Thursday, 11 August 2011

Picnic Rules and Cornish Pasties

Kate's Cakes and Bakes Rules of Picnics

1. Never Plan Ahead

The Universal Laws of Picnics (Subsection 2.1) states that if you will plan ahead, it will rain on your picnic. Subsection 2.1 Part III, which provides a little more weather-related detail, advises no more than twelve hours planning ahead and these twelve hours should be spent glued to the weather forecast, updating the screen at least every two minutes while cautiously saying 'I think it might not rain'.

2. Picnic on Flat Ground

Picnic on an angle greater than 1 degrees and you'll spend the entire time convinced you are falling backwards. And that'll be before you've started on the Pimms and the world inevitably becomes more  wobbly.

3. Always Take a Rug

Or something to sit on. Even a Tesco carrier bag will do. Otherwise the grass stains on your new summer frock will make it appear as though you've been partaking in far less innocent pastimes than spending two hours eating your body weight in scotch eggs.

4. Make Friends with Wasps

Subsection 6.8 entitled 'How to Care for Wasps and Other Bothersome Insects' suggests making friends with wasps, bees and other irksome insects by providing goodies for them. Pile small portions of each item of food you're tucking into on a plate at a distance of at least ten metres for their delectation. Make sure to include a few drops of a drink, preferably an alcoholic one- the wasps will soon begin to enjoy themselves too.

5. Bring bitesize foods

Picnics are not the place for Michelin-style fifteen course taster meals, fancy-pants foodie creations or any food item you can't eat in two bites in a civilized fashion with your fingers. Unless you happen to live the life of say, the Crawley family living at Downton Abbey and your picnics are constructed by your cook, served by your Butler and cleared up by your Head Housemaid while your Second Footman.....actually what does your Second Footman do?! If this is you, please can you let me know what your Second Footman does and please may I come along to your picnic?

6. Any Organised Fun Should Take Place After Eating

Organised Fun, such as frisbee, rounders or ball games should always take place after the food has been consumed. Otherwise your enjoyment of your cocktail sausages may be impaired somewhat by the fear of Frisbee Face, a rather self-explanatory condition.

Apologies for sounding like the Anti-Picnic-Fun Police in that last rule, but I've had Frisbee Face. It was a traumatizing experience. What are your picnic rules?

These Picnic Rules are in honour of this month's Forever Nigella blogging challenge, hosted this month by  Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. The brilliant theme, you may have guessed, is food for picnics. After a happy read of Nigella's backcatalogue I choose to attempt to make Nigella's Cornish Pasties, which she describes eating at a picnic on the Helford River in Cornwall with some crisps, cold beer and a jar of spiced apple chutney.

I ate them in the rain in Maida Vale with out of date brown sauce while dodging frisbees.

The recipe can be found in Nigella's How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

Baker's notes...

  • I swopped the swede for carrot. Which may be highly illegal in Cornwall, I'm sorry.
  • This is the perfect picnic food- like an entire meal in a few yummy bites
  • Although they are a bit fiddly to make. As you can see from the pictures, mine turned out rather crumbly
  • Other Ginger Beers are available to buy
  • Rather than play Frisbee (yes, I'm scared of them and really don't like them) try the following Organised Fun: a Cornish Pie eating contest!
  • No further sightings of Nigella to report I'm afriad. 


  1. Another very funny post. Thank you for inducing a new phobia in me. I had never thought before to be scared of frisbees but I definitely am now!
    Your pasty looks lovely - I love crumbly, flaky pastry - mmmmmmm.
    What about kite flying? That would be safer - no?

  2. Excellent post - I really like your style of writing. The cornish pasty looks delicious, I wish I could have some now.

  3. Oh I love a picnic...but i Also love planning them...and therefore in direct violation of picnic rule numero uno...

  4. LOL! I am here on behalf of the Pro-Picnic police to say that looks great! I love Cornish pasties and ginger beer...............
    However, your pre-picnic observations are 100% correct, I have the same rules for suggesting a BBQ....ask friends over for a barbie and it will rain!

  5. Kate, you should be a comedy writer, you're brilliant! Gosh, I haven't eaten Cornish pasties since I left Uni, which was twen..okay, a long time ago. Yours look really lovely and aren't they supposed to be crumbly anyway? Btw, I've experienced Frisbee Face too...NOT nice at all.

  6. Lol - oh how your post has made me giggle ;0)
    Truly the best guide to a picnic I have ever seen!

  7. oooh I do love cornish pasties, though like Foodiva not made one in years! a great nigella picnic entry. I need to get my one sorted

  8. They look lovely. Can't say I've ever made pasties, but I'd like to eat one of those!

    I have a photo of the last picnic I went on with friends, and we're all holding brollies as the rain started....

    As a child we always had an empty, unwashed jam jar half filled with water to attract the wasps, sadly the little blighters were always far more interested in what we were eating than their own special gift...

  9. Ha, ha, great post. I'd add another rule to your list. Check field carefully - in all corners - for lurking bullocks that might decide to stampede yourselves and picnic at any moment! Well done for making your pasty. I only ever tried them once and it was way to fiddley with my pastry falling apart and the filling spilling every which way. Just realised, being a Cornish lass, I really shouldn't admit to this - ooops!

  10. This is hilarious! And thanks for your comment - haven't yet had a chance to picnic this summer but I sat on a field once and ended up with a green bum. Not nice. Also I tried to eat a baguette, it wasn't pretty.

  11. Love this post - made me smile despite dreary London weather. The pasties look delicious :)

  12. Thank you for all your lovely, lovely comments.

    I apologise unreservedly if I've accidently instilled a fear of frisbees into any readers!

    And C, a jar of water for wasps would mean I would get to keep more of the picnic food for myself... I like!

    Rule No. 7 is definitely Choclette's 'Review of Local Vicinity for Presence of Bulls'- crikey, coming along a bullock...that would be disastrous!

  13. I miss Cornish pasties so much!! Im for sure going to hit this recipe up and try to recreate a little bit of home, sad face :(

  14. Super picnic tips, thank you and I love your pasty.

    Not sure I can bring myself to make friends with wasps!


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