Spring Picnic Recipes

A picnic is a meal taken outdoors as part of an outing – ideally in scenic environments, such as a park, lakeside, or any place affording an interesting view.

 

History of Picnics

  • After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to the public for the first time. Picnicking in the parks became a popular activity amongst the newly enfranchised citizens.
  • Early in the 19th century, a fashionable group of Londoners formed the ‘Picnic Society’. Members met in the Pantheon on Oxford Street. Each member was expected to provide a share of the entertainment and of the refreshments with no particular host.
  • From the 1830s, Romantic American landscape painting of spectacular scenery often included a group of picnickers in the foreground. An early American illustration of the picnic is Thomas Cole’s The Pic-Nic of 1846 (Brooklyn Museum of Art). In it, a guitarist serenades the genteel social group in the Hudson River Valley with the Catskills visible in the distance.

Caprese Sandwich with Basil Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of seeded or multigrain Low GI bread
  • 1 medium tomato sliced
  • 100g fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto

Instructions

  1. Spread basil pesto on one slice of bread.
  2. Add tomato slices and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  3. Close with another slice of bread.
  4. Toast lightly with a sandwich press for about 5 minutes, until crispy and cheese is melted.
  5. Remove, cut in half and enjoy!

Pomodoro Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g pasta (your choice, fusilli recommended)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix and let sit for at least 1 hour, to let the flavours develop.
  3. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water.
    1. Cook for about 1 minute less than al dente as the pasta will soak up liquid from the sauce and soften further. Drain the pasta.
  4. Just before assembling the salad, stir the chopped fresh basil into the Pomodoro tomato mixture.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the sauce, give it a stir and serve.

 

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Olives and Feta

Ingredients

Dill & Garlic Dressing:

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 500g tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, cut in half)
  • 500g cucumbers (approximately 2 large or 4 small), diced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, drained, pitted, & chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

For the dressing:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you may place ingredients in a jar, tighten the lid, and shake until incorporated.

For the salad:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
  2. Toss with dressing until everything is evenly coated.
  3. Cover salad and chill for at least 4 hours, removing from the refrigerator at
  4. least 30 minutes before serving.
  5. Drain off any excess dressing and serve.

Blueberry Brownies

(makes one 20cm square pan, around 16 brownies)

Ingredients

  • 150g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (keep divided into ¾ cup and 2
  • tablespoon portions)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup portions

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ᵒC.
  2. Prepare a 20 by 20 cm baking pan by lining with baking paper, leaving an overhang over each end.
  3. In a double boiler (or, a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water), combine the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.

 

  1. Melt over medium-low heat, using a heatproof rubber spatulato stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth.
  2. Once the chocolate and butter have completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 2 large eggs and 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Continue mixing and slowly add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture into the mixture, mixing until just combined and the batter is a uniform chocolate colour.
  4. Sprinkle ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon kosher salt over the surface of the batter. Gently fold the flour into the chocolate batter —fold until the ingredients are just combined and do not overmix — it’s okay to have one or two flour streaks left in the mixture.
  5. Toss together 1 cup fresh blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Add the blueberry mixture into the brownie batter, fold the fruit evenly into the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are slightly puffed but still moist in the centre.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rackand immediately press the remaining ½ cup of blueberries on to the top of the brownies. Be careful not to press too hard — a gentle tap will do.
  8. Allow the brownies to cool in their pan completely before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Dipped and Stuffed Strawberries

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients

  • 1 kg strawberries
  • 230 g cream cheese
  • 250 g chocolate (any of your choice)
  • 1⁄2cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1⁄4cup chocolate syrup

Directions

  1. Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries.
  2. Scoop out the top of the strawberry removing stem and some of the centre.
  3. Melt chocolate (either use double boiler method as explained in the brownie recipe or alternatively use the microwave)

 

  1. In microwave at medium heat, use small intervals of 30 – 45 seconds. Mix between each interval, do not overheat.
  2. Dip strawberries in chocolate and place on wax paper to dry.
  3. While they are drying mix the cream cheese, sugar and syrup using an electric mixer.
  4. Using a pastry bag, pipe the filling into the strawberries.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

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