I am a bit of a romantic, or perhaps just nostalgic, but I love a good picnic. A tartan picnic rug, white linen napkins, old fashioned cutlery. Just add sunshine, a grassy field and some lovely food. Heaven!
One of the many things I love about Luxembourg is the variety of bread and rolls you can buy. So try to incorporate a couple of different types of bread or rolls to match different fillings, here are some suggestions:
√Smoked salmon, cream cheese and cress
√Rare roast beef, rocket and sundried tomatoes
√Cream cheese, mango chutney and watercress
√Thin strips of pan fried steak, mustard and fresh spinach
√Cheese and apple
√Sardines in tomato sauce mashed with sliced red pepper
The list is endless!
But picnics are not just sandwiches. Quiches always go down well, try this low fat one:
Quiche du soleil (Sunshine quiche)
- 1 roll shortcrust pastry
- 200g lardons
- 300g courgettes washed, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
- 4 eggs
- 250g fromage blanc 20%
- 20cl milk
- 30g freshly grated parmesan
- handful of fresh basil
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°c
- Sauté courgettes in frying pan with a little olive oil until golden with the thyme leaves from the sprigs. Season, add chopped basil and remove from heat.
- Place pastry in your quiche tin/dish and prick with a fork all over the base without going through the pastry
- Fry off the lardons until crisp and discard the fat
- Beat together eggs, fromage blanc, milk and parmesan
- Spread the courgettes and lardons over the pastry then pour over the egg mix
- Cook for 30 minutes
This can also be served as a canapé by cutting into mouth sized squares, topping with half a cherry tomato, basil leaf and thin piece of parmesan, all speared with a wooden stick.
And to wash it all down:
Homemade pink lemonade
Recipe – makes one large jug:
- 8 lemons, plus extra slices to serve
- 200g caster sugar
- 140g raspberries plus extra to serve
- Remove the zest from the lemons with a sharp knife or peeler, removing as little of the white pith as possible – cut away any pith you can from the strips.
- Juice the lemons and mix the juice, zest, sugar and raspberries with 1.2 litres of boiling water.
- Leave to cool then sieve, pressing through juice with the back of a spoon.
- Add extra sugar to taste, then chill.
- To serve add a lemon slice, a couple of raspberries and lots of ice
It wouldn’t be a picnic without a slice of cake. This is one of my favourites – easy to transport, and you certainly won’t be bringing any back:
Lemon drizzle cake
- 100g softened unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 150g self raising flour
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 2 lemons zest and juice
- 50 g granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 180°C, grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.
- In a bowl use a mixer to cream butter and golden caster sugar for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and very pale, beat in the eggs slowly, sift in the flour and mix well to combine. Stir in the lemon zest and milk
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Ten minutes before the cake is ready, heat the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved and set aside.
- Remove the cake from the oven and while still hot prick the surface all over with a skewer. Drizzle over the lemon syrup and then leave to cool completely in the tin.
Now, where’s your favourite picnic spot?
Text and photo by Alison Korter-Lacki, June 2014