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Lazy Days Picnic Recipes

Belinda Neame

Picnics should be the ultimate in relaxed dining: short on rules and structure, big on ‘hands-on’ deliciousness.

This fuss-free menu has all the ingredients for the perfect al fresco adventure.

Cheese board

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Grab your picnic blankets and hamper and gather together a selection of hard and soft cheeses, fresh fruit, crusty bread, olives, marinated goat’s cheese, crackers and proscuitto, served with a glass of local wine. Then simply relax.

Homemade lemonade

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You’ll never buy lemonade again once you taste this homemade version. For an adult take, add a dash of vodka.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups chilled soda water
  • Lemon slices

METHOD

Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool and then stir in the lemon juice. Chill in the fridge. Add soda water and lemon slices and pour over ice to serve.

Beef skewers

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These skewers are easy to prepare and oh-so flavoursome. The best part? They take mere minutes to cook.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g rump steak, cut into pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Rocket leaves, to serve
  • Mountain bread or flatbread, to serve
  • Aïoli, to serve

METHOD

Combine the steak, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer for a more intense flavour.

Heat a char-grill pan or BBQ over high heat. Thread the beef onto skewers (if using bamboo skewers, it’s best to soak them in some water prior to grilling to avoid burning) and grill or barbeque for 2–3 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

Serve with rocket leaves, mountain bread and aïoli.

Recipe adapted from Seasons – Donna Hay.

White bean + tomato salad

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 25g thyme, broken into sprigs
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

METHOD

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the garlic cooking until lightly golden. Add the onion and thyme and continue cooking until the onion is soft.

Add the white wine and simmer until the wine has reduced. Add the beans and stir gently to combine and then remove from the heat.

Tip the beans into a bowl and add the tomato, vinegar and parley. Stir gently, taking care not to crush the beans, and season to taste.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen – Marie Claire

Almond + coconut cake with fresh berries + cream

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INGREDIENTS

  • 180 grams almond meal
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond essence
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar, fresh berries and double thick cream to serve

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm shallow spring-form cake tin

Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool. In a medium mixing bowl, put the almond meal, desiccated coconut, salt and sugar and briskly mix together for a minute with a balloon whisk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract and almond essence until they are thoroughly mixed. Then mix in the melted butter and stir until incorporated. Pour the butter mixture into the almond mixture and stir together (the mixture will be quite runny).

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and scatter with the flaked almonds over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back slowly when you press on it. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack.

Once cooled, invert onto a plate and dust the top lightly with icing sugar and serve with fresh berries and double thick cream.

Recipe adapted from Mix&Bake – Belinda Jefferey 

PHOTOGRAPHER Lean Timms

STYLING Lisa Madigan & Belinda Neame

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Escape for Summer 2016/17. Find out more about Magazine here

Magazine Edition 7: Escape

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Belinda Neame

Belinda is HerCanberra's Admin and Events Coordinator. A foodie and lover of handmade, Belinda enjoys nothing more than a good coffee and seeing Canberra businesses thrive. In her 'spare time', Belinda organises the quarterly Canberra street food event, The Forage with her husband Tim. More about the Author