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Picnic loaf recipe

PUBLISHED: 16:57 22 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:57 22 September 2015

Ali's Eat Local Picnic Loaf

Ali's Eat Local Picnic Loaf

Archant

In her new book Ali Ray is asking us to pitch up, go exploring and tuck into a local outdoor feast. Here is her recipe for a tasty picnic loaf

Half-sandwich, half-pie, this picnic loaf crams the best of the local farm shop into one easy-to-carry meal. Prepare it the night before you go so the flavours have time to soak in – and as it uses griddled or grilled veg, you can use them in a BBQ supper and just cook extra for your picnic loaf. Chop and change the ingredients according to what is available locally. I’ve gone for Mediterranean type flavours with the pesto, but you could use a tapenade or even a mustard pickle if you are using a rustic ham.

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Ingredients (serves 6)

• 1 cob loaf (the crusty round one)

• 1 garlic clove, halved

• 2 tbsp or so of pesto from a jar

For the filling

• 2 courgettes, sliced lengthways

• 2 red and 2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced in thick lengths

• 2 tbsp or so olive oil

• 200g of an interesting local cheese such as soft-rind/mozzarella/goat’s cheese

• salt and pepper

• 200g sliced charcuterie meats or ham

• a good handful of salad leaves

• 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves

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Method

1 Carefully cut the top off the cob loaf (save this for later) and hollow out the middle to leave a shell. Don’t make the walls too thin as it won’t stay crisp.

2 Toss the courgettes and peppers in the olive oil and put on a preheated griddle or BBQ grid. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until soft and lightly charred. Put to one side to cool.

3 Rub the cut garlic clove over the insides of the bread shell, before using a spoon to spread the pesto all around the inside walls and under the lid.

4 Blot the grilled veg, and slices of mozzarella (if using) with kitchen roll. Season both well with salt and pepper, then start building up layers of veg, cheese, meat and salad leaves. Finish with a layer of basil leaves. The hollow in the bread must be filled well.

5 Put the top of the bread back on, then wrap the whole thing tightly in clingfilm. Put a plate on top and weigh down with something heavy to let the flavours fuse together for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, in the cool-box.

6 Cut into thick, cake-style slices to eat now or pack in your lunch-box.

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