Indoor Picnic!

With Saturday’s weather being so sunny, and me actually thinking that it may be sunny on Sunday as well, I went into full on picnic planning mode, with the idea we would be having a picnic in the park for lunch.  I did a quick dash round the supermarket and picked up a few things – nice bread, cheese etc., but thought I would make at least a couple of things of my own.

First up was my easy-peasy Tomato, Pesto and Mozzarella Tarts.  I often make the larger version of this for a quick dinner, usually serving with a large salad

Tomato, Pesto and Mozzarella Tarts

Ingredients

1 packet of Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
1 Jar of Pesto
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1 ball of Mozzarella Cheese

Cherry TomatoesPestoMozzarella

Method

  • Unroll the puff pastry sheet
  • Using a cutter cut out circles of pastry and mark a smaller circle in the centre (with another cutter or knife)
  • Spread a little pesto in each inner circle
  • Slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters and put a couple of quarters on each tart
  • Tear the mozzarella into small chunks and place a few chunks on each tart
  • Cook at 200C for approx. 15 mins (or until golden)

Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Tart

To round off a picnic you need something a little sweet, and with British strawberries starting to make an appearance in the shops I thought I would make something light and fruity – Meringue with Strawberry Cream.  This meringue recipe is a little different than most, but it works producing a light crispy meringue shell.

Meringue with Strawberry Cream

Ingredients

3 egg whites (I cheat and use two chicks egg whites)
½ tsp. lemon juice
150g caster sugar
200ml carton of double cream
150g Strawberries, hulled
2 tsp. caster sugar

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Method

  • Preheat the oven to 110C
  • In a bowl whisk together the egg whites and lemon juice until the whites double in volume and form stiff peaks.
  • Keep whisking and add sugar 1 tbsp. at a time until all mixed in and the whites are glossy
  • Place baking parchment on a baking tray and draw on  4 circles (about 5 cm in diameter)
  • Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe rounds into each circle until full, with another around on top create side.
  • Alternatively you can spoon the mixture into the circles and make the nest by pressing the back of a spoon into the mixture
  • Bake for 1.5 hours until they are crisp and lift easily of the paper
  • For the cream, whisk the cream and sugar until stiff
  • Set aside 2 strawberries, and mash the remainder
  • Then mix the cream and mashed strawberries together and pop a dollop on top of each cooled meringue nest
  • Top with a strawberry half

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Of course, after making this the weather wasn’t really that nice on Sunday afternoon, but not one to waste a good picnic – we just had it indoors instead!

Indoor Picnic!!

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