Easter picnic ideas: Weather forecast, food and drink inspiration

BBC Weather forecasts colder temperatures across Europe

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We’re now allowed to socialise in the park with friends and family, as long as social distancing measures are followed. A picnic, be it in your garden or in a park, is a great way to celebrate Easter weekend and keep spirits high. We’ve got all the information and suggestions you need to plan a lovely Easter weekend picnic.

What is the weather like this Easter weekend?

Easter Saturday Day

Clouds will thin across Wales and central England to leave sunshine.

However, it will remain overcast in the east.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will have plenty of sunshine.

Overall, Saturday is looking like a dry day.

Easter Saturday Evening

Clouds to build in Northern Ireland and western areas of Scotland and northern England.

Skies will remain clear in Wales and central England, but southeast England will be cloudy throughout.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is expected to be wet and windy in Scotland, with the rain reaching Northern Ireland and northern England by the evening.

It will unfortunately be turning cold with wintry showers in the far north, however, it’s good news for those down south as it’ll be dry with sunny spells.

What are some food and drink ideas for an Easter picnic?

It’s always tough to cater to al fresco dining, but we’ve found some delicious recipes for light picnic food, perfect for Easter.

If you’re a chicken fan, level up your usual chicken salad sandwiches and opt for some crispy chicken and avocado rolls.

Ingredients

2 large skinless chicken breasts
100g plain flour
1 egg , beaten
splash of milk
3 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
2 small avocados , stoned, peeled and halved
½ lime , juiced
4 baps or rolls, split
1 Little Gem lettuce , leaves separated

Method

Put the chicken on a board and cover with a sheet of baking parchment. Bash with a rolling pin to an even thickness, then cut both breasts in half diagonally.

Put the flour on a plate. Season. Combine the egg and milk in a wide, shallow bowl. Dust the chicken in the flour, shake off the excess, then dunk into the egg mix.

Add the almonds and sesame seeds to any remaining flour on the plate and coat the chicken in the mixture.

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the chicken for four to five minutes on each side until crisp and golden, adding the rest of the oil when you turn the pieces over.

Cut into the thickest part of one of the pieces to check it’s cooked through, then leave to cool for five minutes.

Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl with the lime juice and a pinch of salt, then mash. Spread over the baps, top with the lettuce, then the chicken. Cut in half.

Fancy piccalilli potato salad

Ingredients

750g new potatoes , halved
½ small cauliflower (about 350g), broken into very small florets
100g green beans, trimmed and halved
sunflower oil, for frying
300g piccalilli
3 tbsp olive oil
8 radishes, quartered
3 baby cucumber, thickly sliced
For the pickled onions
100ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 large red onion or 2 small, finely sliced
Method

First, make the pickled onions. Pour the vinegar and 50ml water into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, a teaspoon of salt and the mustard seeds, and simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Put half the onion into a heatproof bowl and pour the hot liquid over. Leave to cool slightly, then cover and leave to pickle in the fridge for two hours.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and beans, and cook for two minutes more, then drain.

Heat a depth of 3cm sunflower oil in a small heavy-based saucepan until a small cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden. It’ll likely be within 20 seconds. Carefully drop the rest of the onion into the oil and fry for one to two minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a sheet of kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt – this will help keep the onions crisp.

Mix the piccalilli and olive oil together in a bowl. Toss with the cooked potatoes, cauliflower and beans, along with the radishes and cucumbers. Toss in the pickled onions, then tip into a serving bowl and top with the crispy onions.

Vegan sausage rolls

Ingredients

250g chestnut mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp brown rice miso
2 tsp Dijon mustard
30g chestnuts, very finely chopped
70g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 x 320g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry (not the all-butter version)
plain flour for dusting
dairy-free milk (like soya milk), to glaze

Method

Tip the mushrooms into a food processor and pulse until they are very finely chopped. Put half the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the leeks along with a pinch of salt and fry gently for 15 minutes, or until softened and golden brown. Scrape the leeks out of the pan, into a bowl and set aside to cool a little.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the mushrooms for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add the garlic, sage, miso and mustard, and fry for a further minute. Leave to cool slightly.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the mushroom mixture into the bowl with the leeks, then add the chestnuts and breadcrumbs. Season, then mix everything together until you have a slightly stiff mixture.

Unravel the pastry on a floured surface, then roll the pastry out so that one side measures 43cm. Mould the mushroom and leek mixture into a sausage shape down the centre of the pastry, then bring the pastry up around the filling and seal along the seam with a fork. Cut into 10 pieces. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush each piece with milk. Bake for 25 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Leave to cool a little and sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Homemade elderflower cordial

Ingredients
2 ½kg white sugar , either granulated or caster
2 unwaxed lemons
20 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
85g citric acid

Method

Put the sugar and 1.5 litres/2¾ pints water into the largest saucepan you have. Gently heat, without boiling, until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler, then slice the lemons into rounds.

Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water.
Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift the flowers out, gently shake them, and then transfer to the syrup, along with the lemons, zest and citric acid, then stir well. Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hours.

Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through.
Discard the bits left in the towel. Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run glass bottles through the dishwasher, or wash well with soapy water).

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