We’re going back to the best of British cuisine to celebrate the royal union (or lament the fact that the last prince is officially taken) – so you won’t find any quinoa and beetroot salads or avocado smoothies in this post.
If there’s any time to have an afternoon tea and picnic combined, it’s this coming Saturday, so here are a few ideas for your perfect, royal picnic.
Strawberries and cream
No effort needed and yet so luxurious, just buy a punnet or two of perfectly ripe strawberries and a carton of cream. If you’re feeling fancy, put the strawberries into a vintage tin, and the cream into a mini jar or glass bottle.
I’ve tried a lot of shortbread recipes, and no one does them better that Delia Smith who adds in semolina. Ingredients are below, and the link will take you to Delia’s website for the method. This will make your strawberries and cream that bit more luxurious, and if you have a heart-shaped cutter, how much more perfect for the occasion can you get?
Red velvet cupcakes
Because what’s more royal than a red velvet cupcake? Nigella’s recipe never fails to impress, although make them look even better by piping them with a serrated nozzle to make the above swirl effect.
Carrot cake cupcakes
You may frown when I give you a link to a Tesco recipe, but there really is none better – and so easy, too.
The good thing about meringues, is you can make them tomorrow and they’ll still be great by Saturday – hell they’ll still be nice if you have them in a month’s time, just keep them in a sealed container in a cool, dry place (not the fridge). With your strawberries and cream these will help to make a fine eton mess. Meringue girls do the best mini meringues (or mering kisses as they call them).
Scones, cream and jam
Make sure to pack a thermos of tea to turn your scones, cream and jam into a legitimate afternoon tea. Delia’s plain scones are delicious and so easy to make, then all you need is some clotted cream (which you can get from any Tesco, Asda, Lidl or what have you) and some runny strawberry jam.
Don’t even think about stuffing cheese into your cucumber sandwich or, worse still, leaving crusts on. Here’s the proper way to make a cucumber sandwich in a rather weird and whacky post I wrote a while ago. But it’s true: the cucumber sandwich marries both art, science and tradition.
Boil up 3 eggs until they’re suitable hard boiled, then peel over running cold water (they’re much easier to peel when they’ve just been cooked). Mash them up with a fork, add in a big dollop of mayonnaise (Hellmans is best), a grinding of pepper, and a pinch of celery salt. Generously butter two slices of thinly sliced brown bread, split the egg mayonnaise between the two slices, and cover with two more slices of brown bread. Chop off the crusts, and cut into triangles. Ta-da, the perfect egg mayo sandwich with which to celebrate royalty!
Picnics bring out the best in people, but when it comes to who has the last honey-roasted sausage, passions run high. Cook up however many chipolata or cocktail sausages you one, and once they’re cooked, trickle over a few spoonfuls of honey whilst the sausages are still hot in the pan. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds for added texture and taste.
Quails eggs with celery salt
To really max out the posh, afternoon tea picnicking experience, boil up some quails eggs. Just pop them into a pot of simmering water for two minutes, then take them out immediately and put them under running cold water. Bring along some celery salt, and you have a delightfully posh little snack.
A thermos of tea
Bring your favourite thermos to fill up with tea. I like to make a pot of leaf tea to fill my thermos with. I usually add the milk in which saves you the hassle of bringing a lot a mini bottle of milk – particularly when you don’t have a mini bottle.
And lest we forget, the all-important bottle of fizz at the ready for the “I do” moment. You could even put a few of your strawberries in your glasses as well.
- Remember to pack some beautiful napkins for a little extra pomp – oh, and practicality, too.
- The picnic items above are pretty fuss fee, but should you need them, bring along some cutlery too (particularly if you’re planning on having strawbs and cream).
- Don’t forget the glasses for your prosecco. Some picnic hampers already come with plastic or glass champagne flutes and a place to put them.
- Sugar for the tea.
- Always, always remember to bring a plastic bag with you for all your empties and rubbish. There’s nothing worse than people who leave their litter hanging around after their picnic.
- To stir up picnic envy in the surrounding picnickers, pack your picnic up into vintage tins, funky thermoses and pretty enamel plates.