Michael Buerk is joined by chef Paul Ainsworth to celebrate al fresco dining, cooking food served at royal picnics and garden parties.
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The Royal Family are steeped in tradition.
Throughout history, the royal tables have showcased culinary excellence.
In celebration of royal food...
We know it's the Queen's recipe,
because we've got it in her own hand.
..from the present and the past...
That is proper regal.
..we recreate old family favourites.
Now, the Queen Mother had this really wicked trick with these.
What a mess!
We sample royal eating alfresco...
-That is what you want.
..and revisit the most extravagant times.
Pheasant, stag, turkey, salmon,
oysters and turbot dressed in a lobster-champagne sauce.
Hello. I'm Michael Buerk and welcome to Royal Recipes.
This is Audley End, one of Britain's finest stately homes,
built in the style of a royal palace and once owned by a king.
In the splendour of the gardens,
halls and kitchen of this grandest of country houses,
we'll be recreating the food served at the highest royal tables.
And it all starts here, with this gem -
a royal kitchenmaid's cookbook.
The only surviving recipe book of its kind in the Royal Archive.
This is an exact copy of the original,
which is kept at Windsor Castle.
Inside - the recipes of Mildred Nicholls,
who worked at Buckingham Palace in the early 1900s.
And for the first time in over a hundred years,
we'll be bringing these recipes back to life.
This time, we cook food served up by the Royal Family outdoors,
at their picnics and garden parties.
Since she came to the throne over 60 years ago,
the Queen has welcomed two million people
to the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
And, more recently,
Her Majesty threw a huge picnic in the Mall to mark her 90th birthday.
Today on Royal Recipes, Paul Ainsworth finds out what's cooking
when Prince Philip takes over the barbecue.
It's a proper royal recipe and we're going to do Gaelic steak
and a real royal favourite - whisky sauce.
Historian Dr Annie Gray reveals
how Queen Victoria made the picnic fashionable.
For she was a fierce picnicker.
She loved it.
And the Melton Mowbray baker
preparing to make a picnic essential for the Queen.
Once a year, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Society
send a pie up to Balmoral for the Queen.
And it's my turn this year to make it.
So that will be a big pie.
In the grounds of this stately home, we start with a royal barbecue.
We're roughing it here today at Audley End.
With me, Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth.
-Hello, Michael. How are you?
-I'm very well in my jacket.
Yes. Yeah, you look lovely and warm, Michael. Lovely and warm.
They say nobody deters the Windsors from having a picnic
in all weathers.
-It can get really, really wintry in Balmoral, even in August,
-And they still will love to have a barbecue, won't they?
Have you seen those home movies of the royal families and picnics?
-Everybody's pitching in, but Prince Philip is in charge.
I bet he is. It's a manly thing. It's the barbecue.
-It is a man thing.
-It is. Do you feel manly right now?
-Right, let's get cooking.
OK, we're going to do a real favourite royal recipe,
especially of Prince Philip's.
-This is his signature picnic dish.
-Yeah, signature picnic dish.
-What does he cook?
-We're going to do Gaelic steaks, potatoes in the bag,
which is really, really nice. Everything on the barbecue.
-And a real royal favourite - whisky sauce.
OK? Would you like a tipple while we cook?
-Well, I might. Yeah.
-If we get cracking straightaway...
-We're going to take a little tinfoil bag here...
And this I really recommend doing.
It's delicious. So, I'm just going to put some oil over the potatoes.
And you've got some butter in there as well?
Yeah, some butter in there as well.
-Salt and pepper.
Basically, the potatoes are going to steam themselves...
-Just tip them in?
-Just tip them in, like that.
Give them a good ruffle around, so you get all of that seasoning.
-And then just literally fold the bag...
-It's pretty simple, isn't it?
And straight on. And get those on, literally, an hour and a half,
couple of hours, before you're going to cook and literally,
the coals are going to get lovely and warm.
All those potatoes are going to roast in that butter, the oil
and seasoning, garlic. Beautiful. Next, the steaks.
Let's get the steak on. We just put, lightly,
a little bit of oil on that steak.
Like that, OK?
Crush that right the way over the steak.
The steaks we're using here, Michael, are sirloin.
That middle, sort of, steak where you've got that lovely eye of meat,
nice fat content going around.
Beautiful. Straight on.
Nice, hottest part of the barbecue.
You need white heat. Like, proper good heat.
-That's the secret, isn't it, to barbecuing?
-That is the secret.
The Royals often do this. They load up the Land Rover, don't they?
And they're up on the moors above Balmoral.
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, yeah.
I suppose it's a taste of ordinary life for them, to a degree,
not being waited on hand, foot and finger and being a family.
Yes. Well, do you know what? Like you say,
taking a barbecue on a picnic and stuff -
-what better way to enjoy your day? Especially like this.
