Wedding to be a party marathon

Throwing a watching party for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton doesn’t have to be a royal pain.

Left: Bismarcks are also known as Dutch babies and German pancakes. Though this oven pancake isn’t commonly served as a breakfast item in England

Left: Bismarcks are also known as Dutch babies and German pancakes. Though this oven pancake isn’t commonly served as a breakfast item in England

Throwing a watching party for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton doesn’t have to be a royal pain.

But with the wedding scheduled for 4 a.m. MDT you probably are going to find that plenty of coffee is, so to speak, your cup of tea.

Patra Wroten, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area and writes about parties and other occasions on her blog, I Do Declare, has found a workaround to the inconvenient timing — a slumber party for some friends.

“We just love weddings,” she says. “It really was just a great excuse to get a group of our girlfriends together, take off work and theme a party around such an exciting wedding.”

The party will start on the evening of April 28 and go right through to the April 29 festivities with a few hours set aside for rest.

They plan to watch a tape of the marriage of the prince’s parents, Charles and Diana, eat English food such as mini shepherd’s pies, and may just have a little drinking game — a sip for every time someone says “future princess,” for instance.

And, of course, there will be fake tiaras.

For Penny Bradley, co-owner of the Lyon restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village, throwing a wedding party took a bit of smooth-talking. Specifically, she had to persuade her partner in the restaurant, French chef Francois Latapie, to be English for a day.

He agreed and now neighbouring businesses, including the British restaurant Tea & Sympathy, are joining in. Festivities will start with a Champagne breakfast and screenings of the ceremony, with reruns for later in the day.

On the menu: bacon and egg sandwiches, smoked haddock with scrambled eggs and Buck’s Fizz (mimosas to those on this side of the pond). There’ll be bunting, big hats are encouraged, and the dinner menu will include such notable items as toad in the hole and Lancashire hotpot.

Raffle tickets are being sold to benefit a local park and, with interest already high, there will likely be a silent auction.

“It’s getting quite exciting,” says Bradley, who already has reservations for their 6 a.m. seating.

Though the wedding isn’t making quite the same splash that Charles and Diana’s did 30 years ago, it’s launched many a promotion.

Among them, the Rosewood Sand Hill luxury hotel in the San Francisco Bay area is offering a “Your Royal Princess” package that includes a sugar scrub infused with gold. (Prince Charming not included.)

And Beefeater Gin has come up with a cocktail for the day with a cheeky nod to the late Queen Mother’s reported fondness for gin. The cocktail, called Beefeater Royal Punch, consists of gin, Dubonnet, pomegranate, lemonade and Angostura bitters.

Bradley, a native of Yorkshire, England, sees the occasion as a break from everyday life, one that is especially welcome considering all the grim news that’s been happening of late.

“These are events that don’t happen very often in anyone’s lifetime and people love to celebrate them,” she says. “They really enjoy watching the wedding and all the glitter of the carriages and the spectacle. It’s something that’s really amazing.”

Ready to host your own wedding watching party? Here’s our suggested menu for early morning eats:

Fruit and Chocolate Scones

Classic to afternoon teas, scones are commonly baked plain or studded with currants, then accompanied with jam and clotted cream, a thick, creamy spread. You can make your version with any dried fruit, such as blueberries, cranberries or apricots. You also can add chopped nuts or chocolate chips.

Start to finish: 1 hour

675 ml (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour

75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar

20 ml (4 tsp) baking powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

150 ml (10 tbsp) butter, melted

250 ml (1 cup) heavy cream

50 ml (1/4 cup) sour cream

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) dried fruit, nuts and/or chocolate bits

Coarse sugar, optional

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter and stir until well distributed. Add cream, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until almost combined, then add fruit and nuts and mix just until distributed.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough into a circle about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick and 25 cm (10 inches) across. Cut circle into 8 wedges, then transfer each wedge to prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze until well chilled, 15 to 30 minutes.

While scones chill, heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Sprinkle tops of scones with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 602 calories; 323 calories from fat (54 per cent of total calories); 36 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 84 mg cholesterol; 70 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 3 g fibre; 947 mg sodium.

Source: Recipe by Alison Ladman.

Fruit Bismarcks

Bismarcks also are known as Dutch babies and German pancakes. Though this oven pancake isn’t commonly served as a breakfast item in England, its savoury counterpart, known as a Yorkshire pudding, is served for Sunday dinner with leftovers being served with jam for dessert. Use any fruit you like for the filling; fresh berries are particularly good, but sauteed apples with cinnamon and sugar are tasty as well.

Start to finish: 35 minutes

250 ml (1 cup) milk

4 eggs

250 ml (1 cup) bread flour, sifted

2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder

Pinch salt

60 ml (4 tbsp or 1/2 stick) butter

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches, citrus segments or berries

Powdered sugar or whipped cream, to garnish, if desired

Heat oven to 230 C (450 F).

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, flour, baking powder and salt until smooth.

Place butter in a pie plate or oven-safe skillet and set in the oven. When butter has melted, swirl pie plate around to fully coat bottom and sides. Pour batter into hot pan and immediately return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 190 C (375 F) and continue to bake until browned and puffy, about another 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Heap fruit in centre, then serve dusted with powdered sugar or topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 174 calories; 78 calories from fat (45 per cent of total calories); 9 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 125 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 2 g fibre; 115 mg sodium.

Source: Recipe by Alison Ladman.

Bubble and Squeak

Named for the sound it makes while it’s cooking, bubble and squeak is a breakfast hash of sorts designed to use leftovers from the previous nights’ boiled dinners. It generally is made from shredded boiled cabbage, mashed potatoes and whatever else is around. Leftover meats could be shredded or chopped and thrown into the mixture, as well as carrots, onions and squash. Our version assumes the vegetables are cooked, but if you don’t have any leftover veggies, simply boil them until tender.

Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active)

500 g (1 lb) sausage meat

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

3 russet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed

250 ml (1 cup) shredded, cooked cabbage

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped cooked carrots

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high, cook sausage meat until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from pan and reserve.

Add onion to sausage drippings in skillet and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add potatoes, cabbage and carrots, as well as reserved sausage meat. Mix and cook until well browned, 15 to 20 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally and flipping the mixture over and about. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 390 calories; 182 calories from fat (47 per cent of total calories); 20 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 54 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 3 g fibre; 540 mg sodium.

Source: Recipe by Alison Ladman.