Top tips for the perfect picnic
Culinary queen Emily Roux shares her expert advice for the perfect picnic, now the rule of six is back in town
With the prospect of sunnier weather and the easing of lockdown restrictions, leading chef Emily Roux (and daughter of Le Gavroche maestro Michael Roux Junior) has teamed up with Lexus to put together some top tips to help take our picnic game to the next level.
A Lexus Ambassador and chef at the Caractére restaurant in London’s Notting Hill, Emily has produced some easy-to-follow recipes for ideal snacks to enjoy in our local park or countryside now we can catch up with our mates once more.
Full recipes and step-by-step instructions can be found by clicking here.
Cacio e pepe arancini
Often found on restaurant menus, these filling, bite-size arancini (Italian rice balls stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried) are ideal for hungry picnickers – because, let’s face it, a sandwich on its own never really satisfies. They pack a punch, meaning no extra seasoning or sauce is needed.
Bagels, cured salmon, wasabi
Spice up the typical sandwich concept by making it with a bagel. Then add some spice with a filling of wasabi on salmon – the combination you never knew you needed.
The perfect pork pie
This sturdy pork pie will definitely make it to the picnic in one piece. It is a little more time-consuming to prepare but well worth it.
Impress your friends with these dainty French patisseries that can be made with minimum effort in the kitchen, (they certainly look the part). Their caramelised coating means they are unlikely to break, so they are ideal for transporting.
Dark chocolate cookies
These are no ordinary cookies, and kids and adults will love them alike. They’ll also help ease the load for the return journey, as they’re sure all to be eaten up during the picnic.
PERFECT PICNIC POINTERS
Delivering an impressive and enjoyable picnic is about more than just taste. Lexus and Emily Roux have come up with some useful tips on how to prepare and present the best outdoor feast.
- Be realistic – Plan carefully and realistically about how much food you’re likely to eat. You don’t want be taking any home and potentially wasting any left-overs.
- Free(ze) up space for the journey home – Freeze small bottles of water or juice and place them in your cool bag instead of using chiller blocks. This avoids having to carry the blocks home with you.
- Leave the leaves – Avoid packing beautiful green salads, as they tend to wilt during transit. Items such as the sturdy pork pie will be sure to reach the picnic in one piece.
- Take your (tooth)pick – For breaded items such as bagels, slice them in half and use toothpicks to hold them together during the journey. This removes the need for taking a knife and chopping board with you.
- Grease is the word – Use greaseproof paper instead of cling film to wrap the bagels. Cling film tends to make sandwiches soggy, whereas greaseproof paper keeps moisture at bay.
- Step away from the cookie jar – Items such as cookies will keep for four to five days in an airtight container…unless the temptation to eat them is too strong! So you can make them in advance and, if you don’t trust your willpower, perhaps hide the container until picnic day.
- Be prepared. It is the UK after all – Even if you look outside on the morning of your picnic and think you’ve woken up in Greece, always pack an umbrella. This can double up as a parasol if the weather does hold out.
- Chairing is caring – Cushions or even camping chairs add large loads to be packed in the car, but they are worth it if you know you won’t be comfortable sat on a blanket on the grass. If this is your first picnic of the year, don’t underestimate the time it takes to find the chairs and clean them up ready for use.
- Pick the right spot – When you arrive at your chosen picnic location, be sure to choose somewhere with a view you’re happy to look at for the rest of the day, settling any doubts of ‘is the grass greener over there?’.
- Finally, clean up after yourself – Pack items that can be disposed of, and when you’ve finished your picnic, put them in a bin or recycling point; otherwise, pack reusable items and take them home with you. There’s still an awful problem with litter in the UK – don’t add to the mess.
Where are you heading out on your first (social) picnic of the year? Let us know by tagging us @high_life_north