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Gill Meller’s WALK-AND-EAT FEAST

Welcome to the first in a new series of two-part guest features where outstanding food writers create exclusive recipes for delicious. and write about the experiences that inspire them. First up is River Cottage’s Gill Meller, an author, writer and food stylist who’s never happier than when he’s outside enjoying nature. May means bank holidays, which provide a reason (if anyone needs one) to pack up a tempting bundle of edible morsels and escape for a walk

NEWFood writer in residence PART 1

The past is a patchwork of collected memories and experiences. Some we may prefer to forget, but others – the ones that make us happiest – we bring to mind to relive time and again. Many of my best memories are of being out in the open air with friends and family, and they nearly always centre around sharing food.

The simplest of picnics are often elevated by the surroundings and circumstances. It’s as if, by magic, everything tastes that much better. Biting into a buttery ham and cheese sandwich might seem unremarkable on any given day, but after walking along a stormy coastline, it’s transformed into something amazing. Likewise a summer lunch served on a picnic blanket in your garden, in a park or in a beautiful meadow. The same dishes might seem like standard fare in your kitchen, but add the warmth of the sun above and the cool grass below and the meal reaches new heights.

I remember eating rillettes and bread by a river in southern France. Along with the flowing water and the heat, I can recall the rillettes’ soft coarse texture, the subtle edge of tarragon and salt, and the brittle crust of the baguette. There are some meals you never want to let go and that was one of them, so I’ve done my best to re-create those rillettes in my recipe on p72.

An energetic walk with good food to look forward to at the end of your ramble is great for the soul, and one of life’s simplest pleasures. Snatching an afternoon from the grip of our busy lives and setting out through tangled, colourful woods, broad sweeping fields and rolling hills, no matter what the weather, is something I do whenever I can. I pack a rucksack with a few things for the journey: if I’m pushed for time, I’ll just grab some cured sausage, bread, cheese and my penknife. Often this is all you need, but sometimes it’s good to make a little more effort.

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About Delicious Magazine

The May issue of delicious. has everything you need for the best bank holiday feasting, with a laid-back brunch, juicy tarragon roast chicken, proper lemon curd sponges and more. If you’re planning a walk, be sure to pack the brilliant picnic dishes from River Cottage’s Gill Meller. You’ll also find homemade scampi, duck ragù, good-for-you veggie ideas and easy midweek meals, plus the rules and recipes guaranteed to lift your cooking to the next level.
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