Escape for the day to the beach or countryside for a romantic picnic. All you need are a couple of things you can eat with your hands ... and there's enough for leftovers if you linger.
COCONUT AND WHITE CHOCOLATE PAVLOVA
Don’t fret too much about perfecting these. Some will probably get crushed on your way to the picnic, so relax and let the mess be part of the fun.
500g Greek yoghurt
4 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp honey
1 pineapple, sliced into rounds, then triangles
1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks
for the pavlova shells
2 egg whites
½ cup raw caster sugar
½ tsp cornflour
½ tsp white wine vinegar
¼ cup chopped white chocolate
⅓ cup shredded coconut
First make the pavlovas. Preheat the oven to 120ºC and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Whisk the egg whites in a dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar one tbsp at a time, whisking continuously until meringue is glossy and thick. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar, then gently fold in the chocolate and shredded coconut. Divide into 12 equal dollops on the baking tray and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas inside, with the door ajar, until completely cooled.
Mix the yogurt, desiccated coconut and honey, pack into a tub and chill. Put the prepared pineapple and mango into picnic tubs. Pack everything into your esky, then lay it all out unassembled for everyone to help themselves. Coconut and white chocolate pavlovas Don't fret too much about perfecting these. Some will probably get crushed on your way to the picnic, so relax and let the mess be part of the fun.
For those with less of a sweet tooth, pack small cups and spoons so they can enjoy the coconut yoghurt with fruit stirred through.
SPICY ROAST CHICKEN CIABATTA
The great thing about this huge sandwich is that it benefits from staying wrapped for a couple of hours, giving the bread time to soak up the dressing.
6 chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, skin on, bashed
½ lemon, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
6 rashers streaky bacon
1 large ciabatta loaf, or 2 smaller loaves, halved lengthways
2 big handfuls rocket
for the dressing
8 spring onions, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
handful pitted green olives, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
½ lemon, zested and juiced
Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put the chicken thighs, garlic and lemon slices into a roasting tray, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then drizzle the skin with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes. Add the bacon to the tray and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
To make the dressing, mix the spring onions, chillies, green olives and oil with the lemon zest and juice, add some seasoning and set aside.
To assemble the sandwich, skin the chicken and pull the meat from the bones. Discard skin, bones and the lemon slices. Break the bacon into pieces. Squeeze the garlic into the dressing, stir well, then spread over the ciabatta slices. Fill the sandwich with chicken, bacon and rocket and wrap tightly in greaseproof paper. Bring to the picnic with a bread knife to slice your ciabatta into individual sandwiches.
Food styling by Marina Filippelli. Props styling by Rachael Jukes