Out of curiosity and my love for cookbooks [and books in general], I managed to score a signed copy of CELEBRATE, A year of British festivities for families and friends by Pippa Middleton. In a nutshell, it is a comprehensive seasonal guide to simple and creative entertaining. Survey says…I’m a fan! I’ve taken detailed mental notes of the recipes I would like to challenge myself with. Most of which are already familiar to me.
My first challenge from her book is the Picnic Loaf. And from the words of Pippa, The best way of feeding a crowd on a picnic, this loaf packs everything in and has a special-occasion feel about it. So her take on the picnic loaf is making it the night before and refrigerating it to let the flavours develop.
The original recipe combines 2 tbsp of grainy mustard, 6 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise with a squeeze of lemon in a small bowl. For the filling, mix together 80g / approx. 1/4 cup sliced artichoke hearts, 75g / approx. 1/4 cup finely chopped sunblush tomatoes (They are like sundried, but aren’t as dry and chewy)–you can make your own by combining these ingredients and 3 tbsp chopped basil and season well.
Cut a ‘lid’ off a medium round cobb loaf, the scoop out the bread from the inside to make room for the filling. Spread the mustard mayonnaise around the inside of the bread, then start to layer up the fillings with the artichoke and tomato mix, 200g/ approx. 7oz thickly sliced cooked ham, 200g Somerset Brie and 75g / approx. 1/4 cup picked watercress leaves. Press together gently, put the lid back on the bread, secure with string like a parcel and wrap it tightly in clingfilm to pack in your rucksack.
Below is my version…using a similar cobb loaf with fillers such as German-brand bologna, mortadella, and milano salami. Condiment-mix consist of yellow mustard, mayonnaise, horseradish, submarine seasoning, olive oil drizzle (not pictured). The leafy greens include homegrown Italian parsley, arugula, and chives. Alongside sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and oregano to season.