Food to Go Home Chef

How to Prepare the Perfect Picnic

Is the sun shining where you are? It's time to dust off your picnic basket and venture into the outdoors to dine alfresco. Picnics are the perfect opportunity to get together with friends and family, and show off some of your skills in the kitchen. To make the most of this traditional British summertime activity, we’ve put together a guide to help you prepare the perfect picnic.

Dine in Style

Just because you’re dining outdoors, doesn’t mean you can’t dine in style. If you’re a fan of the retro look, enamelware makes the perfect outdoor crockery. Remember those blue and white dishes from camping as a child? They are on-trend at the moment, and you’ll find them in bars and restaurants all over the UK. Enamelware is lightweight, making it easy to carry in your picnic basket and its look only gets better with age, so there’s no need to worry about being too careful while you’re out in a field.

For desserts and salads, Kilner jars are a practical way to store these while you’re out and about to keep them fresh and stop any leaks, and they look great too. You can make great layered desserts for a number of people in the larger jars, and this saves carrying multiple jars, or delicate cakes that may not fair so well in your basket. Check out our Sweetened Summer Fruit Tarts recipe for more delicious dessert ideas. Kilner bottles are perfect for transporting your homemade picnic drinks. The swing top lid is airtight so you can keep liquids safely stored in your basket without any spills, and the vintage look is perfect for a stylish picnic. You can create some exciting summery cocktails for a picnic later in the evening too – take a look at our summer drinks recipes!

Disposables are useful at a picnic as they’re light and there’s no need to carry them back home or wash up, but just because they are disposable doesn’t mean they can’t add a little style and colour to your picnic blanket. The Fiesta range has a variety of colours so you can mix and match, or choose cups to go with your colour scheme.

This Year's Best Picnic Foods

Picnic foods need to be easy to transport without getting broken or soggy, and as prepped as possible before you venture out. There are hundreds of salads, tarts and other nibbles you can find out there, so we’ve picked a few trendy favourites for this year’s outdoor dining season.

Scotch eggs are really popular at the moment, and to get the soft yolk, delicious meaty coating and crispy breadcrumbs just right takes a little finesse in the kitchen. The great thing about scotch eggs is you can fiddle a little with the recipe to suit your own tastes. Variations like black pudding, chorizo and pulled pork have been used to replace the usual sausage meat mixture. For the vegetarians out there, there are also avocado and lentil recipes. You’ll have your own signature Scotch egg recipe in no time!

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Soup may not spring to mind when you imagine your picnic, but delicious fresh gazpacho is perfect on a hot day. Just whip up this Spanish soup with some fresh summery veg and a tomato base, and serve ice cold from a flask once you’re set up at your picnic. You can also put a fruity spin on this Spanish classic using grapes or watermelon instead.

Savoury muffins make great tasty little snacks at picnics. You can be creative with the flavours, and some recipes include cheddar cheese and jalapeno, cheese and bacon, and courgette. These are perfect hot or cold and can be easily stored in a Tupperware box to transport.

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Spiralizing is all the rage this year, and you can make exciting healthy alternatives to carb-heavy pasta, rice and noodles. With the right ingredients spiralized salads are full of nutrients and super colourful, and great to take along to your picnic too.

Don't Forget

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your picnic spot and realising you’ve forgotten something. Make a list before you pack everything to make sure nothing is left behind. You’ll need to keep your food cool, especially if you have meat and cheese in your basket. It’s a good idea to invest in ice packs to pop in there, or you can freeze some bottles of juice so you can keep food cool while you carry it and have ice-cold drinks on arrival.

Take care of the needs of elderly or very young guests to make sure everyone is comfortable. For older guests, sitting on the floor isn’t always a good option, so they may need a chair. foldable chairs are easy to carry and can save any aching knees later. Youngsters might need some games taking along to occupy them so the adults can enjoy themselves together too. A football or Frisbee will keep them busy so you don’t have to – for a little while at least!

At the end of the picnic you’ll need to tidy up, so bring some bags for rubbish in case there aren’t any bins around and wet wipes for people to clean their hands. Keep your leftovers in Tupperware, but beware with meat, cheese or certain sauces as these may not be safe to eat after being in the heat too long.

And finally, we all know the British weather can be unpredictable. It’s best not to rely on the sun staying out too long, so take an umbrella or a waterproof jacket so you can stay nice and dry.

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