Tony 2AA rosettes 2018

Into the frying pan with head chef Tony

Weddings from a chef’s point of view

Our head chef Tony has been in his current position at The Falcondale since October 2017 and has over 20 years’ experience within hotels / restaurants and event catering. We thought we’d fire some questions at him and share his experience of the industry with you – especially when it comes to catering for weddings.

Weddings at The Falcondale

Your advice to brides and grooms when choosing their menus?

Prioritise your desires. If the food element of your wedding is high up on your list, then allocate your wedding budget accordingly. It could be that you’d prefer to spend more on “the dress” and that 8-piece band you absolutely love. Let us know, as we can alter dishes and presentation to suit your day and budget. This does not mean that the quality of the food or service will be compromised, only the realism that an Oyster bar will more expensive than standard canapes.

Choose a menu for you, what you like to eat, and let your guests know your reasonings for your choices. They are far more likely to get on board your train of thought and accept that the day is about you, and not them.

 

Canapes

 

What are your biggest likes and dislikes when it comes to catering for a wedding?

The most amazing feeling is receiving feedback from the bride and groom after the event is over. By the time we get to the wedding day itself we would have spent hours fine tuning and preparing – including taster sessions / pictures of the dishes / reading and re-reading the menu etc. etc. To hear that the effort was worthwhile is amazing.

My biggest dislike (which I’m sure many other chefs would agree with me), is guests not telling the bride and groom or even the venue about their dietary requirements. There are many situations involving people’s health that require a specific diet and I have no problem in accommodating these requests. However, trying to conjure a vegan dairy free dessert at the 11th hour whilst feeding 120 guests is quite a tall order. I kindly request that we are made aware of these dietary requirements in advance (at least a week in advance – please).

 

What are your thoughts on the latest trends of Grazing or Feasting tables?

For me it’s just fancy words for a buffet, would you agree? Maybe I’m being a little harsh on this point.

With a buffet you’ll have a selection of options from a buffet table which include carved meats, bowls of salads, dressings, dips, coleslaw, maybe some hot options and a bread roll – all individual elements which when brought together makes a complete plate of food.

A grazing table would be a large display table full of dishes, such as mini fish & chip cones with tartare sauce, mini brioche buns filled with a Welsh beef patty and red onion marmalade, softly poached quail egg with an asparagus sprig, falafel and cous cous food bowls. Portions that are a little bigger than canapes and be picked up by the guests haphazardly over a longer period of time.

A feasting table is what you’d expect to see at Harry Potter, all the food in the middle of the table where the guests are sat with platters of food to share in the middle. Kind of like a private buffet for each individual table, which gets people talking and mingling with each other naturally.

What I like to do (especially for the evening part of the weddings), are food platters. Such as Welsh cheese with oatcakes, chutneys, apples, celery and grapes. Alongside this serve a charcuterie platter of salami’s, pepperoni, bresaola with olives, gherkins, roasted nuts and artisan breads.

Afternoon tea wedding

 

What is your food philosophy?

Local & seasonal – whenever and wherever possible.

No matter your budget or what dishes you choose I try and source these locally to The Falcondale. There is such a vast array of producers within the county of Ceredigion and its neighbour’s in Carmarthenshire / Pembrokeshire and Powys that we would be amiss to ignore them.

There is an expectation to provide menus within a wedding brochure, which is quite ridiculous really when at that stage you don’t even know what time of year the wedding will take place. This results in generic menus that sounds the same as any other venue. When I have the opportunity, I would prefer to offer specific seasonal options to brides and grooms that could also strengthen their vibe and hopes for their day.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Come up for a tasting of your dishes before you make your final decisions on a menu. I make a judgement call on what I think would look good dependant on your choice. This may not always match with your expectations and so please be honest about your feedback. Do you want it to look differently? Maybe it wasn’t what you thought? Do you want a different garnish on the side?

Once you are happy and you’ve made your decision we will put the wheels in motion and start planning the ordering of produce.

Wedding tables

 

Weddings at The Falcondale

Our aim has been to offer suggestions that could be applied to The Falcondale hotel & restaurant, a four-star country house hotel located just outside Lampeter in Mid Wales.

 

Peek at our Wedding page for details on packages.

