It’s time for picnic! The sun is shining, the weekend is here, the mood is good… Erm, rewind, where’s the sun shining? Well, we did have a few hours of sun shining in the afternoon, although not quite enough for a picnic yet. Oh well, I’m not giving in. Here come the picnicy recipes…
And, once the sunny weather is here, what else do you need? A blanket? A friend or two? Some music, a book, whatever will make your day. And letâ€™s not forget about the picnic basket! Time to fill it in with some picnic-able goodies! Youâ€™ll most probably see a few of picnic-related recipes on the blog throughout May. What better way to enjoy warm days than somewhere in a park or a meadow and in a good company? I donâ€™t think I need more than that to my weekend happiness.
To start with, here comes picnic bread. Looks very pretty, tastes very yummy, easy to pack up and transport. Plus, isn’t it just so much more enjoyable to have a loaf full of vegetables and some cheese, rather than classic sandwiches?
And once you’ve made this one, itâ€™s actually quite fun to come up with variations of this recipe. You could try swapping courgettes for aubergines, use goatâ€™s cheese instead of mozzarella, add cucumbers and lettuce instead of spinach, go with guacamole instead of pesto and so on.
Much as I adore baking bread at home, on this occasion time was of essence, so I decided to get some nice loafs from our lovely local bread shop Victoria Bakery. I must say since they also have a stall on the Saturday market in the area, I rarely miss it during my weekend shopping trip to the market, and among all the fruit and veg, there’s usually a fresh artisan baguette, or some speciality bread like the ones used in the recipe: beetroot bread and sourdough stonebaked bread with sunflower seeds.
And as for the bread crumb, letâ€™s not waste it either! How about placing pieces of the bread crumb in the oven, sprinkled with some herbs, garlic and a dash of olive oil and baking them to create croutons? You can use them in a salad, or in a soup, or store cooled croutons in an air tight container for up to a week. We say NO to waste in the kitchen. And a big YES to creativity and flavour in the kitchen.
1 rustic-style bread loaf
2 tbsp olive oil
2 courgettes, sliced lenghtways
175g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
250g mozarella, sliced
75g sundried tomatoes
50g fresh spinach
3 tbsp pesto
1 garlic glove, crushed
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slice off the top third of the bread loaf. Gently remove most of the crumb from the inside of the bread (both the lid and the base) leaving the bread shell about 1cm thick.
Brush a griddling pan with oil and fry the courgettes until softened and browned.
In another frying pan, fry the mushrooms and garlic for about 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Arrange half of the courgette slices on the bottom of the loaf. Top them with slices of mozarella and spread with a third of the pesto. Top with sundried tomatoes and basil leaves, fresh spinach and half of fried mushrooms.
Repeat the process and add another layer of courgettes, mozarella, pesto, sundried tomatoes and basil leaves, fresh spinach and mushrooms.
Spread a little more pesto over the inside of the bread lid and place it on top to close the bread.
Press the bread lid gently.
Wrap the loaf in clear film and chill in the fridge for at least one hour, or overnight so that vegetable tastes mix within the bread.
Serve cut into large chunks, for example wedges.