Picnic Ideas

Now that summer’s here it’s time to load up your picnic basket and enjoy some alfresco eating. Try these healthy and delicious recipes >

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Summer Frittatas: This protein-rich meal is full of colour and flavour.

Ingredients
350g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
125g fresh or frozen peas
7 medium eggs
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp snipped chives
Freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Method
1. Cook the sweet potato in a pan of boiling water for eight minutes until just tender. Drain.

2. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion with the sweet potato and red peppers for five to six minutes. Add the peas and cook for one minute more.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, pour in the vegetables and mix well. Season and stir in the herbs.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and pour the egg and vegetables back into the pan.

5. Cook over a low heat for 15-18 minutes, until the bottom of the frittata is golden. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot.

6. Finish cooking under the grill for six to eight minutes, until golden on top. Leave the frittata to stand for a minute, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, place a plate or board on top and turn over to remove from the pan. Cut into wedges to serve hot or cold.

Red Cabbage, Orange & Cashew Salad Recipe: a refreshing salad that is full of crunch and a delightful citrus flavour

Ingredients
1 tbsp cashew nuts
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 large orange, segmented
¼ small red cabbage, shredded
2 small carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. Toast the cashew nuts and cumin seeds for two minutes, then remove them from the heat.

2. Toss together all of the ingredients and leave them to stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving, to allow the flavours to develop.

Spinach, mushroom and ricotta quiche with sautéed spinach: Cook this vegetarian quiche for a special picnic.

Ingredients
For the quiche
butter, for greasing
400g ready-made shortcrust pastry
350g flat mushrooms
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g baby spinach leaves
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g ricotta cheese
1 tbsp grainy mustard
3 free-range egg yolks
300ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach
25g butter
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
500g baby spinach leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4 and grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to line the tart tin. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

3.Remove the pastry tart case from the fridge, cover with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Transfer to the oven and bake blind for 10-15 minutes.

4. Remove the beans and greaseproof paper and return the tart case to the oven to bake for a further 3-5 minutes, until golden and just cooked.

5. Turn the oven temperature up to Gas 6. Meanwhile, place the mushrooms onto a baking tray, sprinkle over the thyme, drizzle over one tablespoon of the olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place into the oven to bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms are beginning to soften. Remove and set aside.

6. Heat a large frying pan until hot and add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach and cover with a lid. Cook until the spinach has just wilted, then remove from the pan and drain.

7. Season the spinach well with freshly grated nutmeg and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

8. Place the ricotta into a bowl. Add the grainy mustard, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.

9. Spoon the mustard and ricotta mixture into the bottom of the tart case, top with the wilted spinach, and carefully place the roasted mushrooms on top.

10. Place the egg yolks and cream into a bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture into the tart case.

11. Transfer to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

12. For the sautéed spinach, heat a frying pan until hot. Add the butter and swirl the garlic clove around to flavour the oil.

13. Remove the garlic clove, add the spinach and sauté until wilted down. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

14. To serve, cut slices of quiche and place onto plates with a spoonful of sautéed spinach alongside.

Image via: http://www.apacolorado.org/content/epp-annual-picnic-save-date

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