Dreaming of picnics and outdoor meals

We had a beautiful sunny blue-skyed day today after Storm Doris passed. My washing dried on the line and it was the sort of nice weather I wished I had more washing to do, but I am all up to date. However pleasant the day, February is not really right for picnics, but I was reading my Constance Spry Cookery Book and came across her chapter on food for special occasions, and picnics fall into that category..

She gives a lovely description of what seems more like a camp menu, round a fire:

The nicest outdoor meals are those cooked on the spot… (she does have a chapter on barbecues, so she doesn’t mean that sort of on the spot cooking!) When means of transport are available it is well to take along a frying pan, possibly a primus stove, or if you plan a gypsy fire, and the weather is damp (or you live in the Highlands) a bundle of dry kindling and a fire lighter. Then you will probably settle for a meal of bacon and eggs and sausages…

I have never had bacon and eggs cooked on a picnic!

… or if you have a cook amongst you, an omelet… If you can be sure of a bonfire you will roast potatoes in the ashes, though they take at least an hour, and toast sausages on long sticks. I am not of girl-guide vintage but I am told their suet treacle pudding, cooked for hours in a billy can, takes a lot of beating. But alas, time is often our enemy,and much outdoor food must be carried ready prepared.

Her suggestions for food brought along:

  • Fillings for rolls – the rolls split lengthwise, the ends cut off, some of the crumb taken out, spread with soft butter mixed with lemon juice, salt and pepper, crushed garlic or french mustard – fillings: banana and mango chutney, and/or fillets of bückling (a hot smoked herring) and dill pickle
  • triple-decker sandwiches – bacon and watercress, bacon and mushrooms, chicken mushrooms and lettuce, asparagus, bacon and toasted cheese
  • quiche
  • devilled chicken
  • cheese bread filled with cheese
  • omelet in a roll – plain, fines herbes, cheese with a tomato salad
  • Cornish pasty
  • hamburger


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