Tuesday, 13 August 2013


We had a bit of a first earlier this month.

We had two parties to cater on the same day, so Jo went to Mere and did one, and I went to Shrewton and did the other.

Fortunately, we have a few extremely capable and hard-working helpers we can call on in such circumstances, so neither Jo or I had to do everything alone.

I arrived at "my" party venue earlier than originally arranged - I did confirm with the hostess that it was ok! - and spent a very sociable couple of hours preparing platters of canapés, whilst the doorbell rang constantly and huge bouquets, gifts and cards were delivered.

It was fun getting the food ready whilst watching and hearing the musician setting up (he was excellent), and seeing all the various guests, friends and family arrive.  The traffic on the A303 was apparently appalling, so some people were a little late, but we were able to make sure everyone was properly fed when they got to the party.

Both of the parties were for significant birthdays, both hostesses wanted canapés, so Jo and I had been able to make larger batches of a selection of tasty bite-sized goodies, and then serve more or less the same food at both parties, which certainly made life simpler for us.  Luckily, both hostesses liked the sound of the menu!

The absolute hit of the party (for my part of the day, anyway) was the dessert canapé we made of rosewater meringues with Turkish delight.  We garnished the platters with pink rose petals and it looked fresh, summery and very girlie, which was perfect.  Some of the guests were astonished to learn that rose petals are edible (please note, we did wash them first.)

There were a lot of positive comments about the food and the "unobtrusiveness" of the service, which we are very proud of.

It's a joy to feel that we've helped make someone's special day that bit more special.  Roll on the next birthday!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Lightly pickled

The summer continues to be utterly glorious, and we have had another delightful lunch event.  This one was a buffet lunch for some VIPs, for which we were asked to provide "interesting salads" and desserts.

It was an extremely hot day, the thermometer on my car registered 34 degrees C at 3pm, but despite the heat, we were able to provide some delicious food, and ensure everyone had plenty to eat before they braved the sun again.

The large bowl contains an Italian grain salad, with a mixture of different types of basils and tomatoes, as well as delicious lemon dressing.  The smaller bowls contain roasted peppers with garlic, and gently pickled strips of cucumber, which went down a storm with the fantastic poached salmon our client provided.

Sadly, due to forgetfulness of my part, I failed to photograph Jo's lovely strawberry cream tarts, but rest assured they were very popular.  To compensate, here is a photo of the chocolate mousse cakes, which the police officers (discreetly staying out of sight in the kitchen) absolutely loved.

The guests enjoyed them too.

So, to sum up: hot weather, lovely food, lots of happy people.  Exactly what we would hope that a summer lunch party would be all about.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


Summer is here, and we are very glad to be able to say that the first garden party of the year went with a real swing.  The weather was glorious, there was a bouncy castle, and the food was excellent.

Well, we would say that, of course!

But look:

A whole poached salmon, several delicious fresh salads, baked glazed ham and new potatoes, all served with home-made mayonnaise and a selection of our savoury chutneys.

In case you're wondering what happened to the salmon's tail, it's here...

It was reunited with the rest of the salmon when we served the food. 

As you can see from the sunny smile on Jo's face, we had a lovely day.  Seeing all the empty plates coming back afterwards was a bonus!

Someone* forgot to photograph the desserts, but I can tell you they were lovely.  A raspberry Pavlova, and a light no-flour orange cake with orange syrup.  Most people opted for "a little bit of both please" and some even came back for more!

Fingers crossed that the next party will be graced with such a beautiful sunny day.

*Me.  I was too busy making sure people were enjoying their lunch.  Sorry.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Good news!  The (becoming!) world famous Deverill Valley Catering Spicy Tomato Chutney is now available from Taste Deli in Warminster.

Pop in and check them out, they have a great selection and the chap who runs it is lovely.

And if you're in Salisbury, go and take a look at Hendersons artisan bakery, on the Market Square.  They're on Twitter, if you do that.  Look, here.

We're also going to be taking part in Amesbury Carnival on June 1st, or some of our produce will be at least.  We're still working out the logistics as we have some other commitments on that day, but even if we can't be on the stall all day we will be dropping off some of our goodies for sale.

We've been experimenting with making sweeties:

This is chocolate bark, dark with Macadamia nuts and cherries, milk with walnuts and raisins, and white with apricot and poppy seeds.  The white choc seems the most popular so far, possibly because it's the prettiest!

These are Jazzies, small(ish!) drops of milk chocolate with some orange flavouring, topped with hundreds and thousands.  My personal favourite 

Hopefully we'll be selling lots more of these over the summer.

Nom nom nom.

Thursday, 9 May 2013


Things are getting busier for us here at Deverill Valley Catering.  We have several parties and events lined up over the summer, and are getting our various delicious home-made goodies out to a wider audience.

