I hope that I am safe to say spring has finally sprung. Knowing my luck next week will be full of hail storms and icy conditions but if that is the case then at least I enjoyed the sun while it lasted. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know I am a big fan of dining al fresco and there’s not a season that I haven’t attempted to make the most of cooking or eating outdoors. Picnics, barbeques and even making gravy outside when there’s not enough room on the hob; any excuse.
Parkin is a traditional cake eaten on Bonfire Night so I made some a few days before the picnic as I had heard it is a cake better left before eating. This would be the perfect accompaniment to the warm gooey pears.
4 large mushrooms
Garlic butter (butter, garlic, parsley and black pepper)
4 bread rolls
You will need:
I prepared the butter before I left by crushing three garlic cloves into about 50g butter and mixing it together with a few sprigs of chopped parsley and some black pepper.
Take the mushrooms and wrap them (gill side up) in some foil so they are completely covered. Put the parcel onto the edge of the BBQ, so it is not directly over the heat, and leave them to soften in their own juices for about 20 minutes. When they are soft put a little of the garlic butter onto the mushroom gills and leave the parcel open so that some of the moisture evaporates. After about five minutes toast the buns on the BBQ and put a mushroom in each bun.
To kick the picnic off to a good start I made some spiced cider. The reason for this was twofold; it’s a marriage made in heaven when mixed with cinnamon and I thought if my guests drunk a little cider they might get their cider jacket on and forget it’s cold.
When the BBQ is good and hot, put the cider into a saucepan and add a few cloves, a stick of cinnamon and some star anise. Keep on the heat until lovely and warm and then pour into cups and warm up your hands and your insides.