So, we've got our steaks on, we've got our potatoes on
and now we're going to make our whisky sauce.
So, with our sauce, we just need not as much of a heavy heat
as what we've got here with the steaks.
We're just going to have...
-Just diced shallots, those?
Diced shallots. Right, we're going to have a little rearrange.
-See, our sauce now.
-We've got that lovely heat into the sauce.
This is such a great way to cook.
So, we move our... These are our potatoes that are ready.
-Going to move those potatoes to the front.
Right, for our whisky sauce - really, really simple.
We've got some lovely mushrooms, sliced chestnut mushrooms.
-They go in.
-You're not going to cook those for long, I don't imagine.
-No, they're going to... It's a very quick sauce.
So, we're just going to get those nice and...
Get them coated in that lovely shallot mixture.
We can season all the way through, so we've got that lovely flavour
coming up all the way through the dish.
Now, you'll see with these steaks...
Just have a look under here, Michael. Ready? When we turn over...
-Look at that.
-That is what you want -
that lovely caramelisation.
Yeah. It's got a, kind of, real, lovely brown crust on the fat,
-And I can tell this one's not quite ready for turning over,
because, you see, when it's ready,
it'll come off the bars nice and easy.
-Like that. And then again, we don't move it.
We just leave it there and let it do its thing.
Meanwhile, we've got this delicious sauce.
So you can see juices start to come out the mushrooms
and into the sauce. And we're going to reduce those down.
They have some quite funny incidents on these royal picnics, you know.
There was one occasion, I think back in the '60s,
where they're on the moors above Balmoral...
-..having a picnic.
And some Scots Guardsmen were taking some horses...
-..to water them down the loch or something. He saw these people.
I suppose he must've thought they were trespassers or something -
didn't realise who they were -
and just drove the horses straight through the royal picnic.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-He was locked up in the tower, of course.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I don't think he was - I think they thought it was quite a joke.
-Can you imagine when he found out who it was?
-Yes, exactly, yes.
Now, those mushrooms. If you just have a smell of that.
-We've got the thyme, the garlic, the mushrooms, the shallots.
-It's such a classic sauce.
-Oh, it's lovely.
We're kind of referencing sort of, like, a steak-Diane-type sauce.
-Yeah, really nice.
-How much do you cook these steaks?
What do you think? Do you like them rare? A matter of taste, is it?
For the sirloin? Yeah, just medium rare so that it's nice and pink.
-Because it looks quite well done.
-Well, that's the surface.
And that's what we want - that flavour, that texture.
-We don't want it looking bland and sort of, like, grey.
We want it caramelised. That's the sugars in the meat caramelising.
-A drab of whisky.
-Is that enough for you?
No, a little more, if you wouldn't mind.
-Well, it burns off.
So we're just going to reduce that whisky out.
-And what we want is that pure whisky flavour and just burning off
-some of that alcohol.
-You can smell it, actually.
-Lovely, isn't it?
-Come this way.
-Yeah. Right, we're ready.
Steaks off. We're just going to rest those now, Michael.
-That's important, this resting business?
-Really, really important.
-It's what we amateurs don't do.
You just want to get your teeth into it, don't you?
Yeah! And they think it's because people think "Oh, well,
-"then it goes cold."
-Cold, yeah, yeah, yeah.
-That's beef stock, yeah?
-That's beef stock going in.
And we're literally just going to bring that to the boil.
Let it reduce slightly.
And we're there. I'm going to add
a little bit of cream at the end, just to...
They like a lot of cream and butter.
They're quite rich recipes, the royal recipes.
It's a wonder they're not all looking like Edward VII, really.
-Yeah. And there we are.
-Makes a lot of washing up, doesn't it?
The Queen does the washing up in a stream, apparently, quite often.
In the stream? Love that! That's brilliant. That's brilliant.
I don't think the servants like that idea. But there we go.
Quite a sight! And quite a thought, isn't it?
So now that's going to come to the boil.
We're going to add a little bit of cream. Not much,
cos we don't want it to be too rich and heavy,
and we want that lovely, lovely colour.
Oh, look at that! Lovely colour, isn't it?
And it's just literally about getting that nice...
-Not too thick, but, like, a nice body to the sauce.
-And I mean, to do that outside... Potatoes are done.
Steaks are resting. The sauce is coming to a lovely simmer.
Yeah. And, actually, it's only a few minutes.
-It's only a few minutes.
-Just a little waiting game now and we can eat.
-Right, I'm going to grab my plate.
-Yeah. "MY plate"?
Yeah, my plate. You're not having any!
-Look at this.
-Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Beautifully... That is going to be so lovely and tender and pink.
Sauce... This is the bit that's fun, as well.