 

To book a showaround give us a call on 01570 422910 or email weddings@thefalcondale.co.uk

 

WEDDINGS

Falcondale hotel and restaurant

7 things to do in Winter

7 things to do (or places to visit) when it’s raining

…within driving distance of Lampeter

It may be colder, with a little of the wet stuff falling – however, there are things you can do when staying at The Falcondale. Located within Ceredigion and only 2 miles from the border to Carmarthenshire and just 25 miles to the border of Pembrokeshire.

We’ve put together some ideas of places to visit and things you can do within easy driving distance from Lampeter.

 

1. NATIONAL WOOL MUSEUM

Dre-fach Velindre was once the heart of the Welsh wool industry and is now the place to go for everything woolly. They take you from the fleece off the sheep through to the finished product and show you how methods and industry has changed over many years.

A free entry museum with a sympathetically restored listed mill and historic machinery. Look out for workshops and specialist talks throughout the year. All you need is under cover, with a café, shop and viewing platform for the mill itself.

National Wool Museum of Wales

 

2. NATIONAL LIBRARY OF WALES IN ABERYSTWYTH

Guided tours of the library are available Wednesdays at 2.15pm, we would recommend booking your place as they can be sold out. You will be escorted around the library and introduced to its history and most noteworthy assets. There are permanent and temporary exhibitions on display for you to wander around including the infamous Nanteos cup – thought to be the “holy grail”.

Located in Penglais overlooking the university town of Aberystwyth spend time in the café overlooking Cardigan Bay in the distance.

National Library of Wales

 

3. CARDIGAN CASTLE

Cardigan Castle includes a Georgian Mansion and grade II listed garden. 900 years of history is at hand to explore and discover at your leisure or with a guided tour available at 2pm each day of the week. Permanent and temporary exhibitions are located at the castle with interpretation panels and multimedia technology.

Being that the castle is located in the town of Cardigan you could combine your visit with a stroll around some of the unique traditional shops.

Cardigan Castle

 

4. DA MHILE DISTILLERY

An organic distiller of gin and liqueurs located near the town of Llandysul. Tours only happen on Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm, and they suggest you phone and book. It is well worth planning and taking advantage of a tour, as you are taken into the distilling room itself and get to taste the varied range available.

Located in its present location from 2012 Da Mhile have produced an orange liqueur, botanical gin and seaweed gin to great acclaim. We would also recommend visiting Teifi Farmhouse Cheese as they are located at the same farm!

Da Mhile Distillery

 

5. LLANERCHAERON NATIONAL TRUST

Found on the Lampeter to Aberaeron road, Llanerchaeron is a National Trust property which was self-sufficient in its heyday. It has its own farm, walled garden and lake that sustained 10 generations of the Lewis/Lewes family from 1634 to 1989.

The early John Nash Palladian style Georgian villa is particularly interesting, with its simple looking exterior hiding complex design features including a hidden courtyard towards the rear of the property. Look out for events such as their Christmas fayre, held on the 1st and 2nd December 2018.

Llanerchaeron National Trust property

 

6. NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS OF WALES

On the A48 (an extension to the M4) it’s not exactly on our doorstep but has been included as a way of extending your break by visiting on your way here or on your way home.

Home of the largest single span great glasshouse in the world and houses the largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the Northern hemisphere. You’ll stay dry in here as you explore the winding paths around six distinct areas of rare and some endangered species.

Within the double walled-garden you’ll find the tropical glass house which plays host to a kaleidoscope of colourful butterflies – don’t miss this gem during your visit.

National Botanical Gardens of Wales

 

7. CAWS CENARTH CHEESE

Don’t just order your speciality cheese on-line, visit the producing process in person at Caws Cenarth’s visitor centre near the village of Cenarth. It’s best to go between 11am and 3pm from Monday to Friday to see the actual production, however the tasting of the cheese takes place during their normal opening hours.

Their delicious cheeses are showcased on The Falcondale’s own cheese boards and have won Supreme Champion in the British cheese awards. Rest assured that you will see the very highest of quality from this brand.

Caws Cenarth Cheese

 

Escapes and Offers

Take advantage of these fabulous places and book a stay with us here at The Falcondale.

Escapes & Offers

Chicken Liver Parfait

Chicken Liver Parfait

Always a favourite on any menu is a terrine / parfait or a pate.

They are all similar in their intent, but are different in their appearance and texture. A parfait is a type of pate that has a very smooth consistency, whereas a terrine is traditionally more chunky and a pate would be somewhere in between.

