Picnic Power

This entry is filed under Editorial.

Dining al fresco. What could be nicer?

Dining al fresco. What could be nicer?

Hurrah! It looks like the good weather is set to continue over the weekend so how about a picnic?

If you want to keep it really simple (if a little extravagant), visit your local deli and treat yourself to some gourmet goodies  – such as assorted cheeses, charcuterie, olives, fresh fruit and wine. On the other hand if you want to show off your picnic prowess, here are a few suggestions…

You could for example (at barely any cost) include a thermos flask of chilled soup. I guarantee you won’t go wrong with my mint, pea and courgette soup. Apart from having virutally ZERO CALORIES, it’s more refreshing than gazpacho, tastes utterly delicious and is far quicker to make – (by that I mean all of 5 minutes from start to finish) yes really!!! 

Here’s What You Do:
Thinly slice 2 medium courgettes, barely cover with boiling water, add a few sprigs of fresh mint and a dash of salt, place over a high heat for 2 minutes, then remove. Now add 100g frozen peas, season with salt and pepper and blitz to a smooth puree with a hand held blender or liquidiser, then chill, before pouring into a thermos. Done and dusted.What could be simpler?

Next up is finger food, it’s perfect for picnics because it transports easily, takes up hardly any room and doesn’t require plates or cutlery.

Food you can roll up is ideal. Thinly sliced smoked salmon, roast beef and ham are perfect for this…Just stuff ‘n’ roll and they’re ready to go. 

Cream cheese works best as a filling base as it won’t drip or ooze out and is bland enough to let the other flavours shine through. why not try:

Rare Roast Beef: cream cheese, horseradish and finely chopped gherkin.
Smoked Salmon: cream cheese, dill, lemon zest and chopped prawns. 
Smoked Ham: cream cheese, chopped pineapple, spring onion, cherry tomatoes and parsley.

On the bread front, steer clear of soggy sandwiches. Instead pack some mini pitta’s and stuff the pockets with salad and humus. Or how about tortilla wraps filled with strips of spicy chicken and salad? For me, nothing beats a pan bagna. It’s simple to make, versatile and already wrapped and ready to go.

Summer is the season for salads and your moveable feast wouldn’t be complete without one.  For best results use ingredients that improve over time rather than those that wilt in the heat. Go for good old potato salad, waldorf, cracked wheat, couscous, Russian or a seafood salad.

Lastly dessert. Avoid anything super sweet as it will attract wasps. Instead go for something you can transport easily and serve in the container it was baked in, such as chocolate brownies, flapjacks, gingerbread cake or lemon drizzle cake and keep out of sight until needed. Now all you need do is bundle up a blanket, tick off the check list below and pray the weather holds up!

The corkscrew/bottle opener
Kitchen towel and wet wipes
Salt & pepper
Ice cubes – (best stored in a thermos for anti melt)
Bin liners – be sure to leave the picnic spot as you found it
First aid kit, calamine lotion and sunscreen – better be safe than sorry!

Keep food simple and easy to transport – you’ve got to carry it!
Use cool bags – they’re lighter than hampers
Take plastic sheeting and place under the blanket if the ground is damp
Semi-freeze small bottles of water/juice – they double up as food chiller blocks as well as drinks
Choose your picnic spot with care, look for a breezy high ground to avoid mosquitos/insects

And if your feeling energetic or are easily bored, take along a frisbee or board game, though frankly, however nothing beats losing yourself in a good book.

The main thing though is to sit back, relax, soak up the rays   and enjoy yourself!

12 Responses to “Picnic Power”

  1. Very nice information.

  2. Adrianne says:

    Those are very sensible tips about picnics. Just would like to say there’s a typo on the 3rd paragraph, 3rd line. (virutally ZERO CALORIES,) 🙂

  3. I very much like your site. Very good posts! Awesome content.

  4. Janne says:

    I just watched the 1st episode of Rosemary Shrager’s school for cooks when I saw you Uma. I was somewhat stunned as I first believed it was Amanda Holden on my screen. I think Amanda is gorgeous but you are vavavoom! I will surely watch this program again and it wont be for the food 😉

  5. Charlie Hobson says:

    This is a superb web site – great info, I shall enjoy sifting through your recipes. Well Done Uma!
    PS: Julia Dickens told me about you.

  6. S. G. Ronson says:

    Hi Uma we haven’t had a picnic as yet but we did do your BBQ sauces – AB FAB results. even though i added too much chinese 5 spice in the char su, it still tasted great.

  7. Tracee says:

    I had thought about picnicking this weekend, but the weather seems to have turned. Loving the idea of pan bagna and thanks for the do’s and don’ts. Very useful info. I’m looking forward to having a picnic!

  8. T.M says:

    This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I made your brownies, they were the best ever.

  9. Rita says:

    Great article as usual. I made full use of the tips given, infact it was your post that prompted me to organise a picnic on Sunday. My only complaint… the weather was too hot!!! Thanks Uma!

  10. Susie Gee says:

    Hey There Uma!
    I just wanted to let you know I really like your posts! The picnic tips you give are very useful and make perfect sense.
    PS:Thanks for the download.

  11. Paul Wood says:

    Hi I found your blog on google and enjoyed reading this post you have given some good information.

  12. Wow, thanks for posting about picnics. I always find good info on this web-site. All the best.

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