It may be the end of the summer but that doesn’t have to mean the end of picnics. With a bit of imagination picnics can be enjoyed any where at any time of year. I love eating out side in any form whether its fish and chips on the sea front, breakfast in our garden, BBQ’s or a carefully planned picnic with family or friends.
In cooking terms a picnic is an easy thing to pull together, and can be made to feel special with very little effort. Who does’t love a pretty napkin and a chequered rug? This is where this entirely useful book by Annie Bell comes in. This is a book not just about food, but also about all the other things that make a picnic go with a swing. From location to equipment she’s got it covered. It’s packed with gorgeous pictures of her many tempting picnic food suggestions that I guarantee will put you in the mood to take to the great outdoors
Actually, I don’t only use this book for picnic inspiration. There are a couple of recipes in here that I make very regularly simply because they are delicious!
Maple Roast Ham
I make this about once a month (at least). I have discovered it’s probably cheaper and certainly tastier to cook a small gammon oozing with flavour rather than buy pre packed ham from the supermarket. Even if you are catering just for one or two (as I mostly am) you can cook this sticky, smokey ham, slice it into thick wedges and then freeze individual slices for use at a later date.
Deli Counter Potato Salad
This is something I often make to accompany the Ham and have taken it on at least two picnics this summer. The potatoes are combined with soured cream, mayo, capers, shallots flat leaf parsley and a bit of cayenne. The capers add not only extra bite but a slight sharpness to balance out the rich mayonnaise.
Simple Spanish Tortilla
This combination of waxy potatoes, onions, eggs, parmesan and a bunch of what ever herbs you have to hand is simple but yummy. I have only eaten this at home in the garden so can’t say how easily transportable it is but I imagine that wrapped in baking parchment and foil it would travel very well.
Cherry Tomato and Parmesan Galettes
Made simply from puff pastry, tomatoes and cheese these are so easy to construct and I can assure you very popular. I took these on a picnic recently and despite being a little soggy (due to how far they had travelled) they were gone in a flash. The recipe suggests Dijon mustard as a base for the tomatoes. I have made these using pesto which works equally well.
Almond Madeira Cake
I made this for the first time just a few days ago, and it certainly won’t be the last. I have never been overly tempted by Madeira Cakes before but after they featured in the first episode of Great British Bake Off I began to see the appeal. This Madeira is made special by the addition of ground almonds and almond essence to the mixture and a liberal scattering of flaked almonds on the top before its baked. If you’re not keen on almond you probably aren’t going to like this but if you are a fan of marzipan, Bakewell tart, or amaretto, you’ll love it. It’s also a fabulous morning cake with a cup of coffee.
Even if our English weather doesn’t always suggest picnics there is enough good food and sunshine in The Picnic Cook Book to tempt you towards out door eating on even the dreariest of days.