May 4, 2023 7.00 pm This story is over 9 months old

Rachel Green: Cooking for royalty, coronation quiche and the perfect party feast

Including royally scrumptious recipes for you to try at home

The milestones of our lives are often sewn into our memories by the foods we enjoy together, in celebration and in tradition. Who better to guide us towards a most scrumptious and memorable coronation weekend than a Lincolnshire chef who has delighted the taste buds of the Royals themselves, including King Charles III?

Rachel Green is known by many for her award-winning grassroots cooking, local food campaigns and TV appearances. Her family has farmed Lincolnshire land for 14 generations, and the fruits of the country have been lovingly prepared in her kitchen for many to enjoy.

Rachel says it has been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to cater for royal events in her career, recalling the “surreal feeling” of preparing canapes for the then Prince of Wales inside an anteroom at St James’s Palace, surrounded by priceless art.

“Charles was always extremely thoughtful and always very grateful”, she shared. “I cooked canapes for an event for the Prince’s Trust, and also cooked for him a three course meal at another event and the main was lamb.”

With a childhood spent growing vegetables, lambing ewes and shooting game, Rachel shares an affinity with the King’s tastes. “He has big estates where they shoot a lot of game,” she added, “so I think game is a big thing. He enjoys his organic vegetable gardens at Highgrove, is very into herbs and does love an afternoon tea.

“Interestingly, I have read he doesn’t eat lunch. The royals are very careful about what they eat. They have to be because they eat all the time!”

Rachel shared her Grouse Moussaka (Groussaka) recipe below – Prince Charles revealed his love of ‘groussaka’ as he celebrated his 70th birthday. A take on the Greek dish Moussaka, but with grouse instead of lamb. Photo: Michael Powell

Rachel has cooked for the late Queen Elizabeth II and 800 guests at The Savoy Hotel, describing her as “an absolute darling”, and served up a private dinner for HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. At last year’s Game Fair she crafted a menu for Princess Anne.

“We’re always told what they like and don’t like. You present the menu and then you’re told if it’s acceptable or unacceptable. The pudding I chose was too heavy for Princess Anne last year, so we created a simple Prossecco summer fruit jelly. You get pointed in the right direction, which is absolutely right.

“I look back on organising things like that and realise what a great experience it was. What a privilege. I am so grateful, and it’s something to tell your grandchildren. My mother and father were hugely proud of me.”

In 1953, coronation chicken, or as it was listed on the menu, “Poulet Reine Elizabeth”, was born to mark the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II. This year, Coronation Quiche (King’s recipe here) has officially been chosen to take centre stage on the picnic blanket. It’s billed as a deep quiche with a crisp, light pastry case and delicate flavours of spinach, broad beans and fresh tarragon.

The King’s official Coronation Quiche is the dish of the event

“Everybody loves a bit of quiche! Lovely and warm, right out of the oven, with gorgeous buttery pastry,” said Rachel. “The only thing I find quite bizarre is the broad beans. It’s a bit of an odd thing to put in it. Obviously it’s what our King loves, but it’s not a mega food source for most people. I love them and I grow them in my garden, but they are A. not in season, and B. not readily available other than frozen. I would suggest peas as an alternative, and use dried tarragon if you can’t find fresh.”

Rachel also advised that to achieve the perfect pastry base, cooks should ensure the dough is not worked too much. “Minimum handling is key, and you want ice cold butter and ice cold water. Use your finger tips, not the palms of your hands, and chill the dough for a good 30 minutes.”

Imagining her own coronation dish, (a challenge for any food lover put on the spot), Rachel mused: “Perhaps something with asparagus, or lovely local lamb and spices. It could be a curry.”

In her perfect coronation day picnic basket, she would pack “a feast of vol-au-vents, prawns or crayfish, the sandwiches would have to be with Enderby’s smoked salmon from Grimsby, with horseradish. A really great egg sandwich and homemade scotch egg, coronation chicken, pork pie, and for something sweet, perhaps something like a Welsh cake, which doesn’t take long to make.”

In Rachel’s kitchen this week, she has been creating Coffee and Walnut Cake and an Eaton Mess Summer Berry Roulade. The recipes can be found at the bottom of this feature.

