’s one of the salads; with tenderstem broccoli, peas, and edible flowers…

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For pudding there was a rich but light chocolate torte, served with the last of the autumn raspberries and cream.  This was plated and served individually.

There followed drinking and dancing, and some rapid clearing up before the hire collection arrived at 1am.  Our efficient staff ensured that we were all home and tucked up before 3am which we felt was quite impressive, having just set up and dismantled a wedding for 130!

Are you getting married soon?  Do get in touch if you would like to talk through any options.  We look forward to helping!

Birthday lunch at a beautiful West Sussex vineyard

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Canapés around the tent overlooking the South Downs, to accompany The vineyard’s own rosé and blanc des noirs sparkling wine.

Canapés:

White peach, basil, prosciutto and mozzarella skewers
Beef carpaccio with truffle pecorino
Crispy belly of pork with ginger and apple sauce
Mini quail’s eggs royals with smoked salmon and hollandaise
Sesame seared tuna with pickled ginger


Starter:

Home made focaccia
Buffalo mozzarella, sweet cherry tomatoes, and char grilled asparagus

Main course:

Seared cod with caper butter, prig onion and potato Rosti, samphire, and broad beans

Pudding:

Baked peaches with Marsala, crushed amoretti biscuits and pistachio nuts, with mascarpone

Plating up in the dry store…

 Old Wichester and Tunworth cheeseboard with figs and grapes


A rather splendid chocolate cake which easily satisfied 50 guests!

Barbecue buffet on the port bow sir!

This is definitely one of the more awesome venues we’ve worked at!  A large and very glassy houseboat on the Thames at Cadogan Pier.  We have been there a couple of times in the last week for different events.  The first was a barbecue for 25 people.  The evening started with Pimm’s, rosé, and our home made pink lemonade out on deck…

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We barbecued a marinated butterflied leg of lamb, some home made burgers, some halloumi, and accompanied it all with delicious big salads.

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Pudding was a lovely Amalfi lemon, polenta and almond cake.

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We returned for a smaller dinner including canapés at the weekend, and following the success of the barbecue earlier, we did another one!  This time it was Aberdeen Angus steaks and lamb kofta along with salads and nice lemon tart for pudding.

It’s been lovely working on the river, especially as we also live on a boat a bit further upstream.  With any luck we will be asked again and can turn up to work without our feet touching land!

A slightly more formal wedding reception

This was a slightly more formal occasion at Brompton Oratory last month.  It was a plated lunch for 90 with lovely linen and tableware, and lovely old fashioned champagne saucers.

Immediately following the service was a champagne reception with canapes:

Beef fillet carpaccio on crostini with truffle oil and Parmesan
Char grilled courgette ribbons with ricotta and sun dried tomato
Chilli spiced crab with avocado and lemon in crispy cups
Asparagus and quail’s egg tartlet

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The lunch was:

Salmon mousse wrapped in smoked salmon with fresh bread and butter.

Rack of lamb with juniper and claret jus, dauphinoise potatoes, French beans, and crushed pea and mint purée.

Panna cotta with caramelised oranges and shortbread fingers.

Stilton, Cheddar, Caerphilly, and Tunworth, served with water bioscuits, grapes, and sliced figs.

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This was accompanied by fine wines and attentive service, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all!

Wine

We are pleased to announce that we now have our own wine list available for any of our events, and can offer a food matching service to help you make the perfect selection.

Here is a small selection from each category.

Sparkling

Champagne Pannier EV Brut NV, Ch. Thierry
A classic champagne that is well balanced, elegant and easy to drink

Nyetimber Reserve Brut 2009, West Sussex, England
Full of strawberry and almond aromas, developing flavours of glazed pastry with a pleasant fizz and a silky finish.

Prosecco, Spumante, Enrico Bedin NV, Veneto, Italy
Beautifully balanced and fresh, with flavours of apple leading to a really refreshing finish

White

Clarence River Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand 
Intense elderflower aroma and complementary flavours of crisp granny smith, grapefruit and gooseberry together with a fresh finish

Goleta Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Central Valley, Chile 
Very easy drinking with fresh, ripe citrus and green apple flavour

War Horse Chenin Blanc 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa 
By top producer Simonsig this is very refreshing with sun kissed apple that is great on its own or with fish and salads

Rose

Pinot Grigio Sentito Rosato 2013, Veneto, Italy 
Flavours of strawberry and raspberry on the palate, this crisp, flavoursome wine is ideal for summer drinks

Red

Villa Ste Croix Pinot Noir 2013, Pays d’Oc, France 
Wild strawberries, redcurrants and a touch of smoke. These delicious aromas follow through on to the flavours with a touch of menthol. Great on its own or with food.

Maison de la Paix Carignan 2013, Vieilles Vignes, Pays d’Oc, France
Fabulously lush and spicy with red cherries and raspberry flavours, hints of plum, a full body and warming, smooth finish

Nero d’Avola 2013, Angelo Rocca, Sicily, Italy
Redcurrant and plum flavours with a warm spicy finish.

Brunch for 300 at Sotheby’s to open Orientalist & Islamic Week

Guests at the opening of Orientalist & Islamic Week at Sotheby’s were treated to a selection of brunch canapés along with Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

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We were catering for 300 guests over 2 hours, surrounded by some rather valuable artworks and antiquities.

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The menu included little home made granola yoghurt pots with fresh compote, Quail’s egg Florentine, little spoons of kedgeree, and sweetcorn fritters with avocado, lime, and slow roasted tomato.

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Simpkin & Roses provided the full service including the glasses, staff, and drinks, exhibiting our ability to manage events from conception to delivery.  There was no trace of our presence by 2pm!

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