As soon as the blossoms bloom and the sun shines, in flood the orders for our best-selling picnic blankets.... we don't blame you! Yes we may be blowing our own trumpets, but so much thought and care has gone into creating them, we can't help but shout about them! From the hand-woven, 100% new wool design, to the addition of a waterproof back (no more soggy bums!) and hand-carry strap for easy carrying and storage. We wanted to create a blanket that was beautiful and practical for families, just like ours! We love packing up our blankets, picnic baskets brimming with food and heading to the park or beach - the kids love the novelty of eating al fresco and as mums, there is something so much more relaxed about mealtimes outdoors!
As picnic season gets into full swing this May bank holiday, we've asked Leiths Chef, Annabel Evans to give us her top tips and recipe ideas for delicious picnic this summer...
"Food and recipe wise I don’t think you can go wrong with the classics - no one is going to turn down sausage rolls...
My go-to sausage roll flavour is pecorino and fennel; a recipe that was shared by a great friend a few years ago. Grating pecorino and a handful of fennel seeds into your sausage meat is a delicious addition if making from scratch. Don’t be put off in thinking they are difficult - buy your puff pastry and get rolling and people will love you for it!
A stuffed sandwich would be another picnic top favourite. Start by removing the top of a loaf of bread and hollowing out the inside (the centre can be blitzed in a good processor and used for breadcrumbs!). Then start layering the empty loaf with your favourite flavours. I would go along the Parma ham, mozzarella, pesto route with some salad leaves in the mix as well. Compact this all down, put the top back on and you will be able to slice your very own stuffed picnic loaf. Like these amazing ones from Borough market http://boroughmarket.org.uk/recipes/stuffed-picnic-loaf
To balance out the heartier picnic elements I would want some salad and sticks and dips! The easiest way to do this is have Jam jars or Kilner jars filled with your favourite things. Having some hummus at the base with carrot sticks dipped in gives you a perfect pre made hummus and sticks! I always take dressings and sauces in jam jars for easy transportation and less mess.
Packing a picnic basket is a feat of memory! Making sure you have all the bits you need, cutlery being key... I have a separate pot of
cutlery ready to go in a Tupperware, collected up in the same pot at the end of the day. I don’t bother with disposables- just old bits that don’t mind the sand and sea! If in desperate need, credit cards (if wiped) make a just about decent knife substitute!
Remember to take: extra sandwich bags/ rubbish bags. Wet wipes and talcum powder!! Talcum powder if on the beach will help with sandy hands pre picnic time...
Start collecting jam jars and kilners and
Your picnic will be ready to go for the bank holiday sunshine.
My picnic picks:
I’m obsessed with plates at the best of times but I am loving the range of melamine options that M&S have at the moment. There are some brilliant bold prints alongside some blue tones that look like amazing ceramic items. So I would definitely look at those for outdoor eating this year.
Not to mention some very cute and bright flamingo themed outside glasses! They would look very happy against a Lala and Bea blanket.