Michael Buerk is joined by chef Paul Ainsworth to showcase food served at the grandest royal state banquets.
Browse content similar to Diplomatic Relations. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
The Royal Family are steeped in tradition,
and throughout history the royal tables
have showcased culinary excellence. In celebration of royal food...
We know it is the Queen's recipe
because we've got it in her own hand.
..from the present and the past...
That is proper regal.
We recreate old family favourites.
Now, the Queen Mother had this really wicked trick with these.
What a mess!
We sample royal eating alfresco.
-That is what you want.
And revisit the most extravagant times.
Pheasant, stag, turkey, salmon,
oysters and turbot dressed in a lobster champagne sauce.
This is Royal Recipes.
Hello. I'm Michael Buerk - and welcome to Royal Recipes.
This is Audley End, one of Britain's finest stately homes.
Built in the style of a royal palace and once owned by a king.
In the splendour of the gardens,
halls and kitchen of this grandest of country houses,
we will be recreating the food served at the highest royal tables.
And it all starts here with this gem -
a royal kitchen maid's cookbook.
The only surviving recipe book of its kind in the Royal Archive.
This is an exact copy of the original,
which is kept at Windsor Castle.
Inside, the recipes of Mildred Nicholls
who worked at Buckingham Palace in the early 1900s -
and, for the first time in over 100 years,
we'll be bringing these recipes back to life.
This time we cook food served to world leaders
during royal state visits,
and learn the art of diplomatic relations.
The state banquet is an essential part of the sovereign's role.
Today in the Royal Recipes kitchen,
chef Paul Ainsworth prepares a dish
inspired by the dinner the Queen laid on for President Obama...
That is... It's unbelievable!
Well, you can see why President Obama
enjoyed his visit to England.
A former royal butler introduces historian Matt Green
to banquet etiquette and protocol...
Remember, we don't put elbows on the table.
-We don't put wrists on the table.
We don't lie on the table.
The only time your hands are on the table
is actually when you're actually using...
obviously picking up the cutlery and you're eating.
..and the royal banquet,
with British bubbles from the vineyards of the South Downs.
We've actually been served at three state banquets.
We hear when the menus get released
that we see that our wines are on the list.
It's really quite exciting!
In the grandeur of the historic kitchen wing of this stately home,
we start in 2011, when the Queen welcomed Barack and Michelle Obama.
Welcome to the marvellous old kitchens,
and indeed the marvellous young Michelin-starred chef
It's the big one today. I mean, no pressure.
-Actually, a lot of pressure.
-There is a lot of pressure.
It's the royal state banquet.
-What are you going to do?
-Michael, we're going to do a wonderful dish
of paupiettes of lemon sole
with a wonderful watercress mousseline and Nantua sauce.
Oh, it sounds marvellous - and is actually the dish...
See? This is the menu card
for the state visit of President Obama in 2011.
First course! Right.
Right, let's get on with what President Obama got.
-We've got a lot to do. I might need a bit of help from you today.
Right, so the first thing I'm going to make
is the watercress mousseline,
-and that's what we're going to stuff the sole with.
-So here we have our chicken breast, which goes on like so...
..and then we're just going to put in a little pinch of salt with it.
And we're going to blitz that first.
-OK, like so.
Just to break down the protein.
OK. Next, we're going to add in one egg white.
OK, and again another blitz.
So we don't load all the ingredients in there.
It's stage by stage.
So when you say paupiette, what does that actually mean?
-Rolled and stuffed.
-And then we're going to add a splash of cream.
-OK. Like so.
-A splash of cream(!)
-Just a splash.
-Do you ever do a dish
-that hasn't got a splash of cream in it?
-Oh, stop it -
this is royal dishes, they are very fond of their French cooking,
-which is obviously very heavy with butter and cream.
So we've just added in there some watercress.
So you've got this lovely chicken mousseline.
The cream lightens it, believe it or not,
and then we've got this lovely pepperiness happening.
Right, so what we're going to do
is we're going to take our lemon sole fillets
and we're just going to take some of this -
-and it really is worth doing. It may look fiddly...
..but just spread them
right the way down the length of the fillet.
Actually, taking trouble is the whole thing about state banquets,
isn't it? You know they start laying the table up
-five days before the event itself?
You know, polishing the porcelain,
getting the silver out and all that kind of stuff.
So, we just put in our mousse, right down the middle.
And a lot of it you might think, chicken - why chicken?
-I was thinking, chicken and fish.
-Why are you not using a fish mousse?
But chicken's such...
