Six simplePicnic recipesby Phoebe Taplin
To celebrate National Picnic Week here are some recipe ideas for food that is easy to take with you on a trip. From sausage rolls to blueberry scones, these are traditional picnic favourites or golden oldies with a twist. Since we have vegans and veggies in our family, these are mostly vegan-friendly, but they all have lashings of flavour are easy to make. Enjoy them in woods or fields, on beaches or riverbanks, in your own back garden or even on the living room carpet. It all helps ring the changes on our long days at home this summer.
1. Homemade hummus
Kick off with an al fresco pot of the old chickpea dip with some carrots and cucumber sticks…
- one can of chickpeas (or things like butterbeans work well too)
- juice of a large lemon
- a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil and of tahini (sesame paste – you can even make your own with toasted sesame seeds and oil)
- a small garlic clove, crushed
- teaspoon each of ground cumin and paprika
- Salt to taste
What to do: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whizz them up with a blender. Er – that’s it. Now it’s just a matter of rinsing an empty margarine tub or similar to put it into and you’re good to go, as they say. Or it works well as a sandwich filling…
Variations: Nigel Slater suggests this version of hummus made with broad beans and dill, but some in our family are not fans of dill. So I tried plenty of coriander, a sprig of mint and a few spring onion tops instead – result: a fresh, tasty dip. I just blitzed everything (including all herbs) together and didn’t even bother with taking the grey skins off the broad beans and it was still good.
2. (Vegan) Sausage Rolls
Ready-rolled puff pastry and some kind of sausage filling combine to make a perfectly picnic-able snack that can be adapted to suit any particular group. Kate Ford from the Veg Space has this easy recipe for vegan sausage rolls and they are really satisfying. Thanks to Kate for the recipe and the photo.
- vegan sausages
- ready-rolled puff pastry (most brands are vegan)
- oat milk
- sesame seeds
What to do:
- Put (de-skinned) sausages in rows on pastry. Slice between rows, and roll up pastry.
- Use oat milk to stick down the edges and to brush the top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 180ºC. Chill the rolls for half an hour, slice into smaller rolls and cook for 20 minutes or so until crispy and gold.
Variations: Carnivores could always do something similar with meat sausages of course. Or, if you wanted something veggie but a little more challenging, the National Trust has this recipe for thyme and mushroom rolls.
3. Klara's picnic scones
Klara from Sydney, our younger kid’s friend and fellow student, has been staying with us during lockdown and is an excellent baker. She recently whipped up these rock-bun-style vegan fruit scones for a picnic.
- 300g self-raising flour
- 100g vegan butter or margarine
- 50g caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 120ml almond or oat milk (plus extra for brushing the tops).
- 150g pitted, chopped dates,
- 150g chopped walnuts,
- zest and juice of an orange
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Sift flour, sugar, and salt together, and combine thoroughly and rub in vegan butter.
- Mix in milk and other ingredients (see variation below).
- Line a tray with baking paper and spoon 5cm-wide balls of batter onto it.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the outside is golden.
Variation: For blueberry and lemon scones, add 100g blueberries and the zest and juice of a lemon.