Packing up a picnic shouldn’t be time consuming – the whole idea behind al fresco eats is spending as much time as you can in the great outdoors and as little time as possible preparing your food – especially if you’re chained to the desk all day and want to make the most of 45 minutes in the sun on a lunch break. Don’t waste your energy slowly baking chicken drumsticks the night before or worrying about re-heating a soggy-bottomed, homemade quiche – fruit is the simplest answer!
We’ve all had our share of picnic disasters. Being forced to eat warm dishes-gone-cold, struggling through wilted, soggy salad and choosing the foods that seem to attract wasps every single time. So, we abide by a few rules for picnic foods: they must be easily transportable, should be equally as enjoyable hot or cold, must not require much assembly and ideally should be handheld or easily eaten out of a container. Follow these steps and you should have a fail-safe al fresco feast in the sun.
Peaches can be tricky. Like pears, there’s a window of opportunity when the fruit is at its most ripe and when it doesn’t feel like Arthur extracting Excalibur trying to get the stone away from the flesh. What’s makes peaches so enticing is that they’re great in salads. Juicy sweetness balances other savoury ingredients effortlessly, like salty halloumi, crisp greens and sharp red onion. Here’s a recipe for one of our favourite easily-assembled picnic salads, spiked with spicy chilli, honey and mustard dressing. You can easily substitute peach for mango, pineapple, plum or any other summer stoned fruit that takes your fancy. This is prepared in under ten minutes!
Peach Salad Ingredients
- 1 block of halloumi, cut into ½ inch slices
- 3-4 ripe peaches, de-stoned and sliced thickly
- Honey (with a little extra virgin olive oil, mustard and seasoning)
- 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely
- A bunch of fresh mint, leaves kept whole
- Half a red onion, sliced very thinly
- Pomegranate seeds (optional)
1. Heat a non-stick pan over a high heat with no oil and fry the slices of halloumi in batches until streaked with golden brown on both sides. Leave aside to cool.
2. Chop the chilli and add in to the honey, mustard and oil in a little jar (an old mustard or small sauce jar cleaned out works great here). Close the lid and shake – this is now good to go until you pour over at your destination; the chilli will slowly infuse its spice into the dressing.
3. Assemble the salad by placing the sliced peaches at the bottom of a container, topped with all the halloumi, then the onion.
4. When ready to serve in your sun-soaked spot, toss everything together and slick with the honey and chilli dressing.