The photos here represent how I spent my Saturday: nice, huh? I’d been craving a big, elaborate picnic for months, and yesterday the birthday of a friend provided the perfect excuse. Andrew and I met up with our pals Kent and Becky to spend a celebratory afternoon in Greenwich Park, complete with good food, bottomless mimosas, intermittent sunshine and great company.
Natually, yours truly was the caterer du jour. I spent hours in the kitchen preparing for this feast, but it was so worth it. The menu for the day consisted of:
Mini Calzone I made two kinds: Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto and Caramelized Onion and Goat’s Cheese. I played it pretty fast and loose with the ingredients, but Jamie Oliver’s calzone recipe is a good place to start.
Sesame Peanut Noodles I used Nigella’s recipe with some added chili flakes and toasted cashews.
Tuna and Beans Use my Pasta, Bean and Tuna Salad recipe, but omit the pasta and use half borlotti beans and half cannellini. The colours and flavours here are perfect picnic fodder.
Greek Pepper Salad A mash-up of this recipe and this one, this is super easy to make. Marinate a sliced red onion in 1 Tbs. vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. sugar and the juice of one lemon for a few hours (or overnight). When you’re ready to eat, throw the whole lot over some chopped peppers, cucumber and feta cheese. Salt, pepper and parsley to taste, and you’re good to go.
Lemon Cupcakes The birthday girl doesn’t really have a sweet tooth, so lemon trumped chocolate in this case. I used this recipe from Rachel Allen, which produces a dense, rich cake. Topped with my favourite buttercream recipe (I pumped up the flavour with some extra lemon juice), these made a great treat for the end of the meal.
I tend to suffer from nerves when cooking for a crowd (yes, even a “crowd” of four), but I’m happy to report that everything went down well. I was expecting leftovers-a-plenty, but over four hours we ate almost everything. Today, of course, I’m paying for it. Still full from my day of (over) indulgence, I’m not sure I’ll ever be hungry again. Do I really have to go to the farmer’s market today?