The perfect picnic recipes
I own a ridiculously fabulous picnic basket. It causes a great deal of hilarity amongst my friends, not only because it’s so big that it’s slightly impractical, but because the amount of times that I’ve been able to use it over the last few years, it’s still working out about £20 a use. But do I care? Not a jot. Because it’s beyond beautiful. White wicker, blue trimmed and blue gingham inside. And this is all because I love picnics. I even bought a kite to fit in with my romantic notion of what the perfect picnic should be (but alas, the food in my basket was better than my kite-flying skills).
And for me, a good picnic is a lot more than a few sarnies in tinfoil, flung in a basket. I’m unashamed to say, I go to town. Which is why when I heard that this week was National Picnic Week, I was delighted. So I think I’ll let my delight ensue with some of my picnic recipes and tips.
My favourite of all picnic recipes is a picnic loaf. Basically you buy a large cob loaf, saw off the top and scoop out the middle, leaving what is ultimately a big crusty bowl, which you can fill with whatever takes your fancy. Think antipasto, cold cuts of beef, roasted peppers, cheeses, pesto, rocket leaves, caramelised onions, tomatoes; you get the drift. Layer up your cob tightly to the brim and pop the crust lid on top, wrap in foil and weigh down with something heavyish. And by the time you’re ready for your picnic, you can cut a wodge off your loaf, which will be perfectly holding its shape and delicious.
Make your own beef sausage rolls
Some would say that you could buy perfectly good sausage rolls to take along to a picnic (but thankfully, none of those people are invited). These freshly made beef sausage rolls are out of this world.
Something that’s always important to remember when it comes to picnic grub is grabability (is that a real word? Let’s say it is). In other words, food has to be easy to eat and not footery, which is why food on a stick works wonders. Instead of taking some ordinary cooked sausages, I make up these spicy meatball kebabs, which are every bit as delicious cold (I’m yet to have a complaint).
These lamb tikka kebabs are yummy warm off the BBQ but actually, work deliciously well cold too. Take a mango chutney for dipping.
And that reminds me, another thing I always take on a picnic is dip, and of course, things to dip into it. A big bundle of toasted pittas, crunchy veggie sticks and a bag of tortilla chips are all great with a dollop of houmous. And even though it’s entirely unnecessary with the amount of food I’m making, I can never resist taking a huge tub of olives too (because even when you’re full, you can always graze on olives, can’t you?).
Now we’ve got the main recipes down, here’s some links to other great food you could whip up for a picnic lunch.
A great honey and mustard vinaigrette to make ahead.
Scotch Beef Meatloaf is great hot or cold!
A yummy roast tomato relish to have on the side of salads or in sandwiches.
Make your own Piccalilli to jazz up those sandwiches
Take a tub of this delicious Fruity Scotch Beef Salad on your picnic.
I’ve also got some top tips that I always follow to ensure my picnics are as perfect as those on pages of an Enid Blyton book.
Top 5 picnic tips
- Pop salad in jam jars with dressings at the bottom. All they’ll need is a little shake up when you’re ready to eat.
- Think ahead and cook a beef roasting joint for a meal a day or two before you picnic so you have plenty of meaty leftovers to take along.
- Freeze your drinks. This means your liquids will be cool by the time your picnic begins but they also act as cool blocks to keep your food chilled too.
- Don’t forget the essentials. Take a blanket, a bag for all the rubbish afterwards and some kitchen roll. Wet wipes are a good idea too for sticky fingers.
- The fun doesn’t have to stop with the food – take a kite, a frisbee, a bat and ball, anything that’ll entertain the troops.
And you can check out more picnic tips at the National Picnic Week website
Now all I have to do is pray for sunshine. (Fingers crossed or we’ll be eating this nosh off of a picnic blanket in the living room.)
Do you have any picnic recipes you’d like to share? If so then please get in touch and let me know, I’d be excited to hear all of your top tips.