We spent my birthday in a gorgeous cottage from Sykes Cottages in Craster, Northumberland this year. I know we are lucky with babysitters and I'm sure Grannie or Grandma would have obliged if I'd asked, however I really wanted the kids to stay with us at the cottage as we had lots of adventures planned and I didn't want them to miss out. This left me with a dilemma - how should I celebrate my birthday? When I spotted that Paul's Private Dining were offering a festive package to cook a 3 course menu for you in your own home for only £25 per person, I knew this would be the perfect solution. A simple email to Paul and it was all booked. I chose to pay up front (via bank transfer) as it meant that all I needed to worry about was the wine!
A week or so before Paul was due to cook, we went through the menu and picked our dishes - the menu can be completely tailored to your needs and Paul is full of suggestions or happy to hear yours.
On the evening of our event, Paul arrived at our cottage in Craster just after 6:30 pm with everything he needed - there is no need to worry if you have the right equipment as he will take care of everything. He set to work straight away in our kitchen as we relaxed with a glass of wine in front of the fire. Steve would normally cook for us when it's a special occasion so it was so lovely to do this and a real treat. We played scrabble and chess (which had been provided by the cottage) with the kids before popping them up to bed at around 7:30pm when our first course was served.
The table setting was fabulous with Christmas crackers, candy canes, mulled wine sachet table favours and a wooden heart shaped bread board topped with the best Rosemary bread to accompany our starter.
To start we had chosen Parsnip and Ginger soup with Sourdough and Rosemary Croutons - it was the perfect soup for a winter's night. The best part was, Paul decanted the excess soup into a jug and popped us in the fridge to re-heat and enjoy after our walk the next day. I think it tasted even better after our coastal walk and was really appreciated.
Our main was Cumin spiced Rump of Lamb, Kale, Pomegranate and Bulgarwheat Tabboulleh and minted yoghurt. We were informed that the lamb had been locally sourced from the fields around Craster and I have to say the dish was first class. We would easily have paid around £22 for this dish alone in a restaurant. The lamb was served perfectly pink to our liking and the portion was huge.
Now I had clearly had far too much wine at this point as I forgot to take a photograph of our dessert! Oooops! We ended our dinner with Chambord soaked winter berry cheesecake which was served in a teacup with two delicious layers. Homemade cheesecake is just the best and this one didn't let us down.
Paul left as we were finishing our desserts - the majority of our kitchen and dishes had been cleaned and he had even bagged his own rubbish up and taken it out to our bin - such a professional service and there is no way you would have guessed a three course feast had just been prepared! Thank you so much Paul - our evening certainly exceeded our expectations. It was such a treat to be catered for yet stay relaxed and informal at the same time.
You can read more about Paul's Private Dining who offer bespoke dinner party catering for 2-8 people and a range of personal cookery tuition. Gift vouchers are available too. If you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift for a couple who don't have babysitters, I am sure a private dining experience for two (from £64) would be VERY well received.
Photo courtesy of Paul's Private Dining
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