Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella!

Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

National Picnic Week

National Picnic Week

 

17th to 23rd June 2013

Take about twenty friends, a weeping willow tree, a sunny June day, a lake or two, some plastic chairs as well as deck chairs, a significant birthday, assorted salads, cake, paella and the ubiquitous picnic rug, and you have a “Riparian Picnic Event”, as Hyacinth Bucket would say in Keeping up Appearances! Add that to the fact that this week is National Picnic Week, and that means I will be sharing several picnic recipe ideas over the week, starting off with my friend’s Lynnes’ 50th Birthday event, the aforementioned Riperian Picnic. And so it was that we all gathered down by the lake and riverside in SW France yesterday, in the charming town of Saujon, armed with chiller boxes, sandwich tins, bottles of fizz, pop and water, as well as portable gas bottles and sun cream, we all made our way down to the edge of the river and underneath the dappled shade of a large weeping willow – our temporary home for the afternoon, we enjoyed an “al fresco” feast. The weather was idyllic, the company was comfortable and the mosquitoes stayed away – thank goodness! I made the birthday cake, a chocolate and cherry creation (a recipe I will be sharing later – see a photo below), a smoked salmon and cucumber spread (courtesy of the great Nigel Slater) and my friend Barb’s Russian salad. (Recipe below)

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Bob, Lynne’s husband, made a fabulous Paella, which was cooked right by the river in an authentic paella pan, and my lovely friend Ann, made a large salad platter with fire-roasted peppers, assorted mesclun leaves, olives, cherry tomatoes and a sun-dried tomato dressing……..

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Yesterday was also Father’s Day, and although I was sad not to be with my dad, we spoked two or three times before we left to go on the birthday picnic, and knowing how much he (and my mum) love cherries, the chocolate cake I made for the day, was also for my dad too, and I WILL be making him one when I visit my parents in a week’s time, and I’m calling it “Dad’s Chocolate Cherry Cake”……..here’s a photo of the cake, the post and recipe to follow later.……

Dad's Chocolate Cherry Cake

Dad’s Chocolate Cherry Cake

……we all sipped Lynne’s “killer sangria” and slowly got sloshed! The food was amazing – there were old-fashioned egg and tomato sandwiches, olives and caper berries, salads, greengage tarts, tiramisu, cake (of course), Charentais melon with Serrano ham and of course the star of the show, Bob’s Paella.

Bob's Paella

Bob’s Paella

My two salad and spread offerings were not just for the picnic, but I somehow managed to make two picnic style recipes that fit very nicely into several blog challenges; namely Janice and Sue’s Dish of the Month, where you make a Nigel Slater recipe, Anneli and Louisa’s new Four Seasons Food event as well as my own Cooking with Herbs challenge. 

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

The Nigel Slater recipe I made was from his Kitchen Diaries II book, and was a delectable smoked salmon and cucumber spread/dip, which we enjoyed at home on little rye bread rounds, as well as a sandwich filling betwixt ciabatta bread rolls at the picnic. The Russian Salad recipe is courtesy of my friend Barb, who always makes this amazingly tasty salad for special events and gatherings, and I have tweaked it a bit here and there to suit our tastes. I used extra eggs, as my hens are laying very well right now, grated carrot instead of carrot batons and less mayonnaise, as dictated by my low-fat diet! The salad was very much enjoyed at the picnic and I came home with an empty container.

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

I hope you have enjoyed visiting our “virtual” French Picnic – the recipe for Barb’s Russian Picnic Salad is posted below, and I will be back soon with more picnic recipe ideas,  as well as that Chocolate Cherry Cake recipe, some new 5:2 diet  and baking recipes too. Have a wonderful week, and don’t forget if the weather is kind, PACK up a PICNIC! Karen 

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Barb’s Russian Picnic Salad

Serves 8 to 10 people
Prep time 30 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Valentines day
Region Spanish
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
An amazing Spanish style "tapas" salad packed full of flavours and textures; this salad is wonderful when served as a starter, as well as being perfect for picnics, barbecues and lunch boxes. Can be served as an accompaniment, as well as a "stand alone" meal with crusty bread and seasonal lettuce leaves. Serves 8 to 10 people as an accompaniment and about 4 to 6 people as a main meal.

Ingredients

  • 500g baby new potatoes (quartered and boiled in their skins until soft)
  • 100g frozen or fresh green beans (cut into 3cm lengths and boiled until cooked)
  • 100g frozen peas (boiled until cooked)
  • 100g grated carrots
  • 213g tin of tuna chunks in brined (drained)
  • fresh dill, chopped (about 1 tablespoon + some for garnish)
  • fresh parsley, chopped (about 1 tablespoon + some for garnish)
  • 4 free-range eggs (hard-boiled, shelled and cut into quarters)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 gherkins (sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon capers (drained)
  • 10 black olives (stoned and halved)

Note

An amazing Spanish style "tapas" salad packed full of flavours and textures; this salad is wonderful when served as a starter, as well as being perfect for picnics, barbecues and lunch boxes. Can be served as an accompaniment, as well as a "stand alone" meal with crusty bread and seasonal lettuce leaves. Serves 8 to 10 people as an accompaniment and about 4 to 6 people as a main meal.

