Sunday, May 1, 2011
A Right Royal Nosh-up
Sadly, the invitation arrived too late. But in any case, I was already
booked for a Royal Wedding Dinner with friends.
According to a former royal chef's glossy cookbook, Eating Royally (I am not making this up), Buckingham palace menus are always written in French, and ours was no exception.
The sausages (tasty traditional pork, of course, from the local butcher) were arranged around the mash to make a lovely crown shape, topped with pea jewels and escorted by cabbage with peas, roast veges and onion gravy. Propped up behind is the welcoming picture on the back of the menu cards, standing in for our distant hosts. (I'm sure they would have preferred our sausages to chocolate biscuit cake.)
Dessert was a proper English trifle, with the right (generous) amount of sherry, decorated with the happy couple's crests surrounded by chocolate sprinkle hearts.
By the time we'd worked our way through all this, interrupted by occasional dashes to the telly to see well-known guests arriving at the Abbey (including Princess Eugenie and her hat, described by Rosemary McLeod as resembling an ancient contraceptive device - the Really Good Stuff was about to start.
(PS - Our eagle-eyed hostess has pointed out that the one in pink with that hat was Beatrice, Eugenie was the one in blue brocade.)
We oohed and aahed as the bride appeared, gasped as the ring got stuck (I suppose it Isn't Done for the bride to try it on first, but I admired how well the groom coped with this unforeseen crisis), and then welcomed the clever way our hostess filled the awkward gap before the Balcony Appearance with the promised friandises. And what magnificent little morsels they were.
To accompany them we had, naturally, the Queen's favourite tipple - a cup of tea. Just like us, and most of the guests, the teapot was properly dressed for the occasion.
After the second kiss, toasted with a glass of Deutz (proudly New Zealand, but also a better-sounding match for the German-descended Windsors than anything French), we called it a night - and a very good night it was too.