There is something both refreshing and invigorating about a picnic, but the spontaneous nature of it tends to result in most of us remaining devoted to the same old picnic foods we're most comfortable with. At some point you may get the urge to vary the menu a bit, though. With a little bit of guidance and 15 minutes or less you can create the kind of picnic that will put store-bought food to shame while saving you a small fortune in the process!
Why not try these tried-and-true, easy recipes?
Peel raw beetroots and grate. Add pistachios or hazelnuts; dress with orange zest and juice, and olive oil. Add some goats' cheese and chopped parsley.
Curried egg salad
Make egg salad with hard-boiled eggs, mayo, curry powder, Dijon mustard, lime juice, salt, pepper, parsley, onion and apple.
Blend tomatoes, cucumber, a slice or two of bread, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper. Chill.
Toss with oil, chopped parsley, chopped black olives, capers, red onion, salt and pepper. Scoop out medium-sized tomatoes and fill with mixture. Pack carefully.
Cauliflower and green bean salad
Steam cauliflower florets and green beans for 2-3 minutes so that they still have some bite. Toss them into a French dressing with a mashed anchovy fillet and small garlic clove, Dijon mustard and masses of freshly chopped tarragon.
Clean a bunch of mixed mushrooms; quarter any large ones. Steam for about five minutes. When still warm, toss with sliced shallots, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, cracked coriander seeds, chopped parsley, sherry vinegar and more olive oil if necessary.
Green beans or asparagus
Steam or boil, slice on the bias. Toss with sliced red onion, small pieces of prosciutto, olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas
Combine cooked or canned (and drained). Add diced red and green pepper, some corn kernels and a minced jalapeño pepper. Season with lime juice, chopped marjoram or oregano, salt and pepper.
Brown rice and broccoli
Combine cooked brown rice with small, cooked broccoli florets and chopped pecans or walnuts and parsley. Dress with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon.
Roast or boil. Make a vinaigrette with a little chili, cumin, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Pack separately; toss with spring onions and mint.
Mix pieces of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe or charentais. Mix and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt or chili, sugar, salt and lime.
Make however you like it, using pears, apples, bananas, orange wedges, grapefruit or grapes. Optional: Take papaya halves and add to salad, drizzled with lemon.
Husk and quarter; at the last minute, combine with a little chopped tarragon, black pepper and balsamic vinegar. Goats' cheese is optional.
Toss with cornbread, lemon juice, olive oil and hazelnuts.
Combine equal parts honey and brown sugar with a little oil and bring to a boil; toss with good granola until the mixture is very sticky. You can add more nuts, or raisins and chocolate chips. Line a pan with waxed paper or film with oil. Press mixture into pan and allow to cool.