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Picnic parties all summer long

Platbos Reserve Oak Tree Picnic

It's time to celebrate! Why, you ask? Because it's summer! Well technically it's not until 21st June but realistically, the best sunshine is generally in May/June and then we'll have our big knitwear jumpers out by August/September again. So what are you waiting for? Get your summer kick-started and make the most of it before it disappears without you even realising!

One way to create a sizzling summer, even if the weather has other ideas, is to create a truly delightful summer time menu. As usual, the aim of this blog is to provide you with awesome ideas that don't break the bank but look pretty epic.

First things first, a drink - of sorts

First things first, we shall start with ice lollies with a twist - alcoholic ice lollies! What could be better than a refreshing study break or pre-night out chiller? Gin and tonic? Check! Mojito? Check! Pimm's? Check! Pina colada? Check! Strawberry champagne? Check! Do not forget that these deliciously sweet treats do contain alcohol so leaving the car at home is a must! These treats are simple to make too, simply choose your favourite drink, mix together, add a dash of sugar syrup (sounds way scarier to make than it actually is… it’s literally sugar and water boiled down – cue Men in Black references here) and pour into lolly moulds. The toughest part of this whole process is leaving them to set overnight without tasting them…! Stay strong, you can do it! Fingers crossed the sun is still out the following day; you can then sit back, let the day pass you by and enjoy your lush lollies.

Savoury

Lots of people say in the summer that the heat drains their appetite. Well, we're not all made that way and we can tell you now that it could be scorching outside and there would still be an appetite in the office!

Fresh food cannot be beaten when the sun is shining and it is so good for you that there's no reason not to enjoy it! Take a leaf out of Pret's book and go gourmet on your elevenses with homemade hummus with carrot, cucumber and pepper sticks – don’t panic, it looks fancier than it costs. If this isn't filling enough, swap the veg for whole-wheat pitta bread, warm them up and voilà!

Main meals

Did you think we'd suggest burgers? We agree it's hard to beat a good burger in the summer time, but we thought it would be nice to offer an alternative – given that Cardiff is home to some of the most epic burgers around (GBK, Got Beef, The Grazing Shed, Five Guys, etc. etc.). What is our go-to summer dish? Tapas! They're pretty great, especially when dining with friends or housemates as you can all contribute financially and of course, each guest can bring their favourite dish. What's more, nothing screams summer time better than a selection of dishes accompanied by a jug of sangria!

Sweet treats

It's hard to write about just one or two desserts here because we have a bit of a sweet tooth! Depending on your preferences, we have two great options for you. The first is really cheap and easy to make, and perfect when the sun is shining! Strawberry frozen bites are a combination of just two ingredients and the waiting game. However, if you make a big batch (and can refrain from eating them all at once!) you'll have them ready for other summer get-togethers. Strawberries and yoghurt are the key ingredients but you could always mix things up and use whichever ingredients you like. They are a great healthy way to finish a meal with your friends, and fit perfectly with a tapas theme. 

The second option on pudding has to be banana bread! Granted, it's not always a crowd pleaser, but we think that it is oh so good - perfect at any time of day and quite frankly lush! It's also a great way of using old bananas you'd want to throw away, because the best type of bananas to use are the very ripe, squishy ones. Again, you could change the fruit to something that is more your cup of tea like blueberries, lemons or raspberries for instance. So tasty and perfect at this time of year! Just get your bake on!

Hopefully we have got your taste buds tingling and you're ready to get your summer soirées off to a flying start – whether it’s glorious or grey outside. 

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