Summer will soon be drawing to a close, so enjoy a meal in the great outdoors while you still can.
Whether it’s a few snacks in your garden or a proper hamper-and-rug affair on the beach, a picnic is a wonderful way to see out the end of the summer.
As meals go, they’re incredibly versatile, from spur-of-the-moment deli raids to proper planned-out dinners requiring cutlery. And ideal for romantic dates, catch-ups with friends and family days out alike.
Southsea Greenhouse, which is based in the Pyramids Centre, offer a service online which sends out local and organic produce. Relying on local allotments and businesses for the food, the company offers a free delivery service for groups or £1 for anywhere else in the city.
Founder Sue Stokes says: ‘We try to get people to grow more and not rely on the supermarkets.
‘This year has been hard for everyone, so it’s more important than ever to have your own produce so you can go out for picnics and barbecues.’
Sue believes that the best way to eat outside is at this time of year when it’s warm and a lot of fruit is ripe.
She says: ‘The problem with being British is that at the first sign of rain we go indoors.
‘Things like tomato salads are great because you can have them in your back garden quite easily. Blackberries are great now too.’
Go to southseagreenhouse.co.uk for more info.
Below is one picnic treat you can try at home.
TOM AIKEN’S CHERRY TOMATO GAZPACHO (SERVES 6)
2.5kg cherry tomatoes
80g coriander, roughly picked
100g basil, roughly picked
110g icing sugar
40g sea salt
5g black pepper, ground
400ml olive oil
For the basil oil:
150g basil, roughly picked
250ml olive oil
6 tomatoes, sliced into eighths
1 handful of basil leaves
For the gazpacho, combine all of the ingredients (but only 200ml of the olive oil) and crush with your hands into a pulp.
Place the mix into a blender, blend on a high-speed until smooth and pass through a fine chinois – making sure to extract as much of the liquid as possible.
To complete the gazpacho, pour some of the strained soup back into the blender, pulse on a medium setting and add the remaining olive oil in a slow steady stream until fully incorporated. Transfer to the fridge to cool.
For the basil oil, place the basil into a pot of boiling water for 30-45 seconds, drain and refresh in ice cold water.
Once the basil has completely cooled, squeeze the basil to remove as much water from the leaves as possible. Roughly chop the leaves and place in a blender with 100ml of the olive oil. Blend on a high speed, slowly adding the remaining oil until smooth. Pour into a small bottle or jar and refrigerate.
To serve the gazpacho, pour into bowls and garnish with a little more basil oil, basil cress or small basil leaves and the slices of tomato.
Great British Chefs has launched a new Summertime app in association with Ocado, available at greatbritishchefs.com. Proceeds go towards Action Against Hunger.