How to create a perfect Autumn wedding menu
For many of you planning your wedding this year, you may either have had to postpone and move to later in year or into 2021 or you’ve got your fingers-crossed that your wedding will go ahead later in the coming months. Wherever you are with your wedding planning we’re taking a look ahead to wedding catering in autumn and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Choosing seasonal ingredients
Of course every season in the UK offers something unique in terms of colours, atmosphere and ingredients that are perfect at that time of year. Autumn lends itself to warmer and more comforting dishes such as game, root vegetables and fruit and nut desserts like apple and hazelnuts.
Our Head Chef, Mike, has been busy crafting bespoke menus for weddings and events for couples looking to change their menu for autumn, or just starting to think about their seasonal menu for next year and so we thought we’d share some ideas that might help with your wedding menu.
Creating a bespoke wedding menu
One of the things I really enjoy about being Head Chef at Caviar & Chips is the very beginning of the planning process and crafting menus together with happy couples looking
forward to their big day. Starting from a blank piece of paper and receiving the brief, I’m not quite sure which direction we’ll go in.
Creating the perfect wedding menu
I really like our menu briefings when we get the middle ground between vague and specific. I think the perfect balance is knowing what a couple likes and dislikes, then putting my own expertise into the mix and drafting a perfect menu with some touches of flair and theatre. Couples tend to latch on to those as they bring something special to the experience, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to create - an experience, not just a menu.
When we craft our menus for couples who like to think about seasonality we’re really lucky in this country as we have so many great ingredients close by to work with.
Autumn inspired menus
I’ve put together an autumn inspired menu that I’m going to share with you and I’ve included some of my favourite dishes that will hopefully give you one or two ideas that you could include in your wedding menu too. With many of our menus we create them so there are a number of different suggestions for each course. Sometimes couples choose one dish for each course and sometimes we create a wedding breakfast that enables guests to pre-select their meal before the wedding day. In this case I've picked a meat, fish and vegetarian dish for each course. And so our autumn wedding menu begins with…
The starter course
This is one of my favourite birds to cook and to eat. Rich, dark meat works so well with autumnal ingredients so it had to be featured on a menu. I’ve decided to pair it with a creamy Jerusalem Artichoke Purée, earthy and slightly nutty, roasted and pickled beetroot for bite and acidity, Cavolo Nero to bring levity and another texture, and finally a sherry vinegar glaze. This is a dish made of powerful elements and bold flavours, so the balancing needs to be just right in order to keep the Pigeon as the star of the show.
Seared King Scallops
This is, I think, my favourite scallop dish of all time, and that’s saying something! Scallop and apple for me is just wonderful, but as the scallop is sweet and the apple is tart, there needs to be some balance achieved in order to bridge that gap. To do that I’ve gone with a celeriac purée, but caramelising the celeriac in butter slightly to give a nutty note to it. I’ve added an apple jelly, so there is a different texture and a slightly sweeter representation of apple. Then there is the lightest addition of an intensely reduced maple syrup. This essentially provides three points of sweetness, this being the deepest, followed by the jelly, followed by the scallop. To contrast, the earthy nuttiness of the purée, then the slight tartness of the jelly, and the crispness of the fresh apple. To act as a platform for all of these elements, a generous grating of black truffle is added, and this also adds another level of luxury to the beautiful scallop.
Wild Mushroom & Asparagus Mille Feuille
A Mille Feuille is traditionally a dessert, literally meaning ‘a thousand layers’, romantically describing the many thin layers of pastry that steam apart from the butter that melts as puff pastry cooks. This dish is a savoury take, using pressed squares of the pastry, layered with sautéed wild mushrooms, and shaved pickled mushrooms. There is an addition of blue cheese, for the salty, highly savoury flavour that goes so well with mushroom. A pickled radish and herb dressing helps to balance the other flavours, and a finish of bitter leaves, such as Raddichio, Frissee and Rocket, complete the flavour profiles.
