Throwing parties, and gawping at other people’s weddings are two of my very favourite things, so I was nearly as excited about 29th April as the happy couple themselves – especially once I’d managed to find someone generous enough to drive a massive television across London in time for the kick-off (well, we missed Rowan Atkinson’s arrival, but hey, that’s what Huw Edwards and his interminable highlights were there for). Guest of honour, of course, was HM herself, simultaneously resplendent in yellow at the Abbey, and blending in well with our very regal hallway light fitting.
As usual I was far too ambitious, given the inevitability of Things cropping up directly before any such event, and the trouble I had tracking down a bottle of Dubonnet to toast the Queen Mother with, or indeed any bunting, so eggs royale turned into scrambled eggs with Waitrose’s Heston Blumenthal Lapsang Souchong smoked salmon, muffins and hollandaise. By the time I’d gone through three boxes of eggs, I was too hungry to take a picture sadly. No time for the g & tea cocktail from the latest issue of delicious. magazine either: it was bucks fizz all the way.
Once the newlyweds were picking their painfully slow way to Buck House, we fell upon the buffet like Fergie on a News of the World petard. Above are the Parma ham and cheese sausage rolls which also feature in delicious. (I made them at 1am, so even I can see they’re not the prettiest of beasts) – I must admit to having been sceptical about the idea of either of these additions, but Sharon convinced me, and she was right. The ham added a delicious salty crispness to the pastry, and the cheese, well, cheese is cheese, and thus requires no further justification.
I wasn’t going to get away without producing perfect coronation chicken of course
and Anna deftly knocked up some cucumber sandwiches as if to the manor born. That’s manor, as in Sandringham, rather than manor, as in ‘endz’. I always forget how good, made with proper bread, and a judicious amount of salted butter, these can be.
This Pimms jelly, from the latest issue of olive magazine, was a bit of a let down as far as I was concerned, although I did hear someone describe it as “boozy”. It tasted just like a glass of the stuff, but Pimms is, by design, a long and refreshing tipple, rather than an intensely flavoured one, so the general impression was just a bit boring. If I made it again, I’d do it with homemade lemonade, for a stronger, more citric sugar hit, and put in more alcohol. That solves most things, I find. (It’s that kind of attitude that makes you proud to be British eh?)
Having made grandiose claims about wedding cakes some weeks ago, my pride was saved by William’s alternative choice: a fridge cake made with McVities Rich Tea biscuits, recipe kindly supplied by Nigella Lawson in the Mail. It contained ruinous amounts of sugary milk chocolate (admittedly, this was my choice based on what I know about small boys’ tastebuds) and condensed milk, and was disconcertingly sticky, even after a night in the freezer, but my brandy-soaked fruit and the gold leaf left over from our Christmas party helped add a little, um, sophistication to proceedings. Remind me next time there’s a royal bash: keep it simple, and concentrate on the telly instead.