You can’t make this parfait without fresh chicken livers, which is what puts most people off. However, all you need to do is use a bit of common sense and follow our chefs handy tip.

CHEFS HANDY TIP

“When buying your chicken livers from the butchers ask them to remove any sinews and gall bladder for you. Then prior to making your parfait soak your chicken livers in some milk for one hour (this will draw out any bitterness), wash them under cool running water briefly before using them in the recipe.”

Chicken Liver Parfait

Ingredients for Chicken Liver Parfait

  • 1kg Fresh chicken livers
  • 160g Pasteurised egg yolks
  • 1kg melted Butter
  • 2 x diced Onions
  • 1/2 bulb crushed Garlic
  • Chopped Thyme
  • Chopped Parsley
  • zest of 2 Oranges
  • 25ml Port
  • 25ml Brandy

How to: –

  • Lightly pan fry the garlic, thyme, parsley and orange zest before adding the port and brandy. For those brave soles who wish to do so, flambe the pan (not a requirement, it’s more for showmanship!).
  • Add the chicken livers and pan fry quickly to seal the outside of the meat.
  • Place your chicken liver mix, onions, egg yolks into a blender and switch on. Add your butter to the mixture slowly until its all mixed together.
  • You will need to push your mixture through a sieve to get a smooth texture. It may take a little time and effort, but the result of a fabulously smooth consistency is worth it!
  • Put them into an ovenproof container. This could be individual ramekins, a terrine mould, or even a simple bowl. Cover with greaseproof paper and foil.
  • Place your dishes into another shallow tray or container that has water in it coming up half way on your dish – also known as a Bain Marie.
  • Cook at 150 degrees celsius for an hour and a half.
  • After taking it out of the oven place in a cold space or area to cool as quickly as possible. Once the dish is cool to the touch store in the fridge and eat within 2 days. Or place in the freezer immediately.

Serve your chicken liver parfait alongside your favourite sourdough bread and salted Welsh butter. Maybe even add some of your homemade chutney or our favourite is red onion marmalade.

Enjoy!

Lunches and Dinners are served everyday at The Falcondale, take a look: –

RESTAURANT

Shortbread for any occasion

A crumbly and satisfying biscuit

We make a lot of shortbread at The Falcondale as it gets ordered often, as well as being provided with conferences.

Have you noticed that they sometimes change slightly… :-)   well, the shape does!

Shortbread biscuits

Since we’re nearing Valentines, Mike decided to make heart shapes. Look out for Easter bunnies in a few months’ time…

Here’s the recipe

Ingredients

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 8oz butter
  • 1oz corn flour
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • and some more caster sugar for sprinkling on top

Method

  • Blend all the above ingredients together until you have a soft dough
  • Roll out and cut to your desired shape
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees until lightly browned

 

The above recipe is going to make a lot of biscuits. So, you may want to halve or quarter the recipe to suit your needs. Either way, they are very simple to make. Please let us know how you get on.

 

Afternoon tea

Shortbread is included within the afternoon teas offered at The Falcondale.

Take a look…

Homemade scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam

Scones!

Afternoon tea…

a cream tea, just fancy a treat with a pot of  tea; it can’t be complete without a scone lavished with jam then cream, or cream then jam, but either way we can’t go without the British classic, the scone. Here’s how we make ours so delicious.

Ingredients

Makes around 10 scones

  • 450g self- raising flour
  • 2 rounded tsp baking power
  • 75g butter (room temerature)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225ml milk

Method

  • Lightly grease 2 baking trays and pre heat the oven to 220 C/ Gas 7
  • Mix the flour and baking powder. Add butter and mix until the mixture is like a crumb and add the sugar. We find it’s best to get stuck in and mix with your hands, but try not to overwork the mixture.
  • Beat the eggs and mix with the milk, this will be used for glazing later.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and flatten with your hands. Using the desired cutter size, pulling them straight out the dough so they keep their shape.
  • Place the scones on the baking tray and brush the tops with the egg and milk glaze (optional)  and bake for 10-15 mins until the scones are risen and golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack, we put a towel over them to keep them moist.

Then cut in half and serve with a generous amount of jam and cream or let us do the messy bit and come and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea with other homemade delights. Afternoon tea’s are £18.50 per person or come and treat yourself with a cream tea for just £5.

Afternoon Tea