Preparing a delicious meal for eating outdoors is a major part of summer work in the country kitchen. You might be needing to pack a picnic for a drive to the moors, a game fair, something to take out to the Guns in the field or deerstalking in the late-summer holidays. Here are a few picnic ideas for you which use game - a good way of using up produce from the freezer before the season starts …

If summer lives up to its name, eating in the garden or by a river or loch is a lovely treat for everyone.

You don’t need tablecloths and deckchairs, but you do need food that is fresh, delicious and easy to eat.. We should be more adventurous than dishing up blue-yolked, hard-boiled eggs and sweaty sausages.

Homemade pâté is easily transportable, and can be spread on site, on rolls or crusty bread.

A good picnic dish to master is a proper game pie. It is relatively easy to create and very practical as you can use up end-of-season leftovers, such as pheasant, grouse, venison, rabbit or even chicken. A slice of this pie is what the hungriest hunter will enjoy.

Game pie

Game pie

Game pie

Ingredients

  • 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

 

Method

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.

 

fruit punch

Picnic punch

Ingredients

  • 2lb raspberries
  • juice of 4 oranges
  • 10fl oz water
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 6floz brandy

Method

Put the raspberries, orange juice and water in a liquidiser and process. Strain through a sieve and mix with the white wine and brandy. Leave to chill and transport to your picnic venue in a vacuum flask. Always popular!