It’s that time of year to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Whether you head down to your nearest park or a nice remote spot in the hills, take some inspiration from these tasty recipes.
SERVES 6-8 PREPARATION 15 mins COOKING 20 mins
- 6 chicken breasts with skin on
- Olive oil
- 100g (3½oz) rocket leaves
- 8 slices Parma ham, cut into strips
- 100g (3½oz) semi-dried/sun blush tomatoes
- 2tbsp basil leaves
- 50g (1¾oz) pine nuts toasted
FOR THE DRESSING
- 2tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 100ml (3½fl oz) olive oil
- 2tsp balsamic vinegar
- ½tsp Dijon mustard
Heat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5). Season each breast. Sear the chicken skin-side down in a hot frying pan for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to the oven and cook, skin-side up, for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly, then slice into 1-2cm pieces.
Make the dressing by placing the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard in a screw-top jar and shaking well until combined.
To assemble, cover a platter with rocket, then add a layer of chicken slices. Top with Parma ham, tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. Pour over the dressing, season well and serve.
Vary the ingredients according to what is available. You can replace the pine nuts with toasted or smoked almonds and use fresh cherry tomatoes instead of the semi-dried variety.
The chicken can be cooked a few hours ahead of time, but is best not refrigerated.
Recipe from House and Garden
How about some home-made Scotch eggs too!
Homemade Scotch eggs are a world away from shop bought versions. They’re worth the effort for a special picnic treat.
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 275g/10oz sausage meat
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 spring onion, very finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 125g/4oz plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 125g/4oz breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 1. Place the eggs, still in their shells, in a pan of cold salted water.
- 2. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for exactly nine minutes.
- 3. Drain and cool the eggs under cold running water, then peel.
- 4 Mix the sausage meat with the thyme, parsley and spring onion in a bowl and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper (Simon recommends being generous with the freshly ground black pepper).
- 5. Divide the sausage meat mixture into four and flatten each out on a clean surface into ovals about 12.5cm/5in long and 7.5cm/3in at its widest point.
Place the seasoned flour onto a plate, then dredge each boiled egg in the flour.
- 6. Place each onto a sausage meat oval, then wrap the sausage meat around each egg. Make sure the coating is smooth and completely covers each egg.
- 7. Dip each sausage meat-coated egg in the beaten egg, rolling to coat completely, then dip and roll into the breadcrumbs to completely cover.
- 8. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan, until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
- 9. Carefully place each scotch egg into the hot oil and deep-fry for 8-10 minutes, until golden and crisp and the sausage meat is completely cooked.
- 10. Carefully remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Recipe and image from BBC food