EXPLODING meringues and sausages on washing lines sound like the sort of experimental dishes to emerge from Heston Blumenthal’s science kitchen.

In fact, they are the innovations of culinary master duo Martin and Catherine Jones who have taken outside catering to another level.

Martin – who has worked front-of-house for Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White – and his wife Catherine are the force behind Darwen-based With A Twist, chosen caterers for the 10th anniversary of the Lancashire Tourism Awards on November 7 at Blackburn Cathedral.

By coincidence the prestigious event takes place six years to the day since the couple bought out Northcote Offsite, part of Nigel Haworth’s Northcote group and created With a Twist.

Such is the reputation of this growing company that when celebrity footballers, cricketers and soap stars want a party to impress the glitteratti they call Mr and Mrs Jones.

Says Catherine: “We are a very discreet caterer. The kind of people we work for don’t want to be named.”

For one cricketer’s party Martin dispensed with plates and created an Eton Mess on the actual table using a giant meringue. The sportsman’s bat was covered with Clingfilm which he used to smash the mega pud which exploded sending thousands of meringues flying out. Howzat!

Martin, 42, and Catherine, 37, use French sousvide technology, a method of cooking used by many top restaurants. It involves vacuum-packed food being cooked to perfection in a water bath, retaining its colour, flavour and essential nutrients.

“The great thing about this method is that if we are doing a wedding and we are told the speeches will last 10 minutes but they end up lasting an hour, the food is still perfect.”

The method is also used for the couple’s Christmas In A Box offering – canapes, starter, main course and dessert delivered to your door for £50 a head. All you has to do is boil a saucepan of water and, in the case of the turkey, finish off in the oven. Simples.

The couple employ the technology for school dinners at St Joseph’s Parkhill independent school in Burnley. The contract has proven so successful that they are now in talks with other local schools.

With A Twist caters for events of up to 1,500 people and discreet weekend retreats for couples, where they provide all the meals and a butler service, for which the well-heeled are prepared to pay as much as £20,000.

Weddings – they have an exclusive contract with Browsholme Hall, Clitheroe – are also a speciality.

“We are a family-run business and we’re very passionate about what we do. We are constantly re-inventing ourselves, experimenting and coming up with new ideas. We use simple, fantastic produce, but present it in such a way to make it stand out.

So what about the sausages on a washing line?

“Ah, they were one of my ideas,” says Catherine. “We use chipolata sausages served with a mustard mayo dip and they’re pegged on a washing line - it’s just quirky and cool and people love them.”