Picnic Food

Phew! It's hot isn't it? Most of the time we don't feel like eating a big meal in this heat and I can't bear to be in the kitchen cooking. Salads and BBQ's are great for this time of year and we find ourselves eating later at night when its cooler, feeling very Spanish.

When we go to the beach or a water park, we take a Picnic in a large cool box or 2 which is great when you just need a top-up. Below are some quick and easy recipes to impress your friends and family while topping up your tan? Why not chop a few vegetables and take a load of dips, plenty of water and wine and don't forget the corkscrew.
Buen Apetito

Vegetable and Ham Omelette

2 courgettes
1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
3 shallots or small onions
100g thick ham
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp milk
6 eggs
Salt and pepper
Grated nutmeg

Trim and cut courgettes, peppers and onions into small cubes and dice the ham. Heat the oil and sauté the onions and peppers for 5 minutes. Add the courgettes and sauté for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the ham and then spoon mixture into an oven dish. Mix together the cornflour with some of the milk to make a paste. Beat the eggs and the remaining milk to the paste and season. Pour over vegetables and sprinkle nutmeg on top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes and then allow to cool.

Peanut Coated Chicken Wings

12 chicken wings
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp chilli powder
Black pepper
2 eggs
150g peanuts (not roasted)
50g breadcrumbs
4 tbsp olive oil

Rinse wings and dry on kitchen towels. Mix together paprika, coriander, cumin, salt, chilli powder and black pepper. Rub half into one side of the chicken and turn over and repeat the process on the other side. Beat the eggs. Place the peanuts in a food processor or coffee grinder and chop finely. Mix with the breadcrumbs and place in a shallow bowl. Dip each chicken into beaten egg and coat with ground peanuts. Heat the oil in the frying pan and cook chicken for 12 -15 minutes turning once. To check chicken is cooked, insert skewer and the juice should run clear.

Aubergine Tortilla

700g aubergines
Small bunch parsley
2 onions
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 eggs

Wash and dice aubergines. Finely chop parsley and peel and dice onions. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add onions and cook slowly for 5 minutes until transparent. Remove onions and add remaining oil and cook aubergine cubes for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs for two minutes, add onions to the aubergines and stir gently. Pour the egg evenly over the vegetables. Cook the tortilla on a very low heat for 5 minutes or until underneath is golden brown. Place a plate the size of the frying pan over the mixture and turn over sliding the tortilla back into the frying pan to cook the other side. Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot or cold.

Fishcakes

225g potatoes
225g salmon fillet
225g skinless cod fillet
300ml fish stock
2 eggs
4tbsp plain flour
75g breadcrumbs

Peel and chop potatoes. Bring to boil for 10-15 minutes. Drain and mash until smooth and transfer to a larger bowl. Put the fish in a shallow pan, pour over stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and poach for 5 minutes. Drain and flake the fish. Beat one egg and mix with fish and potato. Using hands shape into fishcakes then dip cakes first into flour, then egg and then breadcrumbs to coat evenly and chill for 10 minutes. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

Apple and Raisin Parcels

450g Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rum
50g sugar
¼ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
50g raisins
1 pkt of puff pastry

Peel, core and chop the apples and toss in the lemon juice to prevent discolouring. Place 2 tbsp of cold water, the rum and sugar and spices into a pan. Stir in apples and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in raisins and allow to cool. Roll out pastry and cut into squares. Place a spoonful of the apple mixture in the centre of the square and bring the corners up to the middle and pinch together. Cook in oven 200º for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Summer Fruit Tartlets

125g plain flour
50g icing sugar
60g butter
1egg

Filling
75g milk chocolate
400g mixed summer red fruits (cherries, raspberries and redcurrants make a good display)
2 tbsp raspberry jam
1 small banana

Sift the flour and sugar in a bowl. Dice the butter and rub in with your fingertips. Add the egg and mix in the dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Divide the pastry into four equal pieces and roll out flat, curve up the edges and put triple thickness foil around the outside. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl. Brush the chocolate inside the pastry cases and top with summer fruit. Warm the jam and sieve until smooth then brush over the fruit. Slice the banana and push some slices into the centre of each tartlet and serve.