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June was busting out all over!

Well, that was quite the month! Much news to impart. Ready? Grab a cuppa!

The nutshell version is this: We now supply four shops, can cater everything from intimate dinner parties to full on Indian Banquets and are happy to do pop-up Field Kitchen food at any local event.

Here's the detail!

We are now supplying our delicious, home-made frozen ready meals to no fewer than FOUR local shops - pleased as punch with this! They are:

Old Barn Stores, North Waltham

The Village Shop, Upton Grey

Premier Stores, Old Basing

The Village Shop, Preston Candover

If you go in and can't find us in the freezer, do ask the shop keepers!

We have also branched out on the catering front, catering all kinds of different styles of events this month.

In case you have catering requirements coming up, here's a little run down of what we've done this month.

Our biggest event was a fully catered, staffed and served Indian Banquet for 50 people. The menu was Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani), Goan Pork Curry (Pork Balchao), Black-Eyed Bean Curry (vegetarian option), Sweet Potato with Panch Phoran, Sag Aloo, Naan breads, Mint & Cucumber Raita, Chutney and Pickle. This was all served outside, under a gorgeous gazebo, and was treated to rave reviews from the diners, I'm pleased to say!

Here's the client's verdict:

"Thank you to team Pennington for the most scrummy delicious food and making my life so much easier. 👍I cannot recommend The Shabby Gourmet enough. Everything about you was first class. Just had left overs for dinner and was just as delicious 😀😀 xxx"

We also catered a more intimate 50th Birthday dinner for 30 people as a distance event. For this, we cooked a Shabby Gourmet original dish - Crusaders' Mincemeat. This is a dish of minced lamb with Middle-Eastern spices, including cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and rose petals. It's enriched with soft, dried fruit and is my take on the original mincemeat that the Crusaders brought back from their travels. As I child, I read in a Ladybird book that the mincemeat we have in mince pies at Christmas is called minceMEAT as it is based on the original Middle-Eastern mincemeat, and originally did contain meat. The idea of this, to a four year old, was sufficiently horrific that it stuck in the mind for forty years, but when it collided with a dish I sampled in Israel - five spiced minced meats stuffed into five dried fruits - I realised what it was all about. On my return to England I set about recreating a version of the dish and this is it. The reason for which I cooked it for this event particularly is that the dish needed to be delivered - from Basingstoke to Cheltenham! The best way to do this was to deliver it frozen, and this dish freezes particularly well. It was served with a spiced tabbouleh, studded with pomegranate seeds and garnished with fresh mint. It will be being added to the menu very soon!

A new style of event for us in June was a pop-up Field Kitchen at Basingstoke Rugby Club's Community Fun Day. We figured curry and chilli would go down well with the Rugby boys & girls, and we weren't wrong. Having had such rave reviews for the Butter Chicken, we risked doing that, and sold out. The Chilli con Carne just about lasted to the end of the event and the food, apparently, was the talk of the day. All of this sounds terribly "blow your own trumpet"y, but it's all true, and if you don't blow it yourself, no other bugger's going to blow it for you, right?! We absolutely LOVED the day, and have pledged to do at least one pop-up event per month, so if you know of an event needing a food stall, give us a shout!

We also catered a leaving lunch party for one of our lovely local businesses, here in the village. This was a picnic lunch with sandwiches, tartlets, smoked mackerel toasts, sausage rolls etc, all rounded off with a Cornish cream tea. Again, the food was raved about and when we arrived to collect the empty plates later in the afternoon, we found the staff good-naturedly fighting over the leftovers! Needless to say, we brought nothing home.

Our final event for the month of June was a pro-bono village event, where we set up the field kitchen in the front garden, and invited the village Wine Walkers in for as much wine as they could drink and curry as they could eat. This was an absolute riot, as you can imagine, and the food was snarfled down in extraordinary quantities, with third and fourth portions being sought by some walkers!

So it's onward and upward for us, we hope. We are loving bringing our food to all sorts of different folk, and are hugely looking forward to taking on further challenges in the coming months.

Pip pip!

Maz & Simon

Vintage Tea Party, Shabby Gourmet Style

Mr & Mrs Shabby Gourmet!

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