Its been National Picnic Week and the sun has come out just in time. Banish all thoughts of flasks of tea and soggy ham sandwiches eaten in the lay-by on the way to a week at the sea-side (well it was the 70’s and Little Chef’s were still a bit new-fandangled.) Instead, take a rug and a gorgeous homemade Asparagus Tart, some simple salad, a refreshing drink and hey-presto, a lovely alfresco meal!
We got together with Pencoose Pantry, Illustrated Living and local lifestyle brand, Cream Cornwall to create the perfect early summer picnic.
I used to work with the delightful William and Nicola Marsden at Pencoose Pantry a few years ago. One of William’s signature dishes is an Asparagus Tart made with Asparagus from Tregassow, a farm adjacent to their house. Forget travel miles, its more like travels meters, as the Asparagus makes a speedy journey from farm to plate. William has shared his delicious recipe with us here. If you didn’t fancy making it yourself, you could always call William or Nicola who, I’m sure would be delighted to help. Perfect for a summer family party.
You can use puff pastry or short crust pastry
For the filling
50 g butter
50 plain flour
400 ml milk
50 g grated cheese (cheddar / parmesan)
50g grated cheese for the top
If you are using short crust then roll it out and carefully put into a flan dish. Bake it blind in an oven at @ 180 degrees c. for 15 minutes or so.
If you are using puff pastry roll out onto a flat tray and prick the centre of the tart leaving a 2 cm edge for that to puff up and the centre to do so less. You don’t need to pre cook the puff pastry. Egg wash the edges.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes and refresh in ice cold water. Dry and put aside.
For the cheese sauce
Melt the butter and add the flour, cook out until lightens in colour. Then add the warmed milk slowly, and whisk until smooth and thick. Then let it cool a little and add the cheese and season.
Put the cheese sauce on the base and lay the asparagus in a nice pattern on the top. Season and sprinkle with grated cheese and put in a preheated oven at 200 degrees until the pastry is brown. (20 minutes) .
Eat warm or room temperature in the sunshine!
Lemon & Mint Soda
For a really simple refreshing summer drink
Fill up a jug with cut halves of lemon and lime.
Add chopped mint, fresh from the garden
Pour over chilled soda water
Illustrated Living’s Rosie and I had fun in the garden putting together the picnic which featured products available from their shop in Lemon Street Market, as well as a sneaky peak at some gorgeous new platters and bowls soon to be available from Cream Cornwall.
Thanks to Rebecca at Cream Cornwall for letting me look after their new product range for a few days. What a treat – and I didn’t break any – phew! We’ll keep you in touch about when these lovely items will be available.
Thanks to lovely William and Nicola at Pencoose Pantry. Always so generous with their food and service. I asked for an Asparagus Tart – I got 3.