Make the most of the longer and warmer days with a lazy afternoon enjoying the countryside and enjoying a vintage inspired picnic. Here are some simple easy to make recipes that will taste as good as they look.
250g pre rolled puff pastry - 15cm x 30cm - thickness of a £1 coin
Bunch of English asparagus
1 Egg - beaten
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
salt and pepper
100g grated parmesan
Pre heat the oven to 180c
Roll the puff pastry out just a little with a rolling pin into a rectangle, 30cm x 15cm and about the thickness of a £1 coin. Score a 1cm border around the pastry, making sure you don't cut all the way through. Using a fork, prick inside the edges of both sheets about every 1/2 inch. Place the sheet on a floured baking tray and brush the border with the beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes.
Trim tough ends off the asparagus. Steam the for about 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Place on a kitchen towel to drain. Cook the lardons until crisp. Set on paper towels to drain. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with the chives, parsley, and lemon zest. Taste and add salt and pepper. Take the pastry out of the oven and squash down the middle. Spread the ricotta mixture, and sprinkle over the lardons. Place the asparagus across lengthways and grate half the parmesan over the top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Grate over the remaining Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot with a fresh green salad.
50g caster sugar
50ml white wine vinegar
Using a peeler slice the cucumber into strips. Season it with salt and leave for a few minutes. This allows the water content to reduce. Rinse and squeeze the cucumber and leave to one side.
Place the sugar and vinegar in a pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the strips of cucumbers into a preserving jar, pour in the sugar and vinegar mixture over the cucumber and leave to cool before putting on the lid and placing in the fridge.
Fresh green salad
Baby courgettes - quartered
Fine green beans - topped and tailed
Juice of one lemon
4 tbsp of good quality olive oil
Handful of fresh leaf parsley - finely chopped
Handful of fresh mint
Salt and pepper
Cut up the greens and steam for 4 minutes, plunge into ice cold water to retain colour and freshness Meanwhile prepare the dressing, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the greens and place in a large bowl, pour over the dressing and mix well. Tear the mint and zest the lemon over the greens and serve with fresh bread and homemade hummus.