Picnic by the Loire

Time for informal, relaxed picnics is here. Our summer weekends consist mostly of some working on the house and in the garden, some tennis, and then some extended dinners that linger along with our dusk…late and lazy. I love simple meals where colour and texture play a major role and each ingredient stands on its own. A long time ago, I once thought I made an innovative potato salad, just to have my youngest 10 year old daughter tell me: “I can’t eat this salad! It’s too complicated.”

That was a lesson never to be forgotten.

For a Sunday afternoon by the Loire river across our house, this is a typical salad we would pique nique on. Very ordinary, but spiced up with an interesting vinaigrette of your choice and accompanied by an array of cheese and grainy baguettes, not forgetting an ice cold Rosé, it becomes a meal I’m sure that is served frequently in paradise, which makes it one of the reasons why I intend on going there one day…


As usual, I don’t give a formal recipe , but will mention what I’ve used in my salad.

  • Cut some vegetables in different shapes…carrots in spaghetti, roasted red peppers (of which I don’t bother to remove the peel), some mango slices, a few slices of smoked duck and cooked quinoa with sauteed onion. (Read more about quinoa. )
  • A handful of fresh herbs; rocket, sage, large Italian parsley, chives, wild celeri and tarragon.
  • Vinaigrette: make a puree of the small pieces of mango that you cut off the seed. Add some white balsamic vinegar, some poppy vinegar, salt and pepper, a small finely chopped shallot and add olive oil to your taste and whisk until creamy. I prefer a pungent vinaigrette.
  • Add some cheese triangles, a handful of olives and a fresh baguette.
  • Pack some ice cream in a cool bag along with the wine, or fresh fruit for dessert.
  • And don’t forget a flask of good coffee for that wake-up call after the nap…
  1. Pack interesting layers of individual portions in picnic hampers.
  2. Take the vinaigrette separately in a little container and add to your salad just before serving.
  3. Finish off with cheese and fruit.

Bon appetit!

This is an entry for Weekend herb blogging, hosted this week by Laurie at Medcookingalaska

Ham spring rolls

The past weekend was summer. Beautiful long, lingering days. On weekends like this, you want energy. You want healthy. A ham spring roll.

Ham spring rolls

There is no formal recipe for this.  See what your fridge and pantry comes up with and take the road to fresh and seasonal.

  1. Cut some vegetables into matchsticks. I’ve used carrot, cucumber, mango, rocket leaves and chives. Place a slice of ham on a chopping board and stack some vegetables onto the one end. roll up tight and secure with a toothpick or tie with a chive(softened in boiling water for a second or two).
  2. Serve with a dipping sauce made of natural joghurt and chopped herbs and splashed with a swirl of lemon juice.
  3. Or serve with a lime ginger sauce: A tablespoon of each – freshly squeezed lime juice, rice wine vinegar, mirrin, soja sauce and some grated ginger and chopped lemon grass. Taste and adjust.

This is an entry for Weekend herb blogging, hosted this week by Ahn at Foodloversjourney.