Warmth, good food and the great outdoors – what could be nicer than a picnic? These tasty treats cost a fraction of the cost of supermarket alternatives, are easily transportable and go down well with kids and adults alike.
Don’t forget that if you want to turn your picnic into something really special, it’s worth putting a little effort into what you take with you as well. A decent rug is obviously essential, but how about taking a few cushions for lounging on as well? And why not ditch the paper plates in favour of reusable plastic ones that are easier to hold, less wasteful and won’t go soggy with a bit of salad dressing on them.
Costs about £3 for 10 (30p per portion)
Chicken wings and drumsticks are economical as well as being finger-licking good.
At a glance: rub your chicken pieces with oil and coat with a seasoning of flour, mustard powder, pepper, garlic powder and finely chopped chilli. Bake at 200°C (gas mark 6) for 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Costs about £1 for 4 to 6 (15p per portion)
Salad isn’t easy to eat on the go, but individual pots filled with couscous (or rice) salad, served with spoons, are easy and perfect for picnics.
At a glance: pour 200ml vegetable stock over 100g couscous, stir then allow to settle for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and stir in diced cucumber, red pepper and feta cheese to taste. Spoon into small reusable food tubs.
Costs about £1.50 for 10 (15p per portion)
This is a simple idea that’s oh-so-delicious ¬– and a little Parma ham makes a nice addition.
At a glance: take a tub of mozzarella pearls and spear onto cocktail sticks, alternating with cherry tomatoes and either fresh basil leaves or cucumber chunks, depending on your taste.
Costs about £5 for 8 slices (65p per portion)
A tart is a picnic classic. Make it the night before so it’s firm and easy to slice.
At a glance: roll out 250g shortcrust pastry and cut to fit a 25cm overproof dish before chilling in the fridge. Bake the base at 190°C (gas mark 5) then scatter in a pack of chopped Scottish salmon. Then pour over a whisked mixture of five beaten eggs, 125g sour cream, 125ml milk and seasoning. Bake at 180°C (gas mark 4) for 30-35 minutes.
Costs about £1 for about 20 (5p per portion)
Bite-sized scones are great with a flask of soup (particularly good if you’re in the picnic mood but the weather isn’t!).
At a glance: Mix 225g self raising flour, 60g butter and a pinch of salt. Stir in 25g grated cheese and 50g chopped mushroom or onion sautéed with butter. Stir in 150ml milk to make a dough. Knead and roll out to 2cm thickness and cut into small rounds. Place on a greased baking tray and bake at 220°C (gas mark 7) for 10-15 minutes.
Click here for the full recipe
Ice creams at the park can be very expensive and a box of ice lollies from the local supermarket can be fetched in a few minutes for a fraction of the price. Or take a tub of washed strawberries and a little pot of sugar to dip them in.
The clean up
So you’ve created a picnic fit for a king on a shoestring budget? It may be tempting to reach for a cheap bottle of washing up liquid but actually it’s a false economy as Fairy lasts twice as long as the next bestselling brand, meaning it’s kinder on your purse in the long run.
What are your favourite picnic foods? Let us know in the comments section below.