A picnic is a meal taken outdoors as part of an outing – ideally in scenic environments, such as a park, lakeside, or any place affording an interesting view.
History of Picnics
- After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to the public for the first time. Picnicking in the parks became a popular activity amongst the newly enfranchised citizens.
- Early in the 19th century, a fashionable group of Londoners formed the ‘Picnic Society’. Members met in the Pantheon on Oxford Street. Each member was expected to provide a share of the entertainment and of the refreshments with no particular host.
- From the 1830s, Romantic American landscape painting of spectacular scenery often included a group of picnickers in the foreground. An early American illustration of the picnic is Thomas Cole’s The Pic-Nic of 1846 (Brooklyn Museum of Art). In it, a guitarist serenades the genteel social group in the Hudson River Valley with the Catskills visible in the distance.
Caprese Sandwich with Basil Pesto
- 1 loaf of seeded or multigrain Low GI bread
- 1 medium tomato sliced
- 100g fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto
- Spread basil pesto on one slice of bread.
- Add tomato slices and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Close with another slice of bread.
- Toast lightly with a sandwich press for about 5 minutes, until crispy and cheese is melted.
- Remove, cut in half and enjoy!
Pomodoro Pasta Salad
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 500g pasta (your choice, fusilli recommended)
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix and let sit for at least 1 hour, to let the flavours develop.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water.
- Cook for about 1 minute less than al dente as the pasta will soak up liquid from the sauce and soften further. Drain the pasta.
- Just before assembling the salad, stir the chopped fresh basil into the Pomodoro tomato mixture.
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce, give it a stir and serve.
Tomato Cucumber Salad with Olives and Feta
Dill & Garlic Dressing:
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 500g tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, cut in half)
- 500g cucumbers (approximately 2 large or 4 small), diced
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, drained, pitted, & chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you may place ingredients in a jar, tighten the lid, and shake until incorporated.
For the salad:
- In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
- Toss with dressing until everything is evenly coated.
- Cover salad and chill for at least 4 hours, removing from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Drain off any excess dressing and serve.
(makes one 20cm square pan, around 16 brownies)
- 150g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (keep divided into ¾ cup and 2 tablespoon portions)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup portions
- Preheat the oven to 200ᵒC.
- Prepare a 20 by 20 cm baking pan by lining with baking paper, leaving an overhang over each end.
- In a double boiler (or, a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water), combine the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate and 6 tablespoons unsalted butter.
- Melt over medium-low heat, using a heatproof rubber spatulato stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth.
- Once the chocolate and butter have completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.
- In a medium bowl, combine 2 large eggs and 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Continue mixing and slowly add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture into the mixture, mixing until just combined and the batter is a uniform chocolate colour.
- Sprinkle ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon kosher salt over the surface of the batter. Gently fold the flour into the chocolate batter —fold until the ingredients are just combined and do not overmix — it’s okay to have one or two flour streaks left in the mixture.
- Toss together 1 cup fresh blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Add the blueberry mixture into the brownie batter, fold the fruit evenly into the batter.
- Transfer the batter into the baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are slightly puffed but still moist in the centre.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rackand immediately press the remaining ½ cup of blueberries on to the top of the brownies. Be careful not to press too hard — a gentle tap will do.
- Allow the brownies to cool in their pan completely before cutting into squares.
Chocolate Dipped and Stuffed Strawberries
- 1 kg strawberries
- 230 g cream cheese
- 250 g chocolate (any of your choice)
- 1⁄2cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1⁄4cup chocolate syrup
- Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries.
- Scoop out the top of the strawberry removing stem and some of the centre.
- Melt chocolate (either use double boiler method as explained in the brownie recipe or alternatively use the microwave)
- In microwave at medium heat, use small intervals of 30 – 45 seconds. Mix between each interval, do not overheat.
- Dip strawberries in chocolate and place on wax paper to dry.
- While they are drying mix the cream cheese, sugar and syrup using an electric mixer.
- Using a pastry bag, pipe the filling into the strawberries.
- Serve and enjoy.