Its that time of the year where we bust out the sunscreen, picnic baskets and bast in the joy of the outdoors and family joy. Here a a few fun recipes to try to keep everybody’s belly full and happy.
Bacon Jalapeno Popper Puffs
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced green onions, plus some for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon bacon fat
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
60g shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced jalapeno peppers
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable oil for deep frying, or as needed
- Place bacon in a large pan and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels. Crumble or finely chop. Drain fat from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon.
- Mix cream cheese, sour cream, green onions, and lime juice together in a bowl. If mixture seems too thick, add enough water to thin it to your preferred consistency.
- Place pan over medium-high heat. Add cold water, butter, reserved bacon fat, and salt. Bring mixture to a simmer; reduce heat to medium. Pour in flour all at once. Stir to mix and mash with a wooden spoon until dough starts to pull together, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; transfer dough to a mixing bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- When dough is cool, whisk in 1 egg. Mixture will separate slightly. Continue whisking in first egg until mixture pulls back together. Repeat with the second egg. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add diced jalapeno, bacon pieces, shredded cheese, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly with a spatula. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Heat oil in deep fryer to 190°C.
- Using a small scoop, scoop out rounds of dough. Drop rounds of dough into hot oil and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Work in batches if necessary. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- serve with dipping sauce garnished with a few green onion slices.
Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
950ml oil for deep frying
450g package mozzarella cheese sticks
- In a small bowl, mix the eggs and water.
- Mix the bread crumbs and garlic salt in a medium bowl. In a medium bowl, blend the flour and cornstarch.
- In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 185°C.
- One at a time, coat each mozzarella stick in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then in the bread crumbs and finally into the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
950ml oil for frying
1 cup dry pancake mix
1 large onion, sliced into rings
- Heat the oil in a large, deep pan over medium high heat.
- Prepare pancake mix according to package directions.
- One at a time, dip onion rings into the prepared pancake batter, then into the hot oil. Fry until crispy and browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Picnic trail mix
Butter, for the tray
150g mix of your choice of: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, chopped dried apricot, raisins, dried cranberries
150g caster sugar
100g milk or dark chocolate chips
25g bag mini salted pretzels
25g bag mini Ritz crackers
rainbow sprinkles, for dipping
- Butter a baking tray. Mix together your chosen fruit, seeds and nuts in a medium pan. Add the sugar and stir together over a medium heat for 10 mins until the sugar has melted and caramelised. Quickly tip onto the baking tray, press down a little and leave to set (it won’t fill the whole tray).
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, then half-dip the mini pretzels and crackers in the chocolate. Half-dip some in the sprinkles, leaving some plain. Place on a wire rack to set as you go along.
- Once the fruit and nut praline is set, bash it up on the baking tray with a rolling pin to make little clusters. Mix with the chocolate pretzels and crackers and pack in little paper bags.
1 small ripe banana, chopped
400ml whole milk
100g natural yogurt
1 small punnet blueberries
6 strawberries, hulled
1 small punnet raspberries
120g mango chunks (fresh or frozen)
200ml coconut milk for drinking
1⁄2 lime, cut into wedges
- Put the banana, half the milk and half the yogurt in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into two or three milk bottles. Divide the blueberries between two skewers to make stirrers, then drop one into each bottle. Stir before serving.
- Put the strawberries and six raspberries in a blender with the rest of the milk and yogurt. Blend until smooth, then divide between two small milk bottles. Push the remaining raspberries onto two skewers to make stirrers as before.
- Blend the mango and coconut milk until smooth, then add a squeeze of lime. Divide between two milk bottles and serve with the lime wedges.