Get ready to embrace the British summer with even more gorgeous picnic recipes
Summer days: good food, good drink, good clothes, good company. Get all those together in a London garden, add a blast of sunshine and you’ve got a wonderful afternoon picnic. Skye McAlpine, lover of food and writer of ‘From My Dining Table’, Courtney Adamo, co-founder of ‘Babyccino Kids’, Celia Munoz, the brains behind ‘La Coqueta’ and their children show us how they’d throw the ultimate midsummer garden party with these gorgeous picnic recipes.
Sage and Fresh Mint Lemonade
This is something special about homemade lemonade: it’s not tricky to make (not at all – just lemon juice, cold water and a sugar syrup), but somehow I only ever make it when the days are hot and summer is in full bloom. And in my mind that is what I equate it with. Here I’ve added a little sage to infuse the sugar syrup, and some fresh mint to the mix – which makes the lemonade all the more refreshing.
Ingredients | Serves 8-10
120g caster sugar
small bunch of fresh sage
800ml cold water
A few sprigs of fresh mint
To make the syrup add the sugar, water and sage to a small saucepan and set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil for 3-5 mins, then lower the heat and leave to simmer for a further 5 mins. Lift out the sage and discard it, then set the syrup to one side to cool. The syrup will keep for a few days in the fridge. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into a large jug, top with the water, then add the sage syrup to taste. Throw in a few sprigs of fresh mint and serve chilled, over ice.
Peach & Saffron Tart
Ingredients | Serves 6-8
to rest in the fridge
100g cold butter
2 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of salt
80g peach jam
1/2 tsp saffron
6-8 small peaches
3 tbsps double cream
First make the pastry: chop the butter into small cubes and toss it into a mixing bowl, sift in the flour, sugar and salt, then rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it takes on the consistency of sand. Crack the egg into the bowl and knead until a dough begins to form.
If needed, add a spoonful of water to bring the dough together. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in cling film and pop it to rest in the fridge for 2-3 hours or, ideally, overnight.
When you are ready to make the tart, preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and grease a 22cm tart tin with a removable bottom. Roll out the pastry on your kitchen worktop to a circle that is a little wider than the base of the tin, then lift it gently and lower it into the tin.
Press the pastry into the ridges, so that all the little nooks are filled and then roll a rolling pin over the edges of the tin to remove the excess pastry. Cover with greaseproof paper and fill the case with baking beans (or rice, if you don’t have baking beans – it works just as well) before setting in the oven to bake for 15-20 mins, until the pastry becomes very lightly coloured.
Spoon the peach jam into a small saucepan (if the jam is very chunk, I like to spoon it through a sieve first) and add the saffron. Set the saucepan on a medium heat and warm the jam so that it begins to bubble and infuse with scent of saffron, then take it off the heat and set it to one side.
Halve the peaches, remove the stones and finely slice the fruit into little crescent shaped slivers. Pour the cream into a small bowl and add 2-3 tbsps of the saffron infused jam, mix the two together until you have a smooth paste. Spoon the paste on to the bottom of the pastry case and spread it out evenly, then lay out the peach slices so that they overlap and fill the tart.
Gently warm the remaining peach jam once again so that it bubbles (you want it to be liquid and syrup-y), then use a pastry brush to glaze the peach slices and the pastry rim of the tart (this will give the pastry a nice shine). Set the tart back in the oven to bake for a further 15-20 mins, until the pastry becomes golden and the fruit softens.
Roast Chicken Sandwiches with Homemade Mayonnaise and Tarragon
Homemade mayonnaise is incredibly simple to make and it tastes worlds apart from even the very best brands of store-bought mayonnaise. It is just a matter of a little patience, adding the oil little by little, and a steady hand for whisking (a freestanding mixer really helps here). Many people use a mix of olive oil and some kind of lighter, less pricey oil (like a groundnut or canola oil), but I just love the grassy taste that comes with a mayonnaise made from good olive oil, so I splash out.
Ingredients | Makes 6 sandwiches
1 tsp dijon mustard
6 small ciabatta rolls
small bunch of fresh tarragon
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade. Lay the chicken thighs on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Set them in the oven to cook for one hour – when they are done, the juices will run clear. Set the chicken to one side to cool, and store overnight in the fridge if you like.
To make the mayonnaise, separate the eggs and toss the yolks into a medium sized mixing bowl. Discard the whites or use them to make meringues. Add the mustard and a generous pinch of salt to the yolks and begin to whip vigorously for about half a minute, until the. yolks become bright yellow. Now, slowly add a few drops of olive oil, beating all the while. As the oil blends into the egg, add a
few more drops and keep going like that. As the mayonnaise begins to gain bulk, you can speed the rate and quantity at which you add the oil, so that eventually
you’re pouring a fine, but constant stream of oil into the bowl, as you whisk. Store the mayonnaise for up to two days in a jar in the fridge. Make the sandwiches with the meat from the chicken thighs (I discard the skin, as I find it too greasy), a generous dollop of mayonnaise and a few tarragon leaves.
Broad Bean, Mint and Lemon Salad
At this time of year, it is lovely to use fresh broad beans – especially if you can get help in the kitchen to shell them. Failing that, I use frozen beans and increase the cooking time by just a smidgen.
Ingredients | Serves 6-8, as a side
500g shelled broad beans
3 tbsps olive oil
juice and zest of half a lemon
small bunch of fresh mint
Fill a saucepan with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Add the beans and boil for a minute or so, until they begin to float to the top. Drain the water in a colander and douse the beans in the olive oil and lemon juice. Add a generous pinch of salt to taste, and the lemon zest. When the beans have cooled completely, tear the mint leaves and toss.
Hungry for more? Check out the first part in our series, where Skye rustles up a delicious feast of thyme and olive oil focaccia, mini aspagarus and pecorino tarts and lemon and lavender cake here.