Top Tips & Recipes to Have the Perfect Picnic
Who doesn’t love a good picnic? Unfurling a blanket, unpacking the preposterous amounts of food from the cool box (much more than you’d ever normally eat in a meal), and relaxing in the sunshine as you stuff your face with tasty treats.
We might not have a huge amount of opportunity here in the UK to head outside and have a picnic, so when we do, it’s important we do it right. We spoke with some awesome food bloggers who kindly provided us with one of their favourite picnic recipes, as well as some top tips on how to picnic properly.
So if you’re stuck for what to take on a picnic, here are a couple of great recipes, plus some top picnic tips…
Gluten-free Sausage Rolls
We don’t want anyone to miss out on a picnic, and it can sometimes be a little trickier for those with an allergy to gluten to find something they can have. That’s where Sarah Howells, the Gluten Free Blogger can help! Sausage rolls are a must-have for any picnic, and this recipe for gluten-free sausage rolls is so simple, and being home-made means they’re extra tasty.
- 1 pack Jus-roll gluten free puff pastry
- 6 gluten free pork sausages
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 tsp gluten free chutney (optional)
How to make gluten-free sausage rolls
- Preheat the oven to 220’C / Gas 7 / 425’F. Take the gluten free puff pastry out of the fridge and leave for five minutes.
- Remove the skins from the sausages and put the meat in a mixing bowl. Smush it all together so it forms one big ball.
- Roll out the puff pastry. Cut to create a square, and then cut this in half, so you have two rectangles.
- Split the sausage meat into two, and shape each one into a long sausage. Lay the meat in the centre of piece of pastry. (Note: if you are adding chutney, spread this onto the centre of the puff pastry before adding the sausage meat on top.)
- Brush the beaten egg onto one side of each piece of pastry. Fold the pastry over the meat and seal the sides using your fingers or a fork.
- Cut into six pieces and place on a baking tray. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are crisp and golden on the outside.
- Allow to cool on a rack. Eat them hot or cold.
Grilled Moroccan Chicken Skewers
We’re adding a bit of North African spice to our picnic hear thanks to Emma Oxley and her excellent site, Emma Eats & Explores. These grilled Moroccan chicken skewers are incredibly easy to make and are just as delicious cold as they are hot.
It’s a three-parter, with the marinade, the skewers and the tahini sauce, but it’s all pretty easy to make, and there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot of the stuff at home already, such as chilli, garlic, paprika, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Check out how to make it here.
If you have a portable BBQ with you, then you can even cook then when you’re out and about.
Top tips for a perfect picnic
So we’ve given you a couple of great recipes and ideas of what to bring on a picnic, but here are some top tips to make it a fantastic day out.
The first three tips come courtesy of Choclette from Tin and Thyme, a vegetarian food blogger based in Cornwall…
1. Food that can be picked up with your hands is best. Whilst it’s lovely to have an array of salads and large quiches or pies, it’s actually awkward to dish them up and then eat when picnicking. It’s rare, in my experience, to get a nice flat surface and trying to balance plates, knives, forks, glasses and more whilst trying to enjoy your food, doesn’t always make for the best experience. If you’re picnicking in the garden, of course, that’s a different matter.
2. Go light. The best picnic spots, usually involve a bit of a walk, so try not to take a massive hamper loaded down with crockery, cutlery and glass.
3. Take food that travels well. This may seem obvious, but it can be very disappointing to open up your hamper / backpack to find a mush of crumbs and spoilt fruit. Individual pies, tarts, sandwiches, falafels, sushi etc are best, as are mini cakes or flapjacks for dessert. Take a tub of ripe tomatoes, some radishes along with some ready cut batons of cucumber, celery, carrot and peppers. And don’t forget a tasty dip or two!
If you like the look of the strawberry cream cakes above then Choclette has a great recipe for them over on her website. All you need to make them is sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, cream, and strawberries, and they’re very easy to knock together. They look so delicious, we’re considering making them anyway, picnic or no picnic. You can see how to make them here.
Back to the picnic tips…
4. Take bin bags with you. It’s essential that you take all of your rubbish with you and don’t leave any lying around. There might not be any rubbish bins nearby, so have some bin bags handy so you can dispose of your rubbish at home.
5. Wet wipes! Always a live saver, a pack of wet wipes will help clean any sticky hands as well as mop up spillages.
6. Pop some small bottles of water or juice in the freezer a few hours before you go. These will help keep your food nice and cool and then provide a lovely chilled drink when it thaws. Alternatively, pop a couple of freezer packs in to help keep your food and drinks fresh.
7. Wasps are often a pest at picnics, so some bug spray can sometimes be handy – just don’t spray it too near to the food. Avoid setting up your picnic too close to rubbish bins, and don’t leave any sweet or sticky food uncovered to attract them. Also, makes sure kids have drinks with lids on them so wasps can’t crawl inside.
8. Don’t take too much. It’s always tempting to pack a mammoth amount of food, but this usually leads to a lot of wastage. It also means there’s more to carry, so only take what you think you’re going to eat.
A huge thank you to all three food bloggers for providing these mouthwatering recipes and tips