Picnic Recipes By Rachel Allen

Fresh Summer Salad

This simple, old-fashioned salad with Shanagarry cream dressing is perfect for a Summer Sunday evening - perhaps with a slice of meat left over from the Sunday roast. It's delicious when made with crisp lettuce, free-range eggs and home preserved beetroot.

Ingredients

  • 4 hard-boiled, free-range eggs
  • 2 - 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 16 slices of cucumber
  • 4 slices of home-made beetroot (see below)
  • 4 tiny scallions, plus a little extra for garnish
  • 2 - 4 sliced radishes
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 level tsp. dry mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. dark soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. brown malt vinegar
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream
  • pinch of sugar
  • watercress, for garnish

curtains

Recipe

  1. Hard-boil the eggs for the salad and the dressing: bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, gently slide in the eggs, boil for 10 minutes (12 if they are very fresh), strain off the hot water and cover with cold water. Peel when cold. Quarter 2 eggs for the salad
  2. Wash and dry the lettuce and scallions
  3. Next, make the dressing: Cut 2 eggs in half, sieve the yolks into a bowl, add the sugar, a pinch of salt and the mustard. Blend in the vinegar and cream. Chop the egg whites and add some to the sauce. Keep the rest to scatter over the salad. Cover the dressing until needed
  4. Cook the beetroot. Leave 5cm of leaf stalks on top and the whole root on the beet. Wash off the mud with the palms of your hands, so that you don't damage the skin. Cover with cold water and add a little salt and sugar. Cover the pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 1-2 hours depending on size
  5. To assemble the salads, arrange a few lettuce leaves on each of the 4 plates. Scatter a few quartered tomatoes and 2 hard-boiled egg quarters, a few slices of cucumber and 1 radish or 2 slices of beetroot on each plate. Garnish with spring onion and watercress. Scatter the remaining egg white (from the dressing) over the salad and some chopped parsley
  6. Put a tiny bowl or ramekin of Shanagarry Cream Dressing in the centre of each plate and serve immediately while the salad is crisp and before the beetroot starts to run. Alternatively, the dressing may be served in one large bowl

Home-Made Lemonades

If you keep some chilled 'stock syrup' made up in your fridge, all these fresh fruit drinks will be so quick and easy to make. They contain no preservatives so they should be served within a few hours of being made. Many different types of citrus fruit may be used. Why not serve in a drinks dispenser at garden parties or barbecues?

Ingredients

  • STOCK SYRUP (MAKES 825ML):
  • 450g (2 cups) sugar
  • 600ml (1 pint) water
  • LEMONADE:
  • 4 lemons
  • 300ml ( 2 pints) stock syrup
  • 750ml (3 cups) water
  • ice cubes
  • sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm, to garnish
  • ORANGE AND LEMONADE:
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 250ml (1 cup) approx. stock syrup
  • 750ml (3 cups) approx. water
  • LEMONADE WITH LIME:
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 750ml (3 cups) water
  • 300ml (2 pints) stock syrup
  • ice cubes
  • sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm, to serve
  • LIMEADE:
  • 5 limes
  • 750ml (3 cups) water
  • 300ml (2 pints) stock syrup
  • ice cubes
  • sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm, to serve

curtains

Recipe

  1. To make the Stock Syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool. Store in the fridge until needed
  2. To make the Lemonade: Juice the lemons and add the syrup and water. Taste and add a little more water or syrup if necessary. Add ice, garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or lemon balm and serve in jars, if you wish
  3. Orange and Lemonade: Juice the fruit and mix with the stock syrup, add water to taste
  4. Lemonade With Lime: Make and serve as above. Taste and add more water if necessary
  5. Limeade: Make and serve as above. Taste and add more water if necessary

Picnic Chest of Juicy Sandwiches

The ultimate picnic or summer party recipe. Turn a loaf of bread into a treasure chest and cut the inside out, which you use to make layers of delicious sandwiches. Refill the chest with your creations and dazzle everyone with your picnic prowess!

curtains

You will need:

Ingredients

  • 900g pan loaf or round country loaf
  • 50g approx. butter
  • Salad leaves, watercress, flat parsley, cherry tomatoes & spring onions, to garnish
  • SANDWICH FILLINGS MIGHT INCLUDE:
  • scrambled egg and chives
  • gravlax with sweet mustard sauce
  • roasted pepper, mozzarella & pesto
  • mature cheddar cheese, Ballymaloe country relish & cucumber pickle
  • roast chicken with red pepper mayonnaise & sunflower sprouts
  • tomato, buffalo mozzarella, tapenade & basil leaves

curtains

Recipe

  1. Insert the knife at the side just over the bottom crust and just inside the back of the loaf. Push it through until it reaches, but does not go through the crust on the far side
  2. Without making any bigger the cut through which the knife was inserted, work the knife in a fan shape as far forward as possible, then pull it out. Do the same from the opposite corner at the other end of the loaf. The bread should now be cut away from the bottom crust inside without a noticeable mark on the exterior of the loaf
  3. Next, cut through the top of the loaf to make a lid, carefully leaving one long side uncut, as a hinge
  4. Finally, with the lid open, cut the bread away from the sides. Ease it carefully, it should turn out in a solid brick or a round, leaving an empty case behind. Cut it into slices, long horizontal ones, square vertical ones or rounds, depending on the shape of the loaf
  5. Carefully stack them, butter them and fill them with your chosen filling or fillings in the order in which they were cut. Don’t forget to season each sandwich. Press the sandwiches together firmly and fill them back, still in order, into the loaf
  6. For picnics, close the top of the case and wrap it up. It will gape slightly because of the extra bulk of delicious filling, but the sandwiches will keep very fresh
  7. For parties, leave the lid slightly open. Decorate inside and out with lettuce and watercress leaves, small ripe tomatoes, spring onions etc. to make it look like a little hamper overflowing with fruit and vegetables