Because it's kind of got that neutral flavour,
it's such a good protein when you're making mousselines and stuffings.
And it gives it a bit of body within the delicacy of the fish.
With the fish, yeah.
And it doesn't take away from the flavour of the fish.
Now, just really simple, it's not too difficult.
Just take your fillet and just roll it up like so.
Just like that. And then with a cocktail stick...
..through the tail end, just watch your fingers,
and then just go out the other side like that.
-Like so. Would you like a go, Michael?
-Yep, I'll do that.
-This might take some time.
All right, OK.
So what I'm moving on next to, Michael, is the sauce -
and the sauce is beautiful.
It's a Nantua sauce, which is basically a crayfish sauce.
Now, classically, this would be done Bechamel base,
but what I've tried to do is lighten it
and make it more like bisque sauce,
but still keeping it true to its French roots
-with cream and some cognac and some butter.
-So, it's not quite as heavy.
-What's going on in there?
-This is our steamer.
Right, we're just going to gently place those in the steamer.
-Like so. OK.
Important, Michael - some seasoning.
Just some sea salt, just round on our flesh, like so.
And because that's so delicate,
now let's just let the residual heat just steam those gently away.
You've taken it off the heat?
Just taken it off - and that steam will just rise up through,
cook the mousse gently, keep the fish nice and moist.
-Right, on to our sauce.
So we've just roasted off some crayfish shells.
-The way you do.
-Yeah. With some carrot, onion, leek, celery,
a little bit of paprika, a little bit of tomato puree,
some brandy and then some fish stock.
Wow! And how long have you done that for?
And we've just simmered that for a couple of hours,
just to kind of get a really nice, deep flavour.
The reason they're not favoured by chefs, sometimes,
is because they are quite difficult to prep -
but they have got such wonderful flavour.
-Now, it's important...
-Actually, you can smell it.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-Push all of that through.
-And now we return that back to the heat.
-That looks brilliant.
I'm going to get some asparagus on,
cos we're just going to finish this with some beautiful asparagus.
Turn up our heat. We want to bring our sauce to the boil.
Right, the first thing we're going to do
is we're going to add just a little bit of cognac.
Now, we don't want to add a lot...
-..because we're going to reduce it out.
Because it's so strong,
-we don't want to kill the flavour of the sauce.
-Little bit of cream.
Now, this would have been a lot richer
if we had stuck to the original classic recipe
-of making it like a Bechamel sauce.
-This by your standards is pretty light?
This is quite light, yeah.
Right, I'm going to add, now, some butter.
And what the butter is going to do
is it is going to emulsify with the sauce, slightly thicken it
and give it that wonderful richness.
OK. If I could get you to just carry on whisking that sauce,
-just like that for me, please, Michael...
-Yeah, will do.
..and we're going to start to plate up.
-We've got some asparagus
that we've just kind of warmed in some beautiful butter.
All British ingredients.
-All British ingredients.
-British asparagus, British lemon sole.
So, we've just got these lovely wonderful asparagus spears.
-A beautiful colour, aren't they?
Once that sauce has thickened
-we're then going to add our crayfish tails.
-Oh, I love those.
-So, we've used everything.
We've used the meat from the tails
and then those wonderful heads in our sauce.
I think I've done this rather brilliantly.
-You see how it has thickened and gone nice and velvety?
-It's my touch.
-It's my touch.
-It is your touch.
-Right, OK, the bit that I'm really dying to show you...
..is these beautiful paupiettes of lemon sole.
-They've been off the heat?
-They've been off the heat.
-OK - and look.
-And they've cooked.
-I'll bring them over to you.
And now just remove our cocktail sticks.
Look at that.
-Just look how succulent and juicy they are.
Without any heat at all.
Just the residual heat.
We're going to finish them with a little bit more sea salt.
-OK? Now our sauce.
-We're going to add in the crayfish tails.
Like so. Stirring.
A quick taste.
-A little bit of lemon.
It's a bit too rich even for you, is it?
It's not - you just want that lemon just to cut it.
-A little bit of bite to it as well.
A little bit of lemon juice, which goes so nice with the fish...
-..and also a little bit of lemon on our fish.
Delicious. Lemon, asparagus - God, I can't wait to get into this.
This is something else.
OK? And now just those crayfish.
-Over the top like that.
Some on the side.
There we have it. That, for me, is proper banquet food.
They still talk about President Obama's state visit to the UK,
and, perhaps, at least part of the success of it, was down to that.
Yeah. That is something else.
-(Come on, come on.)
-You're dying to taste it!