The main course
I absolutely love cooking and eating Duck. There’s something magical about slicing down the middle of a duck breast, to reveal beautifully soft, pink meat. As this is an autumn menu, I’ve decided to adhere to the end of the summer period, making this a more punchy BBQ-inspired plate. So, the main ingredient is the duck, and this comes in two forms. Firstly, we have a breast, roasted, with a crispy skin, rendered fat and lovely pink meat on the inside. Secondly, I’ve braised the leg, pulled down the meat and made a Spring Roll, with Chilli, Cucumber, Spring Onion, Carrot, Mooli and BBQ sauce to bind. A sweet potato fondant provides a lighter alternative to a typical potato element, and fits nicely with the BBQ theme. To this I have added a sweetcorn purée, charred corn and corn florets, to add a delicate touch that contrasts with the rich duck. The dish is finished with BBQ Sauce and some crispy duck skin, which, if you haven’t tried before, is the best ‘crackling’ you’ll find. Pan-fried Turbot
This is a dish of luxury on a plate! Turbot, King of the sea, is a great place to start. This is cooked on the bone, making it more moist and flavoursome. The first side to be cooked is treated to become golden brown and crips, while a foaming butter spooned over the back side of the fish finishes the cooking gently and with the most amazing flavour. Endive is a very bitter addition, and so it is braised in a little sugar and orange juice to give it some life and take that bitterness down just a touch. Baby turnips are sweet and give a fantastic texture when cooked. Now for the rest of the luxury - bone marrow, treated and formed into coated a bon bon, turns almost to liquid when cooked, and provides a rich, meaty accompaniment that may not be expected. Finally, a salty hit of caviar finished a sauce, the base of which is the stock from the Turbot bones and a little cream.
This light, herby gnocchi is given a lift of luxury from black truffle, before being pan fried to crisp up the edges and add a nutty, buttery flavour. The garnish is playful, full of different flavour and texture. The meaty flavour of the wild mushrooms, together with the deep flavour of the shallot purée would make a dish on their own, but with the addition of the pickled cauliflower, served raw, it ascends to a higher level of balance and complexity. A walnut pesto adds a moist hit of savoury flavour, with a little zesty hit from the lemon within it. This dish really does showcase some of autumn's great ingredients, evoking the season beautifully. It also provides a more filling plate of food than a lot of vegetarian main courses, satisfying the lucky eater without the need for heavy potatoes or an abundance of garnish.
And for the dessert...
A good Chocolate Mousse is loved by almost everyone, and this certainly ticks that box! I’ve added a few elements to bring something a little different to each mouthful, but all of them work brilliantly with the mousse itself. One thing a mousse does not possess on its own is texture, and so I’ve added both a Raspberry & Pistachio Crumble, and Honeycomb. The raspberries in the crumble are freeze dried and crispy, adding an intensely tart zing to the dish, while the honeycomb provides the sharp snap in texture, along with its signature deep caramel flavour. To reinforce the touch of raspberry, there is a Chambord cream - after all, an addition of booze never hurt a pudding! Finally, ruby chocolate shards provide some texture as well as the fruity after-taste that helps to balance both the chocolate and the raspberry.
After a lovely meal, why not relax with a Cocktail? In this case, a Pina Colada and, not quite an ordinary cocktail. Pineapple, coated in sugar flavoured with lemon, lime and orange, is slow roasted until tender. Once it has been portioned, it is glazed in a caramel infused with rum, making it sweet, sticky and dark with a punch of alcohol. To garnish, a cream flavoured with Malibu brings that creaminess that you would get from the drink itself, as well as a much needed respite from the intensity of the glazed pineapple. A banana crème patisserie is piped into a warm doughnut, adding both flavour, texture, temperature and a little fun to the plate! In order to lighten the dish, firstly the pineapple needs to make another appearance. This time in the form of a carpaccio, which has been gently poached in a spiced syrup, before being thinly shaved. This will bring lightness, freshness and more of a traditional pineapple flavour to the dish. The last element is a lime marshmallow. It is frozen before adding to the plate, but defrosts almost instantly, so it will be ice cold but soft and zesty. Parfait.
This time of year, apple and blackberry are two fruits that are seasonal and of great flavour. The Blackberry Parfait is a fruity, frozen cylinder, and goes alongside fresh blackberries and a blackberry jam. For the apple, I’ve added a sponge to create texture, while not being intensely tart, and a jelly for the same reason, brought to life in a different manner. To finish are croutons made from brioche, that add a sweet crunch amongst the tartness and softness of the dish, and a thinned yoghurt, almost acting as a dressing, that brings a creamy element to the plate, helping to balance the other ingredients.
Plan your Autumn wedding menu
So there you have it. A little autumn inspiration for your wedding menu and hopefully this has given you some ideas to help you start thinking about how you can bring autumn into your menu and treat your guests to some delicious, warm and comforting foods.
If you’d like to ask any questions about your autumn wedding menu, then Mike will be recording a Q&A on Instagram (@caviarandchips), so do post any questions that you have and we’ll do our best to answer as many as we can.
If you’d like to see any more menu ideas then head over to our menu pages or check out our social media pages on Instagram or Facebook. Better still just drop us a line or give us a call and we can get to work on what your sharing menu could look like.
Call 0800 978 8221
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