Time went by too quickly in May I didn’t get to post all the picnic ideas I had in mind… To make up for it, here is the ultimate list of food and drink to take on a picnic !
Veggie sticks – Ideal if you’ve whipped up a dip or if you pop a pot of salsa. Simply wash, chop ‘n’ pack ! Delicious veggies for this one include carrots, cucumber, celery…
Homemade crisps / potato chips – Cut potatoes / sweet potatoes / beetroot into thin slices, rince in cool, clean water to remove excess starch (very important if you like a crispy crisp !), dry off and put in a freezer bag. Add 1 tbsp oil per potato, a pinch of salt and your favourite herbs before closing the bag and shaking it like a Polaroid picture. Place slices flat out on a baking tray and cook at 260°C / 500°F for 15 min (or until golden).
Homemade breadsticks – Buy a baguette and chop it into thin sticks. Spray or sprinkle with oilive oil, a pinch of salt and dry herbs (rosemary hits the spot !) and grill until crispy. Leave to cool and pack (warning : do not place in a plastic bag whilst still hot, they’ll go soggy !).
Samosas – Use filo pastry to wrap up all your favourite ingredients making them much easier to chomp at on a picnic ! Try spinach and ricotta, ham and leek, bolonaise or fried vegetables… Just dollop the mixture in the middle and fold around samosa-style. Bake for the required time (check packet) and time to tupperware !
Heart tomatos - For a cute pick at a romantic picnic, check out these pretty heart shaped cherry tomatoes – easy to make and yet so adorably mouth watering !
Quail eggs – Hard boiled and cut in half, they look and taste good !
Savoury buns – Fill mini choux buns with cream cheese, salmon and avocado mousse, whipped goats cheese and ground pepper or anything else delicious you can think of.
Sushi – Grab some or make some of this faultless finger food !
Nuts – crack ‘em up and munch ‘em by the handful or include them in salads for extra crunch.
DIPS ‘N’ SAUCES
Hummus – Delicious with carrot sticks and sprinkled with crunchy pine nuts !
Mango salsa – A fresh version of the spicy classic, see here for a good recipe.
Extra creamy guacamole – Lower the fat in your regular guac’ by mixing it in with low fat greek yogurt – it makes it so creamy it’s dreamy and yet it’s actually less greasy !
Ricotta + raspberry spread – Mash your fresh berries into a tub of cool ricotta and spread on whole grain bread or crackers… You’ll love it !
Lime mayonaise – Squeeze the juice of half a lime into your mayo to give it a zesty zing !
Eggplant dip – Halve eggplants, coat in oil and roast. Add a couple of garlic cloves in there too. Scoop out the deliciousness into a bowl, mash in the peeled, roasted garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Season to taste and enjoy.
Camambert and Granny apple – Remember my love for squishy camembert and something sweet ? If not, check out this recipe from Quebec ! For a sandwich version, why not stuff a baguette with delicious camembert and slice a few slithers of Granny apple, scrumptous !
Duck and apricot – Another sweet and sour, because that’s the way a love a good sub ! Inspired by Toulousain classics (that’s where I went to uni – there are no words to describe the food there…!), I like to slice duck breast into very thin slices and stuff a baguette with it along with ground black pepper and sliced apricots (fresh or tinned). Trust me.
Ham and cheese – But not just any old ham and any old cheese, go for the best and fill a good wedge of wholegrain bread with it for the best classic sarnie ever. The French call it Le Parisien because it’s their number one ‘dwich !
Roasted red pepper and Parma Ham – Mediterranean luxury ! Roast your own peppers to avoid the oil intake, simply wash, slice, cover in one tsp oil per pepper and grill until the skin goes dark. Remove skin and voila ! Basil could be a good addition, too.
Tomato and anchovy – A fishy option with great taste. Add in some mozzarella for a full dose of yum.
Tomatoes and mozza bathed in wine – Chop ‘em up and soak for a few hours in a good quality red wine. The mozzarella will soak it up beautifully ! No extra salad dressing needed – simply sprinkle with ripped basil leaves and enjoy…
Pesto quinoa – A delicious healthy option ! Just boil your quinoa (see packet), leave to cool, mix in with a few tablespoons of pesto, chopped avocado, add in your favourite leaves and sprinkle with few raisins. No salad dressing needed !
Pear and goats cheese – Wash and chop your pear, rip up your goats cheese, mix with leaves and sprinkle with walnuts ! Add your favourite salad dressing and off you go !
Apple and celery – Wash, chop and mix in with light mayonaise and raisins.