-I am, actually, yeah.
-Go for it. I'm just as excited as you.
I'm going to have that one.
-Oh, God, it's a bit big.
-That's a lovely tail, that one.
Yeah, that was what I was going for.
A nice bit of tail, as President Obama might say.
Here we go.
-Oh... I feel a bit underdressed for this.
-Oh, my God.
I should be wearing white tie and tails, shouldn't I?
-Mm. That is really good, isn't it?
Well, you can see why President Obama
enjoyed his visit to England.
A light dish that really delivers on flavour.
Banquets are not just about the food,
they're about the whole spectacle.
The royal butlers play a crucial role in creating that.
Where better to learn about preparing for grand royal banquets
than at this monumental country house,
given to a duke by a queen in the 18th century?
It may not be a royal home, but it's a palace -
and historian Matt Green is here to learn all about royal etiquette.
I've come to Blenheim Palace to meet someone called Grant Harrold
who runs the Royal Butler School
to get a crash course on how to put on a royal banquet...
..but, on second thoughts,
I think I should be entering via the servants' quarters.
For seven years, Grant Harrold worked as a butler
to Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall,
the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
-How do you do?
-How do you do?
Blenheim Palace was built for the Duke of Marlborough.
150 years later his descendant, Winston Churchill, was born here.
Over the generations, there have been many royal guests.
Wow! This is the entrance hall of Blenheim Palace?
-It's like something out of a fairy tale.
State banquets, per se, don't happen here -
but it's not dissimilar,
and it gives us a sense of the much grander state banquets.
And is it true that they are laid out
with almost a degree of military precision?
They are. I mean, obviously,
royal standards are what everyone wants to kind of aspire to
in these kind of homes,
and the aristocrats are known for copying
the way that royals do things.
Presumably, in order to achieve the meticulousness of this layout,
to have that effect that's really quite mind-blowing,
you have to measure everything?
In Buckingham Palace they have what's...
They've got, obviously, a measuring stick
that's actually got the markings on it as to where things should be.
So, there's a distance, obviously, which they will measure
-from the edge of the table to the back of the chair.
-They will measure the space settings between each place...
..to make sure that it's at the right distance.
They measure the glass, they measure the cutlery.
So it's right, that's how precise it has to be.
As butler at Highgrove, Prince Charles's private residence,
Grant would oversee this kind of table preparation.
Before work can start,
each member of staff must don a pair of white gloves.
The white gloves, obviously,
it's so we protect the silver and glassware
and we don't get any marks,
because it's already probably been polished and cleaned.
-We can always double-check it,
but normally it is already done by the time it comes to the room
and then all we're having to do is actually put things down.
You want to make sure it is symmetrical
and you're not off to the side or anything.
If there's any crests or anything,
always make sure that they are pointing to the top.
Another trick to laying a table is the rule of thumb -
the gap between crockery and cutlery must be an inch,
about the length from a thumb knuckle to tip.
The soup spoon is going to go on the right.
-On the right.
-And again, with maybe a millimetre or two between.
And then the pudding cutlery...
..on top. That's good.
-Maybe just a fraction down.
Then we're going to get the side plate, and the small knife.
So they are going to go to the left.
To the left.
And then the knife is just going to go on the edge.
Just perched on the edge.
The blade pointing away.
OK, so it's looking pretty complete now.
Then we'll go and get the glassware.
This is going to be for the red wine,
and this is going to be for the white.
So you want to put it just to the right
-of the blade of the, obviously, of the main course knife.
The red wine, just up to the left, like that.
Maybe push it just a little bit closer,
just, again, a millimetre, maybe, away.
Pop the red there.
So, the champagne goes to the right of the white wine,
directly opposite the red.
And then, lastly, you've got the port glass,
and that just goes directly behind -
and then you've created the diamond formation.
We just need a napkin.
-In the centre.
-In the centre.
And there we are, voila.
It's really pleasing to see it come together like that.
Protocol and etiquette governs everything at the banquet -
how to sit and, of course, how to converse.
Remember that we don't put elbows on the table,
we don't put wrists on the table, we don't lie on the table.
The only time your hands are on the table is when you're actually using,
obviously, when you're picking up the cutlery and you are eating.
What would you say is the biggest faux pas I could make?
If you were sitting at the table and you brought your mobile phone,
-that would be such a big...
I think somebody would probably even say something to you,
because it wouldn't be done.
-Say I were lucky enough to be sitting next to the Queen...
..would she talk to me?
Is there a protocol about who she talks to, when?
