Bring back the Picnic
A family picnic is the perfect way to eat out together, especially if accompanied by sunshine, a quiet spot in the countryside and some delicious picnic food. Just pack a travel rug, a cool box or bag, with ice packs, picnic food and cold drinks.
Whether it is finger or fork food it will taste better for being eaten outdoors. For a planned picnic the food possibilities are endless whether you want simple rustic fare or a gourmet picnic.
Below are a few ideas for a family picnic.
Mini chicken pasties
4 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten lightly
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion chopped finely
1 clove garlic
75 grams coarsely grated potato
75 grams coarsely grated sweet potato
200g chicken mince
1 tbsp finely chopped Mint leaves
1 tbsp finely chopped Parsley
Heat oil in a medium frying pan
Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft
Add potato, sweet potato and chicken, cook, stirring, until chicken is lightly browned
Stir in mint and parsley
cut 5 x 9cm rounds from each sheet of puff pastry
Place level tbsp of filling of each round and brush edges with egg
Fold edges together making a semi circle
Pinch edges and seal with a fork
Place on greased oven trays and brush with beaten egg
Bake at 200c for 15 minutes till golden brown.
These pasties can be made the night before and stored in the fridge
Satay chicken drumsticks
200 grams crunchy peanut butter
160ml chicken stock
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
12 chicken drumsticks
250 ml coconut milk
Combine all the ingredients, except chicken and coconut milk, in a bowl and mix well
Line an oven tray with foil
Place the drumsticks on the tray and brush with about a quarter of the mixture
Cook chicken in a moderate oven for 20 minutes
Turn the chicken and brush them with another quarter of the mixture
Cook for a further 20 minutes until browned and tender
Place the remaining peanut mixture in a small saucepan stir in the coconut milk
Bring to the boil; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes
Serve satay sauce with drumsticks
The same satay mix can be used for satay skewers: Cut 1 kg of chicken thigh fillets into strips thread onto skewers and marinate before cooking under a hot grill for 5 minutes each side.
6 large lemons
150g granulated sugar
Wash the lemons in warm water
Thinly pare the outer zest from 3 of them, using a potato peeler or a zester
It is important not to include any white pith as this will make your lemonade bitter
Place zest in a large bowl with the juice of all 6 lemons
Add the sugar
Pour in 2 1/2 pints of boiling water, stir well, cover and leave in a cool place overnight
Next day, stir and taste, add a little more sugar if it needs it
Strain through a sieve
Pour into bottles and chill thoroughly
Serve straight or diluted with fizzy water
Try serving with a thin slice of orange and if you can transport it, lots of ice.
More picnic food for thought
Rice or Couscous based salad with olives, peppers chopped spring onion and a few capers.
Picnic pie (shortcrust pastry with layered meat, cheese, vegetables, tomatoes etc)
Terrine (Chicken or Salmon)
Tuna and mixed bean salad with celery and apple. Take a little french dressing with you and add to the salad just before eating.
Sandwiches or small rolls (it just isn't a picnic without them) but carry salad fillings separately, nobody likes soggy sandwiches.
Fresh fruit and fresh fruit jellies (Summer berries are particularly nice in jelly)
Banana Nut Muffins
280g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas
110g granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g chopped hazelnuts
90ml vegetable oil
Pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F / gas 5
In a large bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb. In another bowl mash the bananas add the sugar, egg, milk and oil, mix well.
Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until evenly mixed bur still lumpy.
Spoon into muffin tins or cases, sprinkle the chopped nuts over and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and risen.
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
Try to avoid taking anything chocolate on a hot day
If you can, use disposable cutlery and plates, Take them home to recycle.
Remember to take some travel wipes and wash your hands before eating.