I’m completely over excited about the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Not because I’m a raging Monarchist (though I do have a soft spot for the Queen), but because the Brits know how to throw a good party. A big family get-together is planned in the Wiltshire countryside at my in-law’s, and we will be launching ourselves into locally organised Jubilee events like lighting the beacon, hog roast and fireworks. I may be compelled to wear a Union Jack hat and wrap myself in bunting; Granny would be proud, my Australian friends and family, confused.
It would all be perfect if only I could get rip-roaring drunk on Wiltshire ale and cider but drunk-with-a-bump is really not a good look. Plus, I guess there’s the baby to consider. Still, there is always the food to get excited about and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.
We will be having a Jubilee picnic at some stage and I’ve been pulling together a few ideas using a Pinterest board. The brief to myself, apart from ‘yummy’, was portable, easy to handle and share, and sort of British. Sometimes this translates to food kitsch. For example, I’m not a huge fan of Coronation Chicken, but it kind of feels right to include it. Also, eggs and picnics are awesome. And I love avocado with eggs. Granted, it is pretty ’70s but still yummy.
Here’s a round-up of some food ideas taken Molly’s Kitchen but also other blogs and websites. (Basically I thought of what I would like to eat, then googled recipes if we didn’t have them already on Molly’s Kitchen. So I can’t vouch 100% for all recipes as they haven’t all been tried and tested but the idea is there). Also, I tried to include things that weren’t too labour intensive or could be bought if you don’t have time to pull it all together. Lastly, this is by no means exhaustive but a paired down, balanced selection of basically meat n’ fish n’ veggie finger food. We’d love to see more ideas appear in the ‘comments’ section if you’re doing something delicious and want to share.
So yes, Coronation Chicken. My first and last encounter of it about 10 years ago was basically over-cooked, bouncy chunks of chicken breast smothered in curry-powdered mayo. Vile. I like what this food blogger has done – a Coronation Chicken salad with a twist. With the added bonus of asparagus spears which are bang in season right now.
I’m a dipper, me. Love a good dip. The great thing about dippy things is that you can dip things into them. ‘Nuff said. I was getting hot under the collar about the idea of something dippy with Cornish Crab and came across this Mark Hix recipe for Potted Cornish Crab. Other dippy spreadables are Baba Ganoush or mushroom pate. Pack some pittas and crudites and you’re done.
While on the subject of dippy things, cooked prawns (or, if we were being really British, shrimps) make great dippers. Simply cook in their shells in boiling water in advance (or buy cooked) and take a pot of home-made aioli to dip the prawny dippers into. Grilled and shelled prawns would work just as well but there’s something lovely about shelling on site.
Dear god, where’s the meat? No picnic is complete without a sausage roll, but can I just say there are sausage rolls and there are SAUSAGE ROLLS. It’s so worth making your own. And speaking of sausage, I don’t think you can have a picnic in Britain without having a Scotch egg. FYI, Scotch eggs aren’t Scottish. Apparently Fortnum and Mason invented them in 17-something. And early recipes have them served warm and with gravy. Not sure how I feel about gravy and egg. Warm, yes. Gravy? You can.
Right, so eggs. I was googling avo and eggs and came across this recipe for avocado devilled eggs. I confess the blog title of “eating well, living thin-er” isn’t exactly on brand for Molly’s Kitchen so please just ignore that (Minnie and I would rather be fat and happy. We exercise, occasionally, purely to allow for more food intake and to avoid the inconvenience of buying bigger trousers).
Of course, sandwiches. Apparently the Queen loves cucumber sandwiches and, if you go anywhere for ‘high tea’ in England, then cucumber sandwiches will be on the menu. Here’s a recipe for cucumber sandwiches by food blogger French Tart which is said to be based on the Buckingham Palace Garden Party recipe. Very simple, very easy and delightfully elegant.
“Where’s me’ pud?” you ask? I’ve included here Delia’s recipe for a traditional Eton Mess, apparently specifically devised for these Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The great thing about Eton Mess is that it’s so simple – meringue, stawbugs and cream all muddled together. Bung it in a tupperware container and serve in paper cups if you need to. If you fancy whipping up a cake, why not do a traditional Victoria Sponge but decorate the top with a fruity union jack (all credit to Kirstie Allsopp for the design). And did you know there’s a marshmallow revival going on? This is another thing on ‘the list’. Apparently, home-made marshmallows are absolutely divine and I love the idea of scoffing them by a Jubilee bonfire (though realistically the fire will be so huge toasting isn’t recommended…). I was too scared to even link to a recipe here without trying it first so watch this space.
Last, but not least, what to wash it all down with? I’ve included reference to my new favourite beer Ubu. It’s ‘real’, it’s British and absolutely delicious. And although I haven’t made it yet, it’s on the list – Elderflower Champagne. I suspect it’s probably not as good as making a Champagne Cocktail with Elderflower cordial but that’s not really the point I suppose. Hugh F-W swears by it and there’s the added bonus of possible explosions, which adds more excitement to country life.
Well done for reading all that. Here’s a visual summary in the form of a Pinterest board. “Jubiliee picnic nosh”. Look forward to hearing any more ideas.
Have a fab Jubilee long weekend (and don’t forget both suncream and brolly)