27 February 2012

Sesame seared salmon and scallops, Thai yellow curry sauce, curly kale, butternut squash

Photography lesson with Jules and Sue

Jules and Sue Porter came into our lives when we chose them to do our Wedding photography back in 2007 and after doing a magnificent job of our album we have stayed great friends since. I have wanted to get the best out of my recently purchased Nikon 7000 for a while, wishing to move up a level with my food photography so it was naturally a great idea to get a day in with Jules and Sue for a one on one lesson. As we share a common passion in food, we were all really looking forward to it and had a fantastic day shooting and eating! 

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26 February 2012

COOKING LESSON, Dinner Party Menu, ChefGary and ChefGary2

I have cooked for Gary Connolly and his friends several times now but my latest meeting with my namesake was for a one on one cooking lesson. Gary came up with a brilliant three course menu that he wanted to prepare for a dinner party and we worked together for the morning preparing and cooking some fabulous food. It was a great experience to work through my recipes with Gary who already has a great knowledge of food, enabling us to knuckle down and create a great dinner party menu.

We sat down over a cup of tea and discussed the menu before hand and what our action plan would be. With Gary's existing abilities and passion for good food we were soon busy in the kitchen.


To Start:

Cheddar, blush tomato and spring onion loaf, olive oil and balsamic,
x x x
Saute king prawns, chorizo, chilli, garlic, lime, rocket salad,

Main Course:

Fillet of beef Wellington, Parma ham, wild mushroom pate, puff pastry,
Red wine gravy, fondant potato, carrots, green beans, asparagus.

To finish:
Trio of desserts

Vanilla creme brulee, chocolate brownie, strawberry cheesecake.

Gary was really keen, showing great existing skills, preparing everything himself under my guidance. I was informed that his friends were really impressed with his full banquet menu, with Gary moving his cooking abilities up to the next level.

22 February 2012

Pan roasted pheasant breast, wild mushrooms, Parma ham

Saute potatoes, buttered green beans, spiced butternut squash, sesame roast parsnips, redcurrant gravy.

I recently butchered some pheasants for a friend who wasn't sure how to prepare them. As a thank you, I was offered some to take some home and I received them with pleasure, thinking about a good recipe to use on the way home. The breasts were beautifully lean and I decided to roll them with some garlic, wild mushrooms and Parma ham to keep them moist. Wrapping them in cling film, I gently poached them in simmering water, before removing and colouring in a hot pan  to caramelise the outside and add extra flavour and texture. They were absolutely delicious, remaining very tender, going exceptionally well with the sweetened  gravy, potatoes and vegetables.

21 February 2012

COOKING LESSON, Sushi with Stuart

I have recently teamed up with a great up and coming food photographer, Stuart Webster, who  recently accompanied me on one of my Private Dinner Parties and taken some great photos. He has a fantastic passion for food as do I and so it was with great pleasure that we got together to do a one on one cooking lesson. Stuart loves sushi and as it is also one of my favourite types of foods, I have been looking forwards to coming up with a few little dishes that we could create together, taking some great photos in the process. 

Sushi is a very small part of Japanese food, but is surely the most famous, being unique to their cuisine. Sushi is prepared using the finest and freshest produce, complimented best by using a top quality soy sauce and fresh wasabi. I put my personal little twist on a great traditional style of cooking and really enjoyed the lesson.

We used some beautiful fresh scallops, thinly slicing them for sashimi with fresh lime juice, chilli and spring onion.  The smoked mackerel nigiri was complimented by a delicious oyster sauce, whilst the salmon maki was served with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy. Making a fresh tempura batter for the succulent  King prawns added a crisp texture and another dimension to the finished combination of dishes. The dessert was a great way to end on a high, offering a burst of sweet tropical fruit flavours, with the bitter knorri seaweed and the sharpness of the lime syrup.


King prawn tempura nigiri,
x x x
Saute King prawn nigiri, 
x x x
Salmon nigiri,
x x x
Salmon maki,
x x x
Smoked mackerel nigiri,
x x x
Scallop sashimi,

Followed by:

Tropical fruit maki, fresh lychee, mango and strawberries, lime syrup.

If you would like to learn to reproduce dishes like these, then contact me for more details.
Tel: 07775560126
Mail: chef@chefgary.co.uk

15 February 2012

St Valentines Dinner

Food has become such an immense part of my life and I attain great pleasure from  cooking for Private Dinner Parties as equally as I evoke it from cooking at home for my wife and I.  Karen must surely be my biggest food fan and I gave her free reign over the choice of this years St Valentines' meal. We love to eat all range of cuisine and I was as excited to prepare our latest dinner as my lovely wife was to devouring it!


