Perfect Picnic-Proof Recipes for Summer 2019
Summer is already upon us and, if you’re looking to make the most of the (hopefully) lovely weather, what better way than to spend a whole day relaxing in the sun with good food and good company? You could head to your local park or woodland to make a real day out of it, or, if you just fancy a mini-venture, why not head out into the garden or make use of your summer house for a fancy summertime family picnic?
Pack your picnic blanket and your reusable plates and cups alongside theses outdoor-friendly food items and you’ll have a cracking picnic to suit even the fussiest eaters.
Spanish-style chorizo sausage rolls
Serves: 18 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting than the standard sausage roll, these tasty Spanish-meets-English treats are sure to hit the spot!
- 375g puff pastry
- A little flour to dust
- 2 large Maris Piper potatoes, diced
- 225g chorizo ring
- 1 small pack of parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp nigella seeds
- 1 egg, beaten
- Lightly flour a surface then roll out the puff-pastry into a rectangle. Cut it to roughly 32 x 20xm. Then, cut that in half so you are left with two long rectangles of pastry. Pop both parts onto baking parchment on a baking tray and leave it in the fridge to chill.
- Boil the diced potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for around five minutes until they are just tender. Drain, and leave to cool.
- While the potatoes are boiling, remove the skin from the chorizo and put the meat into a food processor. Add in one tablespoon of nigella seeds, the chopped parsley, the cooled potatoes, and then pulse it all together. Be mindful not to break up the potato chunks too much!
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Shape the chorizo mix into two sausages and pop one in the middle of each pastry. Brush the edges with beaten egg, then bring the pastry together to wrap the sausage up. Seal by pressing a fork along the pastry.
- Cut each roll into nine pieces, around 5cm long, then arrange the resulting 18 pieces onto two baking trays. Give them one last brush with a beaten egg, scatter the remaining tablespoon of nigella seeds over them all, and bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown.
- Leave to cool, then pack into a tub for your picnic!
Courgette and feta muffins (V)
Vegetarians and omnivores alike will love these cheesy, savoury bites. They make for the best nibbles or starters, so double up if you want to make sure there’s plenty to go around.
Serves: 9 | Prep time: 15 mins| Cooking time: 20 mins
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 large egg
- 150ml buttermilk
- 5 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 small courgette, grated and squeezed to remove liquid
- 100g feta, crumbled
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line nine holes of a muffin tray with paper cases.
- Combine the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cumin, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and the flour into a large bowl. In a jug, whisk up the egg, oil, and buttermilk. Pour all of the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, then add the courgette and half of the feta. Stir just enough to combine the mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and top each dollop with a little feta cheese. Bake in the oven for 18–20 minutes until golden brown. To check if they are cooked, use a skewer in the centre of a muffin — it should come out clean and dry when the muffins are ready.
- Set on a wire rack to cool, then keep them in an airtight container. They’ll stay fresh for two days, assuming they don’t all get eaten at the picnic.
Spinach Quiche (V)
Every good picnic needs a centrepiece. Make it one to really write home about with this fantastic spinach quiche. Double up the ingredients if you’re serving a bigger crowd.
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins| Cooking time: 40 mins
- 1 shortcrust pastry sheet
- 4 eggs
- 450g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 220g crème fraiche
- 1 pinch fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Roll out the pastry and line a suitable pie dish or tart tin with it.
- In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, spinach, crème fraiche, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well, then pour the mixture into the pastry case.
- Bake for 40 minutes until the quiche sets.
Pork and Ham Picnic Pie
Another centrepiece, this time for the meat-lovers. This hearty picnic pie will certainly impress, and it’s easy to transport to your picnic spot and serve up. It takes a little more time to prepare, but the extra effort pays off.
Serves: 8 | Prep time: 1hr 15 mins| Cooking time: 1hr 30mins
- 6 eggs
- 400g minced pork
- 200g pork sausagemeat
- 140g cooked ham meat, chopped into chunks
- Small handful of sage leaves
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- A little Tabasco sauce
- 100g lard, with a little extra for greasing
- 450g plain flour, with extra for dusting
- 4 tbsp milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- Boil the eggs for 7 ½ minutes in salted water. Place them in cool water, then peel the shells, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the minced pork, sausagemeat, ham, sage, and onion. Season and add a few shakes of Tabasco sauce, then mixed with your hands until completely combined. Taste the mixture to ensure it is seasoned correctly: Take a little of the mixture on a tablespoon and shape it into a small burger and fry it off in a pan. Ideally, it needs to be slightly over-seasoned.
- Brush a 1-litre terrine dish with a few tablespoons of melted lard, then dust over with flour.
- Now, we’re moving on to make the pastry. Put the flour into a bowl and add two teaspoons of salt. Put the lard and milk into a pan with 150ml of water and heat up until the lard melts completely. Pour this mixture into the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Tip this mixture onto a floured surface and knead together.
- Cut enough baking parchment to fit the bottom and long sides of the terrine dish, with enough surplus to hang over the edge. Take two-thirds of the pastry dough you’ve made and shape it so it is roughly the length and width of the dish. Pop it into the terrine and press it down into the bottom, the corners, and up the sides of the dish until it hangs over the rim of the dish a little.
- Pat half of the meat mixture into a shape to fit the dish and make a trench down the middle of the meat. Trim the top and bottom of the eggs and lay them in a row along the trench, and season. Cover the eggs with the rest of the meat mixture. Brush the overhanging pastry with beaten egg, then roll out the rest of the pastry and put it over the top of the pie.
- Pinch the edges together and fix over the top, then brush the top with egg and pierce with three holes.
- Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Put the pie on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Then, continue to cook for one hour at 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. When it is done, leave the pie to cool before carefully flipping the dish upside-down onto a board, and use the paper to help pull the pie out of the dish. Allow to cool and then place it, in the fridge.
Naturally, you will want to bring a selection of side-dishes to go with your main events. A large sharing bag of crisps (or two!) are always easy to pack and carry, and an array of sandwiches are quick to make and ensure you’ll have a variety to suit every taste.
Roll up the bottom of a sharing bag of crisps to make a quick and effective sharing bowl without additional plates and bowls!
If the weather is nice, you really don’t want to be risking dairy-based products in a warm car, nor will ice-creams or ice-lollies be particularly easy to transport. Instead, opt for in-season fruit and keep them in the cooler; it’s healthier, and you can easily spruce them up as a fruit salad, skewers, or simply the old favourite: strawberries tossed in sugar!
Use frozen water bottles as coolers for your picnic food, which is particularly useful for your fruit, and as additional drinks.
You really can’t have a picnic without lemonade. For a really special touch, make your own lemonade and taste the difference between fresh and store-bought for yourself.
Homemade Lemonade (V)
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins| Cooking time: 20 mins | Cooling time: 1 hr
- 3 large lemons
- 1.8 litres of water
- 100g caster sugar, to taste
- Peel the lemons, being sure to remove the pith. Keep the peel and cut it into strips.
- Juice the lemons and add the juice and the strips of lemon peel to 1.8 litres of cold water.
- Bring to the boil and let the mix simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add sugar to taste, stirring until dissolved.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve, ensuring the peels are removed. Let it cool then put it in the fridge to chill.
Take some paper muffin cases with you and put them over your drinks glasses upside-down. It keeps the bugs away, and you can pierce them with a straw too.