-Grab the potatoes.
Stab them with the tinfoil.
Straight in like that. And look at those.
-Oh, they're terrific, aren't they?
-Look at those.
Yeah, little beautiful mini roast potatoes, just cooked in that butter.
Just going to put some of those on the side.
-Grab our sauce.
-I love the way you do that so carefully, you know.
You take a lot of care of these things.
Just a little. Just on the top. I don't want to go all over the steak,
I want to put more on the plate as well, cos I don't want to
lose that lovely caramelisation that we've got.
-We'll move those...
-Out of the way.
-..over there, out of the way.
And there we go. Right, Michael.
-Get stuck in!
-I will, I will, I will!
Ah, look at that!
Oh, beautiful. Red on the inside.
-Caramelised on the outside.
-Is that good?
Look, nice and fluffy, roasted.
You forget how cold it is with food that good, don't you?
-You do, yeah. Oh, it's great. Go on, have a go.
-Oh, yeah. I'm going to have some of the fat.
The mushrooms, the richness. Amazing!
Oh, yeah. Right, you can do the washing up.
-You just need a...
-Need a stream.
Before I do the washing up, I'm going for a run!
Because I am freezing!
-Great. Well done, Paul. This is brilliant.
Barbecue steak, Prince Philip-style.
A picnic dish to suit all-weather alfresco dining.
The passion for picnicking has been around for hundreds of years.
But it was that royal trendsetter, Queen Victoria,
who made it fashionable.
Historian Dr Annie Gray is at Chiswick House in West London.
It was built by the Duke of Devonshire,
and has vast, landscaped gardens.
This love of the outdoors by the Georgians, then by the Victorians,
laid the path for the picnics we know today.
Gardens like this were really popular in the 18th century.
They were spaces of sociability,
they were places where the aristocracy and their friends
could come together, undisturbed by the hoi polloi.
Where they could play games, paint, read books and eat.
Mealtimes were changing at the end of the Georgian period.
The fashion for luncheon was taking off, and this new midday meal
was well suited to the appetite for alfresco dining.
Unlike today's picnics,
you wouldn't sit on the ground and get dirty.
No, you would have a table with a gorgeous cloth,
servants bringing you baskets full of food, both hot and cold.
Champagne virtually on tap. And it would be a marvellous,
wonderful occasion where you could look at your garden
and think to yourself, "I own this. Isn't it just amazing?"
Through the 18th century, the Dukes of Devonshire
hosted lavish garden parties in the grounds at Chiswick.
But by the following century, the property had been let.
One of the most famous tenants was Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales,
later Edward VII.
And in 1873,
he held a particularly extraordinary garden party here
for the Shah of Persia, who was visiting England at the time.
The Shah's visit was hotly anticipated in Britain,
and the party was a resounding success.
The newspapers at the time reported that anyone who was anyone was here.
There were even three giraffes brought in
so that visitors and partiers could feast their eyes on them.
Queen Victoria was quite rude about it.
But then, she tended to be fairly rude about a lot of the things
that Bertie got up to.
Victoria may not have approved of her son's parties
but she did have a passion for alfresco dining,
and the growing middle-class soon followed the Queen's lead.
It's to Queen Victoria herself that we really owe the popularity of it
going forward, for she was a fierce picnicker.
She loved it.
From Balmoral Castle,
she would go off into the Highlands and perhaps fry up a fish that she'd
caught that morning from the lake.
The newspapers then, as now,
reported on the doings of the Royal Family all the time,
and so pictures and reports of Queen Victoria's activities
circulated, making picnicking truly the thing to do.
It became so much a part of life
that the doyenne of the Victorian establishment, Mrs Beeton,
thought it necessary to include a section on picnicking
in her bestselling cookery book.
She said, "One of the pleasantest forms of entertainment
"is a well-arranged picnic, if only a fine day be selected,
"while nothing is calculated to give greater dissatisfaction
"than a badly managed one. To have chosen the wrong people,
"even one or two who are not likely to make themselves agreeable,
"to have given people wrong seats in the various vehicles,
"or to have too many ladies in the party are all often fatal errors."
As well as giving warnings about the guest list,
she even created a sample menu for a picnic for 40 people.
It included two racks of lamb, four roast fowl,
six lobsters and four dozen cheesecakes.
Then we come to that perennial picnic favourite today -
the Scotch egg.
Fortnum & Mason claim they invented it in the 1730s,
and while they may not have done,
it certainly seems that that was around the time they came into being.
One of my favourites is sausage rolls.
The Victorians would simply take bread dough and stuff the sausage meat
right within it, before sealing it up and cooking it.
So, again, you could just pop it in a pocket
and off you go to the countryside!
Royal picnics weren't always outdoor affairs.
