Sunday, June 2, 2024

Raspberry Cordial and Other Treats for the Anne Picnic

 Yesterday's picnic was absolutely delightful!

 Lovely weather, beautiful setting, awesome people, yummy food!

Now, I'm going to hold off on telling you all about the picnic until we get the pictures back from our wonderful photographer (@samithefae), but I will tell you about the food!

" And I want you to come over early Saturday Morning to help me prepare lunch. I'm going to have the daintiest things possible. . . things that will match the spring you understand. . ."

~Anne to Diana in Anne of Avonlea

There were two options for food: 

1) order a yummy boxed lunch from the caterer we secured for the event

2) make and bring your own picnic lunch

I picked the later option. I wanted to try my hand at making myself a picnic lunch similar to those described in the Anne books (which I'd been listening to in audio book form all month to get myself in the mood for this picnic). Now there was always a chance that I'd be sewing up to the last minute and not have time to make my food, in which case I'd just have to see if there were any catered box lunches still available. . . but I was really, really hopeful that I'd have time to make my own food! 

Well, I had my outfit completely finished the afternoon before the picnic!!!! 100% finished, hat trimmed and everything with like 20 hours to spare! (Considering last time I made myself a new outfit for an event I "finished" it at the event, having this outfit done nearly a whole day in advance felt like a HUGE accomplishment.) Thus, cooking could commence!

After toying with different ideas in the back of my head for a week or two, this is the menu I came up with for myself:

Chicken Salad Sandwiches - These are not specifically mentioned in any of the Anne books that I can recall, but sandwiches are mentioned in the books and chicken salad just sounded good to me! Plus, I had some left over chicken in my fridge that needed to be used up so it was a practical choice too. 

Fresh Baked Bread (for the sandwiches) - all spring I've been making my own bread, and it felt like a very Green Gables-y thing to do.

Lemon Meringue Pie - In Anne of Avonlea she makes lemon pie for her (ill-fated) dinner for Miss Morgan. After listening to that chapter, I was craving lemon pie and just had to make myself one for the picnic! Anne's pies were topped with whipped cream, but I decided to do meringue for mine, just because.

Blueberries - Ok, these have no real Anne significance (though the Meredith children allegedly eating blueberries in the Methodist cemetery is mentioned in Rainbow Valley. . .)  I just happened to have blueberries and they sounded good.

Now I would have loved to also make some cakes and cookies and donuts like those mentioned throughout the books, but I knew I wouldn't have time to make everything, so I'd better call the above list of foods "good enough". Besides, there was one more thing I needed to make for the picnic, and I needed to make a lot of it so we could share it with all the attendees - Raspberry Cordial!

When my friend and I began planning the picnic we decided we just had to have raspberry cordial for everyone to drink. And as this isn't something you can just buy, I volunteered to make a gallon or so for people to try. (Don't worry, it was truly just raspberry cordial, not red currant wine!) After a few internet searches, I decided to give this recipe a try (despite the author rather mis-telling the red currant wine fiasco. . .) as it looked easy enough.

I began my cooking Friday night by mixing up the chicken salad. I used a recipe my mom gave me - the same one she used for our Easter picnic earlier this spring. Then I lost all motivation and decided to go to bed early - I could get up early and do the rest of the cooking first thing in the morning.

And that is how I found myself stirring a pot of frozen raspberries and sugar on my stove at 6 a.m. on Saturday. While the raspberries were cooking, I was mixing up the crust for my lemon pie.

Once the raspberries and sugar were cooked together into a syrup the concoction was strained through a wire sieve to remove all the seeds (and a lot of the pulp) It took a while for all the syrup to come through the sieve, so while it was drip-drip-dripping, I mixed up my bread.

I've been using this this gluten-free bread recipe lately as it's easy, and tastes good - not an easy combination to find when it comes to gluten-free bread! 

While the bread rose I ran outside to milk the goat - and came back in the house to find the raspberry syrup still dripping. While I waited, I pulled out the two half gallon glass jugs I intended to put the cordial in and made labels. Very fancy labels with crayons and scotch tape because that's what I had on hand.

Hey, it works!
Finally I decided enough of the syrup had dripped through for me to finish up this cordial. I poured about 3.5 cups of raspberry syrup into each jug, then filled the jugs up the rest of the way with hot water, put the lids on, and shook them up!

It was the most delightful bright red drink! I let the cordial cool on the counter while I made the filling for my lemon pie.
I used the lemon meringue pie recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook - because every recipe I've tried from that cookbook has turned out well - and this pie was no exception! I made my crust and filling stretch to make 2 pies - one little one and one normal size one. The little one would come with me to the picnic. The big one would stay home to be shared with the company we had coming for dinner that evening.

Isn't it the cutest little pie??
Once the pies were in the oven, I stuck the cordial in the fridge. After a bit, I decided it wasn't getting cold fast enough in there - so I moved it to the deep freeze. This cordial had better be cold by the time I need to leave for the picnic!

I rolled up to the picnic in style in my horseless wagon with a cooler full of raspberry cordial and yummy food in the back. Was the cordial cold yet? And what would it taste like?

It was! And it was delicious! Such a fun on-theme treat to share with all the picnic goers!

It was a lot of fun planning and making the food for the picnic - and the results were worth it. We plan on hosting more themed picnics in the future. . . hopefully those themes also have iconic food and beverages to be made!


  1. Wow! What a great picnic. The dresses are wonderful. Good going. 👍

  2. Wow, it looks like a really fun event! Too bad I don't live nearby, I'd be inviting myself. ;)