Some glorious summer weather is the perfect excuse for getting out into the beautiful British countryside and enjoying a family picnic. Done well, a picnic can be a delicious al fresco dining experience, but there’s a lot can go wrong when you’re making, packing and transporting large amounts of food. Here are a few suggestions from The Cook’s Store to help you get the most from your summer picnic feast…
Get the right basket
Starting with the basics, make sure you've invested in a high quality picnic basket complete with picnic accessories – you need something sturdy to prevent knocks and bumps from cracking glasses or damaging the wrapping round your food, and having a solid handle also makes transportation much easier.
Preparation is key
There are lots of little delicacies which can be prepared well in advance, even as early as the day before. If you’re making home-made patés or spreads, spoon them into an air-tight Kilner jar and drizzle over a glug of olive oil to keep them fresh. Salad dressings can also be mixed and sealed in a jar ahead of the event, just remember to keep oil-based dressings at room temperature and don’t store them in the fridge.
Use your time wisely
On the day itself, you might use the morning to slow cook a frittata or Spanish omelette then allow it to cool completely and cling film it securely to a plate. You could even cut it into wedges beforehand, as once it’s cooled an omelette is a pretty dense and sturdy thing which will easily sit nearer the bottom of your hamper without getting squashed.
Think outside the box
If you have any stale bread kicking around which wants using up, an Italian Panzanella salad is a great accompaniment to any picnic and the flavours actually improve the longer you leave it. The rich summery flavours of the Med will ensure this goes down well with adults and children alike, so make it the evening before, seal it tight in a Tupperware with a good, firm lid and enjoy.
Outdoor dining is one of the joys of summer, so find some seasonal recipes, get creative in the kitchen and pack your hampers full as you head out to enjoy the finer weather!