As I type, we’ve just had the news of the Scottish government’s four-phase ‘route-map’ about easing us all out of lockdown over the coming weeks/months.
We’re a bit behind the English government with regards to being able to go out and enjoy the summery weather a bit more, but the good news is – we will be able to have a picnic in the sun very soon!
UK summers, particularly Scottish ones, can be a bit temperamental. The weather app might say a day is predicted to be sunny, only for it to be bucketing it down with rain instead.
As such, I’ve adapted a spontaneous ‘throw-it-all-together-in-a-matter-of-minutes' approach to picnicking.If the sun’s shining and the wind has let up for a moment, let’s get out and play right now (once we’re allowed to!).
Top tips for packing a picnic
10 quick and easy picnic food ideas:
1. Oatcakes & cheese, olives, charcuterie, grapes and hummus (this is my favourite)
2. Greek pasta salad – see my recipe below
3. Sandwiches or baguetteswith a selection of fillings (I like ham, apple and Edam cheese with a little smear of wholegrain mustard).
4. A flask of hot soup with scones/bread roll to dip (pour the soup straight into a camping mug instead of bringing bowls/spoons). I like courgette & basil https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/italian-style-courgette-basil-soup/
5. Cold chicken drumsticks (make in advance the day before so they’re chilled overnight first).
6. Fresh fruit – apples, strawberries, cherries or blueberries.
7. Strawberry shortcakes – sweet scones, strawberries and plenty of squirty cream. Heaven.(Here’s my recipe: https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/strawberry-shortcakes/)
8. Cookies – try oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies
9. Iced tea or lemonade – make your own lemonade by whizzing up 3 unwaxed lemons (whole), 150 grams of caster sugar and 1/2litre of water in a blender. Strain, reserving the liquid, and top up with another ½ litre of water.
10. Vegetable crudités (carrots, celery, peppers, etc.) and dips such as hummus, ranch dressing or a sour cream dip
Greek pasta salad
300 grams fusilli pasta (dry weight)
200 grams cherry tomatoes
1 small red onion
100 grams kalamata olives
200 grams feta cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
60 ml olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
Salt & pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the packet instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately to cool down and stop the cooking process. Leave to drain while you prep the veg.
Halve or quarter your cherry tomatoes, depending on their size. Chop the cucumber into small pieces and finely dice the onion.
Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, kalamata olives and feta cheese to the cold pasta. Mix well.
To make the dressing, finely chop the garlic and to a small jar with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season well with salt and pepper. Pop the lid on and shake until well combined.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine, seasoning with more freshly ground black pepper.
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