Thursday, 28 July 2011

Country Life Great British Picnics

Country Life (the butter, not the magazine with girls in pearls) have launched a new website to encourage picnics. The Country Life Great British Picnic has a picnic-spot locator (and an iphone app, if you do that sort of thing), a section on planning the perfect picnic, and a section of recipes.

Obviously, it's the recipes that were most interesting to me at the moment.

It really is cruddy timing for them. We've had SO much rain that all our picnics have taken place in the kitchen. But no one ever said picnic food has to be eaten outdoors.

This homemade lemonade was really delicious, although I found that the quantity of syrup only made 4 servings, if, like us, you like your servings large and lemony. I think if I make it again I will put the zest of a couple of the lemons into the syrup, to give a bit more kick. This time I added the tiniest hint of orange flower water, which gave a lovely floral fragrance.

The fluffy sausage rolls were such a revelation! So simple, so delicious. So much better than the sausage rolls you buy at the supermarket. These are going to be on very high rotation at our house!

After I glazed them with the egg, I sprinkled them with a little cracked pepper, for extra flavour and a bit of prettiness. They definitely looked appetising.

As a little sweet treat, I made the chocolate fridge cake. I'd been wanting another go at one since the not-very-successful one I made after the Royal Wedding.

I had a bit of trouble with this recipe. "Half a small pack" of biscuits doesn't mean a lot to someone who doesn't buy a lot of biscuits! I would have preferred a more prescriptive recipe. I think I got it about right though - there was enough chocolate and butter to glue the bits together, and enough bits per bite. So I am counting it a success. Strangely though, this is an example of when not to use really good chocolate. I used a bar of 70% cocoa and 1/2 a bar of 70% with raspberries, and it was honestly too chocolatey. A more basic plain chocolate, which has around 54% cocoa would have been a better fit, I think. It was just killingly rich as it was. I actually witnessed one of my colleagues having half a piece because it was too much for him.


Suelle said...

You wouldn't want to take a 'fridge cake outside in hot weather, so it's just as well it was an indoors picnic. :)

That recipe really is too vague, isn't it? As well as small packs of biscuits it tells you to use a 'smallish' cake tin!!

The sausage rolls sound good, although I'm not sure why they are called fluffy.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

I love the idea of picnics but I never seem to get around to organising one. Love the sound of the lemonade and sausage rolls!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Suelle - I think it is the puff paste that makes them fluffy.

Leafy - lemonade and sausage rolls is very Famous Five, isn't it?

Steve @ HPD said...

"Half a small pack of biscuits" might be the most interesting ingredient quantification I've heard in ages! Is that small to a middle aged guy like me who's trying to slow things down, or a 16 year old full of energy? (I could put down two sleeves of Fig Newtons in about five minutes, if provided ample milk to wash it down, when I was in my prime!!)


kat said...

Oh, I've gotta try those sausage rolls

Alicia Foodycat said...

Steve - exactly! SO vague!

Kat - I can give you reasonable odds that Matt will love them!

Angie's Recipes said...

Those sausage rolls look mouthwatering, and I love the freshly mulled black pepper that gives them extra flavour kick. Beautiful.
A killingly rich chocolate cake is definitely a perfect afternoon treat with some strong espresso.

Deb in Hawaii said...

Can you mail me a sausage roll please?! ;-) I think adding the orange flower water to the lemonade is a great idea. I am always looking for ways to use my bottle of it.

mscrankypants said...

I liked your comment to Leaf that it's very Famous Five -- great memories of those books!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Angie - an espresso would be very welcome with it!

Deb - orange flower water is my new favourite thing

Cranky - me too!


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