King Edward VII in particular loved to take
an absolutely whopping picnic along to the theatre, or to the opera.
He was particularly keen, Paul, I think, on cold meats.
-Cold meats. Yes.
-And particularly keen on...
-Tongue. Not a fan.
-Now, don't be put off.
No, it's lovely.
-And it's worth the effort.
It's been in an animal's mouth!
You eat the leg - that's been on the floor!
It's not... It's worth it, I promise.
-We're not talking about 12 courses here, though, are we?
-We're talking about tongue for a modern picnic.
And we're going to do a proper, hearty, roasted tongue sandwich.
So, the first thing we do, we're going to put our pan onto the heat.
We're going to add a little bit of oil.
And when that oil gets hot, we're going to add a little bit of butter.
What we've got here is an ox tongue.
-It is huge. And it's been brined.
By "brining", I mean we've put it in a salt solution,
so, actually, it's firmed up a bit
and got that lovely, wonderful flavour,
the salt running through it.
We've then just cooked it in a bouillon of vegetables.
And cooked that for about two hours.
Right, so let's go straight in.
So we're going to take a nice slice.
And we take this end piece off here.
If you see in there, Michael, it's...
I think people think it's going to be a bit slimy and mushy in texture.
-It's not bad, is it?
-But it's very different...
Different look to ham, isn't it?
Yeah. But it is... It is like ham,
because of what we've done with it,
by brining it and where we salted it and stuff. So...
-Now, no need to season it.
And this is where it comes alive, and this is why... You know,
this is how I think people see it and just think it's this cold,
horrible meat. It doesn't need to be like that.
Get our butter nice and nutty.
-No need to season it because it's been brined?
-No, no, cos we've got that brine.
Now just sit both slices, just like that.
Back onto the heat. We're going to turn that heat down a little bit.
And let it do its thing.
So we're just roasting, getting that lovely flavour.
Meanwhile, we're going to move over here, and make our own mayonnaise.
-Ever made mayonnaise before?
Get it out of a bottle, I do.
Two egg yolks. Spoonful of Dijon mustard.
English is also nice, but I know the Royals like things from France,
Little bit of white wine vinegar.
And this is what we call here...
We're just basically making almost like a zabaione base, OK?
We're just emulsifying the egg yolks, the vinegar and the mustard.
Edward VII liked mayonnaise. The first course...
Actually, consomme he'd have for the first course.
Then lobster mayonnaise, then tongue,
then lots of other cold meats,
then trout, then lamb, then duck.
Then four puddings.
And he'd have 30 guests,
servants, 400 plates.
-It's such a rich...
-That's what I call a picnic.
-It's so rich, as well, isn't it?
-Yeah. Yeah. So...
Well, he had a 48-inch waist, I think, when he was in his early 20s.
-I bet he did! I bet he did.
-20s. So, just here, Michael.
-We're adding in our oil.
And we're adding it in nice and slowly.
Not too quickly. Can you see it starting to thicken?
-You can hear the sound of the blades going round,
and you can just hear the sound changing.
Right. We're just going to stop.
Just as a matter of interest,
-why are you actually roasting, frying the thing?
-Come and look.
Because, I mean, you've brined it, you've boiled it.
Why are you cooking it twice?
Because you... Flavour. I mean, look at it. It's caramelised.
Now, doesn't that look more appetising?
I think more people will try it if they just kind of actually...
I think this is how people know it, this kind of boiled, cold...
-Cold, yeah. On a slab, yeah.
-Now we're going to build our sandwich.
So we've got some wonderful sourdough bread.
Use your favourite bread. Rye bread, brown bread, white bread -
whatever you want. Now, rather than just buttering it,
our fat is going to be our mayonnaise.
So we're going to put this wonderful, lovely mayonnaise,
-just smear it all over.
-It's a lovely colour.
It's a light rapeseed oil, another great British ingredient.
It's a nicer colour than the stuff you get out of the bottle.
Both sides, like that.
Even if it doesn't taste as good, it looks nice.
It looks nice. Yeah, it looks nice.
Trust me, it tastes a lot better.
Right, we're going to have... Move our mayonnaise.
Going to take our tongue...
-..straight out, OK?
And lie that in our sandwich, like so.
For me now, I think people like...
To me, it looks like a bacon sandwich.
-It fits, it fits!
Little bit of that lovely roasting butter over the top.
I mean, already, just like that, you'd want to put that in...
-Hammer it in half.
-In my mouth, yeah.
Wonderful British cheese.
We're just going to take some of that Stilton.
-Just crumble it like that.
And with that hot tongue, it'll just start to warm that.
I don't want it melted, cos I want the Stilton for texture.
-And over the top.
-It's rich, though, isn't it?
-Oh, it's gorgeous.
Next, some gherkins.
