I don’t know about you, but as soon as the fierce cold of winter begins to fade and the smoky smell of BBQ dinners fills the air, I’m dying to get outside and soak in the sunshine. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than enjoying the fantastic weather with a delicious picnic with friends. In this article, I will share my favourite recipes for the perfect picnic, including homemade lemonade, vegetable and ricotta pasties, spinach and smoked salmon salad, and, finally, raspberry and white chocolate crumble muffins.
I think the perfect way to start a picnic is with a refreshing glass of lemonade. Although you could buy this from the supermarket, this simple homemade version will wow your guests and make your picnic an afternoon to remember. This recipe has been adapted from Olive Magazine and makes two glasses.
- 4 large lemons, juiced
- 60g caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- Mix the sugar into the lemon juice until dissolved.
- Mix in the salt and 500ml of chilled water.
- Taste and add more sugar if you prefer your lemonade sweeter, or add more water if you prefer it more diluted.
- Pour into two glasses with ice and garnish with thyme.
Vegetable and Ricotta Pasties
This recipe is simple, delicious and perfect picnic food, a true crowd-pleaser. If you want to be more ambitious, you could make the puff pastry from scratch, but for simplicity, I have listed ready-rolled pastry in the ingredients. There are also opportunities to change the content of the pasties, for example, using a parmesan alternative to make them vegetarian or using different vegetables- have fun and don’t be scared to experiment! This recipe has been adapted from Delicious Magazine and makes four pasties.
- 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
- 100g spinach
- 150g ricotta
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 20g grated parmesan
- 390g can ratatouille, drained
- More beaten egg
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan200°C/gas 7. Cut the puff pastry evenly into 4 rectangles.
- Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Cool under cold water, then squeeze out the water.
- Tip into a bowl and mix with ricotta, beaten egg, parmesan, and seasoning. Gently fold in the ratatouille and season to taste.
- Spoon onto 1 half of each pastry rectangle and brush the edges with beaten egg. Fold the pastry over the filling, seal with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet.
- Brush with more beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until risen and golden.
Spinach and Smoked Salmon Salad with Lemon-Dill Dressing
This delicious salad will make the perfect accompaniment to your main meal; the fresh lemon with the smoked salmon and cucumber makes for a refreshing side dish. This recipe has been adapted from Food and Wine Magazine and serves four.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 200g baby spinach
- 170g thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch ribbons
- 1 medium English cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and dill and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the spinach, smoked salmon, cucumber, radishes and spring onions to the bowl and toss well.
- Transfer the salad to plates and serve.
Raspberry and white chocolate crumble muffins
Finally, these muffins make the perfect picnic dessert; the sharp raspberries and the sweet white chocolate are the perfect combination and will please all of your picnic guests. This recipe had been adapted from Good Food and makes twelve muffins.
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 65g caster sugar
- 65g light brown soft sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 125g Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 5 tbsp milk
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 175g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 90g white chocolate chips
For the crumble topping:
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 3 tbsp light brown soft sugar
- 50g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 50g rolled oats
- Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- Put all of the crumble topping ingredients in a bowl along with a pinch of salt and rub together using your fingertips until you have a crumbly mixture.
- For the muffins, beat the butter and sugars together for 5 mins until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs gradually, beating until combined. Mix in the yoghurt, vanilla and milk.
- Fold in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of fine salt until you have a smooth batter.
- Finally, fold in the raspberries and the white chocolate chips and fill the muffin cases leaving a slight gap at the top.
- Cover the muffins with a layer of the crumble topping and bake for 10 mins, then reduce the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and bake for 25-30 mins more until risen and golden, and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean.