With summer here and the beautiful countryside full of flowers and beautiful green foliage, it’s time to grab a blanket and a basket of yummy treats and head out for a picnic.

Whether you’re planning a romantic gathering or a family adventure that is perfect for youngsters to blow off all that extra holiday energy, picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors. They’re certainly the perfect excuse to enjoy our beautiful climate and surrounds – especially because most of us spend a great deal of time in offices and classrooms.

According to the team of culinary gurus at Granny Mouse, picnics have come a long way since the days of the so-called ‘picque-nique’ in 17th Century France. Outdoor gatherings like this found their way to England when the French aristocracy fled the French Industrial revolution and became a perfect fit with one of England’s best known culinary traditions – the good old sandwich.

However, unless you’re able to dream up some exotic fillings, your outdoor picnic should be less like a lunchbox and more about delicious bites that are reminiscent of tapas.

The idea behind this form of al fresco dining is to make sure that the delicious goodies that make up your picnic spread are finger friendly and easy to nibble as well as fun and unexpected.

These days you can find beautiful baskets or picnic bags that double up as cooler bags so there’s no excuse for wilted lettuce and sad salads.

With a little imagination, you can pass on the standard sausage rolls, samoosa’s and crisps and put together and imaginative and even healthy offering for all.

Here are some ideas from Granny Mouse’s culinary artists:

·Create various salads in individual jars. Our ideas include a cous cous, feta and beetroot salad with sprouts and a layered Greek salad.

·Desserts in jars – the same applies and this is a great way to serve a deconstructed blueberry cheesecake or a trifle.

·Find some exotic breads and cut them into bread sticks. Our team serves these with a basil pesto dip. Cheese and onion bread fingers can be combined with a spicy mayo dip.

·Skewers – these are perfect for sweet and savoury. Try melon, prosciutto and mozzarella balls with a balsamic reduction or tomato, basil and feta.

·Mini quiches – biltong, butternut and feta or tomato chutney and balsamic caramelised onion.

·Mini Prego rolls. Bite size doughnut balls with a chocolate dipping sauce.

·Crepes filled with a variety of fruit and custard

For more info, go to www.grannymouse.co.za

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