Now I am one for a picnic whatever the season, come rain or shine. Whether it is whipping up a few sandwiches, grabbing the hamper and heading to the nearest view point or creating something a little bit more special for a dinner with friends in the park.
I am sure picnics will feature throughout the seasons in this blog, but I must admit the whole process is easier in the summer and with these wonderful warm evenings, it is the perfect excuse to eat in the open air and soak it all up.
I decided to follow my heart to the culinary dreamland of Italy. I absolutely love Italian food, especially in its simple rustic form – when ingredients are in season and the recipes show them off at their best. One of my favourite Italian cookbooks is ‘Twelve, a Tuscan cookbook’ by Tessa Kiros. I love it because it covers some of the basics like making fresh pasta and bread dough for pizzas and focaccia but also, and chiefly, because the recipes are divided into the months of the year, so you use what is in season. Perfect!
For this Italian feast I made and gathered;
Chargrilled courgettes, sprinkled with garlic, chilli, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Caponata – which is a Sicilian aubergine and tomato stew
Green beans, quickly boiled and then dressed with extra virgin olive oil, a little crushed garlic, squeeze of lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper
Fresh local tomatoes
Two types of cheese, Buffalo mozzerella and Taleggio
Rosemary and sea salt flatbread crackers
All very simple but ever so tasty, especially when combined all together! I transported everything down in tupperware and then decanted it into pretty bowls and dishes, I especially like using the enamel blue and white bowls as they are hardy and hardly weigh a thing.
Brighton and Hove in the summertime is a lovely place, there is a holiday vibe that descends on the city and the beach becomes the main place to be. As everyone heads to the sea, a lot of the little parks and squares become quiet, and you can almost have them to yourself. So instead of heading straight down to the seafront with my picnic, I decided to assemble the picnic on the grass of this pretty square and enjoy the flowers.
I love a picnic that you can relax and enjoy, so this means being comfy. By using a couple of blankets and cushions you can create a comfy spot. I also brought along a little rustic table which saves spending time trying to balance your drink on the uneven ground and makes for a nice centre piece.
I hope this gives you some ideas to create your own summer picnic feast, fingers crossed for some nice weather at the weekend! Whether it’s in the local park, the beach or your own back garden, eating and relaxing outside is a great way to connect to the season.
What are you picnic must haves, any particular picnic food you enjoy? Or any great picnic spots I need to know about? Drop me a message!