Friday, June 8, 2012

The Diamond Jubilee Concert Picnic

World-renowned British chef Heston Blumenthal and Royal Chef Mark Flanagan, conjured up a remarkable five-course menu for 12,000 lucky guests who won tickets to celebrate Monday’s Diamond Jubilee Concert Picnic in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace. Guests from all over the United Kingdom were given specially designed picnic baskets which represented some of the most iconic dishes from the last 60 years of The Queen’s reign.

British chef Heston Blumenthal and Royal Chef Mark Flanagan with the 
packaged contents of the Diamond Jubilee picnic hamper

The picnic hampers included the very best of British produce, including a chilled country garden soup comprised of baby plum tomatoes with a mint-infused oil, followed by Lapsang Souchong tea-smoked Scottish salmon and a new Diamond Jubilee Chicken recipe devised by celebrity chef Blumenthal and Chef Flanagan, based on the iconic Coronation Chicken, originally created to celebrate the Queen’s official crowning in 1953, which represented, then, the colonial nature of the British Empire, so it included fruit, curry and mayonnaise.

Chef Blumenthal

Their new recipe for Diamond Jubilee Chicken included tender British chicken breasts bound with a creamy mayonnaise which had been infused with aromatic Indian spices, fragrant coriander, sweet sultanas and garnished with peppery nigella seeds. The potted tea-smoked salmon, included fragrant Lapsang Souchong tea-smoked salmon, from a recipe created by Heston, together with flaked poached Scottish salmon, crème fraiche, lemon and fresh chives. 

Heston Blumenthal's Lapsang Souchong Tea Smoked Salmon 
available from Waitrose in Britain

The Sandringham Strawberry Crumble Crunch was comprised of a strawberry compote made from organic British strawberries grown on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. The richly scented Florence strawberries were harvested and frozen last year in preparation for the Jubilee Picnic. Fiona Cairns, the cake designer who created Kate and William's wedding cake, created two delicious cakes for the picnic hamper: Lemon & Caraway Madeira Cake and a Chocolate Indulgence Cake which was decorated with a chocolate crown and sprinkled with one of Heston’s favourite finishing touches — popping candy. There were also vegetarian, dairy and gluten free options. Moet & Chandon Champagne, Cobra beer and Hildon water were also on hand during the day.

All smiles, the Queen tried each and every dish

Apparently the Queen tried each and every dish, which took six months to create with the help of royal head chef Mark Flanagan, and gave her seal of approval. The hampers were provided by the Queen’s warrant holder, supermarket Waitrose. Chief executive officer Mark Price said: ‘Her Majesty has personally tasted every dish and has been involved in creating everything that goes into the hamper. Her attention to detail is legendary and we are very proud to be involved in creating them as our Jubilee gift to her.’

Jubilee Picnic menu

Chilled British Country Garden Soup
A chilled British baby plum tomato soup with red peppers and cucumber, finished with garden mint-infused oil

Tea-smoked Scottish Salmon
Fragrant Lapsang Souchong tea-smoked salmon, mixed with delicious flaked poached Scottish salmon, lemon, British crème fraîche and a sprinkling of fresh chives

Diamond Jubilee Chicken
A new take on a British favourite created in 1953 to celebrate The Queen’s Coronation – an aromatic blend of Indian spices mixed with mayonnaise, tender shredded chicken and fragrant coriander, finished with peppery nigella seeds.

Vegetarian option – Mushroom Parfait
A smooth, roasted mushroom purée blended with a rich port, brandy and Madeira reduction, British butter and free-range eggs, then baked until set.
(Served with fresh bread rolls, butter and crunchy seasonal crudités)

Sandringham Strawberry Crumble Crunch
Creamy yogurt marbled with Sandringham strawberries and British cream, with a crunchy meringue and oat crumble topping

Lemon & Caraway Maderia cake
A traditional Maderia cake with zesty lemon, and a warming aniseed finish

Chocolate indulgence cake
A light, fluffy chocolate sponge with a rich, smooth ganache topping, decorated with a chocolate crown and sprinkled with popping candy.

Taste of England Cheese selection
Duchy Originals from Waitrose organic mature West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and creamy Red Leicester Crunch, served with Duchy Originals from Waitrose Chutney and Oaten biscuits

Coronation Chicken Salad
Serves 6

6 chicken breasts
1 tbsp mild curry powder
2 tbsp sunflower oil
salt & pepper
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
6 stalks celery, very finely chopped
1 container of alfalfa sprouts
1/2 cup pecan, toasted

4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 cup Creme Fraiche
1/2 cup mango chutney
2 tbsp curry powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the chicken with oil, curry powder, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked through. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then pull into bite size pieces. Allow to cool completely before adding to your salad.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing very well. Mix the cooled chicken, celery, grapes, and half the alfalfa shoots with the dressing. Serve the Coronation Chicken Salad over mixed salad greens and garnish with alfalfa sprouts, grapes, pecans and some diced celery.