CLASSIC HOME-MADE SCOTCH EGGS (MAKES FOUR)
300g good quality, course sausage meat
4 large free-range eggs + 2 eggs for coating
100g home-made dried breadcrumbs
Small onion Teaspoon Dijon mustard Herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper
Oil for deep-frying
Start the day (or early morning) before by drying out breadcrumbs in a cool oven of 120°C. Don’t make the crumbs too small and you’ll have a lovely rough texture for the eggs. They take a couple of hours by which time they’ll be very dry and golden. Place the sausage meat in a bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
Now cover the four eggs with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and continue to gently boil for no longer than five minutes. Plunge into ice cold water for ten minutes or until you’ve assembled the other ingredients.
Finely grate the onion and drain off the excess liquid, retaining the pulp only. Add to the sausage meat and mix in the salt and black pepper, together with the Dijon mustard or even horseradish sauce. Combine with the herbs and mix thoroughly, preferably by hand. Now carefully peel the eggs under a running cold tap, pat dry and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, deep pan but do not overfill as the eggs will displace the oil and bring it dangerously close to the top.
In another bowl beat the two remaining eggs. Wrap the sausage meat around the cooled boiled eggs (having wet hands makes this process easier). Dip the covered eggs into the beaten egg mixture and roll them in the breadcrumbs, coating them generously coat, and pressing to help the crumbs adhere.
Test the oil temperature by dropping a piece of bread into it which should start to brown
These Mexican-style wraps add an exciting twist to any picnic and ring the changes from the ubiquitous sandwich. No butterspreading, no crumb mess, just an easy opening of store cupboard ingredients with a dash of this and that.
•Can of cooked mixed beans, drained and coarsely mashed
•Can of cooked black beans, drained and coarsely mashed
•2 small ripe avocados, coarsely mashed
•2 medium/ large tomatoes, chopped finely
•Fat clove garlic, minced to a paste with some sea salt
•Juice of 1 large lime
•Handful coriander leaves and stems, chopped
•Few dashes tabasco habanero or other chilli sauce
•Half teaspoon cumin
•Half teaspoon smoked paprika
•Tortillas or wraps
Simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let them infuse for at least an hour. Drain off the excess liquid and pile into the tortillas. Wrap tightly and secure each one with foil for an individual serving. chunks of cucumber, grated raw beetroot and carrot, chopped apple and cooked diced chicken. For a really quick dressing, whisk some cider vinegar into some ready made pesto. Decant into a screw-top jar. Give it a shake before adding to the salad just prior to serving.
Toasted pine nuts add another luxury dimension – keep them in a separate container to add just before you serve. The chicken can be substituted by some chunks of ready-cooked Quorn and/or Feta cheese (or its vegan equivalent).
No picnic is complete without lemonade but this one has a spicy twist! Simply squeeze the juice and remove the flesh from six lemons into a blender with a quarter-inch piece of freshly grated ginger. De-seed a quarter inch piece of red chilli and add to the blender with lemon and ginger. Throw in a few stalks of coriander and 30g of sugar. Add a small cup of water and blend until very smooth. Bottle and chill. Add to sparkling water with a sprig of mint.
SIMPLE FRUIT PUNCHES
There’s no need to get too carried away on the punch - but then again, after lockdown, you can afford to let go just a little. Some ‘flavour ideas’ that you can mix in a hurry with pieces of fresh fruit. Why not add a dash of something stronger to grown-up glasses? Cranberry and orange juice works well with a dash of vodka, or how about pineapple juice and coconut water which is great with a dash of Bacardi. You can make a simple mint julep by boiling a sugar and water syrup, adding fresh mint and then topping up with a white wine Spritzer for an easy, low-alcohol drink. Serve with slices of cucumber. N #ThereWithYou
ABOVE: Home made Scotch eggs are perfect for a picnic, says Suffolk chef Ruth French. Photo: Getty Images BELOW: Fresh fruit makes a picnic!
ABOVE: Easy bean burritos are simple to make, says Suffolk chef Ruth French. RIGHT: A hearty salad is just the ticket for the perfect picnic