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September 16, 2011

EATING AL FRESCO – Picnic time is any time!

by Val Reynolds
Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

It’s always picnic time when the sun’s out, the river looks enticing and we’re in a hurry!

We grabbed a couple of packs of pate*, a french loaf, butter in a tub, some paper plates, a sharp knife**, something refreshing to drink, plastic cups and we were off.

Off to Cambridge for a break – why not? It’s the start of the term and yes there’ll be visitors galore, but it’s always possible to find a grassy spot on the river bank and have a great time with friends, gossiping, remembering times past, dreaming of good times to come. That’s the atmosphere we find whatever the weather.

It feels so good with the sun warming your bones on a cool autumn day, lounging on the grass, drinking in the view, admiring, or not, the prowess of the punters. We always feel better after a break away from the desk. Of course it doesn’t need to be Cambridge … Anywhere quiet and green with something to focus your attention on is good. Great for reducing blood pressure – frequent breaks from the pressures of publishing  are a must for us.

We took some Castle MacLellan pates. Three of us had tried them previously. Here are our preferences, each marked out of ten, ten being the top mark.

Mushroom with garlic and thyme – 9 – memorable, would buy this regularly

Salmon with lemon juice and horseradish 9 – excellent, would definitely buy it if we saw it in the supermarket

Duck with bramley apple jelly  7 – good but not outstanding

Crab with lemon juice and Galloway mustard – 6 – good but not outstanding, perhaps more mustard would give it more of a bite

Chicken pate with Scottish heather honey – 5 – needed more of a bite to make it memorable, bacon perhaps, or garlic, personally we added some lemon juice when we had it on toast and in a sandwich.

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Punting on The Cam © Pintail Media

Castle MacLelland products are available at Waitrose, Nisa, Coop/Somerfield, Spar, Booths and also in Sainsbury and Morrisons (crab only), Asda (Scotland stores only) as well as independent stores throughout the UK.

The Crab is on special offer in Sainsbury’s reduced from £1.25 to just £1 from 31 August to 20 September – four days left!

**Sharp knife is needed to open the seal on the pate packs.

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor

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