Blossoms, bees and bubbles are an ideal way to celebrate the arrival of warmer days, Kelly Gibney offers two divine recipes – the perfect match for a glass of Nautilus Vintage Rose on a spring afternoon.
The Ultimate Picnic Salad
Serves 4 generously
This salad is very loosely inspired by a classic niscoise salad. It’s so full of delicious ingredients it can be all you need to take for a picnic. Perhaps just pair with a fresh loaf of sourdough. Put all the elements together undressed. Drizzle the dressing when you are ready to serve.
The Nautilus Vintage Rose is lovely alongside this salad with the rich smoked salmon and bright summer flavours.
500g baby potatoes
200g green beans – trimmed
4 freerange eggs
1 corn cob
120 grams salad leaves (you can use rocket or mixed greens)
1215 cherry tomatoes – halved
1 ripe (but firm) avocado – sliced
300g smoked salmon fillets (use hot-smoked not the coldsmoked salmon slices) – broken into large chunks
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Juice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
60 mls good extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic – finely diced
Salt and cracked black pepper to season
Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until well mixed. Season generously.
Boil the baby potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Halve and set aside until ready to use.
Steam or boil the beans and the corn cob until just tender (don’t overcook!). Run under cold water to cool rapidly (this helps the beans retain a lovely bright colour). Run a knife down the length of the cob to remove the kernels.
Boil the eggs for 6 minutes. Run under cold water to cool quickly. Peel and halve.
Place the salad leaves on a platter or large plate.Arrange the potatoes, greens, salmon, eggs and cherry tomatoes and avocado on top. Drizzle with the dressing when you are ready to serve. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately.
Strawberry & Labne Tarts with an Almond & Date Crust
These fresh and zingy tarts are the perfect picnic addition. Labne is simple Greek yoghurt that has been strained until very thick. It is a beautifully simple and delicious ingredient.
1kg full-fat Greek yoghurt
½ cup light muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
1 ½ teaspoons good-quality vanilla essence
6-9 ripe strawberries – sliced
2 cups almond meal
½ cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup dried dates – soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then drained well.
Place the yoghurt in a sieve lined with muslin. Sit this over a large bowl and place in the fridge to strain for around 15 hours. Discard the liquid and place the thickened yoghurt in a large bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
Add the almond meal, coconut and dates to a food processor. Run the machine until the dates are well combined and the texture is quite even.
Press the mixture into 9 well-greased holes of a 12-hole muffin tin. Take your time doing this – it can be a little fiddly. Each tart case should have a thickness of roughly ½ cm. I like to leave the top edge uneven and rustic but you can trim with a sharp knife if you prefer.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Watch closely as this nut base burns easily. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing by running a sharp knife around the edge. Allow to to cool completely before filling.
Fill the tart cases no more than 3 hours prior to serving. Top with strawberry slices.
Tip: Any leftover filling can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.