It has been couple of weeks already that Spain spoils us with nice weather, punctual for the weekend the weather will turn to the best and my heart will fill with anticipation for yet another picnic. Our small family love picnics, mainly because of me as it would be always me suggesting another picnic on weekend. Not only that I do enjoy to prepare the food for this, but also because I always find that food taste much better outside at the fresh air. I have that nice and warm memories of picnics as a kid, my parents used to drag us kids pretty often outside for a picnic. Usually we would meet other families, everybody will bring something with, we will share the food, we kids would fooling around making lots of noise and our parents would just lie lazy at the picnic blankets enjoying the moment where they do not have to care that much about us kids. I really loved those moments and also the food, everything no matter how simple was suddenly so much better as home, the atmosphere so relaxed and for a short little moment everybody felt carefree and happy.
We opened the picnic season for this year couple of weeks ago already, which means this post is way way too late... somehow I got lost in all the nice memories and nice weather, having one picnic after another, instead of writing my blog. Today some very simple, but yet delicious recipes for the picnic, which never fail and are always very much appreciated. Something which can be done in advance so you don´t have to stress out on the big day.
Our first official picnic was at the beach. The day turned out beautifully and we were surprised by quite some people at the beach, which we did not really expect. By the end of the picnic our son even managed to open the bathing season too... It was a lovely day and I hope that one day when he is all grown up having kids on his own, he will have the same nice and warm memories about our family picnics.
Pasta salad in a glass jar (all kids favourite)
- precooked pasta (any pasta you prefer, I used spaghetti which I did broke up in small pieces before cooking)
- 1 cane sweet corn
- 1 bell pepper
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 hot dog sausages
- 50 g cheese (I prefer cheddar)
- olive oil, salt and pepper
In a big bowl add the pasta and sweet corn. Wash and cut the bell pepper and cherry tomatoes in equal cubes, add them to the pasta. Cut the sausages and the cheese in small cubes too. Mix everything together. Season it with salt and pepper. Finally add a good splash of olive oil and stir.
The beauty of this salad is that you can use any ingredients you like... if you do not like bell pepper, you can put some cucumber cut in cubes to freshen up the salad. Red onions cut in small cubes will give an extra kick to this salad. Instead of cheddar cheese you can also use feta cheese (be bit careful with the salt!). Instead of sausages you can use ham cubes or leave the meat out completely. Fresh peas would not only brighten up the salad with their nice green colour, but also add some sweet and fresh note to it. And of course if you would like to go bit Mediterranean then add some olives and bit of fresh thyme... You see the choices are endless to create something you and your family would love.
To make it even more funny, well this is something kids always love, divide the salad in glass jars. You do not have to buy special glass jars for this. I usually keep the jars from the store bought jams, sauce or olives and use them later for picnics. They do not have to be the same size either, the more different they are the funnier it gets. Kids can go for smaller portion, adults for bigger. Prepare the salad the night before and put the filled jars into the refrigerator over night.
Next to the "main dishes" salad or sandwiches, I always would bring some fresh vegetables, which are cut in big chunks: tomatoes, cucumber, carrots... something you can easily snack just with your hands in between. Same with the fruits anything you and your kids like, apples, pineapple, watermelon or melon. Put them in a tupper bowl, put it into the refrigerator for some hours and you will have delicious and refreshing snack, which will be very much appreciated after some playing around at the sun.
For dessert I made us a delicious lemon yogurt cake from Ina Garten the "Barefoot Contessa". You will find the recipe and the instruction HERE. I skipped the glaze of icing sugar and lemon on top, as I find it does not match very nicely to the lemon sugar syrup you will use to soak the cake after it was baked. The recipe goes for one bread loaf tin or 2 small bundt cakes.
Raspberries infused lemonade
- 1 l watter
- half of a lemon (cut in slices)
- hand full of frozen raspberries
- sugar syrup (optional)
Pour the water in a big bowl, add lemon slices and frozen raspberries and let it cool for couple of hours in the fridge. The water will turn pink from the raspberries. Give it a gut swill with a wooden spoon. Should the lemonade be too sour for you, add some sugar syrup to it. Poor the lemonade in a saleable bottle and leave it in the fridge till you leave for the picnic.