The ‘official’ start of Summer means it’s time to forge some great memories to see us through the colder months. A picnic is a great place to start, and a few simple twists can transform it into a remarkable and classy affair. So get planning and keep an eye on that treacherous weather!
I recommend simplicity; dishes you can make in advance, in large batches and can transport easily without refrigeration and other paraphernalia.
For instance, squeeze lemon juice into sparkling water to create homemade ‘lemonade’ for adults. Even when sweetened with honey or stevia, it’s far more refreshing and interesting than the usual sugary stuff.
Supermarket dips are also very easy to beat. Mix Greek yoghurt with chopped fresh herbs (chives, dill, coriander etc.) and lemon zest, or make fresh hummus with chickpeas, green peas and mint. Serve with chopped red peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower or even asparagus.
Vegetable crisps are another simple crowd-pleaser. Just slice some root vegetables very thinly, coat with oil, salt and spices (try garam masala or smoked paprika), then bake or deep fry until crispy.
Give your sandwiches an upgrade too, consider using a brioche roll instead of ordinary bread. The sweet, buttery flavour goes particularly well with seafood, so I like to fill them with prawns, coated in breadcrumbs and smoked paprika, then fried golden brown in chilli oil. Add smoky chipotle sauce and a few slices of crunchy cucumber – perfect.
Scotch eggs are understandably popular, and one of our signature recipes at The Devilled Egg uses soft-boiled quail eggs wrapped in lamb mince, grated halloumi, lots of fresh mint and Moroccan spices. Add a red pepper and almond pesto to bind them together and pack in extra flavour.
For the sweet-toothed, try a Pimm’s layered dessert. Mix mascarpone and crème fraîche (1:2) with raspberries and enough Pimm’s to create a loose, creamy consistency. Layer in bowls or glasses with ladyfingers and blueberries. Enjoy!

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