Updated: 5 days ago
It finally seems as if the never-ending winter is over and that life is heading back to normal. We are excited to start exploring again, even if only in our local area. Inspired by a recent staycation, I've put together this newsletter full of tips and recipes for food that is easy to prepare and ideal for eating outdoors. Think movable snacks, platters, picnics and going-away prepare-ahead-of-time food…..
Savoury snacks I’m always trying to create recipes that are healthy and filling but portable for after-school, weekends walks, camping trips and when we are out and about exploring when the weather is too nice to go back home to eat! Here are some easy, savoury, make in advance food for on the move…..
1. Quiche: There are videos on my Instagram showing my 4 year old making my go-to quiche recipe or this blog post breaks it down into easy-to-follow steps. You can vary the fillings to your liking and the season.
2. Filo parcels/samosas: Any leftover veg and meat can be thrown in, along with some cheese, and you suddenly have a complete meal perfect for when on-the-go but with not much mess or need for plates! See the recipe here.
3. Sausage rolls: These are so delicious, tender, moist, tasty and everyone loves them! The best bit is that they are super quick to make; read step-by-step instructions on this blog post showing my 4 year old making them... and enjoying them below on our recent trip to North Wales.
4. Meal in a jar: My rainbow chicken salad is popular with my three kids and so pretty. With hardly any chopping, layer up veg, sour cream, cheese, avocado and chicken; pack long spoons, close the lid and go! See the recipe on my website here or my recent Instagram post.
5. Savoury Muffins: Only 5 ingredients and ready to eat in 20 mins (start to finish), but can be made in advance and reheated for 30 seconds in the microwave prior to serving. Add any veg to make rainbow muffins for extra wow! I posted these recently on my website. You can see the recipe here.
6. Superfood Strudel: Make small parcels that are easy to carry around, rather than a long snail. It’s great at room temperature, full of nutrient-dense mushrooms, seaweed, nuts and root veg but also full of flavour from lime juice, soy sauce, garlic, herbs and cheese. The recipe is on my website here.
No outing is complete without a sweet treat! There’s no need to sacrifice taste for healthiness; my favourite recipes are also nutrient-dense meaning more goodness and less sugar for everyone. See my ideas below....
1. Raspberry Custard Slice: These silky easy-to-stir-together squares are loved by all and you can vary the fruit filling to mix things up. The recipe can be found on my website here.
2. Jelly: Sweets with almost no sugar that are full of good collagen and great for your skin, joints and gut health. You can see the recipe for jelly sweets I included in my Ottolenghi-themed lunchbox or more recipes and ideas on Instagram.
3. Seed bars: Like a healthy flapjack, these low-sugar vanilla bars are nut free and full of amazing pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and flax seeds. Find the recipe on my website here.
4. Mini Honey Cakes: These super simple, stir-together cakes (cooked in 12 mins) are flour-free and taste so buttery. Recipe on my website here. Just make sure not to add the icing if you’re eating them out and about as it might get messy!
Also, my delicious No-sugar Raspberry Bakewells travel well and are flour-free. You can find the recipe here.
Muffin Tin Picnics
When it's sunny my three kids love to eat outside in the garden. Rather than food sliding off their plates and ruining beautiful picnic rugs, I use a muffin tin to serve lots of healthy snacks picnic-style! When it's hot outside I don't want to stay in the kitchen cooking, so I just throw the contents of the fridge into a tin meaning it's quick, easy and fun for everyone. An additional benefit is less washing up!
Here I have put eggs, cheese cut into sticks, ham rolled up with cream cheese, leftover meatballs on sticks, cucumber and carrot sticks, berries, pistachio nuts and gherkins. You can add jelly sweets, olives or whatever takes your fancy!
As you’ll know by now, when I have guests over I adore making platters; it's a great way to serve beautiful food without having to cook (and saves lots of time in the process!) and ensures there’s something that appeals to everyone's tastes.
There are videos and list of ingredients on my Instagram to make cheese platters, Ottolenghi-inspired ones, kid-friendly options and festive ideas, but for those after even more info I’ll be sending out a detailed newsletter on them soon! Sign-up here if you haven't already.
You can also see the recipe for my festive seasonal platter here.
As soon as restrictions lifted in our area we travelled around North Wales in a camper van. For the trip I planned ahead and prepared several things in advance which resulted in almost zero cooking for me while we were away and plenty of time to enjoy the moment instead.
1. I made my nutritious pink and chocolate seed cereal (recipe on my Instagram) to take with us which we had for breakfast.
2. While there I made delicious nutritious turmeric eggs with seaweed. The recipe can be found on my website here.
3. We had quiche, sausage rolls and sweet treats for lunch up the mountain and for dinner we had easy make-ahead-of-time tray bakes - I just placed them in the oven; you can see the two different recipes here and here.
4. I also took along super tasty ready-made meatballs for the first night; we just had to fry them. With everything ready in advance I just sprinkled on pine nuts, feta and sauce and served with salad; it was all super fresh and easy. My meatballs recipe can be found here.
Sometimes I just don’t have the time (or inclination!) to cook and so I keep a range of emergency snacks in my car for when we stay at the playground late and everyone is starving.
My criteria when I buy packet food is that it shouldn’t have too many ingredients and it needs to be real food with some nutrition! My favourites include seaweed, biltong, dark chocolate and coconut chips; I’ve shared my favourite brands below.
I hope that this has inspired you to leave the house and enjoy the outdoors… assuming the weather plays along!