And exactly what you just said there - it's rich.
So we're just going to cut through with some lovely acidity from these
lovely pickled gherkins.
-Do you like gherkins?
-I love them.
-I absolutely love them.
-Could eat them just like this.
All right? On with our gherkins.
They really make a sandwich, don't they?
They do. Absolutely delicious.
Look at this! Watercress.
-This is your healthy vegetable.
This is the healthy vegetable.
This is the bit that makes it all all right.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-It gives you permission, doesn't it?
-Nice and peppery.
Little bit more of the oil...
-..over the top.
We're just going to go with a little bit of cracked pepper
-over the top of this sandwich.
-OK, stop fiddling - let's eat it.
That like that.
Yes! And here it is.
-Look at that!
-Don't put it TOO far away.
Ooh! Get stuck in, Michael.
MICHAEL CLEARS HIS THROAT Here we go.
There's no elegant way to do this, is there, Paul?
-There isn't. Let's go.
-Hang on. I don't think my mouth's big enough!
Converted to tongue?
-I am actually, yeah.
-That's beautiful, isn't it?
The texture's great. And the sourdough is quite a contrast,
isn't it? I think this works particularly well with sourdough.
-And that blue cheese.
-..your mayonnaise is lovely,
and the blue cheese lifts it.
And the gherkins cut through it.
I think King Edward would have liked this.
-This is what he needed on his picnic.
-Lobster mayonnaise and all that faff!
He would've sat back, he would've patted his belly and said,
"That's proper regal."
Love that! Love that!
It's your catchphrase, Paul. It's your catchphrase.
A tasty sandwich for a modern picnic.
The first elegant outdoor meals were hunting feasts,
and that inspired another picnic essential.
The Melton Mowbray pie may be named after the Leicestershire town,
but it owes its origins to the area's famous hunting grounds.
Royalty and aristocracy flocked here in the 1700s,
and liked the look of what their servants were eating.
Local baker Mary Dickinson stepped in and the pork pie was created -
the perfect alfresco snack.
Head chef at Dickinson & Morris is Stephen Hallam.
Hunting happens in autumn and winter.
And when all the gentry arrived with their horses, 10 or 20 apiece,
they needed people to look after them.
So they turned to the labourers, who had no work in autumn and winter
in the fields, so they became grooms.
And their staple diet was a lump of meat crudely wrapped in pastry,
thrown in the fire to bake.
So all hunting folk saw their grooms eating mucky bits of pork.
They wanted something more elaborate.
And it was our founder's great-grandmother, Mary Dickinson,
came up with the idea of using a block mould to create a pastry case,
fill it with meat, put a lid on the top,
put the jelly in when it comes out of the oven.
And these pies were the snack that would bounce along all day
in the saddle bags. It was eaten on horseback during the chase.
And when these people got home after the season,
they had a taste for the pies,
and that's when, sort of, the supply rose to meet the demand.
The town's hunting heyday was in Victorian times,
when more pie makers opened, including Mrs King's Bakery in 1853.
Their recipe has been passed down through generations.
Paul Hartland is the head baker.
This is just the basic hot-boiling-water pastry.
And pork shoulder, salt and pepper added to it.
That's all - nothing else.
At one time, the majority of the pig would have been used to make a pie.
Now, we just buy pork shoulder.
If you was going to have a roast Sunday dinner,
you'd have a roast shoulder of pork.
And that's what's in the pie.
These pies will be baked for exactly an hour,
and then they're left to cool and then we jelly the pies,
which is a natural pork jelly.
The pork pie endures,
as does the popularity of the area with the Royal Family,
especially Prince Charles, who was spotted by baker Paul in the 1980s.
Early one morning, I was up and about walking the dog,
and I saw all the hounds and the horses coming towards me.
I thought, "Wow, this looks interesting."
I walked up, and there was Prince Charles.
So, yeah, that was pretty cool.
The Melton Mowbray pie now has protected geographical status.
Only pies made in the town can be given its name.
And it's still very much in demand by the Royal Family.
Once a year, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Society send a pie
up to Balmoral for the Queen. Which is great.
And it's my turn this year to make it.
So we're looking forward to that.
So that'll be a big pie.
A 5lb pie, which will be that big.
And that'll all be made by hand,
and that'll be sent up there and our name will be on it,
representing the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association.
It's a thing that I'm quite confident of doing, of making,
so I just hope they enjoy it, really. And that's the main thing.
This is what we end up with.
25 years, we've had pork pie every week.
And that's why we look so slim.
Nowadays, the grandest of picnics
are held by the Queen in the gardens of Buckingham Palace,
where she hosts three garden parties every year.
Grant Harrold here, who's been butler to Prince Charles,
Prince William, Prince Harry, has not only worked at garden parties,
but been a guest often. How have they changed over the years?
