Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Canapé & Champagne Reception







Much like the design of the bridal gown, the menu for Prince William and Kate Middleton's buffet-style wedding breakfast and details of Prince Charles' evening reception for 300, remain top secret. But Mark Flanagan, the Queen's head chef, has given a tantalising taste of what the newlyweds and their guests will be nibbling on at Buckingham Palace following the royal nuptials on April 29. The 600 guests invited back to Buckingham Palace after the royal wedding are expected to devour almost 10,000 canapes at the lunchtime reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, in the palace's spectacular state rooms.


The White Drawing Room, the grandest of the State Rooms overlooking the garden. 
A secret door leading to private rooms allows for a discreet Royal entrance.


Chef Flanagan has revealed that he and his 21-strong team, who produce 550 meals a day when the Queen is in residence, will use the event to showcase meat, game, vegetables and fruit from the monarch's estates. "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," Mr Flanagan has confirmed. The canapés will be served with flutes of champagne as the guests start arriving at 12:30pm. William and his bride will mingle at the reception until 1:30pm, when they will break off to make an appearance on the balcony.


The Queen's Head Chef, Mark Flanagan


In the basement of Buckingham Palace, a team of 21 chefs will prepare the nearly 10,000 bite size canapes for the 600 guests that have invited to the reception. That's about 16 canapes each. The Royal Chef, Mark Flanagan says, "Any canape event is about fine detail at the last minute. There's a lot of preparation but there's lots that we would like to do earlier that we really can't do until we see the guests coming into the room. "It will be about double checking, triple checking and checking again and making sure that we've got everything in the right places." There will be 10 or 12 savory varieties and five or six sweet ones. Some will be hot, some will be cold, and all have been personally approved by Kate and William.


Sous chef Mark Stewart prepares a tray of Mini Yorkshire Puddings 
with Roast Beef and Horse Radish Cream 

The canapes will be laid out on trays and carried from the kitchens in the basement to the magnificent state rooms in the west wing overlooking the garden. Guests will be served Hugot & Clement truffle champagne, from a 1687 recipe, as a team of 60 hospitality staff wait on them attentively. Chef Flanagan says he and his 21-strong team at Buckingham Palace are excited about treating the 600 guests to canapés made from the best of British produce. 

Royal Chef Mark Flanagan prepares Bubble & Squeak Confit with Shoulder of Lamb





Cornish Crab & Apple on Lemon Blinis

Quails Eggs

Wilted Spring Onion & Watercress Mini Quiche

Mini Yorkshire Puddings with Roast Beef & Horseradish Cream

Handmade White Candies

He's keeping mum on the full menu for April 29, but the selection of canapés could include Smoked Salmon on a Beetroot Blini, Confit Duck-leg Terrine with Smoked Duck and Pear Chutney, Quails’ Eggs with Celery Salt, and Ragstone Goats Cheese with Caramelized Walnuts and Parmesan Crisp. Modern twists on old favourites, including Mini Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings and Bubble and Squeak Confits, and the very popular Croque-Monsieur, have also previously been served. The sweets may include Dark, Milk and White Truffles, Blood Orange Pate de Fruit and Raspberry Financiers. The whole day takes months of organising. "We start planning generally for events as far out as six months", explained Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the Royal Household. 


Smoked Salmon on Beetroot Blinis

For the blinis:
7 oz warm milk
3 oz melted butter plus extra butter for the pan
1 tsp yeast
2 large eggs
6 oz flour
1 small raw beetroot, finely grated
2 tsp grain mustard or a little freshly grated horseradish

To serve:
14 oz smoked salmon, cut into strips
7 oz crème fraiche
fresh dill or baby pea shoots

In a large bowl, mix the milk, butter, yeast and eggs. Beat the flour and half a teaspoon of salt, to make a smooth batter, then stir in the beetroot and mustard or horseradish.

Cover and leave at room temperature for an hour, until the mixture has risen.
Heat large non-stick pan and add a teaspoonful of butter. When the butter is sizzling, drop teaspoonfuls of the blini mixture into the pan. Cook until little bubbles form on the surface then turn and cook on the other side. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. For ultra-perfect canapés, cook large blinis and cut out circles with a cookie cutter.

Keep warm, covered with foil, in a low oven. Serve topped with a tiny dollop of sour cream, a curl of smoked salmon and a frond of dill or baby pea shoots.