Ex­press meals: word is out

Ever need some in­spi­ra­tion for fancy din­ner party cui­sine or ta­ble decor? Want a chef to cook it for you? Michelle Funke shares a few deca­dent recipes, decor tips and an ideal din­ner party so­lu­tion

Business Day - Home Front - - HOME FRONT -

COOK­ING and dec­o­rat­ing for din­ner par­ties is not al­ways the eas­i­est of tasks, es­pe­cially if you are not feel­ing par­tic­u­larly in­spired to cook up a storm or just sim­ply don’t have the time. Luck­ily for those who would rather look to the ex­perts when it comes to the cui­sine, By Word of Mouth, one of Jo­han­nes­burg’s lead­ing cater­ing com­pa­nies founded by Karen Short more than 20 years ago, now al­lows its cus­tomers to take the best of its cater­ing menu home.

Last year By Word of Mouth opened a state of the art cater­ing fa­cil­ity in Linbro Park north east of Jo­han­nes­burg and is about to roll out the coun­try’s first on­line ex­press cater­ing ser­vice. By Word of Mouth Ex­press means that in­stead of call­ing in a full cater­ing ser­vice, any­one can or­der the take­away ver­sion of their favourite By Word of Mouth dish for a spe­cial din­ner party, book club, a birth­day cel­e­bra­tion or even just for fam­ily din­ner at home. The meals will be pack­aged in biodegrad­able boxes that can go from the freezer to the oven and the mi­crowave. All you’ll need to do is to fol­low the in­struc­tions and the handy vis­ual ref­er­ences on the lid and heat up din­ner.

But if you’re the DIY type and are in need of some in­spi­ra­tion, Short has also de­cided to rein­tro­duce the per­sonal cook­ing cour­ses she used to run from her Westcliff home. The By Word of Mouth Cook­ing School re­launched last month with a 20-per­son class in Short’s pur­pose-built demon­stra­tion kitchen.

Aside from a wel­come drink and snacks, demon­stra­tions of five clas­sic By Word of Mouth dishes com­plete with recipes, cook­ing school at­ten­dees will also be in­spired by great ta­ble dé­cor and en­ter­tain­ing ideas.

The June cook­ing school in­cluded a num­ber of deca­dent recipes in­clud­ing Cauliflower soup with blue cheese and spiced pear rel­ish; new age green salad which was a sur­pris­ingly de­li­cious tart- let; Mignons of beef fil­let with a red pep­per coulis and a deca­dent Crois­sant but­ter pud­ding with white choco­late and whisky. One of my favourite recipes from the evening was for the straw­berry pre­serve with bal­samic and black pep­per. My only ad­vice would be: never leave this mix­ture on the stove unat­tended. I am no kitchen god­dess, and so was distracted with some­thing else mid­sim­mer. By the time I re­mem­bered I had some­thing on the stove, the mix­ture had boiled over and took me hours to clean up as it’s re­ally sticky! Luck­ily I could still do a bit of a save, and have to say this is a de­li­cious com­bi­na­tion with a se­lec­tion of strong cheeses and crack­ers.

The cook­ing class also served as great in­spi­ra­tion for some ta­ble dé­cor ideas. Short had set up three dif­fer­ent pop­u­lar looks for in­spi­ra­tion: Delft, rus­tic and red-themed ta­bles. Some of the ideas are re­ally sim­ple to do your­self, es­pe­cially the red look — which you can cre­ate with any colour you like al­though red is a firm favourite at the mo­ment. The red ta­ble decor is great just to make a fam­ily get-to­gether more fes­tive.

“We re­ally want those at­tend­ing the cour­ses to feel part of the By Word of Mouth fam­ily — we’ll even be us­ing the wel­come part of the evening to try out new dishes we’re think­ing of putting on the cater­ing menu and ask­ing the guests to give us feed­back,” says Short.

Join­ing Karen in the demon­stra­tion kitchen will be Nicky Gibbs, for­mer Westcliff ex­ec­u­tive chef who has re­cently joined the By Word of Mouth team.

Karen says fans of dishes like the By Word of Mouth lamb shanks, chicken pie and prego sauce will be de­lighted to know that they’ll all be avail­able from By Word of Mouth Ex­press.

“Some­times you don’t need or want to hire a chef to come and cook for you, but you are too busy to do it all your­self. I know the pres­sures my clients face, be­cause I face them too. By Word of Mouth Ex­press is our so­lu­tion to a busy life­style,” says Short.

An­other con­ve­nient as­pect of By Word of Mouth Ex­press is the week­end cater­ing ser­vice. Sim­ply or­der your full menu of meals and snacks for your week­end in the Mid­lands or on the trout farm, and By Word of Mouth Ex­press will fill your cool boxes with ev­ery­thing from bil­tong to bobotie and rice — and away you go.

“We want to of­fer the ul­ti­mate in con­ve­nience: a full meal so­lu­tion, down to the fresh co­rian­der that you need for gar­nish­ing the meal. There’s noth­ing worse than buy­ing a ready-made chicken pie and you still need to drive to two shops to buy the salad and the crusty bread,” says Short.

Ex­press meals will be de­liv­ered to your door or col­lected from two col­lec­tion spots in Jo­han­nes­burg; more col­lec­tion points will be in­tro­duced soon.

A Delft ta­ble set­ting, which is re­ally pop­u­lar at the mo­ment.

A time­less rus­tic look in neu­tral shades.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.