By Hannah Sherwood
Everyone has fond memories of picnicking as a child because, quite honestly, when the sun’s shining, what better way to spend an afternoon than packing up the hamper and heading to the park/seaside/back garden? Picnics do come with a health risk, though (high-fat sausage rolls, cakes, fizzy drinks…), so to celebrate National Picnic Week (16–22 June), we’ve put together some of our favourite tried and tested recipes for a healthier outdoor feast.
Cheese and chutney scones
These are super tasty warm from the oven, so you’ll have to try your best to save some for the hamper!
Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
30g low-fat spread, plus extra to grease
350g self-raising flour, plus extra to knead
75g reduced-fat mature cheese, grated
1tsp dried sage
250ml skimmed milk
75g caramelised red onion chutney
1) Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Rub the spread into the flour to form fine crumbs. Add three-quarters of the cheese and the sage and mix well. Add the milk to form a soft dough.
2) Lightly knead the dough on a well-floured surface and use a cutter to make 12 scones. Put them on a greased baking tray, spread chutney over the top of each scone and add a sprinkle of the remaining cheese.
3) Bake for 17 min or until golden (see picture, above)
Per scone: 141kcal, 2.5g fat, 3.8g sugar, 0.5g salt
This will add a punchy flavour to your picnic and it’s great for eating with your fingers. Don’t forget to take along the wet wipes…
Prep 5 min, plus marinating
Cook 40 min
2tbsp hot peri peri sauce
2tsp olive oil
Juice of 11⁄2 lemons, plus 1 lemon, thinly sliced with pips removed
11⁄2tsp dried oregano
600g skinless chicken breast fillets
600g skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets
2tbsp flatleaf parsley, chopped
1) Combine the peri peri sauce, oil, lemon juice and oregano in a large bowl.
2) Cut each chicken breast into three pieces and the thighs into two or three, depending on their size. Add to the marinade, cover and chill for 3–4 hr or overnight.
3) Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a baking dish with baking paper and arrange the chicken in a single layer. Scatter over the lemon slices and cook for 30–40 min or until cooked through.
4) Transfer the cooked chicken to the container you’ll be taking to the picnic and immediately store in the fridge, uncovered, until chilled. Keep cool until ready to eat and sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Per serving: 172kcal, 3.8g fat, 0.4g sugar, 0.5g salt
Leek and courgette quiche
Quiche is traditional picnic fare, but our madeover version has fewer calories and less fat (including saturates).
Prep 10 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Cooking oil spray
320g ready-rolled, reduced-fat shortcrust pastry, defrosted if frozen
1 medium leek, thinly sliced
2 medium courgettes, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
5tbsp skimmed milk
50g goat’s cheese, crumbled
Fresh herbs, to garnish
1) Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 and lightly spray a 24cm fluted tin with oil. Roll out the pastry so it’s slightly thinner, then use it to line the tin, trimming any excess pastry with a sharp knife to neaten the edges.
2) Put the flan tin on a baking tray. Cover the pastry with a sheet of baking paper, then pour in baking beans or rice and bake for 15 min. Remove from the oven and discard the beans or rice and paper, then bake for a further 5 min or until golden.
3) Meanwhile, put a large frying pan over a medium heat and spray with a little oil. Add the leek and courgettes and cook for 15–20 min until very soft, stirring occasionally – if necessary, add 1–2tbsp water to help cooking. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 min, then spoon the mixture into the baked pastry case.
4) In a jug, whisk the eggs with the milk, then pour over the leek and courgette mixture. Sprinkle with the goat’s cheese, then bake for 25–30 min until the filling is set. Remove from the oven, then leave to stand in the tin for 5 min.
5) Garnish the quiche with the herbs, then slice.
Per serving: 334kcal, 18.1g fat, 8.8g sugar, 0.8g salt
Take this easy green salad along to go with the chicken or quiche. You don’t want it to go soggy, though, so toss the leaves in the dressing at the last moment.
Prep 5 min
Cook 2 min
100g bag mixed salad leaves
1 cucumber, sliced into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
2tbsp snipped fresh chives
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
1) Blanch the mangetout in a pan of boiling water for 1 min or until bright green and tender-crisp. Drain in a colander, then refresh under cold running water.
2) Put the mangetout in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss to combine, then serve.
Per serving: 49kcal, 0.4g fat, 6.6g sugar, 0g salt
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