An al fresco feast
Whether it is a few snacks in your garden or a proper hamper-
and-rug affair on the beach, a picnic is a wonderful way to see out the end of the summer.
As meals go, they are incredibly versatile, from spur-of-the-moment deli raids to proper planned-out dinners requiring cutlery. They are ideal for romantic dates, catch-ups with friends and family days out alike.
Jersey-based chef Shaun Rankin is a huge fan of picnics and believes it doesn't matter what time of year it is or where you are; there is always a place for an informal meal in the great outdoors.
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"A picnic can be a sandwich on a rock while you're out walking, or on a rug with a basket, a bottle of Champagne and a load of seafood. It all depends on where you are, what you're doing and who you're with," he says.
Shaun, who runs Michelin-starred restaurant Bohemia, admits his family is "spoilt for choice" when it comes to picking the perfect picnic spot.
"Here in Jersey we're surrounded by amazing beaches. Gorey Beach is probably our favourite place because it's sheltered and the water is nice and shallow for the kids."
But wherever you lay your rug, Shaun reckons his sun-dried tomato bread is a good addition to any al fresco feast.
"It's a bloomer you can use in lots of ways. You can make doorstep sandwiches from it and eat it with nice robust ingredients such as Parma ham, basil and mozzarella, or have it with some roast beef and horseradish. It's a flavoursome, all-round bread."
Let's hope for a long Indian summer. In the meantime, here is Shaun's bread recipe, pictured above, plus some picnic treats from other top chefs, for you to try at home ...
Shaun Rankin's sun-dried tomato bread
250g strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
7.5g dried yeast
50g sun-dried tomatoes, kept in oil, 1 tbsp of the oil reserved
1tbsp sun-dried tomato oil
110ml water, room temperature
Add the flour, salt and yeast to an electric mixer. Using a dough hook, start the mixer on a slow speed and mix for two minutes. Add the water, followed by the sun-dried tomatoes and the oil. Mix on a medium speed for four minutes.
Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave in a warm area for 25 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in volume, remove from the bowl, place on a work surface and knock the dough back with the palm of your hand.
Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with the cloth. Repeat the same process after a further 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.
After the second knock back, shape the dough into a round ball and place onto a floured baking tray and leave until it doubles in size.
Sift a small amount of flour onto the dough before placing in the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes or until cooked.
To check if your bread is cooked, tap the base of the bread with your fingers – if it sounds hollow, then it's ready.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack, then serve.
Great British Chefs has launched a new Summertime app in association with Ocado, available at www.greatbritish chefs.com