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Picnics are one of my favourite things about the summer. Whether a full-scale decamp to the countryside or an impromptu lunch in the garden, eating outdoors somehow makes everything taste better, particularly if the sunâ€™s shining! This guide contains some tasty new salad recipes Iâ€™ve created, as well as handy hints from the Higgidy team and secret picnic spots from some of our blogger friends - I hope it helps you have a brilliant summer trying them out with your friends and family.
Camilla Stephens, Founder and Chief Pie Maker
Secret Picnic Spots. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Picnic Tips from Team Higgidy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Picnic Maths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Three Bs Salad. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Pesto Peas & Potatoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Raw Slaw with Tahini & Lemon Dressing. . . . . . . . . 10
Scotland ~ Jacqueline Meldrum
South West England ~ Jenny Paulin
I love Tentsmuir Forest and Kinshaldy Beach in Fife (tentsmuir.org), on the coast between Dundee and St Andrews. It’s a really beautiful spot – miles and miles of sandy beach which back onto sand dunes and a forest. We always walk along the beach, have our picnic there and return along one of the forest walks. The views over the water to Broughty Ferry and Monifieth are gorgeous and if you’re lucky you’ll spot seals on the sand banks and red squirrels and roe deer which live in the forest.
Living in North Devon we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to picnic spots. However, I think my favourite has to be our local National Trust property, Arlington Court (nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court), where we spend a lot of our time during the school holidays. There are acres of land for my boys to run around freely and explore, where they can enjoy climbing trees and crossing streams, as well as the activities that the National Trust put on for children (den building, treasure hunts and whittling to name but a few). And all of that exploring makes for very hungry boys!
Avoid the main entrance with the visitors’ car park – it’s great as it has picnic tables, BBQ areas and toilets, but it gets very busy on sunny days. Instead arrive at the beach from the Tayport end; drive to the end of Shanwell Road and park in the residential area. You will only see a handful of people instead of crowds and you’ll also see the remains of World War II defences including lines of concrete anti-tank blocks, observation towers and pillboxes. tinnedtomatoes.com facebook.com/TinnedTomatoes twitter.com/tinnedtoms 3
Usually we find ourselves picnicking under a tree, so we have plenty of shade, overlooking the glorious views of the countryside, or facing the gorgeous fully bloomed bushes and plants, as their colours never fail to make me smile. We rarely picnic in the same spot twice – Arlington Court has so many wonderful vistas that I am hard picked to select just one! mummymishaps.co.uk facebook.com/MummyMishaps twitter.com/jennypaulin
We’ve asked some of our
favourite bloggers from around the country to share their
favourite local picnic spots...
Rainy Day Mum
North East England ~ Vicki Psarias
Cent ral Eng l a nd ~ Ce r y s P a r k e r
One of the wonderful things about living in Leeds for me is that I get to revisit the poignant places of my childhood, reminiscing while making magical memories for my own children in the process. I grew up in the tiny, quaint and truly picturesque town of Ilkley in Yorkshire – a charmed childhood of climbing trees, picking wild flowers, eating soft scoop ice cream by the river, and playing in the woodland by our house. One of our favourite stomping grounds, then and now, was Bolton Abbey (boltonabbey.com), set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales not far from Ilkley, by the banks of the River Wharf.
We’re lucky enough to live near the lovely Needham Lake (midsuffolk.gov.uk/leisureand-culture/countryside/countryside-sites/ needham-lake), where we happily while away our summer days.
Holding little hands, my husband and I find ourselves helping our sons balance on rocks by the shallow end of the river, dogs speed by wagging their tails with glee and birds tweet overhead. It really is Disney-worthy and no place on earth compares. With 80 miles of footpaths and ample space to run, my kids (and I) never feel more free than when we’re there in Bolton Abbey. honestmum.com facebook.com/HonestMummy twitter.com/HonestMummy
If it’s a bit cloudy, the benches near the car park are usually free, so we picnic there before wandering around the lake, enjoying the play areas and features like the story telling glen and wildlife benches. If the sun’s out we bypass the benches, grab a blanket or two and head around the lake to the open fields where we can enjoy a picnic in peace. We always take some games for the kids to play: a football, rounders set or cricket kit are perfect – who needs proper goals when bags and jumpers work just as well? If you want to make a longer day of it, the lake forms part of the Gipping Valley Trails and you can walk along the river bank away from the crowds for miles, ideal for an early summer day with the family.
rainydaymum.co.uk facebook.com/rainydaymum twitter.com/rainydaymum 4
One Dad 3 Girls
Super Busy Mum
South East England ~ Daren Coleshill
Northern Ireland ~ Deborah Patrick
As we’re in the beautiful south of England, our pick of perfect picnic spots is endless. We do have two favourites though.
I love picnicking at the Botanic Gardens in Belfast (belfastcity.gov.uk/leisure/parksopenspaces/Park-6614.aspx), particularly near the botanical garden house; if all the benches are taken up, the flowers there are gorgeous to sit among. In the spring there’s a field of daffodils that are also lovely to sit alongside – if you’re picnicking with children you can get some super cute photos there. And if you’re an ice-cream fan, there’s a big field with a resident van, so you don’t have to walk too far for a 99er! Alternatively, if you’re after somewhere a little more secret, there’s a really pretty creek with a little stream and bridge, surrounded by trees; the perfect spot to hide.
