Twenty ideas for picnics

  1. Chicken breasts, marinated in coconut milk, a little red curry paste, ginger and garlic, cooked, cooled and served in a salad of spinach and sesame seeds.
  2. Australian smoked salmon, with creamy goat’s cheese, dill, hot mustard cress, olive oil, lime juice and black pepper.
  3. Roast some garlic (do this in the microwave for a minute, allow to cool, then peel) and whizz it with some creamy goat’s cheese, a pour of virgin olive oil, some fresh herbs and black pepper. Pack it into a ramekin, and serve with crusty French bread, and olives.
  4. Lambs’ brains, cooked gently, cooled, sliced thinly, marinated in a little soy, sprinkled with chopped walnuts and served on a slice of sourdough.
  5. Guacamole: the wonderful Mexican mix of crushed avocado, cubes of tomato, chilli, onion and coriander.
  6. Onion tarts like Fredy Girardet makes. I took this appetiser during my one and only meal there and can still remember it. It’s a delicious pastry, covered with some almost- caramelised onions and a good pour of spicy custard, and baked in a slow, slow oven for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. Cold goat’s cheese and spinach ravioli, impregnated with pesto, and extra Parmesan.
  8. A wedge of a young Parmesan, with young spinach leaves, nashis, pears, apples and walnut oil.
  9. Young leeks, cooked gently with lamb shanks in a lamb stock and allowed to set into the lamb jelly, served with sandwiches made with meat pulled from the shanks.
  10. Finely sliced tuna, cooked gently, allowed to cool, tossed with lemon juice, chilli, virgin olive oil and chervil, served on black pumpernickel with rich butter.
  11. Mussels steamed, shelled and crammed into a black casserole dish, mixed with seeded Liguri- an olives, chopped tomatoes, basil, chilli and chives.
  12. Radishes, pulled fresh from the garden, chomped with bubbly, malty beer.
  13. Older, large, end-of-season broad beans slow-cooked with ox tail, sliced potatoes, carrots, parsnips and all the usual slow-cooking suspects. Keep the broad beans in a muslin cloth while cooking, then remove and serve them in the stock. If you take out the ox tail, and remove the meat by hand, it makes for the most stupendous sandwich.
  14. A bowl of shredded carrots, mixed with crushed black pepper and hazelnuts, and well-soaked in virgin olive oil.
  15. Here’s a sandwich for toffs. The breast of turkey or chicken, sliced finely, and placed in a poppy seed bagel on a solid smear of Gippsland Blue cheese (no butter).
  16. A bowl of well-marinated, peeled, fresh, seasonal tomatoes. Peel the tomatoes, slice them roughly, and cover them with a good amount of salt, black pepper, virgin olive oil, chives, chunky parsley, sliced olives and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Allow them to marinate overnight, turning them just before bed and just after rising.
  17. Aged Parmesan, broken into walnut-sized chunks, and tossed through a salad of young spinach and watercress, with a good sprinkle of crushed black peppers, a pour of virgin olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
  18. Core some pears, cover them with lemon juice, briefly, and cook in red wine and cinnamon. Serve floating in large bowl on top of crushed ice, skewers on the side to spear the pears.
  19. Pithiviers. This is one of the great French pastries, a puff pastry tart filled with almond meal and pastry cream. Best served just warm, and must be served on the day it is made.
  20. Raspberries, blueberries and blackcurrants are at their best when gently warmed in a little caster sugar until they give their juice to the bowl. If your picnic is at home, pour a little of the juice over some ice cream and return it to the freezer. Serve the berries warm with the ice cream.