It is that time of year when everyday’s a picnic day in this house. Largely due to the number of cricket matches the boys are playing…..I can hear my smallest sigh from here…..but also just because it is (supposedly) summer so trips to the beach, the river for kayaking or just heading to a friends’ garden to catch up after all this time apart, you’ll need to pack this picnic must have.
This was a regular in the Hoyle picnic a few years ago then it just slipped off the radar for a bit, as recipes do, but it is firmly back in the basket now. What could be better than all of your favourite goodies from the local farm shop crammed into a delicious sourdough, or French boule loaf? My idea of heaven frankly. The basics that you need are some sort of soft rind cheese, cold meats, griddled vegetables, salad, basil and possibly some fresh kale pesto if you happened to have just made some. Our favourite combinations are below but swap in different fillings according to what is available, then all you need is some sunshine which I think we are due in bucket loads this week!
- Cut the top off the loaf, and scoop out the insides. Keep the lid!
- Peel the garlic and rub this around the inside of the loaf
- If you are using pesto nows the time to grab a spoon and spread it all around the walls and the base of the bread. I didn’t use pesto this time, so just drizzled round some olive oil.
- I cheated with my peppers as I happened to have a delicious jar of roasted peppers in the pantry, but I did pick some courgettes from the garden (sadly not the normal glut for some reason this year). Using a speed peeler peel thin slices of the courgettes, toss in olive oil and cook on a hot griddle. Once cooked season with salt and pepper and leave to cool. Slice the cheese into rounds, and season too.
- Now start building up layers of cheese, meats, griddled vegetables, finishing with a layer of basil leaves. I sometimes drizzle a little more olive oil on the top before placing the lid back on.
- Wrap in cling film and place a dish or plate with some heavy tins on so all the flavours infuse.
- This is best left for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight in a cool box or the fridge.
- Take out in plenty of time, so it comes up to room temperature, then slice and pack into your picnic basket.