10 recipes to make your next picnic the best ever

10 recipes to make your next picnic the best ever

by Great British Chefs 22 May 2017

You’ve got the blanket, the basket’s ready to go and you know a particularly beautiful spot to hunker down for the afternoon. Now all you need is some incredible food to gorge on – take a look at our top ten picnic recipes.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

A picnic is one of the quintessential British pastimes and there’s no better way to usher in the warmer months. While some of us might have our fair share of childhood memories involving picnics in the rain, outdoor feasts invaded by wasps or failed excursions that mean you end up eating a sweaty Scotch egg in the back of the car on a lay-by, when a picnic comes together successfully it’s a beautiful thing.

While the weather and the company are important, going beyond what the supermarkets have to offer and preparing a few of your own dishes can make all the difference to a picnic. Anyone can unveil plastic boxes of ready-made mini pork pies, questionable quiche and over-processed potato salad. But making them yourself ensures a tastier spread, serious brownie points and a more wholesome picnic experience – after all, The Famous Five never packed a sleeve of cocktail sausages in their basket when they went off on adventures.

Whether you’re after quick and simple salads, gourmet pies or loaves of herby bread to slather with butter, these ten recipes are all picnic-friendly, easy to prepare in advance and very, very tasty.

1. Courgetti with Piccolo tomatoes, grilled corn and herb dressing

The iconic gala pie doesn’t enjoy the attention it once did, perhaps because it has been bastardised by the supermarkets and turned into an ominous foodstuff that sits for days in the cold meat counter. But James Ramsden shows just how easy it is to make your own, very delicious version that’s perfect for a picnic. With only ten ingredients, and ready from start to finish in an hour and a half, this is one pie that won’t be left languishing when the picnic comes to an end.

3. Yellow split pea purée with slow roast Piccolo tomatoes, caramelised onion and capers

If you’re after a stellar dip to scoop up with hunks of fresh, crusty bread, you can’t do much better than this spin on the Greek fava bean dip. Slow-roasted tomatoes and piquant little capers add little pockets of zing to the creamy purée, which just beg to be stuffed into pitta breads.

4. Tear and share garlic bread

This simple loaf has a whopping three bulbs’ worth of garlic in, which have been slowly roasted to unearth their inherent sweetness. Use a good quality olive oil to drizzle over the top, then tear it apart and share it out amongst your picnicking companions. It would taste particularly good dipped into the yellow split pea purée above.

5. Piccolo tomato and watermelon gazpacho

Fill a flask up with this incredibly refreshing chilled soup and pour it out into little tumblers for a twist on the iconic gazpacho. Sweet cherry tomatoes, thirst-quenching watermelon and summery cucumber is given a savoury edge thanks to salt, garlic, stale bread and olive oil – delicious.

6. Scotch eggs with bois boudran dipping sauce

Scotch eggs are a must-have at any picnic, and the best ones are always homemade. These are made using quail’s eggs, making them a little more bitesize than the golf-ball-sized behemoths that can fill you up in a few bites. And while the sauce seems like a bit of extra faff, it really is worth it – the tang of the vinegar and spice of the Tabasco contrasts beautifully with the rich sausage meat.

7. Smoked salmon and leek quiche

It might be a bit retro, but lay a homemade quiche out on the picnic blanket and see how long it lasts. You can incorporate pretty much any ingredient you like into the wobbly egg custard, but good quality smoked salmon and gently sautéed leeks are hard to top.

8. Stuffed picnic loaf

Even if you lack the effort, the time or just the baskets needed to create a veritable feast for your next outdoor excursion, you can still bring gastronomic pleasure into the British countryside. This stuffed picnic loaf combines pesto, spinach, mozzarella, peppers and beetroot into one big loaf which can then be sliced up into easy to eat slices. Swap out anything you don’t like for your favourite ingredients – it’s like a meal inside an edible bready box.

9. Pesto potatoes

Sometimes it’s the simple things that taste best – something Shaun Hill knows only too well. Good quality new potatoes dressed in pesto, fresh herbs and melted butter is one of those dishes that can quietly steal the limelight from more exotic offerings; make sure you fill a Tupperware full of this to keep the troops happy.

10. Milk chocolate and hazelnut flapjack

It’s important not to forget the sweets at a picnic, but you don’t want mounds of cream sitting in a warm basket just waiting to split. Give these mini flapjacks a go, flavoured with milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. They’re guaranteed to go down a treat.