Adam’s Smith guide to the perfect picnic
May 19, 2022
Beautiful picnic baskets add a real sense of occasion and there are so many out there to choose from. Opt for one with a cool compartment as that’s going to be the key thing on a hot day. Personally, I’m a fan of those classic shopping bags on wheels like my granny used to have. I love a picnic on the beach and this way you can easily transport everything. For a great day out, I like rolling mine across the sand on one of my favourite beaches on the Kent coast – it really takes the stress out of everything.
Once you’ve considered your food and got your cool box sorted, think about what else you might need. For me, a Thermos flask is a great idea as it’s perfect for keeping drinks hot or cold, depending on which type of tipple you prefer. A chopping board is an essential for me, along with wipes for cleaning messy fingers after lunch and a bin bag to take all your rubbish away. Comfort is another important consideration, I always take a picnic blanket with a waterproof base and a few plump cushions to rest on. Lastly, an umbrella is always a sensible idea for the unpredictable English weather.
If you’re looking for a chilled drink the whole family can enjoy, I’ve got just the thing. Take a handful of pomegranate seeds, a sliced lime and some fresh mint leaves. Add these to a glass of cold lemonade with a little ice and you’re done. For those looking for a little extra indulgence, try it with the addition of a splash of vodka for a really refreshing summer cocktail.
Bag a baguette
Sandwiches, rolls and wraps are all picnic staples and there are so many variations you can try. I like to take a whole French stick, add a favourite filling, slice it into manageable portions then wrap it in baking paper and tie with a little string. This is much quicker than making individual sandwiches and when you get to your destination, it will still be in one piece no matter how bumpy the journey. For your more adventurous options, take a selection of fillings and everyone can build their own.
When it comes to salads, my top tip is never to dress your picnic salads at home. Take your dressing in an old jam jar or sealed tub then give it a good shake and dress the salad just before you eat it to avoid it being bruised and soggy. I would also avoid delicate salad leaves as these are more likely to wilt. I always enjoy a good chopped salad or crudités with homemade dips like guacamole, hummous or a simple mayonnaise. Take two or three dressings so your guests can choose.
Something sweet to finish the afternoon and to look forward is all part of the fun. As packing ice cream and fancy cakes isn’t practical, I recommend preparing a good old-fashioned tray bake. Tasty examples include a chocolate brownie, flapjacks or millionaire shortbread – these will all survive the sun and are easy to make, transport and serve. Some chilled fresh fruit is also tempting. I often take wedges of melon, apple and mango to enjoy. Another idea is frozen grapes, picked from the vine and placed a sealed bag in the freezer overnight – so refreshing.
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