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With the longest day almost here, it’s time to make the most of long evenings with National Picnic Week, and Cookery Editor, Sue, shares some of her top tips for outdoor eating.

From 17-23 June 2013 it’s National Picnic Week which aims to address some of the major issues facing the food and drink industry as well as celebrating picnics.  The organisers have conducted a survery for the top 15 picnic spots and these are their results:

THE UK’S TOP 15 PICNIC SPOTS

1: Barafundle Beach – Pembrokeshire
2: Brownsea Island – Dorset
3: Avon Valley Country Park – Bristol
4: Formby Beach – Merseyside
5: Somerset House – London
6: Devil’s Dyke – East Sussex
7: St Herbert’s Island – Derwentwater, Cumbria
8: North Pennines
9: Bodmin Moor – Cornwall
10: Corfe Castle – Dorset
11: Rievaulx Castle – North Yorkshire
12: Gibside – Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
13: Glenkiln Sculpture Park – Dumfries and Galloway
14: Padley Gorge – Derbyshire
15: Top Withens – Haworth, Yorkshire

I must admit that I haven’t visited any of them for a picnic, although I frequently travel through Bodmin Moor when I go down to Cornwall, but at that stage of my journey I’m usually too keen to get to my destination than make extra stops, but there are several others on the list that sound interesting, so I must make an effort to visit them.

With regards to what food to take, my favourite is to make individual Pork pies with hot watercrust pastry.  It may seem a bit of effort to make the pastry, but in my opinon it’s worth it as it’s the perfect texture crust for the filling and doesn’t crumble as shortcrust would. Sometimes I add some anchovy ketchup to the filling mixture as that helps to keep it a pinker colour (rather like bought ones). You can vary them by adding different herbs or even some grated cheese, but try not to add anything too watery to the filling.

If you’re looking for something a little different to traditional sandwiches, then try this Ploughmans Picnic loaf which looks really impressive. I actually prefer it made up the night before it’s going to be eaten because then some of the juices soak into the bread and give it more flavour.

And not forgetting something sweet, I really ike these Date and Orange Flapjacks. They actually bring back memories for me as the photo shoot actually took place in the rain – so typical picnic weather as many people would say!