Oh the delights of half term when you (1) don't have anything planned or (2) cannot afford to make your way somewhere where there is considerably more sun (wouldn't that be ideal!) or (3) cannot take time off work even if you can do (1) and (2). The kid(s) says he's bored and you feel like a complete failure for not being able to work something fun to do around the house until...
...picnic in the garden is announced and everyone gathers around to see what all the fuss is about. The best bit? You don't even need to carry that hamper too far (but if you plan to do so, always get one with side handles so you can share the weight (let's call it love).
The sun is making a (not so) rare appearance, the law is cut and dry so why not eat outside, I say. Besides, it's good to have a test drive of the new hamper ahead of National Picnic week (more of that below!). Everyone in agreement, I make my way to the kitchen to prepare something delicious (healthy, but not TOO healthy. Because this is meant to be a bit fun, remember?). So, let me introduce you to my...
Chimichurri chicken sandwich delight, an all time favourite with the family. Well, the grown ups love it and we first got introduced to it at that gorgeous Argentinian restaurant Gaucho South Ken (you probably saw me celebrating my birthday there last Feb. It's a place I always recommend because the service is top over 10 years now).
The ingredient that makes the whole dish here is the chimichurri sauce, a pesto-like sauce of Argentinian origin. It's a cold sauce, meaning you don't need to cook it and has very few ingredients.
There are two versions to it - the green one (that Gaucho serves together with its steaks) and which is mainly crushed parsley mixed with oregano and onions in olive oil (never, EVER use vegetable oil); and the red one which has peppers to it and which I'll show you here (but don't tell the kid I put peppers in, because he doesn't like them... *laughing emoji here*). There's a bonus ingredient too!
The bonus ingredient: piquante peppers! For me, they make the difference, and give your sandwich a kick (but check that the kids will like it first or make a batch just for the adults!).
So how do you make the sauce? Could not be easier. You could use a food processor, but try just stirring all ingredients together fast in a deep bowl. Season always after you have done the stirring.
You can use ready cooked chicken strips (as I do) and you can use either baguette or for a more authentic taste, flatbread (rolled) or pita bread. Add lettuce, a good two spoonfuls of chicken and a generous dollop of the sauce and that's it. Serve with crisps and Pimms or red wine, then sit back and enjoy.
Of course having a picnic outside means actually sitting on the lawn and that's always best done with a blanket. Or two! Always choose one that is wool on one side and waterproof on the other - just in case the lawn is still a little wet. And once you have everything down, just kick off your shoes and R E L A X.
When choosing a hamper, try to go for one that already includes a blanket. Most of them come with a set of plates, cutlery and glasses. The one above that I was sent from Wayfair to style for this post (the family did not complain about this photoshoot and I had to be quick before they attacked the sandwiches and cakes!) is the Amersham hamper for 4 people.
Why did I choose it: because (1) it has real glass and not plastic glasses; (2) it is tall (so you can later re-purpose it as a toy or book box); (3) it has leather handles on the side and closes with leather straps, so it's gorgeous even when closed; (4) it is very spacious; (5) it fits perfectly under my console table when not in use.
Now, did you know that we have National Picnic Week on the horizon (16th – 25th June)? Yes! And it's a great excuse to pack up the hamper, grab a blanket and head to a lush open space for a quintessentially British picnic. Just remember to tidy up before you leave if you are using a public space!
You may want to try my recipe above or go for something more complicated or simpler, or even get something ready from the supermarket. Eating al fresco is certainly the dish of the day so it doesn't matter what you pack, as long as you make the effort to have a fun day out. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I regularly work with Wayfair's Home Experts team on styling challenges. On this assignment I was asked to choose a hamper from their vast selection, style it and share my favourite recipe. I had total control over the content of this post, so all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that provide Seasons in Colour the opportunity to share fresh content with you!