This is definitely the season for outdoor concerts and theatre. Whether you live in the south and are looking forward to seeing Katherine Jenkins at Audley End, or in the north and have enjoyed the recent performance of Macbeth at Ripley Castle, there is no doubt that despite our often inclement weather in the UK we have well and truly taken these outdoor summer events to our hearts.
The first time we attended a summer prom we were well and truly humbled by many of our fellow picnickers who seemed to have half their dining room with them and a feast that looked as if it had been prepared by Raymond Blanc. Vowing to do better the following year we got together with a group of friends for a classical extravaganza at Warwick Castle. We all took our own collapsible chars and sat around a wallpaper pasting table whose humble origins were cunningly disguised by a smart white table cloth and enjoyed an impressive meal.
With a group it is easy to share the shopping, preparation and cooking but even if there are just two of you it is still possible to have a memorable picnic. If you are doing this in style you will want a nibble with your glass of champagne and things like olives, posh crisps, and cheese straws are ideal. For starters some rustic rolls with pates, dips, potted shrimps, dressed crab and the like are all easy to transport and delicious. You will probably think along the lines of a salad based main course. There are some delicious pasta recipes for pasta salads with chargrilled vegetables.
You may well decide to raid the deli and have a selection of cold meats or alternatively something like a coronation chicken always goes down well. As well as the usual mixed salad why not check some vegetarian recipes and supplement it with a Waldorf salad, coleslaw and potato salad? If you have room then a selection of cheeses is a great way to round off the meal or for those with a sweet tooth perhaps a punnet of strawberries and some clotted cream.