Directions

Step 1 Find a large serving bowl and place the potatoes, peas, green beans and grated carrots in it, mixing them gently together.
Step 2 Add the tuna chunks, chopped dill and parsley and mix gently again. Then arrange the eggs over the salad.
Step 3 Mix the lemon juice and minced garlic with the mayonnaise, it should be a runny dressing consistency and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.
Step 4 Scatter the chopped gherkins, capers and black olives over the salad and very carefully, just gently mix the salad again.
Step 5 Garnish with chopped dill and parsley and serve with crusty bread and lettuce, as well as cheese or grilled meat and fish.
Step 6 Can be made several hours before serving - keep it covered and in the fridge. Perfect for picnics, lunch boxes and barbecues.
Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Four Seasons Food

Ann's salad

Ann’s salad

Herbs on Saturday for June: Cooking with Herbs Challenge - Win a Pot of Culinary Lavender Grains

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Picnics, Salads and Paella! Under the Willow Tree with Salmon Spread and Russian Salad

Comments

  1. says

    Blimey – it’s a true feast!!! Paella cooked outside like that – AMAZING!!! That sure is picnic-ing with finesse! Your Russian salad sounds scrummy. I love the dill, capers and gherkins in there. I also love the sound of that killer sangria! I must say I have been tucking into some of that myself whilst here on holiday. Thanks so much for this super entry Karen…it has made my tummy rumble. Time for my lunch I think! xx

    • says

      Thanks Anneli! It was indeed a FEAST of food and in such a lovely setting too. I may have some more seasonal recipes to share in your new challenge too! Karen

  2. says

    Looks so beautiful under the weeping willow, and very impressed at the outdoor paella. Picnicing yesterday as well, on the beach, not quite as much sunshine as you had, but still managed a pink face!

  3. says

    Now that’s what I call a picnic! A veritable feast. What a wonderful array of salads, sandwiches, cakes and paella….all washed down with perfect “killer sangria”! Funnily enough I bought a paella pan in Spain when I went for the day last Friday, and so can’t wait to get it used….outdoors of course!. Thank you so much for your fabulous picnic-perfect Russian Salad entry to Four Seasons Food, off to go and eat my left arm after looking at this little lot….

    • says

      The killer sangria was not so much sipped as slurped with gusto Louisa! :-) I would LOVE one of these Paella pans and may buy one when we are next in Spain! Karen

    • Lisa Williams says

      Also I would never have thought of having a BBQ picnic so to speak it is a really great idea that I will definitely be trying out :)

  4. lynne and Bob says

    Karen, there are some fantastic photos – thankyou for my birthday cake it was chocolate heaven x
    A big, big thankyou to all our special friends for making a ‘perfect lazy french Sunday afternoon, summers day birthday picnic by the lake’, what a fantastic day we had, Im not sure we quite ‘sipped’ the sangira!!!!!
    Thanks to everyone for their picnic food and presents and really looking forward to our next evening beach picnic very soon.
    Bisous xxxxxx

    • says

      I am so pleased you enjoyed your special day Lynne – it was a truly fabulous day, with great food, company and SANGRIA! And yes, you are right, I think we slurped the sangria and didn’t sip it!! Glad the chocolate cake went down a storm, and like you said, let’s keep our fingers crossed for fine weather tomorrow! Karen xxxx PS: thanks to Bob for that amazing paella too! :-)

  5. says

    Wow… that picnic spread looks divine! I’m completely jealous of the sunshine and t-shirt weather. It’s getting dastardly cold over here so I’ll have to live vicariously through your picnic post for now :) Thanks for the Russian salad recipe. It looks beautiful. Bookmarking this for my next picnic! Thanks Karen x

    • says

      Thanks once again for your lovely comments Laura, maybe an indoor picnic might be appropriate as you go into Winter down under? Karen :-)

  6. BetsyLemon says

    Oh my goodness, that paella looks absolutely gorgeous. What a lovely day it must have been!

  7. Jo Booth says

    I normally take traditional sandwiches for a picnic, but really think this looks delicious and will try this :-)

  8. Sherry Poppy Owen says

    Paella looks A-MAZ-ING!!! Wish I had friends like yours lol Would love a big slab of Dad’s chocolate cherry cake too, looks lush!

  9. Helen Humphries says

    Goodness me now that’s a picnic! It makes my egg & cress sandwiches & quiche look a bit inadequate! The Russian salad looks phenomenal (I never know what to do with dill) and Paella cooked outdoors by a weeping willow makes me weep I wasn’t there ;)

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