I’ve been going to about three picnics a week lately, so I’ve been cooking an enormous amount of picnic goodies. Picnic food is the best – I love the mini-ness of everything. These miniature frittatas with sundried tomato, feta, courgettes and olives sum up what picnic food is all about – bite-sized, packed with summer flavours and infinitely more-ish. They couldn’t be easier to make, and you can pretty much put anything you like in them, from different kinds of cheese, mushrooms, peppers, spinach…
Makes 12 mini frittatas
6 free-range eggs
250 courgettes, grated
Handful of sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
Handful of olives, pitted and chopped
8 peppadews, chopped finely
1 T wholegrain mustard
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
1 T fresh chives, chopped finely
After grating the courgettes, place them in a colander over the sink and spinkle them with salt. Leave them to drain. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and add all the other ingredients. Season well with black pepper. I like to add a dash of Tabasco and a generous sprinkling of cayenne pepper, but that’s up to you. Pour the mixture into a greased muffin pan (filling up each pan almost to the top) and bake in a 150 C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the frittatas have started to turn golden.
I got the idea for these savoury muffins from this blog . I tweaked the recipe a bit and added some more bits and bobs – caramelised onion, peppadews and some more fresh herbs. This is a great basic savoury muffin recipe that you could add a couple more things to – try chopped marinated peppers, mushrooms, wilted spinach, parmesan or dried chilli.
Makes 12 muffins
- 200 g crème fraîche
- 4 free-range eggs
- 1 T baking powder
- 4oo ml plain flour
- a pinch of salt
- 50 g crumbled feta cheese
- a couple of chopped sundried tomatoes
- Six finely chopped peppadews
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- a tablespoon each of finely chopped fresh basil and chives
- One sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped
Fry the onion over a low heat in some olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar and cook further until caramelised (about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and chop finely when cooled.
Mix the crème fraîche and eggs, then gently fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the feta, peppadews, caramelised onion, sundried tomatoes and herbs. . Mix just enough to bring the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture between into muffin cases and bake in a preheated 200?C oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden.
Another of my Italian favourites – tomato bruschette. Nothing tastes more of summer than this antipasto – hints of garlic, ripe sweet tomatoes, fresh basil and lashings of olive oil. I could eat these every day in summer. For some reason, they taste better in Italy than they do at home. I think it’s something to do with the tomatoes – they just seem to have more flavour. I think bruschette are best when made in summer with fresh, ripe tomatoes rather than ones that have been in cold storage and taste a bit bland.
All you need to make tomato bruschette is a French baguette or ciabatta, which you slice, rub with a cut garlic clove, and toast under the grill (I love those charred grill lines). Cut up loads of tomato, and mix with lashings of good quality olive oil and a handful of roughly chopped basil. Pile the toasted bread up with the tomato mixture and that’s it. Simple and delicious.
This is my mum’s recipe for Marmite tart, which sounds kind of odd but is really delicious. It’s sort of a gourmet version of marmite and cheese on toast, I guess. By the time we could get a photograph half of it was eaten…
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup and 1 ½ T melted butter
- ¼ cup grated cheddar
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Marmite
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix the flour and butter and then add the grated cheese. Mix together and then add the milk, salt and egg and beat to combine. Add the baking powder.
Pour into a greased pie dish and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.
Take the tart out of the oven and prick all over. Melt together the 1 ½ T butter and 1 tsp Marmite and pour over the warm tart.
I made these sausage rolls for a picnic recently, and they went down really well. They are super easy and quick to make, and will please hardened meat-eating sausage roll lovers. The uncooked mixture looks bland and boring but it somehow transforms into really meaty (but not in a gross faux-meat kind of way) sausage rolls. Serve slightly warm with tomato sauce, although they’re also good when cold and part of a picnic.
I got this recipe from this website, and added a few of my own touches.
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 125 g pecans, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp vegetable stock powder
- 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
- 3 T soy sauce
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 T worcestershire sauce
- 250 g chunky cottage cheese
- 1 cup oats
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 3 rolls of ready-made puff pastry
- 2 beaten egg yolks
Heat the oven to 220C.
Combine all the filling ingredients.
You can either make mini sausage rolls or a couple of big ones that you can cut up after cooking. Small ones are good for taking on a picnic.
Cover a baking tray with baking paper and roll out sheet of puff pastry onto it. For big rolls, cut the puff pastry in half lengthways. Fill one vertical half of each rectangle with filling, and then wet the edges of the half with filling with a bit of water. Fold over the other half of the rectangle on top and seal closed by pushing down on the edges with a fork. Repeat with the other rectangle and other rolls of pastry. Make a couple of slashes with a knife on top of each roll, and brush over with beaten egg.
For small rolls, cut small rectangles. Fill one vertical half with filling, wet the edges of that half and pull the other half on top, sealing the edges with a fork. Make a couple of slashes on each roll and brush egg over.
Bake the rolls at 220C for 20 minutes.