To begin

Assiette of Asian delights

Seared sesame seed scallops, soy sauce, honey reduction,
Seared salmon teryikai,
Crispy fried calamari, chilli, sea salt,
Smoked mackerel nigiri, oyster sauce,
Pickled vegetable salad.


Trio of Gressingham duck,
Pan roasted breast,
5 spice confit of shank,
Crispy duck pan cake roll, 

Hand cut Cajun spiced potato wedges,
Sesame roasted carrots, buttered green beans,
Soy and redcurrant infused gravy.

To finish:

Toffee and honeycomb creme brulee,

Strawberry and vanilla cup cake, raspberry glitter.

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13 February 2012


I evoke so much passion and pleasure from my cooking and I love to share  it with as many people as possible,  bringing smiles to their faces simply by providing amazing food.  I am always willing to travel to do so and my latest Private Dinner Party was in London to celebrate Joel's 21st Birthday Party. It was great to meet and cook for a fantastic bunch of people who made me feel very welcome in their home and who really appreciated their food.

Simon initially contacted me over the telephone after finding my blog on line and from there, Rebecca and I worked together to build a menu that would suit their occasion. I have been looking forward to the event for the past few weeks and was especially buzzing nearer the time, when I got down to starting the food preparation on the day. 

My wife came to help me as we had a fantastic menu planned and I could definitely do with the extra help. I also had a photographer friend arranged to come with me to give a hand and to take some great photos in the process. Stuart Webster is a very keen food photographer and I have been looking forwards to working with him for a while as he has taken some great photos which I know will bring out the best in my food.

I arrived about 5:30p.m with my lovely wife to set up, with the canapes to be ready for 7:00p.m. It was the first time I had met the hosts as all our menu planning had been done either via telephone or email. I was welcomed very warmly with a cup of tea and both Simon and Rebecca were really friendly which set the tone for all the other dinner guests to come later. 

It was another new kitchen for me to work in which can be tricky but I got my head down and was just about on time when everyone started to arrive. The canapes went down really well and we were in good stead to go with the starters, which again received warm compliments. The rest of the evening went down fantastically, with all the diners being great sports and enjoying their food and champagne. Rebecca had worked really hard to pick a menu that would be well received all round, giving thought to her brother Joel, who's birthday it was. It certainly paid off as I was personally thanked by all, which really made the evening. 

The full menu is below, with some amazing pictures to go with it. I look forwards to another event where I can get to cook such a great menu again.



Saute King prawns, chorizo, chilli, garlic, fresh coriander.
x x x
Caramelised figs, Parma ham, cinnamon, balsamic, honey.
x x x
Crisp fried calamari, fresh chilli, spring onion, sea salt, mango and lime mayo,

To Begin:

Carpacio of seared beef fillet, rocket leaves, cracked black pepper, lemon juice, truffle oil.
Carpacio of tuna, roasted sesame seeds, oriental salad, lime, wasabi crème fraiche, soy.

Main Course:

Trio of Gressingham duck,
Seared breast, soy and honey glaze,
Confit of duck shank, redcurrant and rosemary infused gravy,
Crispy shredded duck roll,
Whole sea bass, blush tomatoes, rosemary and garlic,
Lemon and white wine butter sauce.

Served with:
Truffle scented mashed potatoes,
Roasted chantaney carrots,
Saute tender stem broccoli and pak choi.

To Finish:

Trio of desserts:

Vanilla and honeycomb crème brulee, tuille biscuit,
Chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream,
Toffee apple crumble, chilled vanilla custard, caramel sauce.

"I cannot thank you enough for last night. The food was amazing, every person complementing you and the food" 
Rebecca Bowman

Thank you soooo much Gary, the food was beautifully presented as well as  delicious.  All your staff were so lovely and friendly and gave a great service. It was very special to have it in our home and made it feel an exceptionally wonderful evening. Thank you so much, 
Annabel Bowman x


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10 February 2012

Seared sea bass fillets, Spiced with yellow Thai curry.

Saute new potatoes, glazed pak choi, sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Another great dinner at home, enjoyed by my lovely wife and I on a Friday night in. I love cooking with Sea bass as it is such a beautiful and versatile fish. I took the fillets off the bone and brushed them with some Thai spices before searing them in a hot pan. They took on the flavour of the spices well, staying beautifully moist and were a delight to eat. I also enjoy cooking  sea bass with  Mediterranean influences, either baking whole with blush tomatoes, rosemary and garlic or filleting and grilling with fresh basil pesto. Whichever way I decide to cook sea bass, I always get great pleasure at the dining table.