Picnic recipes: sundried tomato, feta, courgette and olive mini frittatas

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
80g feta
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.

Spinach and ricotta lasagne

It was about 35 degrees when I got home from work yesterday. Did I stay in the pool like a normal person? No, I’m so committed to cooking that I sweated it out in my sunny, hot kitchen making lasagne because I had to use up some ricotta I had leftover from the weekend. I don’t know why I didn’t think of a more summery recipe to use up my ricotta, but I got stuck on the idea of spinach and ricotta lasagne. I love this dish when it’s done well, but it’s so often overly creamy and rich (in a bad way) with a bland spinach filling. My version cuts out the white sauce (I just couldn’t spend any longer than I had to in the kitchen) and I think it’s better for it. It’s basically just spinach, cheese and tomato – simple but so tasty.

spinach and ricotta lasagne

Serves 6

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cans chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 750 g frozen spinach
  • 2 courgettes, grated
  • 600 fresh ricotta
  • 80 g feta
  • 8 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • Dried or fresh lasagne sheets (about 12, depending on the size of your dish)

A generous handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly

Fry the onion in some olive oil until softened, and then add the garlic. Fry for a minute or two and then add the tins of tomato, the puree and a tomato can filled with water. Put the heat up to high and let it come to the boil. Once it’s bubbling away furiously, turn the heat down to medium high and let it simmer away until it’s become a thick sauce. Season with chilli (optional) and black pepper and stir in half of the basil leaves.

Heat some olive oil in another pan and add the frozen spinach (don’t defrost before cooking). Cook on medium high for a couple of minutes and then add the courgette. Turn the heat up when the spinach starts getting a bit watery and then cook until most of the water has evaporated.

Squeeze out the excess water and mix well with the ricotta. Crumble in around half of the feta and stir in the sundried tomatoes. Season with a bit of salt, lots of black pepper and the basil leaves.

Smear a layer of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking dish and then cover with a layer of spinach and ricotta mixture. On top of this add a layer of lasagna sheets. Keep repeating this until you end up with a layer of lasagna with tomato sauce on top. Crumble over the remaining feta and bake in an oven at 180 C for 35 – 40 minutes. It’s done when the feta has turned slightly golden. It’s great with rocket salad.

Mediterranean puy lentil salad

Here’s another of Wendy’s fantastic salad recipes, sent to her by a friend.

lentil salad

Serves 4

  • 250 g puy lentils
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 240 g sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to serve

Cook the lentils until al dente (15 – 20 mins). Meanwhile, gently cook the chopped peppers in olive oil for 2 minutes, add the tomatoes and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat.

Strain the lentils and add them to the yellow pepper and tomatoes, stir in well, add the feta cheese, season to taste and top with chopped parsley.

Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.