Quick gazpacho with Italian ciabattas
Remove the cores from 400g ripe tomatoes and roughly chop. Place in a food processor with 150ml tomato juice, ½ tbsp red wine vinegar and 1 tbsp olive oil. Whizz until very smooth, then transfer into a jug and refrigerate until ready to serve. Split open 2 ciabattas and drizzle the cut sides with olive oil. Roughly tear 4 slices of prosciutto and layer onto the ciabatta bottoms. Slice 1 x 200g ball of fresh Mozzarella and add to the ciabattas. Season generously with salt and black pepper and add a small handful of fresh basil to each. Close the ciabattas and cut in half to serve. To serve, divide the gazpacho into two bowls, cups or glasses, drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter over some chopped fresh basil.
Pressed chicken, bacon and Brie picnic sandwiches
Using a bread knife, cut off the very top of 1 large crusty bread loaf and set aside. Cut a 2cm border around the inside of the loaf, making sure not to cut all the way through. Scoop out most of the bread from the centre. Stir together 5 tbsp mayonnaise with 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard. Spread a generous around the inside of the bread. Push 400g shredded cooked chicken down to the bottom of the hollow in the bread. Follow with layers of 200g cooked bacon, 200g Brie, 1 sliced red onion and 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves, pressing everything down tightly so that you can fit as much filling as possible. Cover with the top bread piece and wrap the loaf very, very tightly in cling film plastic. Place in the fridge and top with something heavy to press it down (such as a cast iron pan or a heavy book). Chill for at least four hours or overnight if possible. Remove from the fridge, unwrap and slice into eight servings. Wrap up individually for easy transport and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Bulgur tabbouleh salad
Bring 350ml chicken or vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over a high heat. Add 225g dry bulgur, stir to coat and then turn the heat off, leaving the pan in place. Cover and allow to stand over the warm hob for 20 minutes. Fluff the cooked bulgur with a fork, then set aside cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add the juice of 1 lemon and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Stir to combine, then cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. About 45 minutes before serving, remove from the fridge and toss with a fork. Add 3 chopped spring onions, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 chopped ripe tomatoes, 1 chopped cucumber, 100g crumbled Feta and 12 pitted and halved Kalamata olives. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and black pepper to taste and stir to combine.
Smoked salmon and pesto cream cheese palmiers
Makes about 10
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Unroll 1 x 320g sheet of puff pastry. Spread 5 tbsp cream cheese over the pastry and spread 5 tbsp pesto over that. Top with 120g smoked salmon. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and season well with black pepper. With one of the longer sides facing you, mark a line roughly down the centre, but don’t cut all the way through. Tightly roll each end in towards the middle until they meet. Use a sharp knife to slice the roll into 1cm-thick pieces. Place, cut-side up, on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack, then pack into a plastic tub for your picnic.
Ham, cheese and tomato muffins
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 12-cup mini muffin tin with butter or olive oil. In a large bowl, combine 375g self-raising flour, 120g tomato relish, 250g cooked, cubed ham, a large handful of chopped baby spinach, 2 chopped spring onions, 180g grated Cheddar, 120ml olive oil, 250ml milk, 2 beaten eggs and some salt and black pepper. Stir until just combined. Divide the mixture between the 12 cups in the muffin tin and cook for 25 minutes or
until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, then pack with extra tomato relish for your picnic.