There is something about hot summer days that make them ideal for picnics. Sitting in the sunshine eating sandwiches whilst listening to the bees buzzing in the flowers and the sound of children playing is relaxing. Spreading a rug out and unpacking a picnic basket filled with a variety of sandwiches, snacks and cold drinks is always fun. The best picnics have sandwiches with a range of fillings to suit everyone, kept in a cool bag to keep them fresh. Plastic plates are pulled from a bag to prevent mess and crumbs can be dusted into the floor for the birds to pick up after you leave. I love packing a picnic and going for a day out in the Summer. One of the nicest picnics we had as a family recently was sitting in the car by the shores of Loch Lommond with our plates balanced on our knees, looking at the gorgeous view across the loch. Some days it is just too hot and all you want to do is to laze in the garden, reading a book in the sunshine and forgetting about the housework. These days are ideal for a summer picnic in the garden.
This week is National Picnic week so it was the perfect excuse to get out the picnic rug. I decided to get adventurous with my sandwich fillings and make something more exotic than normal for the family to enjoy. I used Warburtons shapes for the sandwiches, these are sandwich thins that have been cut into cat and van shapes. This makes the sandwiches look more fun and unusual and would liven up any lunch box. They are currently available in Asda, Waitrose and Ocado, RRP £1.29 for six.
Cheese, apple and sultana sandwich filling
Cheese, apple and sultana turned out to be a really nice combination that was full of flavour. It was really easy to make, I just grated some cheese and apple into a bowl, added some sultanas and mixed in a little mayonnaise. The mixture then just needed to be spooned onto the sandwiches. The cheese and sultanas were excellent for creating whiskers and eyes for the cat shape as well.
Egg and spring onion
The egg and spring onion filling was just as easy to make. I chopped a spring onion into little pieces and then made scrambled eggs. There is a knack to making perfect scrambled eggs, they need to be cooked slowly and gently. Crack the eggs into a jug and whisk with a fork. Melt some butter gently in a pan and then add the eggs. Keep stirring the eggs gently, not allowing them to stick to the pan until they are done. Finally mix in the chopped spring onions and spoon onto the sandwiches. If you wish you can add some mayonnaise for a more creamy taste.
I have had coronation chicken before but never tried to make it myself. It turns out is is actually quite easy and the flavours can be varied to suit your taste. I added some cooked chicken into a bowl and diced this up. I then mixed in a couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise, a spoonful of mango chutney and a teaspoon of curry powder. The result was a lovely creamy chicken with an exotic taste. I added some mixed lettuce leaves for extra flavour.
Enjoying our summer picnic
Luckily the sun was shining so I was able to lay the spread out on the lawn and surprise my family with a spontaneous summer picnic. We sat in the sun and ate our sandwiches, relaxing in the warmth and watching the dog running around the garden trying to remove the birds who dared fly into the trees. After we finished we had a swing ball challenge, hitting the ball round the pole, never sure who was winning but with lots of laughter. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
A great way to finish a picnic is with jam jar cheesecakes, packed in individual jars they finish a picnic in style.
For a refreshing drink why not try apple, cucumber, elderflower and mint cocktails. These are really refreshing on a hot day.