Creating a delicious seasonal wedding menu for spring
A seasonal wedding menu is often the place we start when crafting a bespoke menu. With the first signs of spring in the air we can’t help but get excited by the new, tasty locally sourced ingredients that we can use to create delicious seasonal wedding menus. Britain produces some of the greatest ingredients in the world, so we thought it was time to celebrate springs seasonal bounty!
We are so lucky to have available an abundance of foods from the land and the sea so close by. Thanks to where we are on the globe; our farmers, fishermen, growers and, of course, mother nature herself do an incredible job of harvesting a rich tapestry of food.
A seasonal wedding menu supports sustainability
In this blog we thought we’d help with some ideas and inspiration for a seasonal wedding menu for spring. Choosing seasonal ingredients for your wedding day can play a significant part in planning a more eco-friendly and sustainable celebration. Not only that, but you’ll be using ingredients when they’re at their very best.
So we got together with our Head Chef, Mike Scott, to show us how he goes about crafting a bespoke wedding menu for the season of spring.
Seasonality is a subject very close to my heart when crafting bespoke menus. It’s not just about choosing ingredients that we can source locally, but about using ingredients that are at their best. At their best because this is when they grow naturally without our intervention or artificial help! I know we can get hold of strawberries all year round, but they don’t compare to a fresh English punnet (or two) at the end of June or beginning of July!
Spring ingredients for a seasonal wedding menu
For early Spring, I’ve decide to focus on a few key ingredients that are simply sublime this time of year. This would be my core shopping list for a seasonal wedding menu for spring:
I’ve put together an elegant four course menu designed around this delicious shopping list of British products, so here we go…
A SPRING STARTER COURSE
BREAST OF PARTRIDGE
Smoked Bacon, Confit Leg & Beetroot Pearl Barley, Charred Leeks
Partridge is a beautiful bird to cook with, but incredibly delicate and very easy to overcook. I’ve removed the legs to confit in oil on a low heat, before roasting the crown to provide more flavour and moisture. Basting in plenty of thyme-infused butter. The breast will then be carved once rested, keeping in as much flavour as possible. The leg, once falling off the bone, will be stripped of their meat. Then I add to the pearl barley.
Pearl barely has a fabulous texture, always with some resistance unlike rice or lentils, and can be cooked in the same style as risotto. It works equally well as the base for a stew. Here I’ve crisped up lardons of smoked bacon, before adding shallots, carrot and celery. I’ve cooked this by gradually adding veal stock until the pearl barley becomes tender and full of flavour. The beetroot is roasted with balsamic vinegar to help bring an acidity to its natural earthy flavour. Then I add to the barley for the final few minutes of cooking.
To finish, some baby leeks, charred for a smokey note, provides yet another dimension to the garnish. It creats a warming, hearty-yet-light dish with the Partridge as the star of the show.
A SPRING INSPIRED FISH COURSE
Served with Celeriac Purée & Apple
Scallops are my favourite seafood – they taste delicious on their own, but are also incredibly versatile. A wonderful problem I encounter when creating scallop dishes is being spoilt for choice in terms of ingredients to pair them with. I visited Midsummer House – the long-standing 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Cambridge – for my 30th birthday.
It was here that this flavour combination was one of the standout dishes of the meal (which was no mean feat!). It really stuck with me and, I dare to say, is my favourite flavour pairing with scallops during this season. To begin with, I’ve added diced celeriac to foaming butter, infused with shallots, and allowed the celeriac to toast and caramelise. I want to coax out a slightly nutty flavour which is incredibly savoury. This is necessary as the scallops themselves have a lovely sweetness that’s needs be balanced without being overpowered.
To contrast with these two profiles, apple works beautifully well. For this dish I’ve used a heavily reduced apple syrup, used sparingly as it packs a serious punch and could easily upset the balance. To follow, a sweet apple jelly, providing another texture as well as helping address the battle between sweet, savoury and tart. Finally, some julienned fresh apple brings the tartness, helping to accentuate each mouthful. This really is a dish that changes depending on how you combine the ingredients on your fork. It’s a playful and a truly joyful experience.
A SPRING MAIN COURSE
LOIN OF VENISON
Served with Fondant Potato, Shoulder & Juniper Croquette, Glazed Carrots & Parsnips, Blackberry Jus
Game in Britain is second to none, boasting such a variety of flavours and textures that, as a chef, is a gift to work with. Venison loin has a soft, buttery texture that melts in the mouth. It’s similar to a fillet steak if you’ve not tried it before. However, the flavour has much more depth and allows it to stand up to bolder flavours.
To add a little added value, I’ve slow-cooked the shoulder, flavoured it with juniper and herbs, and rolled into a croquette. This provides a crisp bite with a soft, meaty, juicy interior. The potato fondant is buttery, rich and full of flavour, with a crisp outer layer before you bite into the soft, fluffy middle. This dish is very rich, and yet I’ve decided not to garnish with green vegetables. Instead I’ve roasted baby carrots and piccolo parsnips with a little maple syrup. Then I add a little garlic, rosemary and thyme to give some sweetness to the dish.
Finally, the blackberry jus is formed from a base of deep, rich meat stock. I infuse the blackberries to provide some acidity to help cut through the richness of all that venison.
We served this dish at a beautiful wedding in Cheltenham at the very beginning of spring. Yo u can see the rest of the wedding menu on our wedding stories pages.
A DELCIOUS SPRING DESSERT
Served with Puff Pastry, Blood Orange, Vanilla Ice Cream & Ginger Syrup
Rhubarb is a staple of British ingredient – I’m sure all of you have eaten a Rhubarb & Custard sweet in your time! But it doesn’t just have to go alongside custard. It works for sweet and savoury dishes, pairing well with duck, salmon and pork, as well as herbs and spices. For this dessert, however, I’ve paired it with another ingredient that is wonderful in spring; Blood Orange.
The rhubarb is gently roasted with some sugar to mellow its tartness, while the blood orange is simply segmented to add a citrus flavour and some acidity. I’ve also puréed some of it with a little juice from the orange. To balance against these intense flavours, I’ve added a heady vanilla ice cream. Not only does it compliment the rhubarb and orange, providing a platform for their flavours to sing from, but it brings a different temperature to the dish. Next we need texture. To achieve this I’ve pressed a layer of puff pastry between two baking trays so that it stays flat.
When it’s removed from the oven and still warm, I’ve dusted it with a mixture of sugar and blood orange zest. Because the pastry is warm , the flavour will infuse into it, adding another orange note to the dish. To finish, a reduced sweet ginger syrup provides a little savoury accent. While being sweet enough to not stand away from the rest of the flavours on the plate.
So there you go, our spring inspired seasonal menu perfect for any wedding day. Don’t forget that we have lots of ideas, tips and suggestions for planning your wedding menu. Take a look through some of our other blogs or head over to our sample menus with many more menu suggestions to whet your appetite!