A couple of days ago I wrote about picnics; I love picnics but my family aren’t so keen so maybe i should just pack one up and set off on my own and go off and solo-picnic! that sounds a great idea! no-one would moan about the damp grass, the nettles and brambles, the squashed and soggy food, the forgotten milk for the tea, or misplaced cutlery…
Ruth Drew who was a well-known writer and broadcaster in the 1940’s and 50’s, was a great one for the outdoor life and loved camping, picnicking, getting out and about and enjoying it whatever the weather or conditions! She would have made a great companion for me!
here are her thoughts on eating outdoors:
As for what to pack into a jar of out-of-doors food… well, the range is as wide as your imagination. A picnic favourite is well-seasoned scrambled egg – made rather creamy – and well forked around while its cooling, with some chopped chives thrown in. (This is excellent mixed with sweetcorn out of a can, by the way. Or chopped stuffed olives, if you’re catering for sophisticated palates.)
Then sometimes you could cook some rice – and stir it up (when it’s cold) with a mayonnaise dressing – and bung in all sorts of savoury oddments… sliced hard-boiled eggs… tomatoes… spring onions… some diced ham or bacon… or sausage… or shrimps… you’ll think of a dozen possible ingredients. And a very good meal this kind of food makes, backed up with salad and buttered rolls. It means giving everyone a spoon and a plate, of course. But that’s no great hardship. And you can carry a second course in the same way – a help when there are children to be fed. Fruit purees are splendid on picnics – apple puree, for example – or a lovely cool slippery gooseberry fool, with a few sponge fingers to eat with it. When soft fruit comes along in earnest it’s fine carried in a jar – raspberries – perhaps – sugared when they’re put in.
I’m not sure people would be that keen on scrambled egg, to be honest, but rice salad would be a great favourite. As for dessert, I’m sure these days yoghurt rather than fruit fools would feature!
Here is the simplest recipe for gooseberry fool, should you want to take some in a jar on a picnic:
- 1½ lbs gooseberries, ahsed, topped and tailed
- 2 tbsp water
- 4 oz sugar
- ½ pint double cream, lightly whipped
- simmer gooseberries and water until they are soft, stirring to stop sticking
- reserve a few for decoration, seive, stir in sugar, allow to cool
- fold in the cream and chill
- serve decorated with remaining gooseberries
We always called them goosegogs… are they common enough these days for children to still call them that? The featured image, by the way is of our gooseberry bush… can you see any gooseberries? No we couldn’t either!