Thursday, 31 March 2011

A substitute summer.

I have had a manic week. It's been mental. Luckily, the beginnings of spring has cheered me and I'm feeling very positive. Isn't it amazing that a few buds on the trees can make everything suddenly seem so achievable? It's marvellous.

If summer's coming, then it's time for a picnic!

When Mr Meat and I were first together, he worked late shifts. We could only see each other in the evenings after ten o clock. During a rare heatwave, Mr Meat complained to me that he was missing the summer. Because I was feeling romantic, I decided to surprise him with a night picnic, with loads of picnic type treats laid out on a blanket in my living room. He said that it was the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for him, which may have been an exaggeration, but it made me happy. It was a nice thing to say.

Because it's not very warm in the U.K. yet, it's not quite time for a park-picnic, so I've settled for a carpet-picnic for now. Hopefully it's warm enough where you are to enjoy a picnic outdoors, here are some of my suggestions for nice picnic fare.

My perfect picnic foods

Fried halloumi
Tomato salad
Crusty bread
Pizza muffins
Cured meats
Chopped up fruit

How to make them

Fried halloumi

Cut the halloumi into slices about a centimetre thick and fry them in a good glug of olive oil. Squeeze lemon juice over the top while it's cooking, if you like.

Tomato Salad

(Really nice served with the halloumi and crusty bread.) Just chop up some nicely ripe tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.


Fry some king prawns in butter with a couple of crushed garlic cloves and a chopped up chilli.

Pizza muffins

200g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs
A few big glugs of olive oil
A pinch of salt
A few tomatoes, maybe 3 or 4
Some dried oregano
Half a mozzarella ball
A few grates of parmesan
1tsp tomato puree

Preheat your oven to 180c. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oregano, before beating in the eggs and enough olive oil so that everything starts to loosen up. It'll still be thicker than normal muffin mix though, so I added a couple of tablespoons of water. Just keep going until you get the right consistency, (which should be like thick double cream). Once that's done, tear up the mozzarella, chop up the tomatoes and add them to the mixture along with the tomato puree and a couple of grates of parmesan. Mix it all to incorporate, pour into a muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until they're beautiful and firm and golden.

These things make up my perfect picnic, which I think is a glorious thing. What a treat.

Happy summer.

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