Brie, fig, Parma ham & rocket baguettes for our Henley Regatta picnic

by Jeanne on August 7, 2009

in London Life, Starters & canapés


Given the distinct lack of activity around here lately, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I have given up eating entirely.  Fear not, gentle readers!  Luckily for you and unluckily for my hips, this is not the case.  All I can say in my own defence is that since about May, my life has been rather upside down with the new house, and combined with the usual busy London summer social life it's just meant that there is practically no time to blog!  I cook, I dine out, I photograph food… but after dinner each night, all I can manage is checking my e-mail and dragging myself off to bed.

I fear this general lethargy is going to become habit-forming, so it's probably time to stop faffing about with the house and filling you in on what I've been up to this summer.  We've had our housewarming, three sets of houseguests in the 6 weeks of living in our new place, a Pet Shop Boys concert, a Madonna concert, a William Curley patisserie course, a few barbecues and our favourite annual summer event:  the Henley Royal Regatta.

I've written before about food blogger gatherings at the Henley regatta, and damn fine they were.  There was the year that we hardly knew each other; the year of the Big Bakewell Challenge, the year of the mudbath

But this year I was too distracted to want to organise a huge event and instead it was a small yet elegant gathering of close friends, including Andrew of Spittoon and Passionate Cook Johanna.  Andrew had very kindly invited Nick and me to stay over the night before, so we were able to secure our preferred spot on the riverbank, in the shade of a tree and within earshot of the Barn Bar music.

The day was perfect – neither too hot, nor too cold – and certainly less unrelentingly muddy than it was 3 years ago!  We settled ourselves on the riverbank, dealt with a mini-crisis (Johanna forgetting to bring the Pimms!), watched some excellent rowing (including the South African pair of DiClemente and Keeling, who won their heat – hurrah!) and then unpacked our picnic.  As usual, my contributions included picnic standbys like my much-loved peppadew & Parmesan muffins, smoked mackerel pate, as well as something new for this year: Brie, fig, Parma ham and rocket baguettes.  The secret to these is excellent ingredients:  the freshest baguette you can lay your hands on, the ripest figs, the perfectly oozy cheese and the silkiest Parma ham.  The sweet, salty, peppery flavours work fantastically well together and  because you assemble them at the picnic they look fresh and lovely, rather than squashed because somebody on the train accidentally sat on your picnic basket :)

Not much of a recipe, but instructions are below – and click on my Flickr album for more pictures of Henley Regatta picnic 2009.


For printable recipe, click here.


2 x 30cm (12")fresh baguettes, or one long one
4-5 ripe figs, depending on size
about 200g Brie
6 slices of Parma ham
2 large handfuls of rocket leaves, washed and dried
a little butter, if desired


Cut the baguettes into 6 roughly equal lengths.  Slice each piece open lengthways, but do not cut all the way through.

Thinly slice the figs and Brie.  Spread a little butter on both halves of each baguette if desired.  Start by laying 3-4 slices of fig on each baguette.  Follow with two or more slices of Brie and a piece of Parma ham, folded to fit the bread if necessary.  Finish with as many rocket leaves as you can fit in while still allowing the baguette sandwich to close.

Serve immediately, with Pimms!

And don't forget to check out my latest column over on Food24, all about the decline in table manners.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy t August 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

That looks delicious! I love the figs that are around at the moment!! Just need to find the ham….not an easy feat around here !!! Have a good weekend and thanks for the visit!


Kat August 8, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Oh this looks lovely. Really, really lovely.


Jan August 9, 2009 at 10:43 am

Loving the look of this!
Sounds like you’ve been a real busy bee lately – Pet shop boys I bet were amazing to see!


Leon Gregory August 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

Thanks a lot! I’m also a gourmet and pastry enthusiast and this would really go to my compilation. I would also like to share. I came across a good site, , about European and Swiss cooking which also gives free sample family-secret recipes.


Kit August 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I am speechlessly salivating – my favourite ingredients for summer all in one scrummy sandwich!


bibliochef August 9, 2009 at 8:41 pm

fis and parma ham — hmmm.


Susan from Food Blogga August 9, 2009 at 11:41 pm

This is my idea of the ideal simple Italian lunch.


johanna August 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

dear lord… the shame of you publicising my big mistake! i am already waking guilt-ridden practically every night! it’s almost as bad a forgetting my dad’s 60th this year! in my defense, it was HE that i put in charge of the cold drinks and somehow, he managed to pack the lemonade, but not the booze ;-(
the food was top notch, though, especially those lovely creatures!!!


Barbara September 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Jeanne this sandwich looks wonderful. I’m a bit behind on my blog reading. Hope the move to a new house has gone well.


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