When February comes around, Matthew Evans has picnics on his mind. Enjoy his easy al fresco fare, including succulent roast chicken that gets better en route and a great alternative to sandwiches.
6 Sep 2013 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 30 Mar 2021 - 3:53 PM

By February, the grass has usually dried off. The once-lush green paddocks that were cut for hay are now stubble, waiting for rain. The fishing, caravanning and camping season is in full swing, and if you’re going to go in the water, now’s the time to do it. Even the dams look inviting on a stinking summer’s day, though with the eels, the mud, and the fact they’re usually still very cold to swim in, it’s a brave farmer who gets the kit off and leaps into the on-farm water. The beach is where we usually dip our toes.

Summer, in our climate, means far lighter food than the bracing months mid-year. It spells picnics, barbecues, floral frocks and my white legs exposed to the world in shorts. It’s also a time we plan for the cooler months ahead: by planting our winter garden before the end of February, and by trying to order or cut firewood so it has a chance to dry out completely before the light fades and the days cool.

But for now, I just want to lay out a rug, drink elderflower bubbly, and eat a picnic in the dappled summer sun. I just want to eat properly ripened tomatoes, gorge on summer berries and savour whatever stone fruit I can get my hands on.



Hazelnut and almond biscuits

Yoghurt and raspberry cake with elderflower syrup

Summer tomato and salami salad


Flatbread with beetroot leaves, feta and pine nuts

Egg and prosciutto pies



Photography by Alan Benson. Food preparation by Ross O’Meara. Styling by Charlotte Bell.