As the sun shines a bit brighter, the wattle blooms and electric blankets and ugg boots get stored away for another 6 months or so, we know that Spring is in the air (and our steps).
It’s one of my favourite seasons in Sydney. Not too hot, but not freezing. Beautiful blue skies and fresh air. So, as we begin to come out of that winter hibernation we might start to think about spending lots more time outside. Whether that means dinner on the back deck, heading to the beach or planning a few picnics in the park.
Now, obviously I’m not Nigella or Donna Hay so quite often when I get a picnic together it’s nothing more that shoving a bit of cheese between two slices of bread, dragging the picnic rug (and kids) to the park and calling it a day. But when I have a bit more time, energy and inclination, I have been known to put a bit more effort into picnicking (is that even a real verb?).
So, if you’re feeling inspired to get your picnic on, here are a few favourite recipes to add to your repertoire…
Recipes to try...
+ Feta Salad
Chop up some pumpkin in to about 2 cm cubes and roast in the oven with a bit of crushed garlic and olive oil. Meanwhile, add some baby spinach, chopped spring onion, fresh herbs of your choice, cucumber and avocado to a salad bowl. Once the pumpkin has finished roasting, throw it on top of the salad. Top with crumbled Feta (I like the marinated feta as the marinade acts as a dressing). Then to finish, sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top. Yum!
The Ultimate Sandwich
In my opinion nothing is nicer than a fresh baguette with gooey brie and juicy ripe tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and if you want to add some delicious ham, then a trip to the polish deli in Roseville is well worth the trip… Simple and delicious
Grab some Avocados: The riper, the better.
Diced red onion, Coriander, Jalapeño (Or you can use serrano pepper instead), Lime juice – Freshly-squeezed, Sea Salt, Ground cumin, Diced tomatoes (Optional). First mash your avocados. Add them to a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until they reach your desired consistency. (I like mine slightly chunky, not completely smooth.) Mix in the remaining ingredients: Add in the onion, coriander, jalapeño (or serrano), lime juice, salt, cumin, and tomatoes (if using) and stir until combined. Give the mixture a taste, and season with extra salt if needed. Serve with some chopped up veggies or corn chips.
Brownies (They also happen to be gluten free) – 225 g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), 225 g butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 200 grams caster sugar, 3 large eggs (beaten), 150 grams ground almonds, 100 grams chopped walnuts. (Or if you’re not keen on walnuts you can replace them with frozen raspberries). First preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts (or if using frozen raspberries gently mix then in at the end). Turn into a 24cm / 9 inch square baking tin. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squares. Enjoy with some raspberries or strawberries.