I've been experimenting with various unusual jellies and marmalades, the most recent being Dandelion Jelly Marmalade, which is a golden clear jelly with strands of dandelion petals suspended throughout.  It tastes of honey.  I was surprised it didn't taste "dandelion-y" but then I realised I probably even don't know what a dandelion tastes like.

Anyway, it's delicious and pretty, so I will make more to sell.

We've been reviewing how we give people access to our produce, and have made a few changes.

The Country Markets, whilst fun to do and a great way to meet people, are not really an optimal way to sell our produce.  We're not allowed - understandably - to put our own labelling and contact details on anything we sell through them, which means we aren't likely to pick up any business via people tasting our products and wanting more.  We're not supposed to hand out our business cards either, as it would be competing with Country Markets.

As a result of our experience over the last few months, we've decided to continue selling at Shrewton market as it is only held once a month, but we will discontinue going along to Salisbury.  It's a shame, but given that it's a 40 minute drive each way, and there's parking to pay for the day, it's not a sensible business move to sell produce which isn't even carrying our own details.

However, if you are at Salisbury market on a Saturday, please do go and see what is available on the Country Markets stall.  They have a great selection of cakes, biscuits, honey, preserves and savouries, and the ladies are delighted to chat to customers.

And of course, come to Shrewton - the third Saturday of the month - and see what there is for sale.  There are all kinds of crafts as well as plants and produce, so it's got something for everyone.

Oh, and a tea shop.

If you'd like to discuss any catering requirements with us, please drop us an email.  We'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Our first market is looming - this Saturday we will be at the Shrewton Country Market, along with a lot of lovely people selling all kinds of goodies.

Jo and I will be selling preserves and chutneys, baked goods, and home-made sweets.  I have discovered a knack for making addictive coconut ice, and have had to hide what's already been made for fear of it being "tested" till there's none left to sell.

The last couple of weeks have been a series of experiments with cooking, and making sure that the jars and bottles of preserves already prepared look as nice as possible.

I finally mastered the label printing skill, and now everything is labelled with smart green and blue striped labels, ingredients listed, relevant information stated where necessary.   it's exciting to see the transition from "home-made" to "ready to sell", and I am rather proud of what has been done already.


The Chinese Style Plum Sauce is one of the most popular sauces we make.  It goes with meat, cheese, pasta, chicken, pretty much anything I have tried it with so far.  A spoonful stirred into a pork casserole is fantastic.  And of course it works brilliantly with duck!

The redcurrant jelly is a gorgeous, deep crimson colour. I think it might be my favourite to look at.

It's a proper kitchen table business   And this is my kitchen table, to prove it.

I only made a couple of jars of the blueberry jelly - 10 boxes of blueberries only made a pint of juice!  Not sure I'd do it again, but it is very nice.

I like how the picture of the only one with alcohol in it has turned out blurry.

This is a delicious, albeit HOT chilli jelly, packed with teeny little flecks of chillies, and the occasional seed. It's just not possible to catch them all, or so I am finding to date.  It works brilliantly with cold meats and cheese.

The mango chutney was a bit of an experiment, but has worked like a charm  and is really tasty.  Sweet, spicy and flavoursome.

This was another experiment.  It's an uncooked chutney  and will only keep for about 12 months, but is ready to eat within a week or so of being prepared.  It's incredibly sharp, tangy and sour, with enough spice in it to make you blink.  The first time I tried it I decided I really didn't like it, but would just have another bit to make sure.  And then another bit. And another.

It's perfect with a rich curry as it cuts through any fattiness.  We've enjoyed it with lamb and pork in particular.

The last picture there is of the "Traffic Light Chilli Dipping Sauce", so called because it has red, yellow and green chillies in it.  Yes, I know. Hilarious, no?  It's sweet and hot, perfect with a spring roll or some prawns.

If you come along to the market, we will see you there.  You might even get to try the addictive coconut ice.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bottled Up

Despite the dreadful weather, it's very cheerful here this week.  This is because I have been busily planning what to make.

Yesterday was decidedly exotic, with a large (for me) batch of spicy Chinese plum sauce being made, bottled and stored away, and a huge jar of Indian lime pickle started off.

I love the lime pickle.  It is something you have to make well in advance, but it's worth the wait, being sour, tangy, savoury and addictive.  It is perfect with a slightly richer, fattier meat in a curry, like lamb or pork, but it works with everything that I have tried it with so far.

The Chinese plum sauce is another "goes with everything" sauce.  Cheese, cold meat, even adding a spoonful to a casserole adds a fantastic burst of extra flavour.

The labelling quandary is being addressed too.  I wanted to find some pretty yet professional looking labels I could use on jars and bottles, and have sourced some online. Now all I have to do is perfect a way of printing all the required information on them, rather than trusting to my not-very-artistic handwriting.

Today I intend to make some more chocolate-covered ginger, as that has proved to be hugely popular.

To the kitchen!