Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding Dinner Menu

Steak with whisky? Lamb and mint sauce? Banana pudding? Or completely Vegan? The menu for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is a closely guarded state secret, but one thing is assured, it will be very British. "We wouldn't really go into any of the specifics for the big day but we always concentrate on showing off the best of British produce, so your bets are safe on that," said Mark Flanagan, chief chef for Queen Elizabeth II. Over 300 guests have been invited to the evening meal and dance to be hosted by Prince Charles on the evening of April 29, hours after the couple wed at London's Westminster Abbey.

While there's been no official word on the menu, it may be not too hard to guess what the royals might be eating, after all, many of the dishes have been on the menu for hundreds of years. Legend has it, for example, that the Queen only allows one cake to be made at Buckingham palace, a rich chocolate sponge and ganache recipe that dates back to Queen Victoria. And speculation is that, given young William's fondness for eating out, a celebrity chef might be making an appearance. But, according to the man who cooked for William growing up, it isn't likely the young prince and his bride will be serving guests many trendy menu items.

Chef Darren McGrady was a chef at Buckingham Palace for 11 years before he became Diana's private chef in Kensington after she split from Charles."I think they'll have as the first course some sort of salad with a terrine. I know that one of the most popular is the Gleneagles Pate, which is like a terrine of smoked trout, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel pate".

Gleneagles Paté

"For the entree, I would see Gaelic Steaks, Tenderloin Steaks in a Whisky Mushroom Sauce, or an Organic Lamb from Highgrove", the farm of Prince Charles.

Beef Tenderloin with a Whiskey Mushroom Sauce

In 1986, a Rack of Lamb with Mint Sauce was cooked up for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. McGrady, who has also been personal chef to the queen, speculated on "a Banana Flan, a sort of sugar paste and creme patissiere inside with sliced bananas and apricot jelly" for dessert. "When I cooked for Prince William, his favourite dessert was banana flan," recalled McGrady. "Whenever he came over at weekends, he would ask for banana flan. The queen likes it, and he still does."

Banana Flan

The unmissable "fruitcake" will then follow. Steaks, fruitcake, tea biscuits: the meal will be as British as possible, admitted Darren McGrady. However, according to a report that came out on April Fool's day, it's quite possible that the menu could be entirely vegan, following the Queen's review of the multi-cultural nature of the Royal Wedding guest list. Because there are so many guests from different cultures with different religious and ethical dietary requirements, the most sensible solution is to go totally plant based to avoid diplomatic embarrassment with a Hindu dignitary eating beef or a Muslim Sultan eating pork. So the Queen's head chef, Mark Flanagan, is now working on a 100% vegan royal wedding menu but still with a 'best of British' theme. But as Chef Flanagan admits, the menu has still not been set, and could change at anytime. One thing is for sure, Flanagan and his staff are determined that every mouth-watering morsel will be perfect for the future King of England and his new bride — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge!

Gleneagles Pate
Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 pounds smoked salmon, thinly sliced and divided
1 pound smoked trout
6 sticks (1 1/2 pounds) unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pound smoked mackerel
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

Line a 1-pound loaf tin or pâté terrine with plastic wrap, overlapping the sides. Take half of the smoked salmon and line the sides and bottom of the loaf tin. Overlap the top edge by about 2 inches so that the salmon will fold over and cover the filling once it is in place.

Remove and discard the skin from the smoked trout, and then place the trout in a food processor and chop finely; add 2 sticks (1/2 pound) of the butter to the processor. Blend again until smooth and add the chopped dill and lemon juice. Carefully spread the trout mixture into the loaf tin on top of the smoked salmon and smooth the top. Place the loaf tin in the freezer for 10 minutes while you prepare the second layer.

Clean the food processor bowl. Remove and discard the skin from the mackerel, and place the mackerel into the food processor; chop finely. Add 2 sticks butter and blend until smooth. Take the loaf tin from the freezer, and spread the mackerel mixture smoothly on top of the trout layer without disturbing the trout layer. Place the loaf tin in the freezer for 10 minutes while you prepare the third layer.

Clean the food processor bowl once again and place the remaining smoked salmon into the food processor and chop finely. Add the remaining 2 sticks of butter and the chives to the processor, and blend again until smooth. Remove the loaf tin from the freezer, and spread the smoked salmon on top of the mackerel. Smooth the top.

Fold the overlapping pieces of smoked salmon over the top layer of the salmon spread. Cover the top with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Remove the loaf tin from the refrigerator, and lift off the top plastic wrap. Invert the terrine onto a cutting board and remove the loaf tin and additional plastic wrap. Slice the terrine into 1-inch slices. Serve on salad leaves as an appetizer or slice the terrine into fingers and serve on crackers as a canapé.

Banana Flan
Serves 6

4 ripe bananas
½ cup apricot jelly

For the filling:
5 egg yolks
1 egg
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup heavy cream
¾  cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup of cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

For the pastry:
6 ounces sugar
14 ounces butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb all purpose flour

To prepare the pastry: In a food processor add the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla paste. Pulse until smooth and then add the flour. Tip out onto a floured surface and mix to form a smooth dough. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roll out the pastry to about ¼ inch thick and line a 9 inch flan ring. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes. Blind bake using baking beans to hold the shape of the paste until the pastry shell is firm and golden brown. Remove from the oven, remove the baking beans and set aside.

To prepare the filling: In a heavy saucepan bring the milk and cream to the boil. Put the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.

Pour the milk over the egg mixture and whisk and when the milk is incorporated pour the whole contents of the bowl back into the pan and return to the heat. Continue whisking the pastry cream until it thickens (about 4 minutes) and then remove from the heat and spoon into the baked pastry shell.

Slice the bananas into ¼ inch discs and arrange neatly on top of the warm filling. Bring the apricot jelly to a boil in a small pan and brush over the top of the bananas.

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