Picnic Times: Darina Allen’s scenic summer meals

August 14, 2015 - Picnic Time


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DARINA ALLEN: we come from a prolonged line of picnickers. Always there’d be a cruise in a foot of a car, going to a races, going to Tramore for a day. They were a vast picnics. We came from Cullahill in Co Laois, that was about as distant divided from a sea as we can get, so a good thrills of a summer were a integrate of days when we went to Tramore. There were 9 of us. Mummy would container this good cruise into a foot and we’d empty it, and she’d always have rugs and we’d widespread all this out nearby a Metal Man on a cliffs.

Mummy baked each day. She was a tributary and she usually desired a pleasure that her food gave to all of us. She had Christmas cooking during a tip of Cullahill towering once. For her, food was about amatory and nourishing. Whenever I’m going on a sight or drifting somewhere, we always take a picnic. A good favourite is an avocado and some sea salt. I’d usually shower it with Maldon sea salt (or Achill sea salt, that is so nice) and eat it with a spoon.

A cruise is always elementary to me. It could be a grill duck with a vast jar of garlic or tarragon mayonnaise, some cucumber and small tomatoes. The duck would be roasted, and not put in a cold box though wrapped in a teatowel on a image to stop a juices going everywhere. So it would still be comfortable and juicy, once it’s a good duck to start with (you don’t wish to do that with a dodgy chicken).

There was another poetic thing that Myrtle [Allen] has upheld on to us: a use of a grain box. The ones we use now are done out of a joist booze box. You put about 3 inches of grain around a bottom and sides and afterwards we make a stew, a stew or a tagine. You prepare it until it’s scarcely entirely baked in a vast Le Creuset or cast-iron pot and afterwards put it in a grain box with a lid on and some-more insulation of grain between a lid of a pot and lid of a box. Then we put it into a foot of a car. And we can expostulate for several hours with that and it’ll keep it hot. That’s a unequivocally poetic thing to do in a winter.

My favourite cruise of all is a breakfast cruise on a cliffs of Ballyandreen, that is nearby us. If there’s a comfortable Sunday though wind, we container adult baskets. They’re not a classical cruise baskets with a prosaic tip and straps; these are usually large, turn baskets with a common cutlery, plates and light frying pans. I’d make some brownish-red and white soda bread and speckled dog so that it’s good and warm, with butter, jam and marmalade.

Then we container adult rashers, sausages, mushrooms and eggs. We make some muesli: dejected strawberries or raspberries churned adult with dripping oatmeal. It’s kind of a bircher muesli that we make in Ballymaloe each day: oatmeal dripping in H2O churned with dejected soothing fruit or grated apple, depending on what’s in season, and usually a small honey. We have bowls of that with creatively squeezed orange extract and flasks of coffee and H2O for tea.

When we get to a cliffs, we widespread out a rugs on a poetic squashy weed during a top. Below us there’s a edge with shale. The children and grandchildren will start with a muesli and I’ll go down with a integrate of a others on to a shale and we’ll make small circles of stones.

We used to send a children off to find driftwood. But now we move a possess kindling, and lie by bringing a firelighter. So we make several small fires and we start to grill rashers, sausages and eggs. You’d be astounded how fast we can make a super breakfast and how additional tasty it tastes in a open air. It is usually memorable.

I brought Alice Waters and Madhur Jaffrey there, and each time we accommodate them they say, “Oh my God, we remember that breakfast picnic”. We usually conduct to do it maybe 3 times in a summer, since it has to be warm, with no wind. But that’s usually a many beautiful cruise ever.



Myrtle used to do this for a children and she taught us how to do it in Ballymaloe.



  • 1 fritter of good, unsliced bread
  • Softened butter
  • Flattish fillings of your choice: sliced ham, beef or chicken, cucumbers, egg mayonnaise



Carefully cut a tip off a fritter though not all a approach across: leave a hinge during one of a prolonged sides. Using a good knife, delicately cut out a particle from a centre of a block. Slice this, butter it and make your choice of sandwiches.

Don’t make your fillings too abundant or a subsequent theatre will be tricky. Cut a sandwiches into thickish fingers and repack them into a bombard again. Put down a lid and cover a chest. When we empty it, approximate it with lettuce leaves, little scallions, tomatoes and radishes that people can supplement to a sandwiches as they like.




“We’ll stop during a subsequent cruise spot,” my father shouted, hardly heard over a sleet lashing on a windscreen of a Datsun Cherry. It was 1985 and my brother, my relatives and we were on a annual trek from Dublin to Kerry. Every year my silent would container boiled eggs, duck sandwiches, red cheddar and yellow-pack crisps into cosmetic bags. What we were unequivocally after were a United bars.

Three hours into a tour we began to derrick a necks, perplexing to mark a landmark by a sleet that competence indicate a approach to a timberland cruise mark we had miraculously found a year before.

My hermit speckled a forest. Dad screeched a Datsun into retreat and we aquaplaned into a cruise spot. Two wooden tables materialised by a fog. Coaxed out of a car, my hermit and we sat quiescent in a relating raincoats and munched a speciality, cheese hunks with frail coatings, while a trucks sped furiously by usually feet away. Then, a gods sang, a skies privileged and a object came out. To applaud we banged a eggs on a dais to flay them and my silent non-stop a bottle of cream soda. We nibbled all a chocolate off a sides of a Uniteds before a object could warp it.

Food finished, my father pressed a balderdash into a Quinnsworth bags and hopped merrily off to a bin. Within seconds he had returned, sprinting around a cruise tables followed by several mad and determined wasps. We ran, panicking and shouting behind to a car.

My bad father spent a remaining 3 hours of a tour hunched over a circle of a Datsun, his behind flaming with wasp stings. My hermit and we sat sated in a behind seat, gloomy a laughter. Mum shouted from a front, “Next year let’s usually get chips.” We never did.

Jan Doran Gorey, Co Wexford

source ⦿ http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/picnic-times-darina-allen-s-scenic-summer-meals-1.2312596

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