Homemade coleslaw – Simply grate your carrots and cabbage, toss in some sultanas and mix with creamy mayo !
A bird in bread – If you’re feeling up to cooking an ambitious picnic main, why not try Jamie Oliver’s amazing bird in bread ?! I think is this one of the first things I saw from him – I remember being very impressed with this practical and fun idea ! The recipe was initially reveled on Picnic in the Park by Jamie Oliver but has also been posted on this forum.
Quiche – A classic French picnic dish, try a lorraine or be inventive ! Leeks, bacon, tomatos, herbs… All good in a quiche mix and baked in pastry ! Slice it up and serve !
Pork pie - A Brit’ speciality ! Buy a good quality pie or make one at home – why not add in extra mustard or apple for something a little different ?!
Noodles – So fun if you make your own little chinese take-away containers ! How to here.
Chutney – Good jars are expensive but dang they’re good… Just close your eyes and buy it, you’ll enjoy every spoonful and because you only need a dabble you’ll be taking it on more than one picnic.
Fruit – Figs, grapes, apples… Anything juicy ‘n’ fruity. Ideal for the health-conscious or picnic-ers on a diet (as well as for anyone looking for a bit of yum!).
Crispy crackers – Make your own by halving and ripping up pita bread, rubbing it in a drop of oil and grilling until crispy…
Jam – Fruity jam with creamy cheese is as good as chutney without the tang.
Meat – A typical French picnic could be very simply composed of a good (smelly) cheese, a plate of cured ham and a baguette to rip up as you go… Oh, and a bottle of red wine, bien sûr. What else could you need ?!
Strawberry and cream cupcakes – If you haven’t tried them yet, check out the recipe here and why not make a homemade cupcake carrier to make sure you get them to your spot with the topping still on top !
Welsh cakes – Recipe here. Eat them as they are of ‘dwich them with cream and berries… YUM.
Brioche buns - Have you every had homemade brioche ?! It’s to die for ! Why not make portion sized buns and fill them with jam or choccy spread for a real treat ?!
Cherry bakewells – OMG, the most delicious picnic sweet.
Skewers – Pick and mix your favourite fruits and poke them onto wooden skewers for a perfectly portable picnic pleasure.
Chocolate dipped – Melt your choc and dip your fruit, leave to cool and pack !
Fruit salad – A great way to prepare fruit for a Summer picnic is to wash it all in bulk, chop it all up and cover with orange juice – no need for extra sugar unless you just can’t resist it ! Otherwise, maybe treat yourselves to a whip of squirty cream – but just one ;-)
Sandwich fingers – To make sure the little ones get their nosh whilst running around the park, why not chop their sarnies into finger sized bites ! They can come and go, chomp and play, and no huge slices of bread will end up on the floor !
Cake-pops – If you haven’t made them yet then giv’em a try ! They’re bite-size and fun :-) Check out my Ferrero Rocher cake-pops for inspiration. Making those was a lot of fun !
Cocktails in a jar - Easy to transport and avoiding spillage and having to pour out at your picnic spot, simply mix all your ingredients in individual jam jars and pop the lids on whilst you travel ! A few straws in the basket and you’re cocktail-ready ! For a refreshing alternative to your usual Summer ‘tail, check this Basil Mojito recipe out !
Screw-topped wine – I don’t know about the US or anywhere else but in the UK it is pretty easy to find screw-topped wine bottles. No bottle opener means one less thing to think off and if there’s left overs it’s easy to carry back home, too !
Aromatised water – Try herbs, edible flowers, fruit and veg… Check some of these ideas out for deliciously refreshing water – something a little different for a special occasion !
Homemade cordial – Pick a fruit and boil it in water and sugar before leaving it to cool and sieving the syrup out to mix with cool water – yumalicious ! (check out the great online recipes you can find here, here and here)
Homemade Iced Tea – Simply make one glass very strong tea (fruit tea works well but feel free to experiment !) and dilute it with 3 glasses of chilled water. Serve over ice if your near home or simply bottle up and bag all the way to your favourite picnic patch.
Homemade lemonade – a picnic classic ! Try it pink, there’s nothing like a pretty picnic in the park !
Champagne – A sophisticated choice for a special moment – why not crank it up with a few strawberries and / or a bite of dark chocolate… Does life get any more romantic ?!
Yes, that’s actually 53 ;-) I got a little carried away !
Hope this gives you lots of ideas for the happy Summer times ahead – let me know which ones you try, which make your mouth water and what your addition to this list would be !
xx from my tired keyboard ;-)