Food in the mood

Anthea Ger­rie con­sults kosher cater­ers for menus to suit all styles of venues

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Food & Wine -

SHOULDYOUbe­guid­ed­by­more than your taste­buds and bud­get when you se­lect a menu for your sim­chah? Def­i­nitely. The style of the dishes you choose can play a big part in re­in­forc­ing the theme of your party, say lead­ing kosher cater­ers. An el­e­gant Ja­panese en­trée, like Neil Sa­muels’s se­same-crusted tuna fil­let with wasabi and gin­ger, would im­press at a glam­orous and so­phis­ti­cated venue. Or Rachel Zeitlin of Zeitlin & Co pro­poses a trio of beef, com­bin­ing a medal­lion of fil­let with braised beef cheek and a salt beef cro­quette, while Steven Wolfisz favours a clas­sic beef tourne­dos, rest­ing on a crou­ton with chicken liver quenelle and red wine sauce. Adam For­man of Ja­son Millan sug­gests a can­non of lamb — an el­e­gant con­struc­tion cre­ated from the rack — with minted pe­tits pois, pommes Par­men­tier and truf­fled chicken liver.

A very dif­fer­ent kind of lamb dish would work for a coun­try-style venue, says Zeitlin — an earthy lamb hotpot with roasted beetroot, con­fit shal­lot and gar­lic. Her head chef has also de­vel­oped a chicken supreme scented with le­mon thyme which would un­der­score the rus­tic theme, served with Savoy cab­bage with caramelised shal­lots and spring onion mash.

Neil Sa­muels’ fruity cock­tails — ev­ery­thing from Pimms cups to ap­ple sours and ly­chee mar­ti­nis — would also go down well in a coun­try house ho­tel, like­wise his fruity desserts, which in­clude a pear and gin­ger tarte tatin with pas­sion­fruit sor­bet and a le­mon tart with black­cur­rant sor­bet.

Royale Cui­sine sug­gests a hearty aged rib of beef with gratin pota­toes, cele­riac purée and baby onions, with a bour­bon-scented pep­per cream re­duc­tion.

In a the­atri­cal venue, you could add to the drama by serv­ing guests a shot with their canapés, while Ja­son Millan pro­poses a pas­sion­fruit cap­pu­cino, Neil Sa­muels sug­gests tequila, no less, to ac­com­pany an avocado spring roll with tomato salsa.

Royale Cui­sine’s dra­matic-look­ing slow-roasted beetroot and ap­ple soup would make a fit­ting start to a meal which might con­tinue with the caterer’s vodka-cured salmon and end with its spe­cial ver­sion of creme brûlée, tweaked with the ad­di­tion of ap­ple and raisin com­pote and dark rum salted caramel.

Rachel Zeitlin be­lieves that a the­atri­cal venue pro­vides an ideal back­drop for the food-sta­tion con­cept, which could in­clude a Chi­nese duck

pan­cake wagon and/or a mini-salt beef sand­wich bar.

At a sports-themed bar­mitz­vah, Sa­muels’ sausage and mash in mini-cups, or minia­ture hot dogs and burg­ers would be fun (vodka shots are sug­gested for the adults). Zeitlin thinks there is noth­ing more suit­able for a sports-re­lated venue than hearty fare like a beef and ale pie with horse­rad­ish mash and a veg­etable med­ley, while Steven Wolfisz rec­om­mends a mixed bar­be­cue fea­tur­ing steaks and chicken along­side the burg­ers and bangers, plus corn on the cob and jacket pota­toes.

When it comes to a par­tic­u­larly un­usual venue, you want a bit more of that never-seen-be­fore-ness in the food — Ja­son Millan’s chicken smoked over ap­ple­wood and green tea served with grilled pineap­ple, sweet chili and pas­sion­fruit sauce is bound to be a hit with the bar­mitz­vah/bat­mitz­vah crowd.

Martin Spencer of Royale Cui­sine says his com­pany’s slow-cooked Scot­tish salmon with cau­li­flower curry, golden raisins and an­chovy-in­fused jus would bring a fit­ting el­e­ment of in­trigue.

For fam­ily-style events, Zeitlin thinks a brisket braised in red wine, served with glazed car­rots, tart cher­ries and po­tato rosti would set just the right tone, while Ja­son Millan pro­poses a lamb tagine with saf­fron cous­cous or a sa­tay chicken salad with glazed cher­ries, fresh co­rian­der and mi­cro-leaves.

Zeitlin has her own idea for fam­ily-style chicken — roast­ing the bird whole with honey and sage and serv­ing with apri­cot and pine-nut stuff­ing, co­cotte pota­toes and glazed root veg, while Steven Wolfisz prefers to serve in­di­vid­ual boned demipoussins on a bed of po­tato rosti, with roast win­ter veg­eta­bles in­clud­ing parsnips, turnips, swede and car­rots. Neil Sa­muels sug­gests roast lamb, sim­ply drizzed with cran­berry gravy, served with mush­room risotto and char-grilled veg­eta­bles, or slowroasted prime rib of beef with honey and mus­tard glaze, fol­lowed by sticky tof­fee pud­ding or a fruit crum­ble.

Royale Cui­sine’s slow roasted beet­root and ap­ple soup, gar­nished with deep-fried leeks, chives and cream

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