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May 26

Jubilee Picnic Food Recipe Ideas

With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration weekend just a week away, preparations for the festivities are hotting up. The bunting is being put up by a group of neighbours in our street as I type and it’s got me thinking about which typically British culinary offerings I will be bringing to the party next week from our house. Aside from the obligatory strawberry, mint and cucumber laden jug of Pimms, here are a few child friendly food ideas I am currently toying with that have a a royal, British or jubilee connection for that perfect Jubilee street party or picnic. If you have any other suggestions or favourite recipes, please leave a comment below. Happy cooking! Still stuck on ideas to celebrate the jubilee weekend? Check out this post on 5 ways to celebrate in style!

Cream tea

What could be more quintessentially English than a cream tea to celebrate the jubilee. The tea bit is easy enough – all you need are some tea bags, hot water and a teapot large enough to fill the teacups of your fellow jubilee picnic revellers. Surprisingly, the ‘cream’ bit – that’s the scones – is also a doddle and a perfect activity to get the kids involved in cooking. Scones take just 10-15 minutes to cook and around ten minutes to prepare (or whatever time you allow for flour throwing frivolities to continue before the kitchen is a complete white out)! All you need is a large vat of clotted cream (or whipped double cream) and some strawberry jam to dollop on top to finish them off. Here is a basic recipe for making your own scones to celebrate the jubilee in style.

Ingredients:

  • 8oz/225g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 ½ oz/40g butter/margarine
  • approx. ¼ pint /150ml milk
  • 1 egg or a bit more milk to glaze
  • Clotted cream, whipped or double cream
  • Strawberry jam
  • this makes around 8 scones. Increase quantieis accordingly to feed a crowd. Don’t forget, scones can be made in advance and frozen until needed – great for those wanting to get organised early!
Method:
Put the oven on to heat at 220°C. Grease a baking sheet with butter or oil and place to one side.
Measure out the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Measure out the butter or margarine and add to the flour. If you are using butter you will find it easier to cut the butter up into small cubes before putting in the bowl. Use your hands (or your helpers’ little hands) to rub the flour and butter together between the fingertips. To do this well, you need to scoop up the flour and butter with your two hands and then lightly rub your thumbs backwards and forwards against your fingers letting the flour mix fall back into the bowl. Don’t be tempted to squish the butter and flour together to save time. Alternatively, you can use two dinner knives to cut the flour and butter together by drawing the two knives against each other through the mixture. Repeat your favoured method until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
If you like fruit scones, stir in 2oz/50g sultanas at this point.
Stir in enough milk to draw all the mixture together into a soft dough.Don’t worry if you don’t need all the milk. If it’s sticking to your hands you’ve added a bit too much milk. Don’t panic! Just add a little dusting more of flour until you can handle the dough without it sticking.
Lightly flour a clean surface or glass chopping board and place the dough on it. Use a floured rolling pin to lightly roll the dough out to about 2cm thick. Use a 6cm round cutter (or an upside down wine glass if you’re desperate)  to cut out the dough and place these rounds spaced out onto the greased baking tray. The trick to great. well-risen, fluffy scones is to handle the mixture as little as possible. However, less risen scones still taste good so if you have a budding baker raring to get involved I’d not worry too much and let them get on with it!
Pop into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and well risen, then take out and pop on a rack to cool down.
Serve with plenty of jam and clotted, whipped or double cream and join the great British debate on whether the jam or the cream should go on the scone first! Ad an extra dollop of cream for Her Majesty. Enjoy!
Coronation Chicken

Admittedly, this is not my favourite dish. I’m not a mayonaisse kind of girl so it was never really going to work for me in its traditional guise and even though you can substitute creme fraiche instead of the mayo, I’m still not completely won over. Coronation chicken is still however much beloved by many of my fellow countrymen and women and has earned its place in the jubilee picnic basket as it was in fact created for the coronation banquet of our very own Queen Elizabeth II, whose jubilee we celebrate next weekend. Use it as a sandwich filler or as a salad item in its own right at your jubilee picnic.

Lose some of the supermarket sandwich flavour by whipping up your own batch with fresh ingredients, using this top rated, quick and easy recipe from Angela Nilsen on the BBC Good Food site. (Ultimate Makeover Coronation Chicken). Remember, if you’ve got some left over chicken from your Sunday roast, just use this instead of cooking any new chicken.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Named after Queen Victoria, who apparently was partial to a slice with her afternoon tea, the Victoria Sponge Cake definitely makes  the grade as a classic British afternoon tea favourite with the lowly subjects of the land too and is a great choice for your jubilee picnic! This is the very first baking recipe I learnt as a child and the quantities of six, six,six and three (ounzes of sugar, butter and flour, plus number of eggs – you can also use 4:4:4 & 2 or 8:8:8 & 4 – you get the idea) are etched in my mind for all eternity. This is a simple beginners recipe for budding bakers to try and making the butter cream and raspberry jam filling to sandwich the two sponges together is something little ones of most ages can help out with – all that is required is a spoon, enthusiasm and someone on standby with the kitchen cloth! Here is the recipe I grew up learning and still use today:

Ingredients:

