A Sunny British Picnic
Nothing compares to the first properly hot day of spring in London. The city comes out of hibernation, and the parks are swarming with giddy locals who have just done a run on the ready-to-eat aisle of the nearest supermarket. Pimms flows, bare shoulders gleam in the sunshine. It is physically impossible to have a bad day. London in the springtime is something I have reservoirs of affection for.
We are very spoilt living so close to Hyde Park. A sunny summer’s day often involves us taking a blanket and a kindle down to a secluded grassy spot. This can only be topped by a picnic. Preferably with friends. Which is just what we did last weekend.
For me, picnicking is about eating delicious, smaller morsels of food all. day. long. I pretty much do this anyway, I don’t need a picnic for an excuse. So along with the usual suspects of cheese and crackers, fresh strawberries and carrot sticks with hummus, I prepared a few things ahead of the shindig to fill our basket.
BITE-SIZED PORK SAUSAGE ROLLS
Takes 40 minutes. Makes about 14 mini rolls.
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ dozen fresh sage leaves
- 6 flavoured pork sausages (I tend to go for red wine and onion varieties)
- ½ cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 roll of pre-made flaky pastry
- 1 egg
- splash of milk
- salt & pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Finely dice the onion and garlic, fry in a pan on a medium heat until softened and browning.
3. Roughly chop the sage leaves, and add to the pan for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. In a bowl, add in the sausage meat, removing them from their casing. Throw in the breadcrumbs, nutmeg and contents of the pan. Add in a decent amount of freshly cracked pepper and salt.
5. With your hands, combine the mixture until all the ingredients are fully combined. Set aside.
6. Roll out your pastry onto a floured surface, cutting along it lengthwise. Mix the milk and the egg together to create the egg wash. I brush this along the two top edges of the pastry, to help it seal when you roll it.
7. Take the sausage mixture and roll pieces into sausage shapes in your hands. I tend to do this until they’re about the diameter of a 50p coin. Spread this along the two bottom lengths of the pastry, leaving about a 1cm gap from the bottom.
8. With two hands, roll the pastry slowly upwards over the sausage meat. Press to seal at the top. Brush with the egg wash, and cut into desired length. I tend to make the sizes about 4cm in length. Place onto a greased foil baking tray, and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Best served with tomato sauce on the side.
PROSCUITTO WRAPPED ASPARAGUS
Takes about 15 minutes.
- 1 bunch of asparagus stalks
- 2 x packets of sliced prosciutto ham
- 1 lemon
- Olive oil
- Sea salt & cracked pepper
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Pour and spread out some olive oil in a roasting tray.
2. Snap the asparagus stalks to take off the woody ends. Take a slice of prosciutto, and wrap it round a stalk, going around a couple of times. Place the asparagus in the tray, and repeat until all of the asparagus stalks are done.
3. Pour over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, squeeze over the juice of one lemon and season with sea salt & cracked pepper. Carefully give it a mix to ensure all the stalks are covered.
4. Roast for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
RICE KRISPIE TREATS
Hello, childhood! Now in the spirit of total honesty, these were very messy to make. But the look on peoples' faces as they devoured them was worth all the work. If anyone has any improvements, I’m all ears!
Takes 15 minutes to make, refrigerate ideally overnight.
- 3 cups marshmallows
- 3 cups of rice krispie cereal
- 3 tbsp butter
- Pinch of salt
1. Line a baking tray with greased greaseproof paper - I know that sounds silly, but I find it is the only way to ensure no paper sticks. Perhaps I need to buy a different kind of greaseproof paper...have this ready to go, as once the mixture is ready you need to move quickly to lay it out before it sets. I had a second piece of paper on the side, so I could use it to press the top of the mixture down without it sticking to my fingers - something I learned the hard, yet delicious way. You can do this recipe in batches if you don’t have a big enough saucepan (I did mine in three lots).
2. Measure out marshmallows in a cup before cutting them down. Once you’ve done this, cut them into halves or quarters.
3. Grab a saucepan, and melt the butter making sure to swirl it round so that it covers the base of the pan. Add in the marshmallows, stirring regularly until they melt. Remove from the heat. Then add in the salt, mix, followed by the rice krispies. Stir quickly to cover them all.
4. Taking a wooden spoon, quickly spoon the mixture out into your prepared tray spreading as evenly as possible. You might want to grab that second piece of paper to help you mould this with your hands. Leave at room temperature for a few hours to set, and then cut into desired size. Once I did this step, I then put the pieces into the fridge to set even further.
I’m always looking for ideas, so let me know what your picnic heroes are! Enjoy the sunshine.
With Love, Kate