With a state banquet,
you're going to have the most senior guests to the right,
and the Queen will normally speak to that person
for, say, the starter, the main course.
and, then, going into the pudding...
-So, you get your guaranteed face time with the Queen?
-You'll get some time.
-You don't need to worry about cutting in with a...?
-So it sounds like a pretty decorous occasion.
I'm guessing there are certain foods that were off the menu
because they were too messy?
Yes. I mean, things like spaghetti -
you really don't want to sit there trying to eat spaghetti,
and we know how tricky it can be, and how messy,
and with all of the finery, that's the last thing you want,
is bits of spaghetti landing all over the place.
So, ideally, you want to keep it as graceful and elegant as possible.
I can't wait to do it for real.
-I know. So all you have to do now is write to the Queen...
-..and ask for your invitation.
-I'll get that.
-Yeah. Thank you!
Being a royal butler is not really a job, it's more a vocation.
More a kind of state of mind.
Anyway, from grand diplomatic banquets
to something a great deal simpler.
-It's my butter making noise.
-It would be.
Yes, we are going to do the Queen's recipe for drop scones.
-The Queen's recipe?
-The Queen's recipe for drop scones.
-Ever had a drop scone?
-I have had drop scone.
The important thing about this one is,
not only is at the Queen's recipe for drop scones,
but they played their part
in the special relationship with America, as well.
They did, they did -
and we're going to do the original recipe,
which was caster sugar, with some sieved flour.
Some bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.
What do they do, then?
-Well, the bicarb, first of all...
-That gives us the lift?
..gives us the rise. It gives us a lift.
The cream of tartar lends a nice bit of acidity to the recipe.
-A bit of bite.
So while we're doing that,
we're going to add a little bit of butter to the pan here, Michael.
Why do they call them drop scones?
The reason they're called drop scones is exactly in the name.
They drop - as opposed to a normal scone which, you know,
you'd have with clotted cream or jam,
it's like a dough that you cut out and then bake.
These, it's a dropping consistency.
So, we're going to take two eggs with our milk.
-I'm seeing the Queen doing this now, you understand?
Because the great thing about this is we know it is the Queen's recipe,
because we've got in her own hand.
-A hand written letter to President Eisenhower...
..who was then president of the United States.
January the 24th, 1960 -
and he'd actually visited the Queen at Balmoral
and she had cooked him these drop scones.
Or at least we think she cooked them.
This is the letter in which she sends him the recipe.
The recipe that you are doing now.
-What are you doing there?
-So, we're just gently now bringing together
the eggs and the milk.
We're going to have basically a pancake batter.
And once we've whisked it smooth,
we're going to add a little bit of butter.
So you see now how the mix is coming together nicely?
I'm just going to add a couple of spoonfuls of butter.
There, like that.
And already that lovely smell of the butter, it is delicious.
I absolutely love drop scones, or blinis -
-that's what they're like.
-The letter is really quite charming,
because it says, "Dear Mr President,
"seeing a picture of you in today's newspaper
"standing in front of a barbecue, grilling quail," as you do,
-Do you not grill quail?
"Reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe
"of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral."
That's rather nice, isn't it? Do you think she did them herself?
You know what, for this - I think it's lovely.
-I would love to imagine...
-I'm making the Queen's...
-There's a lot of elbow work.
A lot of elbow work, yeah.
OK, so we've got a nice, lovely smooth...
And that there, that's the drop.
As opposed to a kind of like... Do you know what I mean?
-Like a scone.
-Now we're ready to go...
-It's lovely and gooey, isn't it?
..into the pan. Yeah. We're going to add a little more butter...
..into the pan there, and simply, just...
..just like that.
We're going to put... I think we'll get four or five in there.
In her letter to him, she says,
"I have also tried using golden syrup or treacle
"instead of only sugar."
-What do you think?
-I think it could.
I think the Queen is on to something there -
and the reason why I think it could be nice
is because, with the golden syrup, or especially the black treacle,
you're lending a real molasses note to it.
You're getting more flavour into it,
-as opposed to using sort of quite a bland sort of sugar...
..like caster sugar.
-Because it could be very bland, couldn't it?
Without that extra flavour, the nuttiness that you're going for.
Yeah. So, we're just going to have a little check underneath.
Oh, look at these.
These are special.
Turn them round - just quickly turn them over, like that.
Look at that. They look delicious, don't they?
-They certainly do.
-Just gently over, like that.
Just nice and steady.
You come to the last one and you see just on the top, Michael...
-..you've got that lovely caramelised butter.
