It's time to start making the most of every last scrap of summer with activities that will get the kids out of the house and into the countryside. We can't think of anything nicer than a picnic. Leave the car at home if you can and load up the bicycle basket with easily prepared food that tastes as good as it looks.
Asparagus Tart ingredients:
250g pre rolled puff pastry, 1 bunch of asparagus, I beaten egg, 200g of lardons, 250g ricotta cheese, 2 tbsp of chopped chives, 2 tbsp of chopped parsley, 1 tsp of grated lemon zest, salt and pepper, 100g of grated parmesan. Preheat 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 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 the tough ends off the asparagus. Steam them 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 another 20 minutes until golden.
Grate over the remaining Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot with a fresh green salad.
For more picnic ideas visit the Summer 2013 issue of Heart Home magazine.
Recipe and styling by Claire Morgan.
Photographs by Andrew Boyd.