Exams are finally over, and this overwhelming sense of freedom is proving intoxicating for some. The lack of commitments that Easter term brings has brought many of my friends and acquaintances into a constant drunken stupor which must leave their poor livers wailing in pain night after night. If, like me, you consider yourself far too refined to partake in such frivolity, then might I suggest that you enjoy a gentle jaunt down to your local park, spread out a cashmere blanket, pop open some champagne, and enjoy dignified conversation over a delightful picnic. Now I know what you’re thinking, surely, the Great British Picnic and student living are not compatible, but I have an idea; if we students adapt and upgrade our classic recipes, I’m sure we can enter the realm of the respectable picnic. In this article, I will lay out five recipes which, I hope, will prove to be the intersection in the Venn Diagram of students and picnics.
Now I personally find the combination of ham and pineapple detestable, but picnic pizza rolls are certainly something I can get behind. This recipe is tasty, simple, and perfect to pack up in Tupperware, making it the perfect compromise between student living and picnic trips. Not only this, but this recipe is adaptable to your company, so perhaps if you find yourself amongst simple minds, you could serve a margherita pizza roll, but another guest with a more dignified pallet could perhaps enjoy a more complex flavour sensation; the options are endless.
I would, fairly confidently, assert that every single student living and studying in the north of England has enjoyed a Gregg’s at least once while at university. And why wouldn’t you? Gregg’s is known for being cheap, delicious, and, in my experience, practically inescapable, spreading through Northern cities like verruca’s in communal showers. Yes, I know it’s easy to be lazy and just pop over to Gregg’s when you fancy a steak bake, but in honour of the Great British Picnic, why don’t you take the time to make your own? You don’t have to whip up your own puff pastry from scratch unless you’re feeling admirably ambitious, but in thirty minutes, you can prepare and bake your own Gregg’s steak bake without the embarrassment of having to be seen in there.
Chicken gyros or Greek chicken kababs are the perfect summer delicacy. Unlike the familiar takeaway offerings, these kababs take some time and effort, needing at least an hour to marinate but trust me, once you taste these chicken gyros, you’ll never go back to your sweaty meat cylinder. This recipe calls for a fabulous mix of herbs and spices, including coriander, cumin, paprika and oregano but feel free to experiment and change the spicing to match your preference. However, no matter your flavouring, I would strongly advise you to serve your gyros on warmed pitta bread with tzatziki and chips, a combination from the gods.
The connection between students and pesto pasta is one that can be traced back through the ages. It’s a classic. But how to make it picnic appropriate, I hear you ask; well, the answer is simple, rebrand it as a pasta salad. Pasta salad is the carb-loving dieter’s friend, a meal that sounds healthy and sophisticated but is really just the equivalent of letting your Bella Italia spaghetti go cold before eating. For the sake of this student picnic, however, we can ignore the cold hard truths and shove some more vegetables into the mix to legitimise its salad status; think cucumber, peas, cherry tomatoes, anything you’ve got in the fridge to secure your status as a salad eating goddess rather than a pasta munching student. Add some crème fresh, top your salad with fresh basil leaves, and you’re good to go.
I defy anyone to eat a mouthful of Ben and Jerry’s and be able to stop there. This painfully moreish delicacy is another student staple, the multiple tubs seeming to occupy an unreasonable amount of space in our tiny, shared freezers. Although faultless in every way, Ben and Jerry’s is not known for its portability, making it a difficult passenger in our student picnic journey. However, remove the ice cream from the equation, and you have the perfect picnic dessert, ideal for students or anyone else with similarly simple palates. This recipe is cheap to make, does not require any cooking ability, and is incredibly tasty, making it a perfect treat for a student picnic.