Summer Treats : Chocolate Strawberries, Lavender Cookies, Picnic Salads + White Sangria

One of my favorite things to do in summer is to go for a sunny, open air picnic with a basket full of treats! I'll be tempting you today with a few ideas of what to bring along, and I'd love to hear about your fave picnic goodies too! Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

So easy to make, and so delicious. Wonderful for a summer buffet!

1-2 baskets of strawberries
your favorite chocolate (use a variety of dark, milk, and white chocolate to make these extra special)
parchment paper

Wash strawberries and pat dry with paper towels. Slowly and carefully melt chocolate on low heat, preferably over a water bath, stirring constantly. Chocolate burns very easily, so just as it reaches the melting point, stir until smooth, then remove it from the heat.

Working quickly, dip strawberries in the melted chocolate, then place on the parchment paper to set.

When chocolate has cooled, you can carefully layer these in a tupperware box or a tin - or serve on a pretty plate for a buffet party. They won't be around long!

Lavender Tea Cookies

A beautiful, unusual way to create an exotic summertime delicacy using fresh lavender flowers. Inspired by a recipe from Susan Branch's gorgeous, highly recommended Summer Book.

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lavender flowers (you can also substitute dried flowers, or even fresh rosemary)

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy, then beat in egg. Stir in flour and pinch of salt, then carefully add lavender flowers. Drop small teaspoonfuls of batter onto the parchment paper, allowing space between the cookies for spreading. 
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Let cool on cookie sheets before removing. Buttery, summer goodness!

Green Bean and Feta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

A fresh combination of ingredients for this lovely summer salad!

8 oz./250g fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red onion, minced
8 oz./250g cherry tomatoes, halved
7 oz./200g Feta cheese, diced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
6 Tbsp. olive oil
salt + pepper to taste.

Cook green beans in boiling salted water or vegetable stock until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Mix cooled beans with red onion, tomatoes, cheese, and basil in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, blend remaining ingredients into a creamy vinaigrette. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Check seasonings, chill for at least one hour and serve. Healthy and so good!

Green Onion Egg Salad Spread with Dill and Radish

A picnic classic with an extra special touch!

4 green onions, finely chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3-4 fresh radishes, minced
1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbsp. creme fraiche (or sour cream, herbal is nice!)
2 Tbsp. good quality mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
salt, pepper, Tabasco, and paprika to taste
small pumpernickel bread rounds (baguette slices or crackers will work too)
more fresh herbs to garnish

Combine all ingredients, season to taste, and chill for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.
When you are ready to serve, simply add a dollop of your green onion/egg spread onto bread or crackers, garnish with fresh herbs and serve! Easy and delicious!

White Sangria

Sparkling, citrusy, and perfect for summer parties!

1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
2 oranges, sliced
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 oz. Grand Marnier
1 bottle Chardonnay or your favorite white wine, chilled
1 cup sparkling water
ice cubes

Boil sugar and cup of water briefly until sugar is dissolved. Place sliced citrus fruits in a large pitcher, add Grand Marnier, sweetened water, wine, and sparkling water, stir well. Chill. Just before serving, add ice cubes. Take in a thermos can if you are having a picnic - and enjoy!


What about you? Do you have any picnic plans coming up?

What are your favorite foods to take on a picnic?

Have a great weekend and enjoy!



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