The weather is finally warming up, which means that our thoughts have started turning to dining al fresco. There isn’t much more satisfying than packing a picnic basket and a blanket and heading into the great outdoors with friends and a bottle of something.

But what to take for a picnic? You do need to think about this because you don’t want to start unpacking and discover that all your homemade creations have turned to crumbs! Get organised and plan ahead. Keep it simple with dishes that do not need refrigeration.

Here are a few of our favourite picnic must-haves:

  • Scotch eggs – surprisingly easy to make, delicious and robust! Pack them well and they will last the journey.
  • Sausage rolls – a picnic isn’t really a picnic without these! Homemade of course.
  • Panzanella – an Italian salad made with bread that soaks up the juices and makes sure it travels well.
  • Mini tarts – perfect for the fussy ones because you can make a selection of different fillings to take with you – much more interesting than a sandwich!
  • Brownies – just because you are outside doesn’t mean you don’t need a pudding! Brownies keep and travel well and you can jazz them up by adding some fruit to the mix
  • Bring along some dips and cut up vegetables, such as: red pepper, celery, carrots, cauliflower or even asparagus. Simple dips may include Greek yoghurt mixed with lots of fresh herbs and lemon zest or hummus.To make your own you will need:Can of chickpeas, drained

    1 clove of garlic

    pinch of salt

    1 tablespoon of tahini

    2 tablespoons of hot water

    100 ml olive oil

    squeeze of lemon juice

    Additional: 100g fresh peas, 4 sprigs of mint

    Blend the chickpeas with garlic, tahini, peas and salt

    Whilst the blender is running add the water and oil gradually

    Add the mint and blitz

    Season with salt and lemon juice to taste

    Of course you will need something to wash it all down with, and if it is too early for booze you could always make some homemade lemonade? Try mixing the juice of 3 lemons with 4 tablespoons of sugar (or a healthy alternative to sugar –  stevia, maple syrup) and dissolving with a little hot water before topping up with cold. Taste to adjust the seasoning – simple and delicious!