Obviously, originally, they were more the kind of...
Queen Victoria's garden parties, you had diplomats, you had earls, you had dukes.
Today you have people from all walks of life,
people that have given or done something for the country.
You've got military, you've got charity organisations,
so it's kind of changed to how it was, say, over 100 years ago.
So, they're a lot less formal now, as well?
I wouldn't say they're...
You still have to, obviously, wear the correct attire, the dress codes are still quite strict.
You know, gentlemen wear morning dress, lounge suits,
-or maybe military uniform.
-Ties are still required.
Ladies can now these days...
They don't need to wear, like, a formal day dress.
They can wear a trouser suit.
So it's formal, but it has relaxed a little bit.
But the protocol's still there.
The timings are very much still in place that were many years ago.
And I have an example here of a couple of invitations.
This is an invitation that I had recently.
-This is yours!
-That's my invitation.
And then here we've got one from the 1960s - I think it was 1964.
What goes on, then? What goes on?
So, you arrive at three o'clock.
The Royal Family arrive about four.
The Queen arrives on the West Terrace.
They play the national anthem so you know that she's about to walk down.
You'll suddenly see these lines form, these two kind of lines,
of where she's going to walk from the West Terrace down to the royal tea tent.
And you can actually stand there.
And if you're lucky, you might actually get to meet her -
but hopefully without holding out a tea and a sandwich.
The idea is to have that quickly.
And the food is tea, sandwiches, cakes.
-That's kind of how...
You can have... Some people might have the cakes first and then
the sandwiches, but I'm kind of always saying, "Have the sandwiches first and then the cakes."
But do that before you meet the Queen,
cos otherwise you might not actually get to meet the Queen - you might miss the opportunity.
And are all these garden parties exactly the same?
I mean, the thing is, the kind of basis,
the way it's set up, is the same. You've got the large tea tent,
you've got the diplomatic tent, you've got the royal tea tent,
you've got two military bands, you've got the gentlemen ushers.
All these traditions have been around for many years.
But her 90th birthday was a big...
90th birthday party was very different, obviously,
cos the Prince did a private party for her
and then you had the party on the Mall, the picnic on the Mall,
which was a fantastic event,
and many thousands joined her and had a picnic.
Logistically speaking, these must be pretty big affairs?
They are. You're talking about 27,000 cups of tea,
20,000 sandwiches, 20,000 cakes.
So there's quite a bit actually done for these events,
and a lot of planning. The planning's six months in advance,
so they are quite big events.
Does the Queen have tea herself
or does she just mingle with her guests?
Once she's, obviously, met some of the guests for about 30 minutes,
she has tea in the royal tea tent,
and that's obviously looked after by her own staff.
But the actual garden party itself - these days it's catering.
Since George V, we've had catering come in to do those kind of things.
In the days of Queen Victoria, it was actually done by her chefs.
But, again, it was very different -
as we said, there would be the diplomats, the earls, the dukes,
and it was a much more, again, lavish affair.
-Now it's the outside caterers?
-Now it's the outside caterers.
The Royal Family enjoy growing and serving their own produce.
At garden parties, the apple juice comes from the Sandringham orchards.
Prince Charles is continuing that tradition,
but sometimes he needs a little bit of help -
as a farmer from Wales discovered, rather to his surprise.
John Morris and his wife Margaret
run a family farm in Crickhowell in Powys.
For the last nine years, they've been producing
an award-winning apple juice from their historic orchard.
Most farms in this area have orchards and they have old orchards.
But very few farms have orchards of this size with such old trees in it.
The reason for that is, when my grandfather moved here,
he saw it as potential,
so that he could sell apples rather than perhaps
scrubbing out trees and just growing grass for animals.
30 varieties of British apples are grown here -
some are very rare indeed.
This is a lovely apple called Annie Elizabeth.
Annie Elizabeth originated in, I think, the 18th century.
It was the person who propagated them named them after his two daughters, Annie and Elizabeth.
Unfortunately, both of them had died with TB
and he wanted to remember them by,
so it's called an Annie Elizabeth apple.
John and his wife specialise in making apple juice
from single varieties.
Their expertise is known throughout the area.
So much so that Prince Charles contacted John
for help with the apples grown at his neighbouring orchard in Wales.
About eight years ago now, we had a phone call saying,
"Would you come and identify some apples in an orchard near Llandovery?"
We didn't know it was his orchard at the time.
We went down and identified some of the apples in there.
Some were more difficult to identify.
And following on, he asked us to press the apples for him.
He obviously liked the apple juice
because we've been doing it ever since,
and now the pear juice for him as well.
What we have here, actually,
are pears from the Prince of Wales's home in Highgrove
and also pears from his farm in Wales
that were picked yesterday evening.
