Prepare the perfect summer picnic

A three-course recipe plan for your next summer outing

Planning the perfect summer picnic involves three supremely important ingredients: A great location, great company and of course, a picnic basket brimming with sumptuous food specially prepared.

We’ve put together a full picnic course inspired by some of the most popular and creative picnic recipes we could lay our hands on. Everything is super simple to prepare, packed with flavour and most importantly easy to pack up and lug around in the big New Zealand outdoors.

Watermelon Sangria – Freshly Made

Move over Mojito, this zesty summer refresher is the new cocktail in town. The balanced blend of subdued sweetness from the watermelon, the tang of lime and a fresh burst of mint make this summertime sangria a hit at every outdoor occasion.

The shopping cart:

Before you whip up your drink of the summertime gods, you’re going to need the following:

  • 4 cups of watermelon – cubed and with seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine – Remember, you’re not cooking the wine so make sure it is a wine that you absolutely love to drink.
  • 1 ounce of light-bodied, premium aged rum: Anejo works best
  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 2 limes
  • ice
  • For an added burst of freshness and flavour be sure to include a few sprigs of fresh mint.

Get to work: Blend the watermelon cubes until you end up with a nice purée – think the consistency of baby food. Then strain into a pitcher, add in the wine, rum, Cointreau and syrup and stir it up.

Next, juice one of the limes and add to the pitcher. Slice the other lime into fine slices and also add to the pitcher.

Finally, cover and place in the refrigerator until well-chilled (usually around 2-4 hours should do the trick)

Add the whole lot into a thermos, and when you are ready to serve at the picnic simply pour into glasses, add some mint and enjoy.

Sexy Summer Salsa and Tortilla Chips

It’s always nice to spice things up a little when it comes to picnics and this summer salsa is the perfect way to get your tastebuds dancing on a hot afternoon.

The shopping cart:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes – chopped to salsa size
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 4 jalapenos (2 with seeds removed and minced. The other 2 should be roasted, skinned and chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced nice and fine
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 dry Ancho chilies – Remove the seeds, cut them into strips and slice into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of organic olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced

Get to work: The beauty of Salsa – it is super simple, fast and easy to make. Simply combine the above ingredients in a large bowl, mix together well and then place in the fridge. Serve with tortilla chips. Boom! Let the flavour fiesta begin.

Seductive steak sandwiches

Kiwis are an active bunch, so more often than not a picnic will include more than just sitting about munching great food on a chequered blanket.

Whether your outdoor excursion includes downhill mountain biking, a solid surf session or even just a friendly game of touch-rugby on the beach, you are going to need something to hit the hunger spot just right. These Argentinian inspired steak sandwiches are just the thing:

The shopping cart:

  • 3 x 200g beef sirloin steaks, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 half baguettes or
  • 150g (1/2 cup) whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1 butter lettuce, washed, leaves separated
  • 1 avocado, halved and thinly sliced

For the sauce

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 1 eschalot, finely chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 red bird’s-eye chilli, seeded, finely chopped

Get to Work:

The Sauce:  combine all the ingredients for the sauce into a bowl and mix together well. Add in a ¼ teaspoon of salt for seasoning.

The Steak: Your steaks can either be sizzled up in a preheated pan at home or thrown on the barbeque at your picnic destination of choice. All you need to do is give your steaks a light brushing with oil, season them with some salt and pepper and cook them to a perfect medium-rare (roughly 2 minutes each side). Allow them to rest on some foil for 5 minutes and then slice into strips.

The mouth-watering masterpiece: Slice along the top ridge of the baguette all the way down the length of it. Depth wise, you are looking to cut to just before the base. Now, gently pull the baguette apart – be careful not to split it – and then smear the bread with mayonnaise. Next, place the lettuce and avocado, add the steak slices on top and spoon the sauce over to finish.

Cut into sandwich size sections and enjoy.

Devils Teardrops

Sinfully delicious chocolate covered strawberries

The perfect end to a perfect summer picnic menu, these devils teardrops will bring smiles of delight to both kids and adults alike – making them the perfect picnic dessert.

The shopping cart:

  • 3 100g bars of Lindt Excellence Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt, chopped into pieces
  • ½ bar Lindt Swiss Classic White Chocolate
  • 12-14 ripe strawberries (with stems)

Get to Work:

There is nothing worse than trying to dip a soggy strawberry into a luxurious warm chocolate bath. So, instead of washing the strawberries use a damp cloth and then pat them dry afterwards.

Melt (temper) the milk chocolate and white chocolate separately. Hold each strawberry by the green stem and coat two thirds of it in the chocolate before placing gently on a tray lined with parchment paper.

When you’re done, allow the strawberries to cool in the refrigerator for around 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.

Pour the white chocolate into a small tipped piping bag, remove the chilled strawberries and then drizzle intricate patterns of white chocolate to finish. Voila, your devils teardrops are done.

Pack, serve and enjoy.

And there you have it – four super simple recipe ideas that will ensure your next summer picnic is a sensationally delicious success.

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