With the weather set fair for the next few days, you know what that means….a frantic search in the back of the kitchen cupboards for lids that actually fit your plastic boxes; and a long morning in the kitchen, making a feast that will, at best, mostly leak into the basket; or – at worst – get left behind in the kitchen after you’ve counted in all the kids, loaded the windbreak, camping chairs…
But we’re Brits, we’re indomitable and we love to picnic. Here’s how to make it easier:
- 1) The time ratio of preparation of picnic : eating of picnic must be no more than 2.5 : 1. The ratio of eating of picnic : post-prandial nap must be the reverse.
2) Choose a good spot, quickly. There’s no such thing as the perfect location, and the wine will warm whilst you’re bickering about it. There are however, 3 definite no-nos: (i) Sitting anywhere near a Labrador – daft (you, not the Lab); (ii) setting up camp by your car (naff) (iii) scoffing en route (just rude)
3) Assume all the containers will leak (due to ill-fitting lids), and pack the food accordingly
4) Don’t forget: a corkscrew that works; binbags; wipes – see point 3
5) Keep food simple; nothing involving a lettuce/separate dressing combo (v irritating). Dice some cold chicken with rocket, lemon, tomatoes and mayo; or some delicious smoked trout with potato salad*
6) Clearly the very best drink to have on a British picnic is any wine from The Exceptional English Wine Company although our personal favourite for picnics is Albury Silent Pool Organic Rose; as well as being exquisite, it’s got a screwtop – you’d forgotten point 4, so just as well
7) Everything tastes better in beautiful and comfortable surroundings, with beautiful nature-enhancing rugs and cushions. Wonderful patterns inspired by our coast and countryside blend rather better than loud checks; By A Country Mile’s beautiful range from Folksglove come in 3 beautiful patterns, are very cleverly designed, and come with matching cushions and napkins
- * Our favourite potato salad recipe; boil waxy potatoes until just a minute or so off being completely cooked through; drain, leave in colander to steam dry over the pan for a few minutes and then slice into fat coins (peel if you wish, but don’t worry if not); mix with some v.g. olive oil, tiny bit of mayo, sea salt, flat leaf parsley, pinch of chilli flakes and a bit of diced red onions; add some capers if you like them
And here’s a yummy, refreshing salad that won’t spoil in an increasingly hot tub, and which goes with everything.
For 4-6 picnickers, ‘matchstick’ 2-3 carrots in a food processor. Finely chop a large handful of flat-leaf parsley with some mint leaves, and dice 2 ripe tomatoes and a small red onion – add all this together with 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and allspice, the juice of a lemon, about 100ml of good olive oil and some sea salt. Mix, and chill in the fridge before picnicking
Finally, wherever you’re eating al fresco in Britain this beautiful weekend, enjoy – and to put a little something towards your own outdoor feast, use the code PICNIC when you buy anything from By A Country Mile this June to get 5% off your purchases