Whether under the shade of a tree in a pretty park, enjoying the lapping water on a beach front or even perched on a road side bench when breaking a long journey, I have always been a big fan of a picnic. It provides a great excuse to relax and unwind with my favourite pastime of enjoying food with family and friends.
My most memorable picnics were the ones where all stops were pulled out. I love to hang lanterns or bunting in the trees, set up a little drinks refreshment area, bring along a kite, Frisbee, tennis ball and rackets and other outdoor games, play sweet music from a radio, and not forgetting the food which would be layed out decadently in the centre of the most colourful rugs and cushions.
Food for a picnic does need careful consideration. It needs to be easily transportable, work well cold and be easily managed when there. Like every meal, I still like to consider who I am preparing food for, a variety of colours, textures and flavours and of course it being nutritionally balanced.
I am blessed that Pearl loves her food as much as I do. She is quite adventurous for a three year old, eating just about anything, but saying that, I still accustom the menu to suit her age and ability. The tomato in the centre of the goats cheese tart provides a fun, juicy squirt while getting those all important veggies in.
For fussy eaters, bring along things like tacos or tortillas, allowing them to pick and choose what they like from a selection of fillings. Asparagus spears with hollandaise for dipping or strawberries and cream make for very romantic sharing of food on a picnic au deux. Sand provides a sticky challenge when trying to enjoy a picnic on a beach. Mini quiches, vegetable crudities and little smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls make perfect quick bites you can pop in your mouth before the sand attacks.
My top picnic tip is to take drinks with you straight from the freezer. That way they can act as cool blocks for your food and then will be defrosted, but still perfectly chilled, by the time you come to drink them. Besides food and drink, some survival essentials include wipes for sticky fingers, a bottle opener, a light board and knife with protective covering, a salt & pepper mill, hat & shades, sun screen, a parasol and lets be realistic, a brolly! Now go on, pack up a picnic!