Picnic fare for spring

Alison Lambert
Alison Lambert
Spring is in the air, and I am really feeling the urge to gather the whanau and get outside.

With all that has been going on in the world, we need to celebrate what we have more than ever.

Here are some quick recipes that can be made ahead of time so  you can just grab and go.

It’s time to get outside, have some fun, appreciate what you have and, of course, enjoy some great food.



Quick banh mi

Banh mi is a sandwich sold on the streets of Vietnam. It is a delicious combination of Vietnamese flavours with French influences.


1 good-quality baguette
1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
100g radishes or daikon, sliced into thin sticks
1 Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
½ tsp sugar
pinch salt
250g cold roast chicken and/or pork (either pulled or sliced thinly)
50g pate
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
½ cucumber, peeled into ribbons (no seeds)
1 spring onion, sliced thinly
lettuce leaves


Begin by making a quick pickle. Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt together and add the carrot and radish sticks. Set aside and leave to marinate for as long as possible.

To assemble

Slice the baguette along the side three-quarters of the way through. Fold open and remove excess bread from the inside.

Spread the mayonnaise on the inside of the bread. Lay the lettuce leaves on the bottom, then the pork. Spread the pate generously and add the chicken.

Add the cucumber ribbons to the pickled veg and toss gently. Drain all the vegetables and evenly scatter along the sandwich, add the spring onions and press down the top so the sandwich sticks together.

You can cut it into the desired sizes and pack away.  This sandwich will be one that you will make time and time again.  You can of course mix up the fillings but just remember to add the pickles and pate if you can as it really takes this sandwich to another level.

Pork and fennel sausage rolls

No day out would be complete without the mighty sausage rolls. This recipe combines a few of my mum’s tips and a few of my own.


450g sausage meat
350g pork mince
1 medium onion, grated
200g potatoes, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp fennel tops, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grain mustard
⅛ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp salt
6-7 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten


Heat the oven 190degC.

Place the sausage meat, mince, grated onion and potato into a large bowl.

Add the herbs, mustard and seasoning. Mix well with your hands so the mixture is evenly combined and it holds together.

Lay one sheet of the pastry on your workbench. With slightly dampened hands mould the sausage mixture into a log 3cm thick and almost the length of the pastry. Lay it about 2cm in from the edge of the pastry. 

Roll the pastry over the meat and roll the entire sausage roll until you are almost at the end of the pastry. 

Brush lightly with the egg and continue rolling so you seal the pastry. Cut into 2 or 3 evenly-sized pieces and place on a lightly greased baking tray.

Continue until all the sausage meat is used.

Brush the surface of the sausage rolls with the egg and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crispy and the meat is firm and cooked. Cool slightly.

They can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and are great eaten straight from the fridge.

Energy balls

These really are little balls of dairy-free, gluten-free, plant-based goodness. The dates act as a natural sweetener and are filled with fibre.

By adding nuts you get healthy fats and protein. I threw in some chia seeds to add more fibre and a healthy superfood boost.

As long as you follow the quantities, you can pretty much mix up the nuts, fruits etc to suit your tastes.


1 cup pitted fresh dates or prunes
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup nuts (cashew, almond, walnut)
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds
pinch of salt


coconut, chopped nuts or dates or cocoa powder


Put all the ingredients except the coconut/nuts into a food processor.

Processor on high until the mixture becomes well blended and stays together when moulded in your hands.

Roll the mixture into 12 evenly-sized balls.  You can keep them as is or roll them in coconut, nuts, dates or cocoa powder.

They will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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