-Just on the top.
-I wonder what President Eisenhower made of it all.
Remember, he was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe
in the Second World War, he was responsible for D-Day -
here he is, the president of the United States, 1960,
height of the Cold War, and here's a menu for drop scones.
So when he was not running America, he was in his pinny
making drop scones.
But actually, it's really interesting,
because he replies and says,
"What's caster sugar?"
Now, is that because he wasn't a cook?
Well, I think in America they call it superfine.
-Oh, right, right.
-Yeah, it's the same sugar.
-So, he did reply.
-He did reply.
He's running America, but he did reply,
-he wrote a letter about the scones.
-He obviously made them.
-Or his chef replied.
Right, a little tip right here, you just want that...
-So, when you put your finger in...
When you put your finger in there, they just come back up and that's...
-they are lovely cooked.
Now we're just going to bring them out.
On top of these...
And they are absolutely fantastic.
And you know what? Serve these, you could do sweet or savoury.
If I was doing savoury, a little bit of smoked salmon
and some creme fraiche. Really extravagant.
You can have a little bit of caviar.
Come on, I want to taste them. They look good, don't they?
They've risen. Just have a smell of them.
-That lovely caramelised butter,
-that scone smell.
-It really leaps at you, doesn't it?
-Yeah. And then...
We're just going to add butter, no clotted cream, no jam.
No, we are keeping it nice and simple.
You have got that lovely quality butter.
-Slight saltiness to it.
I'm on the edge here. I'll have that.
To think they played a part...
I just think - I like the history of it.
To think they played a part in the special relationship
-between Britain and United States!
Scones cement the relationship.
-They smell delicious.
-They are good, aren't they?
-Done a good job there, Paul.
A case of drop scone diplomacy.
Perfect for the more informal occasion.
The fine dishes served on these grand royal occasions
have historically been washed down with vast quantities of champagne -
but these days, even the bubbles are British.
At the foot of the South Downs in Sussex,
six vineyards make up the Ridgeview Estate.
They've been making award-winning sparkling wine here for 20 years,
served at the highest tables,
including Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
It was the vision of the late Mike Roberts,
nicknamed the "King of Fizz".
Well, my dad, he loved Champagne.
He loved going to Champagne and he loved drinking Champagne,
and he wanted to do something in wine -
and if you look at a map,
we are actually only 66 miles north, longitudinally, than Champagne.
So, the soil's virtually the same,
the climate's almost the same,
and he thought, "Well, if we're going to make wine,
"let's make something to our closest neighbour."
Simon Roberts is now a head winemaker...
..and his sister Tamara is the CEO.
This is very much a family affair.
The first ten years of Ridgeview between '95 in 2005
was probably spent convincing people that English wines were OK to drink.
That they weren't all bad,
that there was quality and there was change on the way.
Because, prior to that, people's opinions of English wines
were that they were low quality.
The family were pioneers at a time when home-grown fizz
was almost unthinkable,
and their passion for British bubbly
is what has taken their bottles to the top tables.
We've had some really exciting royal connections.
Perhaps one of the earlier ones was with the Queen's 80th,
when one of our wines, a Blanc de Blancs,
was actually chosen for that, which was really exciting,
and that was our first sort of foray into that area -
and since then we have actually been served at three state banquets.
We're not told that it's going to be served.
We hear, almost, when everyone else gets - when the menus get released -
that we see that our wines are on the list.
It's really quite exciting!
The wine is produced from grapes grown on these vines.
Every one planted by Simon's parents.
When they bought the estate,
it hadn't been really used for farming for about 20 years,
so it was a blank canvas.
This was literally just fields, so we developed the garden.
We have had the winery built.
So, I mean, it has changed hugely.
The whole estate is 36 acres.
We have 16,000 vines here.
We have ten acres of Chardonnay,
and we have eight acres of pinot noir and pinot meunier,
which are the two black grapes that go into our wines.
The grapes are picked in the autumn
then brought into the winery to be processed.
Large presses extract the juice which is left to settle
before yeast and sugar are added.
This ferments and turns the sugar to alcohol, and the wine is born.
There are 64 large tanks here, holding thousands of litres,
and the winery now processes 300,000 tonnes of grapes a year.
Once bottled, all that's left to do is wait.
So the grapes that we processed in October,
they'll come down here in bottles in January,
and we have space down here for 250,000 bottles,
and they all stay down here in the cellars,
anywhere between 18 months and ten years.
These go back about ten bottles, so in each of these caverns,
we have got about 10,000 bottles.
