Finger food is just made for picnics! It comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and flavours. Some is simple to prepare, other recipes take a bit more time.
Whatever you decide on, don’t forget the
napkins or wipes - or use the sea or river as a finger bowl!
In the warmer parts of Europe, socialising with friends outdoors is an integral part of life and the little dishes, which we share over a glass of wine or beer, are ideal picnic finger food – the cold ones anyway.
You will need to use a few little bowls or storage containers with lids and then you can carry the ingredients separately and assemble the nibbles at the site.
More robust food bites can be transported already assembled. You will know!
If you are short of time, you can still put together a tempting spread using ready-prepared products bought at a local market or deli.
Simple choices would be bowls of olives, salted almonds or peanuts, ready-made falafel, cubes of feta or Manchego cheese, caperberries and slices of chorizo, Serrano ham or other charcuterie.
In the top picture I have used slices of beef tomato as mini plates with a small bit of crusty bread underneath to catch the juice. You can eat the plate and the bread trencher so nothing is wasted!
A selection of dips or purees can be served with pitta bread and olives or a range of crudités such as cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, carrot batons, pepper strips, Little Gem lettuce quarters, radishes and sugar-snap peas.
If you have time for a little more cooking, a popular dish to add to these would be squares of tortilla - either simple potato and onion or a combination of ham and broad bean, or chorizo and red/green pepper.
Many types of fresh fruit are easy to eat in the fingers also and add a refreshing end to a picnic meal.
Pasties are lovely picnic food, easily eaten with the fingers but can be a bit greasy so I advise transporting them in greaseproof paper, ideally in a lidded container.
I’ve been making mini pasties recently with a pre-cooked mixture of smoked fish, red onion and sultanas or cooked chicken and apricots, all in filo pastry.
Even if you have very little time, it’s always worth baking a tray or two of cocktail sausages. They always seem to disappear very fast at my picnics. I make them for the kids but in the end the grown-ups eat most of them! Try cooking them in a mixture of oil, mustard and honey, just enough to coat. Use four times as much honey as oil and mustard. Sticky but nice!
Or you could make or buy little sausage rolls – or try squares of cold
If you have a few hours to marinade some chicken wings or drumsticks, before an hour's baking, then try one of my family's favourite baked chicken recipes.
Scotch eggs are also easy to eat without a knife and fork, as long as you half or quarter them first – or use quail eggs.
Last August we watched an airshow (our British Red Arrows are just awesome and I fell in love with the Typhoon fighter plane too – it reminds me of Superman!) We were sitting on the road on the cliff-top in Bournemouth and so a finger food picnic was essential.
I was off picnic duty that week-end and really enjoyed blinis with cream cheese and smoked salmon, as well as tasty coronation chicken wrapped up in large flour tortillas, provided by my friends Jan and Pat.
That was followed by Jan’s lovely fruitcake, which I don’t yet have the recipe for - but this
pineapple fruit cake
is one I have made successfully.