As regular readers of our blogs will know, we're mad for the great outdoors. We revel in the delights of towns and cities both big and small. We love the architecture and sense of history in our Mini Adventure destinations, but we’re also crazy for the green spaces that these metropolises offer too.
And what better way is there to enjoy these grassed recreational areas than to take a picnic along with you on your Mini Adventure and stop for a while, relax and take in the sun, eat some good food and play games with the kids?
Some of my happiest recollections as a child were with my mum, dad and brother, on our day trips, sat on a picnic blanket or at a picnic table eating a picnic and then playing football afterwards. Even the day I broke my ankle playing football after one of these picnics is a happy memory!
As a kid I wasn’t so bothered that those sandwiches were a bit limp but as an adult preparing a picnic, I would definitely not want soggy sandwiches, lifeless lettuce and warm fizzy drinks. And is it just me or are kids fussier than we were about what they will put in their mouths?
I’m sharing some fabulously tempting and easy to prepare international recipes for the perfect picnic, and with a little preparation the night (or morning) before, a picnic can be a triumph and an event that will be remembered for weeks to come, or maybe like in my case - years.
PERFECT PICNIC RECIPES
Salad in a jar – I love this idea and the kids will too. Layering individual ingredients, in a jar is a brilliant way to get goodness into the children, the pretty stripes of colourful veg makes healthy food as appetising as an ice-cream sundae. It’s best to pack the salad dressing separately in a separate jar, as to avoid the salad becoming limp before you eat it.
Baguette and cream cheese - grab a baguette on your way to the picnic area or en route to your Mini Adventure location so its lovely and fresh. Whilst you can buy flavoured cream cheese in the supermarkets, I like these recipes for something a bit more individual.
A tasty cream cheese and pineapple spread (it must be good it’s called the World’s Best Cream Cheese and Pineapple Dip!) http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/4837/world-s-best-cream-cheese-and-pineapple-dip.aspx
And this creamy pesto one is super quick and easy to prepare – http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2038/creamy-pesto-herb-spread.aspx
This Italian Picnic Loaf idea calls for ciabatta bread mix but you can pre buy one or use another similar crusty loaf and increase the proportions if it's bigger. Lovely and colourful and very easy to transport - https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/family/italian-picnic-loaf/
Picnic Quiche – for readers not familiar with this quintessentially British dish, it’s a baked flan or tart with a savoury filling thickened with eggs, usually eaten cold. These mini picnic quiches from BBC Good Food will be the first to be eaten at your next picnic - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/roasted-tomato-pancetta-picnic-quiches
Dips – I love dips, it’s one of my top guilty pleasures and a great nibble food when entertaining or as an appetiser. And it shouldn’t be omitted from the picnic menu either. Take along carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery cut up into sticks, crisps, bread sticks and even hot dog sausages to dip into these yummy pots of deliciousness. Of course, you can buy all manner of dips premade, but they are remarkably easy to make at home and much more imaginative. Why not try any of these, the first one is awesome for hot dogs to be dunked into.
1. Creamy Honey Buffalo Sauce - https://www.yummly.co.uk/recipe/Corn-Dogs-with-Creamy-Honey-Buffalo-Sauce-1894362
2. Million Dollar Dip is an American recipe, so laden with calories, but who cares? They will get walked off!
3. The family will love this Summertime Watermelon Salsa which is perfect with tortilla chips - http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2347/summertime-watermelon-salsa.aspx
4. A little more grown up and one for the adults, a Feta, Olive and Sundried Tomato Spread - http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1600/feta--olive-and-sun-dried-tomato-spread.aspx
and can be smeared on a baguette or crackers as well as being a dip.
The perfect hard-boiled egg – Is it really a picnic without a hard-boiled egg? We don’t think so! But how many of us can really hold our hands up and say we make the perfect one every time. I certainly couldn’t until I did some research and came across this method. You can’t taste the vinegar and salt but they help pull the skin from the eggshell so it peels easily without tearing or sticking.
For 8 you will need: 1 tablespoon salt, 4 tablespoons white vinegar, 1.5L water 8 eggs.
Combine the salt, vinegar and water in a large pot; bring to the boil over high heat. Add the eggs one at a time, being careful not to crack them. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 14 minutes.
Once the eggs have cooked; remove them from the hot water and place into a container of ice water or cold, running water. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Store in the fridge up to 1 week.
And lastly but of course, usually the staple of any picnic – sandwiches. We all have our favourite sandwich fillings that are our go-to options but if you want to try something different, here’s some ideas specially for the younger ones in the family - https://www.great-picnic-ideas.com/kids-sandwiches.html.
And I just had to share this one with you – carrot and peanut butter sandwich, which was a bit of an oddity to me. You will need 50g of peanut butter, 50g of finely shredded carrot, 1 tablespoon of apricot jam and 2 teaspoons of raisins. Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to make a creamy spread. Then pop it on your bread or wrap of choice.
So why not discover a town or city's green space by ordering a Mini Adventure? Get your picnic hamper dusted off and try some of these tasty treats for your next family excursion.