Sunday was the nicest day of the bank holiday weekend, it was also the chosen day of my birthday picnic. I’d spent Saturday making things and getting bits marinating. It was mainly salads and cold things, but also a few kebabs and koftas that needed cooking.
Now, I’m not really a fan of those disposable barbecues, it’s very difficult to control the heat, and they chuck out loads of smoke so that everyone gets a bit sick and smells of smoke for the rest of the day.
Far better to use a small cooking stove and a pan, with this you can cook in small batches as needed, the heat can be controlled and it doesn’t taste of charcoal.
But a picnic wouldn’t be a picnic without some salads, so here what I made.
Puy lentil salad
Half a pack of puy lentils
One packet of feta cheese
One tomato or half a pepper
Large handful of mint leaves
Boil the lentils as directed on the packet. Drain and cool. Cut the feta into small cubes, finely dice some red pepper or small tomatoes to provide a few flecks of red. Wash and chop the mint. Combine all the ingredients with the oil, season and serve.
Chorizo and chickpea
1 tin of chickpeas
1 chorizo (unsliced)
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tin of tomatoes
Splash of pepper sauce
Pinch of saffron
Teaspoon red wine vinegar
Put the chickpeas in a small saucepan and boil gently, this will help soften them. Fry the onion and garlic in a frying pan and add slices of chorizo. Add the cooked chickpeas, the tin of chopped tomatoes and all the other ingredients, season and cook slowly for 20 minutes till combined. Add the fresh parsley at the end.
Handful of minced beef and pork
Finely diced onion and garlic
Tea spoon cumin
Tea spoon chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Chopped mint and parsley
Pinch curry powder
Fry the onion and garlic until translucent and leave to cool. (I find adding cooked onion keeps the moisture content in the koftas down) Add the onion to the meat along with the other ingredients and mix. The egg and the breadcrumbs help bind the mixture. Another tip is to use two bamboo sticks in each one. This gives extra grip and stops the chance of the meat spinning round when turning. Squeeze the meat tightly on and chill before cooking.
There were some ‘also ran’s’ that you can kind of figure out from the description.
Chilli beef kebabs - These were just cubes of beef marinated in oil, lime juice, chill flakes and pepper sauce and then skewered on sticks.
Minty lamb kebabs – Lamb, lemon juice, mint and natural yoghurt marinated and skewered.
Tuna and sweet corn salad – Dead basic this, can of tuna, sweet corn, chopped celery, parsley, mayonnaise – mixed up.
Potato salad – Boiled new potatoes, mint, mayonnaise, whole grain mustard.
Tomato salad – tomatoes deseeded and chopped, olive oil, balsamic and basil
Fennel and celery salad – fry the fennel and celery with onion and garlic, cool, and add to salad leaves. Add the fronds of the fennel and celery leaves too.
Sticky chicken wings – marinated in honey and soy sauce then cooked in a hot oven.
Add to the above bread, humus, wine, and some halloumi kebabs for the veggies and we all proceeded to get nicely smashed in the sunshine. Mmmm.