Sunday 27 April 2014

Picnic on the balcony - with recipes

The weather was really nice today, and I really felt like picnic, but have too much shit to do at home (my get shit done list is long due to procrastination), so I wound up making picnicky food and eating on the balcony with a book for company (though I would actually have enjoyed more social company today).

It's barely warm enough to sit out there without a sweater and warm socks now that the sun went around the corner - in the morning it was too hot to sit for long with the sun straight on and no wind. But it was nice: I closed my eyes and listened to the seagulls, and being baked by the sun. If I imagined a salty tang on the air it was like being back on my childhood islands on a summer day.

I ate pasta sallad and homemade lemonade. I had planned to post the recipes but I already got questions about them so I will do it RIGHT NOW.

Lemonade with ginger
1.5 liter finished lemonade

130-150g fresh ginger
3 large lemons
3 tbl sp sugar

Peel and slice the ginger, place in a pot
Slice the lemons in thin slices and place in pot (if you are making pasta sallad at the same time: Save one lemon from the pot, it can be added later)
Cover with water and boil up
Add sugar if you want it, about 1 table spoon per large lemon, add or subtract to taste
Mash down the lemons to get all the juice up, leave at a boil until the lemons are mostly dissolved.

Strain into a jug
Add the juice from the last lemon if you went that route
Add cold water until it is 1.5 litres - I poured it all into an empty bottle, shook it up, and put it in the fridge.

Serve chilled and probably over ice. The flavour is slightly more adult due to the spicyness of the ginger, and it is an excellent booster for your immune system if you have caught that late spring cold that seems to be doing the rounds.

Pasta sallad/Chicken sallad
Note: 1 cup is 237ml, but exact measures aren't needed - just roughly that amount.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sourcream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tblsp lemon juice
1 tblsp lemon zest (I zested the last lemon for the lemonade and squeezed some juice from it)
1 tsp sugar
A little salt
A little white pepper

1 cup diced bellpeppers or celery (according to preference - other vegetables can be substituted if you like)
1/2 cup green onions, sliced (spring onions, sallad onions, in Scandiland)
2 cups of cooked diced chicken or 4 cups of cooked pasta

Combine the ingredients in the first section in a bowl, add the vegetables.
If you are making chicken sallad, add cooled cooked chicken now, and put in fridge for 1-2 h before serving, though it sits well overnight.
For pasta sallad, cook the pasta al dente and rinse in cold water, mix it with the goop just before serving.

Add a sprinkling of blue cheese, some dried cranberries, or sunflower seeds if you like.