Yay! It’s nice… The opportunity to go nose in the wind with our tiny tots for a picnic in the forest, ”up there on the mountain”, in the heart of a small creek or even in the wild house-garden!
Of course, my children (and their parents for that matter!) are fond of sausages, vinegar crisps and chocolate bars, for these ultra-calorie picnic meals ”like no other” but I realized that with a little imagination, we can enjoy a gourmet and balanced picnic!
Here are a few golden rules and interesting recipes for a wholesome picnic.
1 - Vegetables and fresh fruit
These are usually picnics ”forgotten” majors in favor of a “sausage-mayo-crisps-cookie” mixture high in sugar and fats. However, their limited sugar content and micronutrients (especially vitamin C) make them the true allies of a balanced picnic. Besides this, they are a source of water and therefore essential for rehydration of young people who sweat a lot during outdoor activities!
2 – Main dish salads
Wonderful salad with vegetables
Ingredient list for serves 4
Cooking time: 3 min
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 100 g radish
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 baby carrots
- 250 g corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon of parsley
- 10 pickles
- 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
In a frying pan, make onions sweat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add 2 very tender and minced carrots. Cook 3 minutes on high heat (the vegetables should remain crisp), until the mixture caramelizes a little bit. Lightly salt and pepper and let cool. Pour a can of sweet corn in a bowl, add 1 bunch of radishes (washed, stemmed, sliced), a dozen small cucumber slices and the same number of cherry tomatoes. Add carrots and onions. Season with 1 tsp of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley.
A tip about additional preparation?
Variation: for a complete meal, add 7oz (200g) of tuna in brine.
Melon and berries salad
Ingredients list fot serves 4
- 1 melon
- 400 g of strawberries
- 5 fresh mint leaves
- 200 g of raspberries
- 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
- 5 currants
Cut the flesh of a beautiful melon into small cubes (2 cm x 2 cm). In a bowl, mix it with 200g of raspberries, 400g of strawberries and a few grains of red currants (if the taste buds of your little wolves doesn’t fear too much acidity) and decorate with mint leaves. If the fruits are ripe, do not add sugar! Otherwise, a tablespoon of sugar is sufficient. Put the salad in the fridge and leave it until the last moment.
An advice for additional preparation?
Variation: This fruit salad is delicious with a little beaten curd, flavored with vanilla, sugar or honey
3 - Picnic highlight: the dessert
It’s tough to deny some small treats to children when they consider a picnic as a real party… Let them crack a bit, but reduce the portions.
Cherry Cake recipe
Ingredients list for serves 8
Cooking time: 45 min
- 300 g of cherries
- 50 g black chocolate
- 250 g of sugar
- 5 eggs
- 100 g of cocoa
- 250 g of of unsalted butter
- 250 g of wheat flour
- 1 packet yeast
Pre-heat your oven (gas mark 6 to 220 ° C). Butter a large loaf pan. Pit 300g of cherries and set them aside. Melt 50g of chocolate in a double boiler and set it aside as well. In a large bowl, work 250g of softened butter with 250g of sugar to obtain a creamy mixture. Stir in 5 eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is absorbed before adding the next. Add the melted chocolate. In another bowl, mix 250g of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 100 grams of bitter cocoa powder. Sift this mixture over the preparation of the first bowl and mix well. Stir in cherries. Pour the batter into the pan, bake halfway and cook for 45 minutes. The cake must be cooled before being removed from the mold.
Sweet crisps recipe
Ingredients list for serves 6
Cooking time: 15 min
- 1 kg potatoes
- 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar
Heat frying oil until hot (not smoking!). Peel 1 kg potatoes and cut them into thin slices. Wash and dry them well in a cloth to remove all traces of starch. Dip the chips in the frying and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per batch, until golden brown. Drain the potato slices on absorbing paper. Arrange the chips in a serving dish and sprinkle with sugar.
Tips for a tasty picnic!
Few children eat whole fruit… Cut it into small pieces and store them in plastic mini-boxes.
Capitalize on dried fruits (apricots, prunes, dates), a good alternative to fresh fruit!
Cut the sandwiches in a circle, diamond, triangle-shaped or even man-shaped: it makes you want to bite it.
To change from the usual bread, roll salad in pita bread and cut into small pieces, gathered by a pick stick.
Use cubes of mild cheese with grapes or apple pieces.
What about your tips and special recipes for a wonderful picnic with children and family?