The fruit is picked and brought to the farm, where it's washed...
..broken into smaller pieces
and then put into the press.
And now we have to press the juice out of them.
When we put it under this 19-tonne press,
you're surprised how much comes out. I'll switch it on now.
Once pressed, the juice is stored overnight in tanks,
so that the sediment settles before bottling.
Then it's pasteurised in warm water.
This kills the yeast and prevents alcohol production.
Prince Charles came to John and Margaret's farm to see for himself
how production was going.
The Prince came July 2014.
It was very exciting, very strange, and he was lovely -
very ordinary, made you feel at ease.
And he was genuinely interested, and you could see
that he just wasn't there for the sake of being there,
that he was interested because we are a small farm,
trying to make a living.
It was just an honour for him to support us
and to support local businesses around here,
because there are a lot of food and drink places in the locality.
The following year, their juice was awarded the Royal Warrant -
the first producers in Wales to achieve this distinction -
and they've even enjoyed drinking their juice in a royal setting.
We were invited to one of the summer drinks parties,
and we were invited a few years ago to a winter one,
as well, which was really lovely.
And our apple juice was featured there,
so that was one of the reasons why we were there,
because we supplied the Royal Household.
This boutique family business has come a long way
since John received that plea for help
from the royal farmer 30 miles down the road.
The guy at the end of the phone said,
"Well, it might be worth your while." So, anyway, we went down...
..looked at the orchard, which was a very nice orchard,
and then I just happened to say, or he happened to tell me,
who owned the farm.
And the rest is history, so to speak.
But when he came back it was interesting. He said,
"Do you know where I've been?" And I went, "The pub?"
So he went, "No!"
So that's... I sort of don't get too excited about a lot of things
but I was, sort of, quite taken back by that, and, er,
I was quite honoured, as well, I suppose.
So that was the start of, you know, something very nice.
Mildred Nicholls' recipe book from the early 1900s
features recipes for several apple puddings.
They include the perfectly portable, picnic-friendly apple tart, or...
Apple juice. It looks nice but no alcohol in it, though.
-Not cider, is it?!
But it's probably quite nice anyway. A lot of those picnics, you know,
must've been prepared by Mildred Nicholls, who was a kitchenmaid
in Buckingham Palace in the early years of the last century,
and whose fabulous old recipe book
is an absolute treasure trove of royal recipes.
-Not surprisingly, quite a lot of them apple recipes.
There's one here, tarte de pommes a la Russe.
-What's your take on this?
-My take on this is, I'm doing it exactly how
Mildred did it, cos when I read the recipe I loved it,
and I think that her techniques
and what she was doing was really current now.
Starting with these apples...
What we've got here, Michael, is the Bramley apple,
so we've got hundreds of variety in Great Britain but the Bramley,
everyone knows it and it's a great apple.
It's great because it cooks down
-and she's cooked it with muscovado sugar, some butter.
-And some lemon.
-It looks like Demerara, it looks like brown sugar.
No, it's muscovado, so it's darker brown.
-Demerara's a bit lighter.
Again, Mildred's pastry - just a lovely, simple,
sweet pastry that we've just blind baked, all right?
-What does that mean?
-What that means is that we've cooked the pastry
so it's already at a nice biscuit texture,
ready to go in just to finish off.
So we're not putting it into raw pastry.
So we just get this wonderful apple mix.
It's wonderfully slurpy, isn't it?
Oh, it's delicious! It's got lovely acidity, it's nice and treacly.
That's why, when I saw it, I just absolutely loved this recipe.
We're just going to smear that in.
You say we've got hundreds of varieties.
Prince Charles actually grows a thousand varieties, I read once.
That's unbelievable. And really rare apples.
He's part of a project to preserve them,
because I think some of them are in danger of dying out, aren't they, these British varieties?
Yeah, and it's a shame. Now, what was really interesting -
I've never seen this before - is Mildred then did...
Like a lemon curd, but it's got so much lemon in
as what we would know as a lemon curd.
So we're going to start with the butter in the pan,
and we don't want it to get too hot. We just literally want to melt it.
-That's a nice little tip -
dice it up, don't just add in a whole block of butter.
-Because it melts quicker?
-Yeah, absolutely, and just all over the pan, as opposed to in the centre.
We're going to take one lemon.
OK. And we're just going to do the juice of one lemon...
..eggs and sugar.
With your old trusty spoon.
That's it, my old trusty spoon - you don't need no juicer!
Get all of that out there, like so.
Then going to add into there, as well, Michael, our cornflour.
That just stabilises it. I've never seen a recipe like this before.
It was really, really fascinating going into it and seeing...
Putting the lemon curd on top like that.
-And apples and lemon - what could be better?