Rachel has been preparing for the coronation weekend from her countryside Market Rasen kitchen by providing the community with mouthwatering afternoon teas and royal picnic takeaways.

“We have a very special coronation menu with the usual suspects; Coronation Hams, Coronation Chicken, Scotch Eggs, Afternoon Tea Cakes. We’re doing a Coffee and Walnut Cake and a Strawberry Eton Mess Roulade. There’s also a Greek influence too. We wanted to remember King Charles’ father with a Pastitsio, which is a Greek lasagne – all relevant to the royals today.”

“I’ll be going to a friend’s for the coronation and working, and my son is in the Pimlico area of London. He couldn’t be in a better place and will be walking to the palace to take in the atmosphere. I’ll have known two monarchs in my life and that’s incredible. I feel the King and the Queen Consort have really listened to the people ahead of this event.”

As an exclusive Coronation special, Rachel has shared a selection of scrumptious royal recipes with readers. We hope you enjoy your coronation feasts! You can share your creations with the team via [email protected]

Rachel Green’s Coronation Recipes


Groussaka/Grouse Moussaka

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 large aubergines
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp allspice
1 tsp dried oregano
650g minced grouse
3 tbsp tomato purée,
  • 1x 400g can chopped tomatoes 
100ml red wine
  • 200ml of chicken/game stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the béchamel:

  • 60g butter
60g plain flour
  • 500ml full-fat milk
75g of grated Pecorino/100g grated mature cheddar
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • sea salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan

Method

Cut the aubergines lengthways into thin slices and put them onto oiled baking sheets. Brush with 3 tbsp of the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until soft, golden and floppy.
Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes before adding the minced grouse. Turn the heat up slightly and brown the grouse mince, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato purée, tomatoes, wine, stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low and cook for 20–30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with some salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

Whilst the mince is cooking, make the béchamel. Melt the butter in saucepan, stir in the flour and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and allow the sauce to cool slightly before whisking in the eggs and nutmeg. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Arrange a third of the aubergine slices in the base of an oven dish and top with half the mince. Repeat these layers and then finish off with a layer of aubergine. Pour the béchamel sauce over the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until well browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving which will allow the sauce to set a little.


Eton Mess Summer Berry Roulade

Serves 8

Ingredients

    • 4 large egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
  • 30g flaked almonds
  • 400ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g mixed summer berries, plus extra to serve

Preheat the oven to 160°C, 140°C fan

Method

Line a Swiss roll tin with some baking parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage. Whisk in the sugar a spoonful at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture looks glossy and smooth. Whisk in the cornflour and lemon juice.

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked and golden in colour (the meringue should be firm to the touch). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.

Lay a large piece of foil on the work surface and then lay a large piece of baking parchment on top of it. Dust with some icing sugar and sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Turn the meringue out onto the parchment and allow to cool completely.

Whip the cream and the vanilla extract to the soft peak stage.

Carefully peel the baking parchment off the base of the meringue. Spread the whipped cream all over the meringue and scatter over the berries. Using the baking parchment to help you, carefully roll the meringue up towards you finishing with the seam underneath.

Tightly wrap the roulade in the baking parchment and foil, twisting both ends of the paper and foil in opposite directions (this helps keep the shape of the roulade) and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving with some fresh berries.


Coffee and Walnut Cake

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 350g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
  • 50g walnut halves, roughly chopped, plus extra for decorating
  • 300g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C fan

Method

Grease and line 2 18cm loose bottomed cake tins.

In a small jug, dissolve the instant coffee in 2 tablespoons of boiling water and leave to one side to cool. Beat together 200g of butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well in between each addition. Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder and then fold this into the mixture with half of the cooled coffee, 1 tablespoon Camp essence and the chopped walnuts.

Divide the mixture equally between the 2 cake tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden in colour and springy when pressed. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in their tins and then turn out onto a wire rack.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the butter icing. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the remaining butter, icing sugar, cooled coffee and Camp until well combined and uniform in colour.

Using half the butter icing, sandwich the 2 cake rounds together and then finish off by spreading the remaining butter icing over the top of the cake. Decorate with walnut halves.