a downton-inspired picnic

This post seems a bit late – but better now than never!

Winnipeg was blessed with a few glorious summer days last weekend – which, luckily, coincided with our rescheduled Downton Abbey inspired picnic.  Our crew of five arrived in the formal gardens of Assiniboine Park just as a garden wedding was being set up.  We – complete with hats, Seersucker and bow ties (practically dressed for the imminent nuptials) – brought appropriately concocted British and seasonal dishes for the occasion.

David and Alan brought homemade ginger ale – with an effervescent nose and slight after burn similar to Vernors, a ginger ale originating in Detroit, Michigan.  I grew up with Vernors poured over baked Easter hams in place of milder Canada Dry.  What a pleasant memory!  The gents also brought stuffed ham and pickle baguettes.

In true Downton-style, Rachel called upon her support team to deliver her delightful treats.  Light-as-air scones were the perfect foil for rich clotted cream and tangy raspberry purée.  The raspberry blend was a product of Rachel’s family farm, Poplar Grove.  Scones freshly baked by her father, Rika.  I took on the easy but time-consuming task of creating the clotted cream (recipe below).

Still wanting to link back to British colonial days, Eric and I chose to contribute tandoori chicken, mango chutney and pickled string beans.  The tandoori chicken spice rub from a few weeks ago made plenty for a second batch.  The mango chutney calmed the spiced intensity of the tandoori chicken with its slightly sweet, tangy ginger, golden raisins and tender mango pieces.

Finally, we could not host a summer picnic without a pitcher of Pimm’s No. 1 complete with cucumber and citrus slices!

Clotted Cream (from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook)
yields 4 cups

4 cups heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 180°F.

2. Pour the cream into an oven-safe pot or dutch oven.  The cream should come up to about 3 inches.  Cover the pot, then place in the oven for at least 6 hours.  The cream will be done when there is a thick yellowish skin on top.

3. Let the cream cool at room temperature, then put the pot in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.  Remove clotted cream from the top of the pot and serve cold.

Note: I cooked the cream for approximately 9 hours.  I also incorporated some of the remaining cream into the clotted cream until the desired consistency (room temperature cream cheese) was achieved.

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