Did you know that the UK holds a National Picnic Week every year, aiming to share advice, tips, recipes and information to make sure everything from the food and drink to the location and surroundings are spot on? Since the event was founded a decade ago it’s become more and more popular, and this year it takes place from 16th to 22nd June. With the warmer weather coming, picnicking is a great way to get out and about and make the most of your local area.
We’ve put together a selection of our favourite recipes and accessories to inspire you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Happy picnicking!
Fresh fig and feta cheese tart
A delicious and slightly unusual main course, this tart is best packed on the baking tray and served in situ.
- 1 x 375g rectangular ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 60g butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme sprigs
- 6 fresh figs (slightly underripe if possible)
- 200g pack of feta cheese
What to do:
- Preheat the over to 200 degrees Celsuis. Grease a baking tray, and lay the pastry on it.
- In a heavy bottomed frying pan, heat the butter and oil over a low heat and add the onions. Cook slowly until transparent, then add the garlic. Cook for a further five minutes, then add one tablespoon of vinegar. Cook for a further two to three minutes, then spread over the pastry.
- Cut the figs into quarters, and distribute over the tart. Crumble over the cheese, and scatter over the thyme.
- Bake for around 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown on top and the pastry edges are well-risen. Sprinkle over the remaining vinegar, and allow to cool completely. Cover the baking tray with foil, and pack.
Lemon and poppy seed cake
This moist, citrussy cake is perfect for picnics. Transport it whole, and slice it when you’re ready to serve to stop it drying out.
To serve 6-8, you’ll need:
- 50g poppy seeds
- 190ml milk
- 3 freerange eggs
- 30g self-raising flour
- 200g butter or margarine
- 220g sugar
- juice and zest of one lemon
- 300g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.
- Beat together the sugar and 185g of the butter until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and milk. Add the flour, poppy seeds and lemon rind and beat until full combined.
- Spoon into the tin and level off the top with a spoon. Bake for 40 minutes until well-risen and cooked through. Turn out onto a cooling rack.
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Mix in the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat until smooth. Spoon over the cake. Wrap and pack.
For a real old-fashioned day out, you can’t beat a traditional picnic hamper. Here’s our pick:
1. Picnic hamper for four, Dupere
This stylish wicker picnic basket has a domed lid, shoulder carrying strap and leather handle, and contains cutlery with wooden handles for four, bottle opener, salt and pepper holders, four wine glasses and four china plates as well as room for your picnic. £84, available from Dupere Design.
2. Barrel hamper for two, Willow Direct
We love the shape of this hamper, which has twin-lidded access and straps to secure two wine bottles. It also contains plates, wine glasses, bottle opener and cutlery for two. Available from Cotswold Trading, priced at £73.
3. Kissing robins hamper for four, Annabel James
Perfect for an outdoor feast for four, this kissing robins picnic hamper contains ceramic plates, wine glasses, cutlery and bottle opener while the printed napkins and lining add a fun touch. £94.95, available from Annabel James.