These Sussex wines are exported all over the world,
and the family have even taken on the French Champagne producers.
Decanter Wine competition
is probably one of the most recognised worldwide,
and it's one of the only competitions
that actually has Champagne and sparkling wine in the same category.
And the year we won best wine in the world,
we were up against two very well-known Champagne houses -
and we are since, the only English wine,
or the only wine outside Champagne, ever to win that award.
Mike died in 2014,
shortly after his pioneering work had been recognised with an MBE
and a trip to Buckingham Palace.
We, as a family, couldn't have been more proud.
It was such an honour.
So, my mum, my sister and I went with Dad to Buckingham Palace.
Prince Charles awarded him his award and it was just...
It was an amazing, amazing experience.
We are so proud of him.
British produce is such an important part of the modern state banquet.
These days, it's more about showcasing Britain
than the Royal Family.
Well, I'm here in the grand library of the house with Fiona Ross,
who is a food historian and writes a lot about the royals.
Tell me, what is the actual purpose of these grand state banquets?
Well, as you would expect, they are very much...
they very much showcase everything that is British,
and they are intended to cement diplomatic relations,
welcome foreign visitors,
show the sort of grandeur, elegance...
-Yes, to impress, absolutely.
Given that, how carefully are things arranged?
Oh, they are arranged months in advance.
Invitations are sent out up to 12 weeks in advance.
The Queen personally inspects the banquet before it happens
and she even checks the toilets.
And footmen polish the tables -
they even polish the fruit on the tables.
So, there is enormous attention to detail at royal banquets.
And what about the logistics -
how many glasses, how many settings, all the porcelain,
all this kind of stuff?
Well, if you imagine there are six glasses per guest,
that could involve easily polishing up 1,000 glasses -
and then you are speaking about cutlery that goes back to George IV,
so it's in the family,
and it's silver-plated,
so that has to be cleaned and polished as well.
So, enormous effort goes into the presentation of the table.
How different is it now from what it was in the past?
Well, remarkably enough, it is less excessive than it was in the past.
At the time of, say, Charles II, 1671,
when he threw a banquet for the Knights of the Garter
in Windsor Castle, he actually...
They ordered in something like 16 barrels of oysters,
2,500 feathered friends, including crane, owl, swan, peacock.
There were something like 6,000 asparagus spears
-and 20 gallons of strawberries.
-Not a picnic?
No, not a picnic.
Now, tell me, do they always go smoothly?
I mean, do all the guests understand the conventions?
Well, not necessarily. For instance, in 1971, when President Jimmy Carter
turned up for the state banquet, he had an enormous bow tie on.
Then he proceeded to congratulate the Queen Mother
on how much she resembled his own mother,
and then he planted a kiss on her lips.
-On her lips!
-And she said she had never been kissed like that
since her husband died.
-What else has gone wrong?
-Well, Queen Mary, for instance,
once handed a guest a dog biscuit
with the intention that he feed it to her dog,
and unfortunately he was quite hard of hearing,
so he popped it his mouth.
-And more recently?
-More recently, Barack Obama,
unfortunately, started speaking...
during the national anthem, while it was playing.
The Scots Guards had just started playing God Save The Queen
and he had to quietly allow his speech to fizzle out.
Oh, gosh. Red faces.
Fiona, thank you.
Preparing a souffle can be a risky business for a state banquet -
but one royal chef knows a fail-safe way to create the perfect
high-rise pudding for a high-end dinner.
In the 1980s and early 1990s,
chef Darren McGrady would regularly cook
on board the Royal Yacht Britannia,
preparing grand banquets for the Queen and world leaders.
Demanding conditions called for low risk puds.
A lot of the times, the dishes that we would serve
would be dishes that were served day-to-day
to the Queen and her family.
One of the Queen's favourites was the cold lemon souffle.
Start off with some lemons.
The zest is going to give it a real zing.
Just going to give it a nice colour, as well.
Once I've got my lemon zest, I want some juice in there, too.
The cold lemon souffle is not really a souffle.
It doesn't go in the oven.
It actually goes in the refrigerator.
This is a mousse masquerading as a souffle.
Darren's next step is to separate the eggs
and add the yolks to the lemon juice.
And then some sugar in there, as well.
I'm going to put that into boiling water, what we call a bain-marie,
and whisk all of those ingredients together.
That's going to sit on there and while my eggs are getting hot,
I need to whisk the egg whites to make them nice and stiff.
Once the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks,
Darren combines water and gelatine powder.
He then pops it on the heat and leaves them to dissolve.
