Everyone loves a picnic. But what is a picnic? Does any food eaten outdoors count as a picnic, or does it have to include hampers and flasks in order to qualify? Who knows. But what I do know is that picnics are ace and kids love them. We may not manage this level of awesomeness:
'Shove that under your feet,' he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.
'What's inside it?' asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.
'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly;
'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'
'Do you really think so?' enquired the Rat seriously. 'It's only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast and cut it very fine!'
(This may be my favourite bit of Wind in the Willows)
- but picnic greatness is an achievable aim...
Perhaps gone are the days of the ultra grand picnic - you know the picnics you read about in children's books that always sound epic... those Brambly Hedge mice, for example, know how to picnic, Apple Blossom wine? Don't mind if I do. These days, however, cooking a fine raised crust pie may be a step to far for a kiddie picnic, a pre-packed junk-fest isn't your only option.
Earlier this year Organix launched their ongoing mission to help families cut out the junk in their food - all those sinister-sounding pronounceables that seem to be tucked away in so much food these days. There are loads of tips, recipes and general positivity over at the Organix website, plus an option to sign up and get involved with the campaign.
There is a middle ground to be had though. Somewhere between the magnificence of a smoked salmon/champagne picnic, fresh from the wicker with proper napkins and the sweaty carrier bag of salty pork products, salty crisps and after-though sandwiches, grabbed at the local petrol station.
So, here's a suggestion. Get involved with the no junk campaign and try it out on a picnic. If you fancy something other than a sandwich, you could get the kiddlies to make these Perfect Picnic Pizzas. Perfect because they tick all the food boxes in one item, these and a few apples thrown in and you're pretty much done. Obviously, I'm ignoring the fact that outdoor eating does make you want cake... perhaps I'll post my recipe for junk-free tea loaf...
Recipe wise, these bad boys are easy. It's just a simple scone-style base, topped with whatever deliciousness takes your fancy. Here's how:
1. Weight 8oz of wholemeal self-raising flour into a bowl. Then pour in 2oz olive oil. Give it a good stir - this is instead of rubbing in a solid fat like butter. Now add milk or water slowly until you can squish it into a soft dough.
2. Roll pieces of the dough into balls and then flatten them onto a non-stick baking tray of some sort to make little pizza bases - no need to roll.
3. Smear on tomato puree, or spoonfuls of chopped toms from a tin. Add your topping of choice - keep it real folks. And remember, pineapple is okay.
4. Bake at 200 for about 10-12 minutes
5. Cool, wrap/box 'em up, grab the rug and go (even if it's only as far as the garden)