Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Ultimate Guide for a Perfect Picnic in the Countryside

A typical country kitchen is just as busy in the Summertime as it is in the Winter.  Swapping hearty roasts and cockle warming rich dishes, for lighter bites and inventing ways to use up the game gathered over the Winter that's sat in the freezer.  

Here we've curated a variety of top tips, recipes, picnic locations and more, so you can get ahead with planning your country kitchen larder picnic.


Proper Game Pie 
(source: Shooting UK)


  • 1lb stone-ground plain flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 6oz lard
  • ½ pint of water
  • 6oz sausage meat
  • 8oz raw chopped tongue or slices of belly pork
  • meat from two lightly cooked birds or 1lb venison
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of mace
  • sage
  • nutmeg
  • ½ packet of aspic jelly
  • stock
1. Warm a mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt into it and make a well in the centre. Put the egg yolk in the well and pull a little flour over it. Bring the lard and water to the boil slowly. Pour on to the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover and leave in a warm place for 20 minutes.
2. Butter a loose-bottomed tin and work the dough into place, keeping a third to cover the top of the pie.
3. Line the base and sides with the sausage meat, then layer the other meats cut into convenient strips and leaving the centre of the pie less filled so that the jelly can be poured in more easily. Scatter with the onion and lay the hard-boiled eggs on top, then season and add the herbs and spices.
4. Sprinkle 3tbsp of cold water on top. Roll out the pastry to cover the top and pinch the edges together to seal the pie. Make a hole in the top of the pie and with the excess pastry make a star shape to cover the hole, but do not seal it.
5. Bake the pie in a hot oven for 20 minutes, then reduce to a moderate heat and cook for two hours. Take the pie out, but leave the oven on. Stand the pie for 10 minutes, then remove it from its tin. Stand it on a baking tray and paint it with egg wash. Put the pie back in the oven and bake until golden.
6. To finish the pie, lift the star from the hole and, having made up the aspic with some stock, carefully pour it in just as it is about to gel. Fill the pie until liquid can be seen in the hole you have made at the top. Cover the hole with the star and leave overnight.
7. Serve the pie by slicing the crust with a sharp knife, revealing the delicious marbled meats within, encased in a mouthwatering rich jelly.

Pigeon Breast Pita Bread 


  • 8 pigeon breasts
  • 4 pita breads
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 tub of natural yogurt
  • Cucumber
  • Mint
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Thyme

1. Remove the breasts from 8 pigeons; roast the rest of the carcass to make great stock for the Winter seasons
2. Fry the pigeon breasts in garlic, thyme and lemon juice and serve rare. Then set aside.
3. Empty a tub of natural yogurt into a blender and add a good handful of fresh mint, blend and set aside.
4. Fill the pita bread with iceberg lettuce and chopped cucumber; add the thinly sliced pigeon breasts and mint yogurt dressing.  Serve with some olives and a glass of crisp, cold white or rosé wine.

Venison Sausage Roll


  • 250 grams of venison fillet or steak, 8 inches long.
  • 3 thick pork sausages
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp red onion or onion marmalade
  • 20 cashew nuts chopped
  • 1 pack of puff pastry
  • 1 splash of brandy (optional)
  • salt and black pepper
  • rapeseed or vegetable oil to fry

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Gas mark 4.  Heat a pan over a high heat with a tablespoon of oil until it smokes.  Add the venison and sear until brown on both sides.  Leave to rest and cool.
2. Skin the pork sausages and place in a bowl mix with 2 eggs, add 1 tsp of onion marmalade and chopped cashews.  Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of brandy.


To take your picnic experience from ordinary to exceptional, make sure you have the right gear to keep your goodies chilled and companions comfortable.  Here's a handy checklist for the ultimate outdoor spread.

  • A luxury English-style picnic basket.  Take your pick from a quintessential floral design or a more traditional tweed style, both from British brand, Joules.  When it comes to authentic country living, Joules are definitely in the know!

Floral or traditional tweed, which will you choose?

For those occasions when lugging a picnic basket to your favourite spot isn't practical, you can opt for picnic rucksacks or carrier bags instead...

  • Keep your drinks cool.  You want want your bottle of fizz, or crisp white wine to get warm in the Summer sun.  Make sure you have a bottle cooler handy.  Barbour have a beautiful option adorned with their classic tartan check.  Or if you want to keep everything matching, Joules do a version in the traditional tweed which will go beautifully with their picnic basket in the same design.

  • Blankets and chairs.  Whether you're picnicking in the park, on the beach or on a hillside, you'll want something to recline on.  A traditional picnic blanket is a must-have.  For those that prefer to be seated, a picnic chair is a great option.  They're lightweight and collapsible, perfect for transporting to your idyllic picnic spot.

Best Picnicking Spots in the UK

We've scoured the country for the best spots to lay your picnic blanket and enjoy your nosh.

West Midlands
We'll start with our home county of Shropshire.  Known for its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Nestled among the Shropshire Hills, is the Long Mynd, a beautiful a heath and moorland plateau.

East Midlands
Get lost in the mythical forests of Padley Gorge Trail. You'll need plenty of picnic snacks to keep you going.

North West
St Herbert’s is the largest of the Derwentwater islands, covering between four and five acres and named after the saint of the same name who brought Christianity to the area in 685 AD.  A stunning spot for a bit of alfresco lunch.

North East
Gibside in Newcastle is one of a few surviving 18th-century designed landscapes and was fashioned with two things in mind: spectacular views and ‘wow’ moments. 

The Fairy Pools in Isle of Skye is magical place of outstanding natural beauty at the foot of the Cuillin mountains. Perfect for laying down your picnic rug and taking in the breathtaking views.

“Wow!” is probably the best way to describe this beach. A small bay backed by dunes and pine trees, accessible only by a half mile walk from the nearest car park. Swathes of golden sand and crystal clear waters, Barafundle has been voted many, many times as one of the best beaches in Britain and the world.

South East 
One of Britain's most iconic and evocative survivors of the English Civil War, partially demolished in 1646 by the Parliamentarians.  A favourite haunt for adults and children alike, all ages are captivated by these romantic castle ruins with breathtaking views across Purbeck.
South West 
The gorge is a great place for an adventure at any time of the year. The wildlife, river, plants and trees provide a stunning show each and every day.

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