lifestyle

How to master the perfect picnic, according to an expert


Fancy a slice? (Picture: Louise Hagger)

With meet-ups allowed outside again, it’s great to share an outdoor meal with your friends.

If you’re heading to the park and need some ideas on how to create the perfect picnic with your mates, we have some advice.

After all, noone wants soggy sandwiches on a park bench.

We’ve asked picnic-guru Max Halley to give us his best tips on how to have the perfect al fresco lunch.

Your book came out just before those in England were allowed to meet others for socialising outdoors — coincidence?

Yes! I came up with the idea not long into the first lockdown when I thought all we’ll be able to do is go outside. I had no idea that a year later we’d still be here, but things are getting better.

I wanted to think about picnics as I do about sandwiches (Max runs maxssandwichshop.com in Crouch Hill, London) and take them to a different level.

Max is always getting creative in the kitchen – whether with food or headgear (Picture: Louise Hagger)

In what way?

The British idealise picnics — we think wicker baskets and cucumber sandwiches. There’s a bit of us that likes harking back to the past with fantasies of chilled champagne by the river as in Wind In The Willows, when it’s more like enduring windswept beaches where sand gets everywhere.

And to think that a wicker basket is a sensible thing to carry stuff around is clearly some kind of conspiracy. They are useless — everything sinks to the bottom and it all rattles about.

So what should we be doing instead?

I think a picnic should be whatever you want it to be. If you want olives, hummus and pitta bread, that’s great. But there are so many more options, and the one truly underrated bit of kit is the Thermos flask.

It’s a miracle of modern science! Put scoops of ice cream in there and they will stay frozen.

Mix ice-cold gin Martinis then drink them chilled three hours later on top of a hill, or make your own tortellini in brodo soup by heating a can of consommé then adding in dried pasta so it cooks as you walk to the picnic.

Our perception of the picnic is so manipulated that the only thing we can think to put in a Thermos is tea!

Max’s Picnic Book can help you take your day out to the next level

What would be at your perfect picnic?

First, proper cocktails — I love Negronis. Then I’d bring this English breakfast dish you prepare the day before.

Cut the top off a loaf of bread, hollow it out, and fill with bacon, sausages, mushroom, boiled eggs, tomatoes.

Put the top back on and press it overnight. The next day you can slice it like a terrine. And I’m a huge fan of condiments, they are great for dunking things in.

What are your picnic-kit essentials?

Apart from a Thermos or two, and some Tupperware, bring something to sit on. And bring sturdy glasses such as Duralex — champagne doesn’t taste the same in paper cups — and a good Tote bag.

I always scour charity shops for cutlery and crockery. You don’t need to spend much.

Max’s Picnic Book: An Ode To The Art Of Eating Outdoors by Max Halley and Ben Benton (Hardie Grant) is out now.

Park Life — three ways to pimp your picnic

Boco di Lupo picnic boxes

Picnics can be bougie too

Soho’s Bocco di Lupo have launched a range of picnic feast boxes with Italian flair.

You will find such things as smoked ricotta with grilled aubergines, charcuterie, Sardinian crispbread with Pecorino cream, marbled chocolate cake and a bottle of Prosecco, plus eco-friendly plates and cutlery. Serves up to 4, £86.

Available across London, boccadilupoathome.com

Dickinson & Morris pork pies

Pork pies are a must for any picnic (Picture: Clare Kinchin Photography)

This year sees the 170th anniversary of artisan pork pie purveyors Dickinson & Morris.

Their award-winning Melton Mowbrays consist of 100 per cent British pork shoulder, perfectly seasoned with a unique blend of white pepper and encased in a classic hot water crust pastry, for that satisfying — and all important — crunch. From £1.70.

Available nationwide, porkpie.co.uk

BrewDog Clean and Press

BrewDog Clean and Press cans in Cactus & Lime, Crushed Black Cherry, and White Peach & Mango

For a healthier alternative to a tinned G&T, try a hard seltzer: sparkling water spiked with alcohol.

BrewDog have created their own range, Clean and Press, which mix vodka with either Cactus & Lime, Crushed Black Cherry, or White Peach & Mango. All are 5% ABV with only 90 cals, 0 carbs and 0 sugar; 4-pack from £7.75.

Available nationwide, brewdog.com/shop

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch at metrolifestyleteam@metro.co.uk.

MORE : You can get Costa hot drinks for 50p next week

MORE : Think health foods are too expensive? Check out these cheap superfood alternatives

MORE : These are the UK’s most Instagrammed picnic spots

How to get your Metro newspaper fix

Metro newspaper is still available for you to pick up every weekday morning or you can download our app for all your favourite news, features, puzzles… and the exclusive evening edition!



Download the Metro newspaper app for free on App Store and Google Play



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more