So once my egg yolks are hot to the touch,
then I can take them off and put them on the machine...
..and we whisk it until it goes cold.
So all we are doing is creating a sabayon,
and so that gives our volume
that we then fold some whipped cream and some whipped egg whites into,
and that gives us our mousse, our souffle, that great bulk.
Once it's been on the machine, look how it changes in consistency.
Now we can add our whipped cream...
..and then lightly whisk that into the egg mixture.
Then I have my gelatine that has warmed,
and I am going to fold that into my mix, as well.
my egg whites.
So everything in there is now folded in, and it's nice and smooth.
Darren's wrapped grease-proof paper around a souffle dish,
stapling it top and bottom.
It will allow the mousse to set above the top of the dish
like a risen souffle.
So, now I'm pouring the souffle mix into the mould.
What you really need to see is just a little bit over the mould, there,
so it looks like that souffle is climbing out of the dish.
So this goes into the refrigerator now, overnight, to set.
It has set nicely.
All we have to do now is take off the paper from around the edge.
One of the most memorable times of making this dish
was on the Royal Yacht Britannia in Miami in 1991.
I was in the royal galley preparing a banquet for President Reagan
and President Ford. There we go, lovely.
Now we can just put some cream on the top, just to finish it off.
It's so much easier doing this, piping it on a nice still table,
than rolling about on the Royal Yacht Britannia,
preparing this for President Reagan and trying to make sure
every piece was exact.
All it needs is some chocolate on the top,
so I'm going to use a really fine grater to grate some chocolate
to go around the top.
And that just looks fantastic.
A simple cold lemon souffle in a souffle case.
You're going to have all of your friends asking,
how did you manage to get that to rise
if you didn't even put it in the oven?!
Cold lemon souffle - souffle au citron froid.
Fit for President Reagan.
For our final recipe we're going to go back in time to the late 19th,
early 20th century, and that Prince of Gourmands, King Edward VII.
One of his favourite, all-time favourite puddings, desserts,
-Chartreuse a la Royale has a ring to it, doesn't it?
-It really does.
And a dish fit for a big diplomatic banquet.
Yeah, it is. Look at it already.
You can kind of see our ingredients here.
Very royal, very rich...
And very tricky for a chef.
And very tricky for a chef.
So I'm going to start off by taking a mango.
We've got mangoes and melons.
I'm just going to show you the slicing of a mango.
So we're just going to top and tail it.
And then basically, Michael, just very thinly all the way around.
-Now, this is fascinating -
I was talking to one of the royal chefs who told me
that the Duke of Edinburgh had come into the kitchen one day,
saw him with a mango and a knife, just like you, and said,
"You don't do it like that, you get a spoon!"
And with a spoon you can actually get the flesh of the mango
away from the stone better than with a knife.
-Is he right?
-I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree
with the Duke of Edinburgh. No, because by doing it like that,
you're just going to have lots of wastage with a spoon.
And the idea is to get as much of that beautiful fleshy fragrant fruit
off the stone. And that is it.
And now you've just got that lovely fragrant fleshy mango.
-Gosh, you can smell it.
-You can, can't you?
And it's absolutely delicious.
So the next bit is just now turn them out like that
and getting as many as you can
and don't waste that. Turn it into a puree, fruit salad, anything.
-Or even eat it.
-Or even eat it.
So now they go into our lime jelly.
And what we're going to do now is painstakingly go all the way around.
-It's very labour-intensive, this one.
-It is very labour-intensive.
And also as well, you will see from the title,
you will see I'm using lime jelly.
The title would suggest that it's the liqueur, chartreuse.
What they would do is they would painstakingly brush
each individual piece of fruit with the liqueur.
-Can you imagine that?
-It must've taken hours.
But do you know what, there's far more flavour as well in this,
in this beautiful lime jelly.
So basically you can see I'm going right round like that.
But they stick OK?
They stick because the jelly,
it's important that the jelly is just starting to cool down.
And as the jelly starts to cool down it's getting nice and thick.
I'm just going to give it a last disc of mango on there
-like so, Michael.
-It looks terrific.
-It does, doesn't it?
Now, we're going to spoon in the remaining jelly.
And then the idea is, you can see now it's just starting to set.
Just spin round.
Do you see how as you spin round,
it's just basically kind of sticking to all of the fruit
and going all the way around the mould?
Right, now just transfer that to the fridge, please.
We're just going to let that set.
Ideally for about two or three hours.
OK, that's done. What's next?
Next, the filling. Very rich, very royal.
