Old Roses, Summer Berries & A Teddy Bear's Picnic!

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For June I was going to share a new British berry recipe, as June is the start of the raspberry and strawberry season, and as well as eating them straight from the plant I love to bake with them too. However, the rather inclement and late spring we’ve all been experiencing has meant that my strawberries are still sulking and my raspberries are ONLY just coming in now, so, I have decided to take you all on a virtual tour of my rose garden with a teddy bear’s picnic at the end of it!

I have also suggested a few delectable “British berry” recipes, ones that I make every year as well as some I have discovered and have bookmarked to make. But first, some berry recipes – these are recipes that I make every year and are warmly received on the tea time table. I grow my own strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and currants, and once the initial pleasure of eating them straight from the plant, cane or bush has waned, I can be found in the kitchen baking up a storm, as well as preserving my bountiful harvest.

Top tea time favourites are Raspberry Fairy Cakes, Raspberry Cheesecake Muffins, “Whim Wham” - A Scottish Regency Trifle and Traditional 18th Century Raspberry Creams. However, whilst perusing Sarah Raven’s Seasonal recipes, I have bookmarked her Frosted redcurrants with Chantilly cream & Almond meringues and Strawberry and basil ice cream to make as soon as my fruit is ready.

Berry Trifle

Raspberry Cream

Whereas all of my fruit are a trifle tardy this year, my roses are magnificent and all of my old-fashioned shrub roses are in full bloom, imparting beauty and fragrance around the garden. The climbing roses along the back kitchen wall are so full of blooms that are bowing under the weight, and every time there is the slightest zephyr of a breeze, the kitchen floor is magically transformed into a rose petal strewn indoor- garden.

Roses in my garden

My back garden with climbing roses

I have been making rose jam, rose sugar and rose liqueur, as well as crystallising them for cakes and bakes. As well as preserving my delicate rose confetti for future delectation, I have also scattered little glass yoghurt jars full of scented blooms all over the house. But, I DID promise you a teddy bear’s picnic, and a picnic you shall have! We shall take jammy biscuits, lots of fizzy pop, cakes, a flask of tea and of course some sandwiches! Teddy Bear's Picnic

A tartan rug and a wicker picnic hamper are also essential and a selection of teddy bears is top of the list, with my old bear Winston (b.1958) being the king of the teddy bear pack. When it comes to sandwiches I love a classic, so cucumber, egg and cress and ham are top of my list; but, I also love a good coronation chicken sarnie, and last year on Garlic and Sapphire I shared a lovely open sandwich with edible flowers: Apricot, Cream Cheese & Flower Tartines. And, who can resist a beautifully made Pan Bagnat, that most surprising of French sandwiches! This month, for my teddy bear’s picnic, I would like to share a flavoured butter recipe for your summer picnic sandwiches; a simple and yet herb scented butter which is perfect for all of your sarnies, whether they be classic or adventurous – Basil & Sea Salt Sandwich Butter.

This recipe makes good use of the summer basil that you often have, there is only so much pesto you can make, as well as being perfect for basting meat, fish and vegetables on the barbecue. It goes well with cheese, ham, cold cuts, egg, salad leaves and in particular tomatoes. I make mine with a lovely Breton sea salted butter, but, in the absence of sea salted butter you can add your own of course.

Basil sea salt sandwich butter 3

Basil sea salt sandwich butter

Basil and Sea Salt Sandwich Butter Recipe Card

I hope that the summer will bring you much lemonade with sandwich and teddy bear’s picnic days – I will see you next month with some tales of the seaside!

Thanks for reading,