`Bunting’s-a-go-go’. The Jubilee is upon us and celebrations are imminent. So what does one cook for a mass of hungry people expecting the best of British? Personally, I am escaping to the country to live in a tent for four days with the extended family and their knee-high entourage (I will be taking bunting with me though – you can take the girl out of the kitchen but you can’t take the kitsch out of the girl). So the challenge is on – it’s got to be simple, “British”, child-friendly, easy to carry, and cookable on a barbecue.
Smoked Salmon (serves 6)
6 slices of German rye or pumpernickel bread
200g/7oz smoked salmon
100ml cream fraiche (about half a small pot)
3 tsp horseradish sauce
Fresh dill, roughly chopped
Mix the horseradish with the creme fraiche – if you prefer a kick then add more to taste. Cut each slice of bread into four. Pop a teaspoon of the creme fraiche onto each square of bread and top with a generous amount of the salmon. Place on a large plate and sprinkle with the dill. Chop the lemon into wedges to serve.
“Rump and Ceremony” Steak Sarnies (serves 6)
5 rump steaks
2 sprigs rosemary
Juice of one lemon
2 ciabatta loaves
2 cloves garlic, halved
Marinate the steaks in the lemon and rosemary for a few hours before cooking. Slice the ciabatta lengthways and dribble the cut sides with some of the olive oil. Rub a tablespoon of olive oil into the steaks – this is to prevent them sticking to the hot barbecue. Season each steak well with salt and pepper. Cook on the barbecue until slightly charred but still rare. It may be 2-3 minutes on each side, but be aware – this varies hugely depending on the thickness of the steaks and the heat of the barbie. Once they are cooked leave them to rest for 5 minutes. While the beef is resting, toast the cut sides of the ciabatta until they’re starting to crisp and colour, but not burn. Take off the heat and rub with the cut side of the garlic clove. You want to impart the essence of the garlic – not leave behind great chunks. Slice the steaks generously and divide between the two ciabatta to make two large sandwiches – cut each loaf into three portions. Serve with a watercress salad and the roasted onions.
200g/7oz watercress leaves (2 packets)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Pinch maldon salt
Pour the oil, lemon juice and pinch of salt onto the lettuce leaves and toss well.
10 shallots, skins removed and halved – leave the hairy ends on so the shallots don’t fall apart.
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp oil
Pinch of salt
Wrap the ingredients together in a sealed tinfoil package and put on the barbie for about 30 minutes. Before serving, open the top of the package to allow the air to the onions for 5 minutes to encourage caramelised crispy bits.
Welsh Griddle Cakes
Of course it would be much easier to make traditional scones at home to bring in a tin, but what could be more fun that actually cooking them in situ with the kids and serving them warm with lashings of clotted cream and jam. You’ll need a flat griddle or non-stick frying pan to cook these over the barbecue. A good tip – measure out all the dry ingredients before you leave home and store them in airtight containers until you’re ready. You will need a large non-stick frying pan or griddle, a rolling pin or equivalent, a chopping board and a sharp knife
8oz/225g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
3oz/75g caster sugar
Rind of half a lemon, finely grated – optional if you don’t carry a grater with you on camping trips.
1 large egg, beaten
Before you leave on your camping trip measure out the flour, mixed spice, raisins and sugar and store in separate airtight containers, e.g. food bags or small Klip-it storage etc. When you are good to go, rub the butter into the flour so it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, mixed spice, lemon rind, if using, and raisins. Add the egg and mix into a stiff dough. On a lightly-floured surface roll out the dough so that it is about 5mm thick. If you don’t have a rolling pin handy then use a wine bottle or a can (please don’t tell me you’re camping without a tipple or two?). Normally you would now cut into rounds using a cookie cutter, but as we’re roughing it, cut into squares using a sharp knife. Don’t worry if they’re oddly shaped, if you can pull this off, no one is going to comment on the preciseness of your presentation.
Wipe the pan with oil, remove any excess and put on a medium heat (if using a burner). Place the cakes on the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, turning only once. You want them to be a friendly nut-brown colour. Serve hot or cold, cut in half and drowned in a generous serving of clotted cream and jam.