Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver reveals how to perk up a picnic for all the family

The chef, 42, tells LYNSEY HOPE his top tips for freshening up your al fresco feasts.



Pack a jam jar

Fill it with salad dressing such as balsamic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Jamie explains: “Make and shake your salad in a jam jar.

"It’s simple, portable and it helps you keep your leaves and veggies nice and crisp until you dress them at the last minute, just before serving.”

Don't forget the Scotch eggs

“Take some inspiration from the picnic classics, such as Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pasties or mini pork pies,” says Jamie – who reckons it’s easy to make your own.

He adds: “As well as setting a bit of a fun, retro tone, these tasty treats are all easy to hold and eat without a plate – it’s a win-win.”

Please with a pud

“Make-ahead puds are a good extra touch,” says Jamie.

“Meringues are a really lovely, easy option.

"You can make them in advance, and they’re really delicious when paired with fresh fruit so it’s a good way of getting in an extra one of your five-a-day.

Take a selection of the season’s best fruit, a tub of cooling yoghurt, and let everyone build their own sweet treat. Smush it up in a plastic cup to serve.”

Fruity water

Home-made flavoured water can add an extra, colourful touch.

Jamie says: “Half fill a reusable bottle with fresh fruit – slices of citrus or crushed berries work well – then top with water and freeze overnight.

“Hey presto, it will melt into a delicious drink that keeps your food cool while you’re travelling.”
You can also pack ice cubes in a thermos flask to keep drinks cool.

Make a showstopper

Are you out to impress?

Then follow Jamie’s advice: “A picnic pie or a veggie tart really looks the business.

“You can make it in advance, ready to slice up when you need it.

“I like to keep things simple by choosing a veg, slow-cooking it with some herbs or spices, and pairing it with a complementary cheese.

"It’s too good.”

Bake bread

Leave the packet sandwiches at home – and the packet bread.

Jamie says: “Raise your sandwich game and make your own loaf.

"It’s a little bit of effort but it is worth it.

"It’s sure to go down a storm.”

Think Italian

Jamie advises: “Mix it up Italian style and go for an antipasti selection of cured meats.

“Add some roasted veg, olives, maybe a beautiful buffalo mozzarella.

"You can lay everything out and let people make their own sandwiches and platters.”


And finally, says Jamie: “Don’t forget the bottle opener.

Also, enamel plates are light and unbreakable, much more practical than paper ones.”

And always take kitchen towel and bin bags – picnics can get messy.

The brand-new summer menu at restaurant chain Jamie’s Italian launched last week.

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