  • 6oz/150g butter or margarine
  • 6oz/150g caster sugar
  • 6oz/150g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs (medium)
  • jar of raspberry jam (but strawberry will do just as well if you’ve not got raspberry)
  • 4oz/100g icing sugar
  • 2oz/50g butter/margarine
Method:
Pop the oven on to heat up to 180°C and get out two 18cm round sandwich tins to grease and line. To do this, use a bit of greaseproof paper or kitchen roll to smear a thin layer of butter all over the inside of the tins. Draw around the bottoms of the tins on some greaseproof paper and cut out two paper circles. Put these in the bottom of each tin, sticking them to the already greased bottom and then grease the top of the paper too by smearing a thin layer of butter over the paper.
Measure out the butter or margarine and pop in a mixing bowl and give it a good stir to loosen it up and turn into a soft gooey buttery mush! If you have got good old fashioned scales with their own measuring bowl then I thoroughly recommend lining it with a single piece of kitchen roll or some greaseproof paper for the butter to avoid them getting greasy and having to wash up the scales in between measuring items.
Measure out the sugar and tip in with the butter in the bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture turns paler and fluffy.
Break the eggs into a bowl or mug. Whisk with a fork then add them gradually to the butter mixture, stirring well in between additions. Don’t panic if the mixture seems to curdle – this is probably just due to you having used eggs straight out the fridge instead of at room temperature. It won’t make the cake taste any different though – just give the mixture an extra stir.
Next, measure out the self-raising flour and tip into the mixing bowl. Recipes normally say to sieve it but I’m yet to find a bag of self-raising flour with significant lumps in so I’m afraid I dispense with this and just fling it in as it comes. Stir the flour in by folding it  – that’s stirring slowly in a figure-of-eight shape using the flat of the spoon to try to incorporate as much air as possible into the mixture. If you beat the mixture at this point instead or over stir it, you will end up with a cake that doesn’t rise as much as it should.  Just stir it the bare minimum to incorporate all the flour.
Tip the mixture into the two tins and pop in the oven for around 25 minutes or until well risen and golden. You can tell they are done when a good prod meets with a soft, firm touch, with the cake springing back into place when you release your finger (or other prodding instrument). Resist the urge to open the oven to check on the cakes until nearly all the cooking time is up as letting in cold air can make them sink flat as a pancake! Tip the cakes out onto wire cooling racks (or a grill pan lining rack if you are improvising) and carefully remove the paper circle whilst they are still warm.
Get a bowl out for the icing and measure out the butter. Tip into the bowl and beat until soft. Measure out the icing sugar and gradually sift into the butter, stirring well (a sieve is actually worth it here as icing sugar always seems to be lumpy)! Beat the icing well until it is pale and fluffy. Spoon some of the jam into a mug or bowl and stir well to loosen up.
Once the sponge cakes are cool, pop one on a pretty plate and then spread a generous helping of jam over it. Pile on the buttercream then pop the over sponge on top. Use the sift or a tea strainer or sugar shake to dust the top of the cake with a fine layer of icing sugar and if you’re feeling fancy, decorate with a couple of halved strawberries. Yum!
Summer pudding

Nothing says traditional British summer like berries, so give summer pudding a go for your jubilee picnic. Red currants, blackcurrants, blueberries, tayberries, raspberries and of course, the queen of them all, the strawberry. Summer pudding takes everything that is brilliant about berries and combines them into one simple, juicy, oozing, gooey summer berry bomb of a pudding. Go on  – give it a go. You’ll be surprised how good a few berries and a bit of bread can taste!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb 12oz of summer berries (strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, loganberries, blueberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants…even blackberries! Use whatever is available but add in a few different types for the best taste)
  • 5oz caster sugar (or more to taste, if you are using lots of sharper tasting berries such as blackcurrants)
  • About 8 slices of white bread
Method:
Line a pudding bowl with slices of white bread, taking care to seal any gaps as well as possible. Leave some bread to go on top later.
Put the berries and sugar into the pan with a desert spoon of water. Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes or long enough to dissolve the sugar and start to get the juices out of the fruit. If you are feeling like giving it an extra adult zing, slosh in some cassis or framboise instead of the water.
Pour the pan of fruit and juice into the pudding bowl on the bread. Add the remaining bread on top covering the fruit. Place a saucer bottom down on top of the top layer of bread and press down firmly. Add some measuring weights (or anything heavy – a large tub of butter will probably do just as well) on top of the saucer and pop the bowl in the fridge, ideally overnight, so that the juices can soak into the bread and flavours mix.
To serve, remove the saucer and place the serving plate over the top of the bowl. Tip the bowl upside down whilst holding the plate firmly in place. Remove the bowl slowly and the pudding should slide out away from the sides of the bowl, leaving a beautiful red streaked pudding. Top with more fruit or a sprig of mint and serve with creme fraiche, cream, ice cream or just enjoy by itself.

Homemade lemonade

All the best jubilee picnics are bound to have lashings and lashings of …ok it’s not quite ginger beer, but homemade lemonade is very British and very refreshing on a sunny day – much better than the shop bought equivelent and with a bag of lemons, a bit of sugar and water, it is nowhere near the £2 a glass pricetag you pay for the privlege of ‘homemade’ in fancy teashops. It is also another great recipe to make with children, as tots of any age can get involved with squeezing lemons. Try substituting limes instead for a modern twist.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 unwaxed lemons (depends how zingy you like your lemonade)
  • 5oz/150g caster sugar
  • 1.5 litres of warm water

Method:

Ideally, try to keep the lemons out of the fridge for 6 hours before you start so they warm up to room temperature. Don’t worry if you forget though – they will still work ok.

Grate the outside of 4 lemons into a large bowl using the fine side of a grater. Be careful not to grate any of the white pith underneath as this will make the lemonade taste bitter. Next, cut the lemons into halves and use a juicer to squeeze the juice out and pour into the bowl. If you don’t have a juice, just quarter the lemons and squeeze by hand.

Pour in the sugar (add more or less depending on your taste buds) and then the water. Mix with a spoon then leave overnight to allow the lemons to do their lemony thing. Sieve the lemonade before serving in a jug with plenty of ice and fresh sliced lemon. If you are in a rush, mix the lemon and sugar with cold water, sieve and fling in the ice and sugar straight away without waiting. It will taste a little more rustic and have a less mature flavour but will still be a refreshing summer drink to serve at your jubilee party.

 

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