So here we've got some milk on the stove,
that we're bringing to a simmer.
We've got some lovely rich egg yolks and sugar
that we're just going to mix together.
And we mix them so they're nice and pale.
Just in there like so.
-Six egg yolks. Sugar in.
And the reason we mix it now together like this
to make it nice is to make the custard lovely and rich.
It's a wonderful colour.
-A kind of apricot colour.
Gorgeous eggs. So we just keep whisking that.
About two to three minutes, so it goes nice and pale.
Because what you're doing, you're basically dissolving the sugar
into the egg yolks. Can you see it changing colour?
-From what it was?
OK. Now we're just going to take our hot milk
-and just pour that onto this egg yolk.
-And just to be clear,
this is the kind of custard that goes into the mould
-that you've already made?
Now we go back into the pan.
Like so. OK.
And we basically just
stir that over the heat.
Now that's going to get thick and nice and rich,
but we need to set it so it holds in the middle of our chartreuse.
So what we've got here, Michael, is gelatine.
OK? We just get rid of the water.
And straight into our custard mix.
-And that just melts.
-And that just melts in,
and will basically give you like a nice setting property
in the custard. And once that cools down,
it will thicken and be beautiful and rich and smooth, just like that.
Now we've got some lovely whipped cream here
and we're just going to, what we call folding.
As if it wasn't rich enough.
As if it wasn't rich enough! So we'll put about half of that in
and gently fold it. We don't want to just beat it in there
because we do want it to be nice
and light and airy. OK.
Just nice and gently.
This is a kind of dish for a really sumptuous banquet, isn't it?
But also, a slightly gloomy thought,
it was actually served on the Titanic, you know, this dish?
-Was it really?
I think the night before it hit the iceberg.
So, just keep mixing until it's completely folded in like so.
And you'll go to this kind of very light kind of creamy mixture.
Now, Mike, if I could ask you to go back and get me
the one that we set earlier,
we are going to put this wonderful filling in the middle.
Back in a minute, chef.
Here we go, Paul. Nice and cold.
-And pretty set, I'd say.
You see, it's got that lovely film going around the edge.
Now, look, that's our custard and cream mixture.
Can you see what I mean by the folding technique,
how lovely and light it is.
So we're just going to pour that in like so.
Oh, a waterfall of sin.
Yeah! I like that, a waterfall of sin.
-There we go.
Oh, yes, don't leave on any on the side of the bowl.
-Perfect, isn't it?
OK. Now, again, just right to the edges.
-We don't want to see any of that fruit.
-Another little important...
-Just with your thumb,
just right the way around any of that mix,
because when we turn it out,
it's all those little things that can catch when you're trying
to turn it out. And, again, just a little tap so there's no air.
-Settle it down.
-Just settle it down. There's no air bubbles in there.
If I could ask you to pop that in the fridge for two to three hours,
setting time, and out there should be the finished one.
There should be trumpets.
There should be trumpets. There should be a fanfare.
-I'll put it there.
-I am so excited.
You don't see stuff like this any more and it's a shame
because it's absolutely gorgeous. Ready?
Oh, look at that!
Chartreuse a la Royale.
You can see that at a banquet, though, can't you?
Oh, yeah. There's no words.
You can see the footman coming in with, you know,
the waiters coming in and popping it down in front of
the president of Yugoslavia or something.
Absolutely. You don't see things like that much any more
and it's so beautiful. It really is beautiful.
-It looks too perfect to cut.
Oh, no, it doesn't! Come on.
Don't make too much of a meal of it.
So we just want to cut through that fruit as well.
Here we go. Look at this, ready?
Straight out like that. Oh, yes!
Look at that!
-I hope you're not calorie counting!
Not this week, I can tell you.
-Go for it, let's try it.
This lovely cream mixture with some of that fruit.
It's surprising. It is very light, isn't it?
It's incredibly exotic, isn't it?
Yeah, absolutely delicious.
We're going to have to wrap it up. That's all from Royal Banquets.
See you next time.
Michael Buerk is joined by chef Paul Ainsworth in the kitchen wing of one of Britain's grandest stately homes. Together they showcase food served at the grandest royal state banquets, as well as dishes served at more informal meetings between the Queen and visiting world leaders. Paul cooks a dish inspired by the state visit of President Obama and also prepares drop scones from a recipe that was sent by the Queen to President Eisenhower in the 1960s. Historian Matt Green learns the art of laying up a banquet table from former royal butler Grant Harrold and discovers how to sit and how to chat without breaking any royal protocols.