As some parts of the world celebrate Picnic Month this July, we look at what makes the perfect picnic - and how your garden is the best possible spot for the kids to have a picnic tea.
The long-term weather forecast is promising a warm, dry month for much of the UK, so with the weather seemingly set fair, what else do we need for a fabulous picnic?
Preparation and packing
Choose your equipment carefully and make sure all the lids seal properly. Re-useable, lightweight plastic plates and cutlery (or try bamboo plates) are easier to pack and carry - and the same goes for wine ‘glasses’ and teacups. It also prevents accidents with glass. Just don’t forget your bottle opener!
Store foods in Tupperware containers in a cool box, keeping food types separate - especially meats and pungent cheeses. On warm days, keep the food in the cool box until you need it - having it all laid out might look nice, but it won’t taste great and might risk poor food hygiene.
Cut your quiches, pies and cakes beforehand, so they’re ready to serve. And when packing a selection of condiments such as dressings and sauces, keep them in the containers. Don’t add to your salads in advance - they’ll turn soggy.
A picnic blanket and comfy cushions are essential, and maybe some picnic chairs, too. Finally, you’ll probably need sun cream and insect bite cream, just in case. Serviettes and hand wipes or anti-bacterial gel are also musts but are easy to forget in all the excitement.
The picnic spread
Quiches, pork pies, sausage rolls, scotch eggs and chicken drumsticks are all picnic favourites and hard to leave out. Offer boiled eggs, falafel Scotch eggs and veggie quiches for those who don’t eat meat and add a Mediterranean touch with stuffed vine leaves, hummus and olives.
Choose a nice selection of sandwiches or rolls - tuna & sweetcorn, and salmon and cucumber will keep fishy people happy. Or slice up a baguette or two so people can add their own cold meats, cheeses and salad.
For the salad, keep it simple - some sweet, juicy tomatoes, sliced cucumber, colourful peppers and fresh lettuce leaves should do the trick. Throw in a potato salad or pasta salad, and you’re away.
The same ‘keep it simple’ message applies to dessert. Fresh strawberries and/or raspberries and cream can’t be beaten, and you can scrunch some bought meringue nests over the top. Chocolate brownies go down well with younger members of the party, and you can’t go too far wrong with a nice slice of lemon drizzle cake.
All that’s left is to pack your tipples of choice, some soft drinks and plenty of water - and enjoy.
The great thing about a having a picnic is that you don’t have to go any further than your own garden - if you have a nice lawn, of course! It’ll save all that packing. And if you want to keep the children occupied and happy, why not let them choose and create the menu?!