Fehmalee's Picnic Menu
Spring for me represents rebirth, growth, rejuvenation, warmth and the start of barbecue/picnic season. It's so lovely to see all the beautiful flowers blossoming, seeing all the animals and their young, wearing lighter clothing and eating the delightful fruits and veggies at their best during this season. It's a period I enjoy having family time. Whether we are sat out in our garden, favourite park or our special (spiritual) place. It's nice to be in the company of the ones you love having great conversation, eating good food and enjoying the positive atmosphere. Now that the weather is starting to match the season, it's time to plan our family picnic and the chosen location is a lovely spot on a fell (mountain) in the lakes. As I live in South Lakeland, I am spoiled for choice on locations that will give me those breathtaking fell views. A fitting menu for our picnic is my delicious hoagies (vegetarian version). For dessert red berries and cream. To wash that all down, there is nothing better than limeade on ice.
Hoagies, originally created in Philadelphia are king-sized sandwich on a loaf of bread approximately 12 inches long and 3 inches wide, filled with various cold cuts (deli meats) and many different trimmings.
Veggie Hoagie (can be grilled or roasted)
1 medium aubergine (eggplant) sliced lengthways, 2 medium courgettes (zucchini) sliced lengthways, 2 peppers one red and the other yellow (bell peppers) sliced, 4 unpeeled garlic cloves (add if roasting), 2 spring onion (scallions) julienned , 5 sundried tomatoes julienned , 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese sliced, 1 tub of soft cheese, 2 sprigs of chives finely chopped, 4 fresh basil leaves julienned, 1 tsp flavour enhancer, 1tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, balsamic vinegar glaze, ciabatta bread.
If you plan on roasting your veggies, pre heat oven to 180c then begin prepping veggies by slicing aubergines, courgettes, peppers & spring onions and place in a roasting tin. Add olive oil, 3/4 tsp of flavour enhancer, salt and pepper toss to coat and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until veggies are soft then set aside to cool. In a bowl add all the sliced mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and basil. Toss then leave for a few minutes for flavour to marry. Combine the roasted garlic (remove peel) mash and mix with soft cheese add chives sprinkle on remain 1/4 tsp of flavour enhancer and stir. Slice ciabatta bread in half brush with olive oil and lightly toast.
Now it's time to assemble our hoagie: Spread soft cheese mixture on both halves of bread. Layer on aubergine, courgettes, peppers, spring onions, in pockets add sundried tomatoes and basil. Then layer on mozzarella slices and drizzle on balsamic glaze. Finally, fold and cut in half or quarters (depending on length of ciabatta).
Red Berries & Cream
15 medium strawberries quartered, 200g raspberries, 15 cherries quartered, 300ml extra thick double cream (heavy cream) or Greek yogurt, 1 tsp Madagascan vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp rose water, 1 tbsp/to taste maple syrup, golden syrup, honey or agave, 1tsp rum or rum flavouring
Combine strawberries, raspberries and cherries in a bowl add vanilla, rosewater, choice of sweetener and rum then stir. When ready to serve, dollop with double cream or Greek yogurt and enjoy.
2 limes washed and chopped, 3 mint leaves, 2tbsp caster sugar or to taste, 500ml water, 250ml ice cubes.
Put the chopped limes, sugar water and ice in a blender and blend until fairly smooth. Strain, into a jug (pitcher) to remove the bits of skin and pith. Serve or place in cold beverage container.