Summer is finally here, and we all know what that means don’t we? It means it’s bread season. The season where every lunch consists of bread, sausage rolls, perhaps some bread with a side of bread to wash it all down. But wait, what’s that you say? Bread makes you look pregnant? Bread makes you feel sluggish? Bread is not your friend, so why are we eating it all summer?
Picnics is why!
By far the easiest, and most costly way to put a picnic together is en route to the picnic location. A quick stop at a supermarket and load up with pre-packed everything and an apple that will come home with you afterwards, bruised and covered in cool bag residue but home with you all the same. We’ve all been there.
Here are a few breadless, and not too time consuming recipes for your pic-ker-nic basket (yes I’m of the era when the word picnic has to be an impersonation of Yogi Bear).
Simple Spanish Tortilla – Annie Bell recipe
This combination of waxy potatoes, onions, eggs, parmesan and a bunch of what ever herbs you have to hand is simple but yummy. I have only eaten this at home in the garden so can’t say how easily transportable it is but I imagine that wrapped in baking parchment and foil it would travel very well.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 500g medium waxy potatoes, peeled or scrubbed as necessary and thickly sliced
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 100ml water
- 2 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
- 6 medium eggs
- 25g finely sliced Parmesan
- 2 tbsp marjoram leaves
1 Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a 24cm non-stick frying pan with a heatproof handle over a medium heat, add the potatoes and cook them for about 5 min, turning occasionally to coat in the oil.
2 Season them with salt, add 100ml of water, cover with a large saucepan lid and cook over a low heat for about 10 min until the potatoes are just tender. Drain off any excess water and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.
3 Wipe the pan out with kitchen paper, return it to a medium heat, add another couple of tablespoons of oil and fry the onions for 7-10 min until golden, stirring frequently and seasoning them at the end. Mix them into the potatoes.
4 To cook the omelette, whisk the eggs with a little seasoning, then pour them on to the potatoes and onions and gently stir to combine. Preheat the grill to high, and pop the frying pan in which you cooked the vegetables over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil, tip in the egg and potato mixture, level the surface and cook for 3 min. 5 Scatter the Parmesan slices over the top of the omelette, and then the marjoram leaves. Drizzle over another tablespoon of oil and place under the grill for 3 min until golden and sizzling. It should still be slightly moist in the centre, but it will firm up as it cools.
Grease a muffin tin with olive oil, and preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Beat some eggs and add generous amounts of crumbled feta cheese, chopped chives and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mix. Line each muffin tin hole with Parma ham, making sure there are no holes. Pour the beaten egg and cheese mix into each lined muffin tin hole, then bake for 12-14 min. When you shake the tin gently the middle of each mini frittata should be just set.
Grilled Broccoli & Sesame salad – Annie Bell recipe
- 400g tenderstem broccoli, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons groundnut or veg oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Boil the broccoli for 3 minutes, then drain and leave to dry off for a few minutes. Toast sesame seeds. Heat griddle pan over a medium heat. Blend the oils together and toss all over the broccoli. Grill in two or three batches on each side until golden or charred. Sprinkle over sesame seeds.
Pan Bagnat – Rick Stein recipe
Although this is a bread-based sarnie, it’s a lot less bread than a standard roll, and is well & truly tasty.
Use Rick’s recipe as an idea, of course anything goes in the sarnie making world.
- 1 pain de campagne or round sourdough loaf (about 400g/14oz)
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 15cm/6in piece of cucumber, sliced
- 225g tin tuna in olive oil, drained
- 6 anchovies in olive oil, drained
- 3 hard-boiled free-range eggs, peeled and sliced
- 20 Niçoise or Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1 tsp fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, chopped
- 10 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 handful rocket leaves
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Slice off the top quarter of the loaf to use as a lid. Using your fingers, hollow out the inside of the rest of the bread to leave just a shell.
- Sprinkle the inside of the bread shell and the lid with the garlic, then brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Layer the onion, tomatoes, cucumber, tuna, anchovies, eggs, olives, oregano, basil and rocket into the bread shell, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go (the order does not really matter). Mix the remaining olive oil with the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl and then drizzle this dressing into the bread shell so it trickles down over the filling. Top with the bread lid and wrap the loaf tightly in kitchen foil.
- Place in a baking tin and weigh down with a heavy pan or a four pack of tinned tomatoes or similar. Leave in the fridge overnight. Cut into wedges and serve.
Courgette & Tuna Patties
- 2 cans water-packed tuna fish, drained well
- 2 grated courgette (squeeze out the liquid through a clean tea towel)
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
- salt, black pepper to taste
- In a pan heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the courgette and cook stirring, 5 to 6 minutes or until it loses it’s liquid.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl break up the tuna with a fork.
- Add the courgette mixture, egg, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, flour, Seasoning. Mix to combine.
- Shape into small ½ inch thick patties.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the cakes and cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and heated through.
After you’ve made all these, you can stop off to buy a roasted chicken, a bottle of water (yes defo not prosecco you cheeky git) and a few bags of crisps, and that M’hardy is picnic worth getting sandy for.
Happy days out all xxx