A few years ago my friend Hector, famous for his hospitality, invited Jon and I to join him on a rug at the Blenheim Horse Trials. This is not something we usually do. Questions flooded into our minds; what is a horse trial, for example?
(Ok, so it wasnâ€™t exactly a flood of questions – more like one question in fact.)
So we sat on a rug in a field in Oxfordshire, and watched horses leaping over things and galloping around things and bucking their riders into the water jump. And then we had a picnic.
There was bread and cheese and grapes and apples, and lots and lots of sloe gin and tonics, and the star of the show, a whole roasted ham considerably larger than the average baby, ready to carve into thick tranches. There was also a jar of Colemanâ€™s English Mustard. It was a sublime picnic.
Sloe Gin and tonics
Sloe gin is traditionally made by picking sloe berries, tipping them into a vat of gin and waiting until the gin turns pink and takes on a slightly fruity flavor. It makes the prettiest pink gin and tonic imaginable.1 measure of sloe gin 3 â€“ 4 measures of tonic water Ice cubes Lime
- Slice the lime into quarters and run the sut side around the rim of the glass. Squeeze the juice into the glass and drop in the lime
- Add the ice, the sloe gin and the tonic
Sausage rolls (serves 6 â€“ 8 as part of a picnic)1lb sausage meat â€“ this really is the star of the recipe, so itâ€™s worth going to a butcher and getting something good 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp dried thyme 1 packet of puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm on Ina Gartenâ€™s recommendation and itâ€™s delicious) 1 egg Salt and pepper
- Defrost the puff pastry on the counter for half and hour or in the fridge over night it should be pliable but stil cold)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400f
- Roll the pastry out into a rectangle, then slice lengthwise into two long rectangles
- Mix the sausage meat with the thyme and Worcestershire sauce
- Spoon in a line down the middle of the pastry rectangles, brush with a little of the egg beaten with a tsp of water to make egg wash, then fold over to seal in the sausage
- Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge
- Slice the rolls across to make small sausage rolls (about 8 per roll)
- Arrange on a tray, brush the tops with a little more egg wash and bake for 15 â€“ 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the sausage is cooked through