Written by Hayley in Lunch

I love a good picnic. They feel so British and are a reminder that summer is here even if it is blanketed in overcast cloud. They don’t always come in the form of a red-chequered blanket laid out underneath the shade of a tree with a wicker hamper basket, bursting with treats. Sometimes all they need is a dry patch of sand, a smooth surface of a rock, a garden bench, or everyone huddled in a car when it’s pouring outside. They always taste of adventure and the great outdoors.  I love lots of different things to munch on at a picnic, plenty of different filled sandwiches, scotch eggs, pork pies, crisps, fruit and a large wedge of homemade cake. And of course, where you are going sometimes dictates what you are going to eat- salt and vinegar crisps always seem to taste ten times better when eaten at the seaside.

One of my favourite things to make for picnics are mini calzones. I found the recipe in Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days cookbook and baked them once for the family picnic when we went for a trip to Cholmondeley gardens, now that was one of those idyllic, red-chequered picnic blanket days. They have remained a firm favourite ever since. A sort of cross between a pizza and pasty, they are really handy take with you and make good use of any pasta sauce or antipasti leftovers you have. Fresh baked bread, oozing with melted cheese and ratatouille style filling inside, they taste divine! You could fill them with anything really, but I love to stick to this version.  And for me, make the perfect addition to any picnic. L xx
This weekend my boyfriend and I went to Chester Zoo. As well as being so excited that I was going to the zoo, especially as I’d get to see Sanyu the 2 and a half week year old giraffe, I was thoroughly looking forward to having an excuse to have a picnic. If you don’t fancy packing a blanket and sitting on the floor, Chester Zoo has plenty of picnic benches and even on a hot, sunny Saturday there was ample of space.

Every good picnic must have sandwiches and even though sandwiches are so easy to make, don’t you find when someone else makes your sandwiches they taste far better? And that’s why I slightly cheated and went to the lovely people at the Cheshire Sandwich Company. I had my favourite “War of the Roses” cheese savoury sandwich, a combination of Lancashire and Wensleydale cheese, onion and red pepper mixed together with mayonnaise, served with mixed leaves and locally made Mrs Darlington’s apple chutney. Here they also sell a selection of lovely homemade cake bars, it was a difficult decision but I chose the very naughty looking rocky road and a flapjack. Then it was trip to the supermarket to buy some crisps – again another essential, I have to put crisps on my sandwiches, I just love that crunch! I was feeling old school so went for salt and vinegar squares and Wotsits for Steve. I bought a selection of fruit – grapes, raspberries and strawberries, which I have to admit I left in the fridge at home oops! Then I was requested to buy some Milky Bar yogurts – I gave Steve the look of disgust when he requested theses, “Milky Bar yogurts are not picnic food!” But it would have been cruel of me to dismiss his request, and in fact they made a very nice addition to our picnic! H xx

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