Food

How to Throw the Ultimate Picnic

Featured image by Deval Parikh (via Unsplash)

Words by Clara Boon

I remember having a spontaneous picnic a few years ago on Mother’s Day in Henley-On-Thames with my family. As it was so spontaneous we brought with us whatever we could find at home, such as crisps, cheese, biscuits and one solitary tomato. This tomato-gate is now a running joke within the Boon family. Alas, don’t be like the Boons and read this guide to throw the perfect picnic…

Gone are the days when a picnic consisted of sweaty shrivelled up sandwiches encased in some sad looking tin foil. If you’re more of a savoury person then listen up, because this is the recipe for you:

Chicken Caesar Salad

This salad can be prepared just before you walk out of the door. All you need is:

  • Leftover Roast Chicken/ Plant-Based Chick’n – (As much as you fancy)
  • Mixed Salad Leaves and Iceberg lettuce – (As much as you fancy)
  • Caesar Salad Dressing (I recommend Pizza Express or Caesar Cardini’s)– A drizzle
  • Leftover bread – One slice
  • Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
  • Balsamic Glaze – A drizzle
  • Italian seasoning – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and Pepper to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Take your iceberg lettuce and slice into strips (As much as you fancy).
  3. Mix in the Leftover Roast Chicken/ Plant-Based Chick’n.
  4. Drizzle the Caesar Salad Dressing over the top.
  5. Squeeze the balsamic dressing over the leaves.
  6. Take the slice of bread and rip into small chunks.
  7. Get a bowl and throw in the bread chunks.
  8. Pour on the olive oil and then sprinkle salt, pepper and Italian seasoning over the bread and mix together.
  9. Pop them onto baking tray and into the oven.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes (or until golden), mixing every few minutes.
  11. Serve the croutons alongside the salad and voila!

A nice accompaniment to the Caesar Salad is focaccia bread. This is the type of recipe that requires some prep so maybe make it the day before.

Roasted Tomato and Olive Focaccia Breadsticks

Image by Bananalongboards (via Pixabay)

(Serves 12)

  • Strong White Bread Flour – 500g
  • Dried yeast sachets – 7g
  • Olive oil – 3tbsp (plus extra for kneading and greasing)
  • Garlic/chilli oil – just a dash needed
  • Cherry Tomatoes – 150g
  • Pitted Mixed Olives – half a packet
  • Red onion – ½ sliced into rings
  • Flaky salt – to garnish
  1. Pour the flour into a big bowl. Mix in the yeast on one side of the flour, and then the salt on the other side.
  2. Then mix in altogether.
  3. Make a well shape in the middle of the flour and then add the 2 tbsp of oil. Whilst doing this first step add in lukewarm water from the tap (add this gradually)
  4. Put some flour onto the work surface and then pour the dough on top of it.
  5. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is feeling soft!
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C. When you are done with these first few steps, put the dough into a separate bowl and cover with a tea towel (leave for about an hour).
  7. When you come back to the dough in an hour it should have doubled in size!
  8. Now oil a rectangular shaped tin.
  9. Tip the dough onto the work surface and then stretch it and then leave (covered with a tea towel) for another 45 minutes.
  10. Using your fingers, press gently into the dough to make dimples.
  11. Take 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of water and the crunchy salt flakes and rub over the top of the dough.
  12. Press the cherry tomatoes and olives into the dimples.
  13. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until it appears golden.
  14. Once out of the oven, using a sharp knife cut the bread into long strips.
  15. Drizzle over some chilli/garlic or olive oil for flavour. Use as little or as much as you like!

So you’ve prepped your focaccia sticks and Caesar salad for your picnic, and now you just need a drink to accompany. Fear no more and read this recipe for a perfect strawberry mojito!

Magic Strawberry Mojitos Pitcher!

Image by Kim Daniels (via Unsplash)

(Serves 4-6)

I think we’ve established that this is a picnic like no other! It’s boujee, it’s sophisticated and it’s about to get a whole lot better with this cocktail recipe.

(This recipe has been adapted so that you can enjoy it with or without alcohol)

  • Granulated Sugar – 4 tbsp
  • Limes- 6
  • Mint – 4-5 sprigs of fresh leaves
  • Strawberries – 9-10 
  • Sparkling Water (in replacement of rum if serving a non-alcoholic mojito) – 350 ml
  • Soda water/ lemonade / tonic water – fill the remainder of the jug
  • White Rum – 350ml
  • Ice – a single ice tray
  • A cocktail shaker is handy if you have one, if not just use a 2 litre jug.
  1. Chop each lime into segments and pop them inside the jug. Then pour in the sugar.
  2. Squish the lime wedges with the end of rolling pin (or equivalent).
  3. Take the leaves of the mint and bruise them with your hands. Throw them into the jug as well.
  4. Fill the jug with the ice cubes, and then add the rum.
  5. Stir well together and then add the sparkling water.
  6. Cut the strawberries into three and pop them into the jug.
  7. You can use old fashioned cloudy lemonade, soda or tonic water instead of sparkling water if you prefer.

Don’t forget your reusable straws (avoid plastic and be more eco-friendly with a more sustainable option), cushions (because no-one enjoys grass-stained shorts), paper plates, and some reusable cups with lids for spillage free drinking! Just remember that in some places it not legal to drink alcohol, so make sure it’s legal before sipping your mojitos for your post-lockdown picnic!

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