-Why is that so novel?
The combination seems a fairly ordinary, obvious one.
It's more the combination of the curd.
Normally, you would have curd kind of made and in something,
so to have it and then bake it was quite intriguing for me.
In here we've got our lemon juice and our butter.
Now we're going to add in our eggs.
So we've got three egg yolks.
-Royal brown eggs, are they?
-Royal brown eggs!
-And one egg.
-And why do you do it like that, then?
So we only want the white of one egg but we want the yolks,
because they add that lovely richness, OK?
And our sugar.
-Plenty of sugar.
-Plenty of sugar. Plenty of butter, plenty of sugar.
It wouldn't be a Mildred recipe if it didn't have plenty of sugar and plenty of butter!
And just over a low heat,
you basically just cook all these ingredients together.
What happens is the lemon juice then just starts to thicken.
-It's kind of like a custard, curd.
Again, a lovely colour.
-A lovely colour.
-The thing with curd is, like a custard,
your fat is the butter, as opposed to custard,
with it being cream and milk.
Why do you think it's called "a la Russe"?
I mean, this is quintessentially English.
It's about apples, and the royals have been growing apples
since the days of Henry VIII.
Why call it "a la Russe"? What have the Russians got to do with it?
I just think all Russians were quite fashionable back then.
I think, as we do in restaurants, service a la Russe,
-as opposed to bringing all the food to the table on a big banquet...
-One course at a time?
-..it's one course at a time.
-That's service a la Russe, yeah.
Because, like you say, quintessentially this dish does not get any more British.
-How many apples are there in Siberia, you wonder?
-Can you see our mixture's just starting to thicken?
-Basically, we're going to pour it all over the top.
-You just pour it on the top?
It's such a great... It's such a fascinating recipe.
-Then we just literally just smooth it into the corners.
-Make sure it's all covered?
-Absolutely, like that.
And that is why you blind bake it,
because that won't be that long in the oven.
So that pastry would still be raw.
-So, if you could just take that to the oven for me...
-Yeah, put Mildred down.
-Put Mildred down.
And out there you should find one that's already done.
OK, I'll pop this in the oven and bring the other one back.
-Thank you, I'll have a tidy up.
-OK, see you in a minute, Chef.
Oh, look at this - symphony in gold, isn't it?
And the top has gone beautifully crinkly.
-You can see the apples.
-The apples are starting to poke through.
And exactly like what you said - just kind of perfect...
-Perfect for a picnic.
-You can imagine them putting it in the hamper, can't you?
We're just going to literally finish it with some icing sugar,
just over the top, just for a little bit more Mildred sweetness.
Snowing icing sugar!
And do you know what? It's fantastic making these old recipes.
I love it. I absolutely love it.
Yeah, Mildred's looking down at you, you know, and smiling, I think.
I hope so, cos it's been an absolute pleasure to cook these old recipes.
-It really has.
-Well, here's to Mildred and here's to us! Come on!
-Would you like a slice?
-Grab the plate.
-Yeah, here, come on.
-Now, do it neatly, now.
-I'll try my best, Michael.
Oh, look at the way the knife goes through that.
-Is that a big enough slice for you?
-A generous helping, I'd say.
-Oh, look at that!
-Look at that!
-Look at it from the edge.
-Get stuck in.
-No, after you.
-No, go on.
-Oh, all right.
I always go for that bit rather than getting any of the crust -
why is that? Oh, hang on!
Ooh, the pastry is good, too.
Ooh, that's really good.
It really bursts in your mouth, doesn't it?
It's got lovely sweetness, pastry, and, like you say,
you've got that lovely almost custardy texture with the apple.
Another little tip, if you wanted to get rid of some of that sweetness,
would be to glaze the top with a blowtorch.
Oh, right, just...
Then the sugar would kind of turn slightly bitter
and would go really nice with that sweetness.
-That would be rather good, wouldn't it?
-But that is stunning!
-I love that recipe so much.
-Well done, Mildred.
It was Mildred, not you, wasn't it?
It was all Mildred! I just merely showcased it.
OK. Well, it's time to wrap up that picnic rug,
put everything back in the hamper.
Our royal picnics are over, aren't they?
See you next time.
Michael Buerk is joined by chef Paul Ainsworth to celebrate al fresco dining, cooking food served at royal picnics and garden parties.
Paul sets up the barbecue in the grounds of a former royal palace to prepare gaelic steaks, said to be Prince Philip's signature barbecue dish.
Historian Dr Annie Gray heads to Chiswick House in south west London, the location for some of the earliest royal garden parties, and she reveals just how Queen Victoria made picnics fashionable.
And Michael unearths a recipe for an apple tart from Buckingham palace kitchen maid Mildred Nicholls's notebook, dating back to the early 1900s.