Do you think mere drizzle would stop us feasting? Not likely!
By Katie Garner
With summer supposedly here, I thought it was about time us Wychelmers saw some sunlight and headed outdoors for some frockling fun in the park. For our June social, we nipped round the back of our home turf, Frances Bardsley School, to enjoy the mowed greenery of Hylands Park for a cheerful picnic at 1pm on Saturday 14th June. As soon as one sandalled foot emerged from my front door, a light veil of drizzle began to persist, but would I let this halt our summertime fun? Never! It was full steam ahead to the park, to locate a roomy spot underneath a wide tree to act as a sun / rain awning, with a view to the cricket grounds to unwind with.
I had spent my morning preparing my part of the picnic feast, maybe a tad overzealously looking at the numerous empty packs that were soon flung around the kitchen. I started by making some seed and cheese rolls (the recipe for which I have put on the Facebook page if you want it), which I thought would be the perfect homemade accompaniment for an intense Italian style antipasti board. An array of salamis including chorizo, salami Napoli and prosciutto to name a few, were lined up in neat rows across my biggest chopping board, separated by strips of buffalo mozzarella, cubes of parmesan, fresh rocket leaves and ripe, rolling olives. To hand I also had jars of sun dried tomatoes, roasted red and yellow peppers and a tub of feta cubes to top it all off. Like I say, I think I got a bit carried away! Armed with rose, a blanket, suncream and an umbrella (this is England after all), I was ready to roll!
Jess also got creative in the kitchen, bringing along a homemade courgette, pea and feta frittata, as well as some crudités served with a chickpea dip or a goopy garlic option. Welsh duo Janet and David, with large and loveable pooch Dita, prepared the picnic staple rolls – either ham or cheddar salad, with chunky cut fillings in soft white baps. Kay came armed with packs of sausage rolls and a large tub of juicy, fresh strawberries, while Helen had a backpack full of every kind of crisp under the sun, including delicious cinnamon and salt popcorn. Diane bought along some brownies and shortbread cookies, while Frank popped by for a few minutes, offering cheese and onion doughnuts to the mix. Clem and her adorable baby daughter showcased a fantastic array of homemade cupcakes (my favourite were the sweet rose flavour) as well as some pepper and sweetcorn flecked rice salad. Joel and his lovely girlfriend swaggered along, weighed down with carrier bags full of beer, pork pies, scotch eggs and cocktail sausages. We also had an array of drinks from wine to water, with fizzy drinks to hand too.
Despite the rather bleak start to the picnic, after getting comfy in our spot under the tree and once more guests armed with food arrived, things really got in to full swing as we grazed with gusto on the great selection of foods. We definitely had all food bases covered and there was no way anyone was going hungry! The majority of us mooched about relaxing and chatting until about 4.30pm when we went our separate ways as a few people has BBQ plans in the evening. It was a lovely relaxed and casual afternoon – the ideal way to pass a Saturday! Thanks to all of the members who made the effort to come along and bring some yummy munchies for us to share! The sign up sheet for the next social will be on the notice board on Monday so keep your eyes peeled!