Our first is the Ashdown Forest (ashdownforest.com), which is an amazing place to have a walk around before finding the perfect spot to lay down the picnic blanket. The views are breathtaking and uninterrupted all over the forest. Our second is completely different, but equally as beautiful: Brighton beach. It’s such a stunning place all year round but especially so when it’s warm. It can get pretty busy, but pick the right spot away from the pier and it’s still lovely and a bit quieter. onedad3girls.com facebook.com/onedad3girls twitter.com/OneDad3Girls
Cardiff Mummy Says
Wales ~ Cathryn Scott
My favourite place for a family picnic in Cardiff is Bute Park (bute-park.com). It’s a huge stretch of parkland in the city centre and used to belong to the Fifth Marquis of Bute. Every time we go there we have a different experience: some days we walk alongside the River Taff; others we’ll spot the stone-carved animals on the castle walls; sometimes we’ll scoot or cycle; and there are days when we’ll picnic in the sun for hours, or head to the gorgeous Secret Garden Café for an ice cream. I love that there’s no playground – my children have never mentioned this fact as they’re too busy climbing, running, looking at flowers, spinning around in circles or rolling around in the grass. Even though the park is always busy, you never feel like you’re in anyone’s way, as it’s so big and there are so many different areas to explore. cardiffmummysays.com facebook.com/pages/Cardiff-Mummy-Says/754485834615386?_rdr twitter.com/CardiffMummy 5
Picnic Tips fro
m Team Hig gidy
B u y a c he a p s e t o f b o ule s i t ’ s s u c h a n e a s y game th at
Take a p la s tic-backed picnic blanket
e v e r y o n e c an p lay
i t c an do ub l e up as a poncho if it rains
Debbie, HR Manager
Fre e ze bottles of juice or s quas h Find a t r e e t o s i t u n d e r
i t’ s gre at fo r
h a ng i ng d e c o r a t i on s fr o m and make s for a q u i c k e s c a p e f r om th e rai n!
Andy, Kitchen Assistant
a fe w h ours bef ore leaving home th e y ac t as cool packs and will be ni c e and cold when you f ancy a drink
Mark, Quality Manager
h! t eug et ou sg let’ ere! h of
Ke e p c o c k t a i l s a u s a g e s or ne w po t a t o e s w a r m by p u t t i ng the m i n t o a fl a s k . Fr ie nd s w i l l be a ma z e d t h a t yo u ’ v e b r o u g h t h ot foo d on a p i c n i c !
Take a w hole lime and s lice it i n h alf. Leave it by the f ood and th e smell of citrus acts as an i n s ect repellent
Sara, Events Manager
Picnic Maths + Glug of oil
+ Squeeze of lemon Juice
+ Little bit of sugar
Salt & pepper
Spoonful of mustard
+ Bottle of iced water
A zesty dressing (that wonâ€™t spill in your hamper) to liven up a bag of leaves
+ Sprigs of mint
= Slices of lemon
A thirst-quenching drink
with a refreshing flavour
+ Quartered strawberries
Tub of whipped cream
+ Crushed meringues
Instant Eton Mess
Thr e e Bs Sa l a d 5 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp maple syrup 2 tsp Dijon mustard 40g rocket 75g watercress 3 ripe nectarines, pitted and thickly sliced 150g blueberries 200g burrata or buffalo mozzarella
1. To make the dressing, mix the top four ingredients together and set aside. 2. Arrange the rocket and watercress leaves on a large platter and scatter over the sliced nectarines and blueberries. 3. Tear the cheese into bite-sized pieces and scatter over the fruit. 4. Drizzle over the dressing and season generously with salt and black pepper.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For a special touch, toast some almonds in a pan with a knob of butter and splosh of maple syrup, and scatter over the salad. TIP
Pesto Peas & Potatoes 20g basil leaves 20g parsley leaves 1 fat clove of garlic, crushed 55g pine nuts 55g Parmesan, grated 6-7 tbsp olive oil A squeeze of fresh lemon 800g Jersey Royals (new potatoes), washed but not scrubbed 200g petit pois A few chives, very finely chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the pesto, place the top five ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste. On pulse, add the olive oil and lemon juice. Tip into a large bowl. 2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and cook until tender, adding the petit pois to the water for the last few minutes of cooking. Drain well. 3. Tip the vegetables into the pesto and toss everything together so that the potatoes are completely coated. Season generously and scatter over the chopped chives.
If you havenâ€™t got time to make the pesto, use a really good quality fresh one from the supermarket with an extra handful of grated parmesan. TIP
Raw Slaw with Tahini & Lemon Dressing
5 heaped tbsp Greek yogurt 2 tbsp tahini paste 2 tbsp lemon juice 1 garlic clove, crushed 3 tbsp water 2 medium carrots 2 medium beetroots 1 small sweet heart cabbage A handful of radishes 25g coriander leaves, roughly chopped 25g mint leaves, roughly chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. To make the dressing, mix the top five ingredients together and set aside. 2. Peel the carrots and beetroots and cut them into very skinny sticks. Finely slice the cabbage and the radishes. 3. Pour over the yogurty dressing and scatter over the herbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt. 4. Toss everything together and dig in.
This is great served with spicy lamb koftas and stuffed into warm pitta or flat breads. TIP
Lovingly made at The Higgidy Kitchen, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 6PB
Published on Jun 9, 2015
Published on Jun 9, 2015
Picnics are one of our favourite things about the summer. Whether a full-scale decamp to the countryside or an impromptu lunch in the garden...