lifestyle

FOOD BLOGGER #12: Picnic Ideas.

Elly Jean-louis

By ELLY JEAN-LOUIS

Editor’s note: Is it 12 weeks already? ​A few months ago, we set upon finding the best food blogger in all of the lands as part of Mamamia’s Food Blogger Idol competition (which you can read more about here). Elly Jean-Louis whisked her way to the top, was crowned the winner – and for the past 12 weeks she’s been cooking up a storm every Saturday.

Sadly Elly’s three month reign has come to and end, but we’re hoping this won’t be the last we see of her. Because with food this delicious, how could we possibly let her go forever?

If you want to keep following Elly, check out her instagram  (@three_whisks) and her (forthcoming – in 2 weeks) website,  www.threewhisks.com. Now over to Elly for her last post as MM Food Blogger…

Today is the day that I knew was coming… I didn’t think it would arrive so soon. Today is my last post for Mamamia and it has been a great ride.

Writing this post was tricky. I spent the morning filled with delay tactics because I didn’t want it to come to an end. The last three months have been such an amazing journey both physically (juggling two full time jobs) and mentally (juggling two full time jobs). You have all taught me a lot  – – so thank you. I have experienced weeks where you have all loved what I’ve made and weeks where you have not.

At first it was quite confronting to hear such strong criticism from people I didn’t know… however, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being honest and letting me see where I can improve. For all of you who have been overwhelmingly positive, I would also like to say thank you. It’s been great to hear feedback from people other than my family, friends and boyfriend.

To Mamamia, thank you for your support – it has been such a fun and exciting experience and I know that I will be continuing my food blogging journey.

So here it is…my final post:

As the weather is warming up (hello summer, we have missed you) I thought there would be no better way than to finish with one of my favourite things…a picnic.

So here it is… my ultimate picnic menu.

1. ROAST PUMPKIN AND GOATS CHEESE TART.

What you need:

500g pumpkin, cut into wedges

olive oil

4 thyme sprigs

120g goats cheese, crumbled

3 tablespoons basil pesto

1 sheet store bought pastry

1 egg and milk (to make an eggwash)

Rocket to serve

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Let’s create:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Scatter pumpkin in a single layer on trays lined with baking paper, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast until just tender (30-35 minutes). Set aside to cool.

2. Allow pastry to defrost, cut corners off to form a circle. Place on a lined baking tray. Score a 1 cm border halfway through pastry, prick inside border with a fork.

3. Spread pesto on the base of the pastry. Scatter with pumpkin, 2 sprigs of thyme, crumble over goat’s curd, season to taste and roll edge slightly to contain filling.

4. Brush edge with egg wash and bake until golden (20-25 minutes). Top with rocket and enjoy.

 

2. FRESH COUSCOUS SALAD.

Couscous is the easiest thing to make, ever. All you do is add boiling water to the couscous in a bowl, cover for 5 minutes and hey presto – you’re done. I like to add pumpkin to mine, however feel free to mix it up.

What you need:

500g pumpkin, cut into wedges

Olive oil

1 cup of couscous

100g feta, cubed

4 sprigs of mint, finely sliced

1 lebanese cucumber, diced

2 tomatoes, deseeded

3 radishes, sliced

2 limes, juiced

2 tbs olive oil

Seasoning

Let’s create:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Scatter pumpkin in a single layer on trays lined with baking paper, drizzle with oil, season to taste and roast until just tender (30-35 minutes). Set aside.

2. In a large heatproof bowl, add 1 ½ cups of boiling water to 1 cup of couscous. Cover with a plate or glad wrap and allow it to soak for 5 minutes. Once the water has absorbed, fluff with a fork.

3. Combine all ingredients (pumpkin, feta, mint, cucumber, tomato and radishes) to the couscous. Add lime juice, olive oil, seasoning and mix until combined.

3. BAKED CHICKEN.

I prefer to make this with a whole chicken, however my local supermarket had run out. I have still provided my whole chicken recipe because I think it turned out better than cooking just thighs. Once cooked, the chicken tastes great on fresh white rolls or by itself with a salad. If you don’t have time to cook, a store bought chook always goes down a treat.

What you need:

ADVERTISEMENT

1 whole chicken (1.5kg)

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

½ lemon

4 vine ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced

2 vine ripe tomato, chopped.

1 onion, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

9 sprigs thyme

130ml white wine

130ml chicken stock

1 head of garlic, halved

Let’s create:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Rinse chicken. Pat dry and rub with butter, lemon and 4 sprigs of thyme then season the outside of the chicken.

2. Add coarsely chopped tomato, onion, lemon and thyme sprigs into the cavity of the chicken and place chicken in roasting pan.

3. Add remaining tomatoes to the pan with wine, stock and garlic. Season to taste.

4. Roast chicken for 50 minutes and baste with pan juices until skin is crisp. Serve with white rolls and salad.

4. REFRESHING GINGER COCKTAIL.

What you need:

2 ½ cups caster sugar

600ml water

100g ginger, grated

4 mint sprigs, plus exta to serve

2 lebanese cucumbers, deseeded

2 limes, juiced

chilled ginger beer

Pimms or gin (I’ll let you decided on your mls)

Let’s create:

1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in grated ginger and mint and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until infused and a light syrup forms (roughly 10 minutes), remove from heat.

2. As syrup cooks, process cucumber in a food processor and add to syrup and refrigerate until cool. Strain through a sieve, add lime juice, and then refrigerate until required.

3. To serve, pour chilled syrup into glasses, add Pimms or gin (I would suggest 30mls per serve) top up with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with cucumber, lime slices and mint sprigs.

5. FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE.

This one is rich so strawberries are essential.

What you need:

ADVERTISEMENT

200g butter, chopped

200g dark chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted

4 eggs, separated

1 cup caster sugar

2 cups almond meal

Cocoa powder, for dusting

Strawberries, to serve

Let’s create:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a circular spring-form cake pan (I used a 6cm-deep, 22cm round one). Line base and side with baking paper.

2. Place butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and combined. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.

3. Separate your eggs into two large bowls (egg whites in one bowl and yolks in the other). Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes or until thick. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

4. Add slightly cooled chocolate mixture and almond meal to egg yolk mixture. Stir to combine.

5. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold half the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Repeat with remaining egg whites. Pour mix into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan. Dust with cocoa. Serve with strawberries, lots of them.

So there you have it, my picnic ideas and last post. Once again I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has stopped to read and share my posts. I hope I have provided you with yummy recipes that you can share with your loved ones.

Mamamia is such an amazing and unique online destination filled with talented writers who work so hard and I am so happy that I have been apart of it…it’s been a dream come true.

If you’d like to follow my food blogging journey please follow me on instagram  (@three_whisks) and visit my website, www.threewhisks.com (it will be going live in 2 weeks).

Elly xx

Want more from Mamamia? We’ve just launched a new podcast called Mamamia Out Loud.

Hosted by Kate Leaver with Mia Freedman and Rosie Waterland, it’s a smart, funny, candid chat about sexting, clean-eating, The Bachelor, Lena Dunham, George and Amal Clooney, and (inexplicably) vintage Polly Pockets.

Download the very first episode — The Bachelor Aftermath Episode. You can get it on iTunes here. Or download the audio file directly here.

00:00 / ???