Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Picnic At Henley Royal Regatta With Ryvita

We are still pinching ourselves to see if we would wake up! Not really sure why we are on such a lucky star. We were asked to host a picnic at Henley Royal Regatta (at the Semi Finals) for Ryvita who also had a stand there that day.
Ryvita and picnics and Henley – all fits together like a glove- all we were hoping for was the sun to shine and it did not fail us, shining brightly without doubt. Wonderful. We were allowed to invite six bloggers and they were the lovelies all dressed to Henley codes: (girls had to wear dresses below the knee and boys had to wear blazers). The London Foodie, Meemalee’s Kitchen, Greedy Diva, Tamarind & Thyme, Feast On Scraps & Violets Curd

Considering that we could not do any cooking at the picnic, this event was also quite a challenge (but a lovely one) – with prepping and getting everything packed to be traveled all the way to Oxfordshire. This event was about making great toppings for Ryvita and for a picnic fit for royalty. It meant that we cold source really fine ingredients, have a mega feast and enjoy a lovely British day out.

We had hampers and rugs and Laurent Perrier champagne and six other picnic-ers all on trains and automobiles reaching us and it was such an excitement all around.
In the many cool bags, we had great French cheeses such as Manchego,  Brebis Blue, Fribourg D'alpage, Picos Blue etc from La Bouche Broadway Market – a selection of fantastic hams from Uneathed, pate and rillette. We had Donald Russell Smoked Salmon, a selection of Tracklements and a whole hamper of strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, peaches, apricots and plums.What better than to eat them all off Cornishware crockery - (as a girl - these are the things you plot for a great day out!)
We tried a lot of things with Ryvita. They have a new range of cracker-breads and I really love the shallot one – goes really well with cream cheese and salmon! As for Rillette – goes well with anything – like an original Ryvita.
Simon roasted figs with mustard for our selection of cooked, parma, salami hams and poached the most beautiful pears in champagne and vanilla pods. I was quite nerved by the thought of him boiling champagne but I have to say, he does get it right! (most of the times).
 
My special request was Simon’s amazing Russian salad with potatoes, peas, carrots, egg, olives, mayo and sweet roasted peppers. The combination of sweet, salt and sour in a creamy texture of maris pipers cooked to the point of fluffyness is outrageously delicious.
And when people thought that was it, we bought out the samphire from Cornwall, the Sri Lankan Yellow Fin short line caught tuna sashimi, Pacific oysters, the biggest Wild Madagascan Tiger Prawns we have all ever seen – all from The Fin & Flounder – an independent fish mongers on Broadway Market that specializes in line caught and ethical fishing. This was utterly delightful! We were really happy with the quality and freshness of the fish.
We dressed the tuna in our special marinade of soy, ginger, mirin and orange with spring onions. We had the beautiful creamy, sweet and huge oysters with Tabasco and lemon. Mimi and I were offering them around, hoping people would refuse so that we could have them all. Heh! We can not recommend these oysters enough.
As for the massive prawns, we bought a portable gas stove but due to health & safety reasons, we couldn’t use them so we pinched a barbeque off a stall along to boil some water and then they were just blanched for 45 seconds. We served these with beautiful, fresh, crisp samphire in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and lemon.
For dessert, we had lemon curd cupcakes from VioletsCurd from the soon to be The Hatcham Supper Club and I made a trifle with strawberries and blueberries soaked in Cointreau. I made the sponge from Mich Turner’s fairy cake recipe – I sliced them in half and made two layers with some custard to top it off.
Then of course, we were trying to convince everyone to polish off the fruits and cheeses with flowing Laurent Perrier Champagne as we tried to see races and soak in the lovely British summer sun.

We’ve been extremely lucky to work with WildCard, who have introduced us to new levels of happiness and making our project really enjoyable. Having a picnic like this is something we all love to do and be part of. Everyone who walked by our picnic was amazed. One guard about 200 yards down said– ‘you’re the ones with the mental picnic.’
It certainly was mental – we could never normally have such an extravaganza. Thank you to Ryvita and Wild Card.

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