Picnic recipes and essential advice
We're really looking forward to lots of outdoor eating this summer. There's no shortage of places to go in Surrey and it's a great time to visit farm shops and delis and stock up on local food ready to serve up at barbecues and picnics.
Rain or fine, make yours a local picnic
Pack a flask of organic Beanberry coffee
We all know the great British weather can be a little, shall we say, surprising, at times. There's nothing like a warm drink for those days when the sun disappears behind a large cloud. We love Beanberry Coffee, which is roasted here in Surrey. This organic coffee is created from single estate beans from top producers.
Wrap your hands around a warming mug of coffee and you'll soon perk up that chilly picnic!
Don't stop at sandwiches
Sometimes there's nowhere like home when it comes to a picnic: when feeding a crowd, why not use your "outdoor room" and entertain them in your garden? With your kitchen to close by, you need not be restricted to sandwiches and sausage rolls.
Think seasonal British favourites such as game pie, perhaps using fresh rabbit or venison, and Lancashire hotpot - renamed Surrey hotpot of course! These can be dished up into individual portions and passed around in bowls – a very sociable way of serving food as guests can mingle while enjoying the meal. Consider using mutton from Shabden Park Farm, Chipstead, instead of lamb as when it’s slow cooked it tastes divine. Remember to cut the meat into bite-sized cubes so that it is easy to eat with just a fork. Try our Unhurried Mutton One Pot recipe.
Give a British slant to finger foods too with mini Yorkshire puddings made from local eggs and milk then stuffed with thinly sliced strips of local roast beef, or small portions of fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. Salad bowls should contain anything - and everything! - local and seasonal.
And of course, the middle months are the time for English strawberries. Try an Eton Mess with lots of crunched-up meringue and a dash of ruby Port and cream, or serve a bowl of quartered strawberries with a dousing of balsamic vinegar and vanilla ice-cream. Fantastic. In season, you can pick your own strawberries at Garsons Farm in Esher.
Picnic food recipes
Avoid mass-produced Scotch eggs - instead, dazzle 'em with these homemade delights! Click here for Scotch egg recipe.
What better to serve with your Scotch eggs than potato salad - click here for recipe.
Keep it safe
Planning a barbecue or garden parties when everyone helps out? Wonderful! But do ensure your helpers know the basic hygiene rules - and stick to them. A common mistake is cooking food and then putting it back on the same plate the raw food was on (which can happen when there are too many cooks), and not cooking thoroughly enough. Avoid getting the barbecue too hot, which burns the food on the outside while rendering it raw in the middle. We recommend investing in a meat thermometer – poultry needs to register at least 75C/165F to kill off any bacteria. And with any outdoor feast, it’s important to consider how you are going to keep food chilled for long enough. You really don’t want it sitting in the sun, so it’s best to bring it out of the fridge as needed and use cool boxes.
Find more food safety tips on www.NHS.UK