Summer is here, we have sunshine and warm weather, it just has to be picnic time!
I love a good picnic but often screw up on the packing front. Too many boxes and tubs, lots of plastic and a load of litter to carry home. I was thrilled to be given some of these gorgeous Eco Lunchboxes to try out while at Gardening Scotland show, what better excuse for a one-person picnic on the beach with my salad nicoise with smoked mackerel…
I love boxes and tins. I collect vintage tins and one of my favourites is an old French lunch box made of blue enamel with a little tray inside. I didn’t think that could be bettered for nifty neatness but I have to say this super little stainless steel Eco Lunchbox with it’s split level and extra little tin for your pud is just perfect. I even got a little metal spork which is perfect for salads and puds too.
Honestly I couldn’t go wrong with this kit, I even had a jazzy little duffle bag with matching napkins, really I was picnicking in style!
There is actually a really good reason for these dinky metal lunch boxes. If you read up on toxins etc you’ll see that many plastics can be nasty little beasts that leach horrid chemicals into your food.
When you go to the trouble of buying organic and making food from scratch and trying to do your best to keep yourself and family (especially your kids) healthy by avoiding pesticides etc, it is like a slap in the face to find that when you have done all this and carefully packed all your homemade goodies into an airtight box for transporting to school/work/picnic etc that the bloody plastic box can actually do you more damage than unclean food can!
I was pretty horrified when I read about the contaminates that plastics can contain (you can read about it on this eco lunchboxes information page) and have ousted the plastic boxes from my fridge and the water bottles from the car! It is glass and metal all the way for me from now on.
I picked my picnic goodies carefully, after all if you are treating yourself to a bit of beach bounty go for it in style!
I chose a salad nicoise with smoked mackerel instead of the usual tuna. Smoked mackerel is an oily fish and incredibly healthy as well as having real punch in the flavour department. You just can’t go wrong with a mixture of green beans, lettuce, black olives, tomatoes, boiled eggs, potatoes and of course the all-important smoked mackerel. It is a hearty salad packed with robust flavours and leaves you feeling that you have actually eaten a main course and not just nibbled on something that really ought to be a side dish. This salad nicoise with smoked mackerel is a real meal in itself.
So how did I fill the rest of my dinky little Eco Lunchbox? Simple really, there had to something with crunch to nibble with the salad so I quickly whipped up some of my oat and almond crumble crackers (will post about these soon I promise you) and for pudding I filled the removable box with a lovely mixture of blueberries and strawberries with a few crushed mixed nuts and a decadent drizzle of my homemade lemoncello.
My tipple of choice was my homemade basil lemonade (recipe coming soon folks!) which I popped in the freezer till I left the house and had it beautifully chilled on the beach.
I can’t thank the lovely Donna who is the UK rep for these amazing boxes enough for letting me have some to try out. Idgy has commandeered one for school and is the envy of the lunch set with her trendy new box in its own funky bag.
This is an American company so all my lovely USA readers can just pop over to the eco lunchboxes site you will be able to shop their full range in your own currency, for all those in the UK just nip over to Donna’s Facebook page to buy direct from her her in Britain which will save you postage and loads of time. I can’t wait to add some more bits and pieces to my collection and banish plastic from my fridge and home forever!
Salad Nicoise With Smoked Mackerel
- 2 new potatoes quartered
- 100 g/3 1/2 oz green beans ends trimmed
- 2 hard boiled eggs quartered
- 2 smoked mackerel fillets flaked
- 2 to matoes quartered
- 8 black olives
- 75 g/3 oz crisp lettuce leaves
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes in salted water until just tender and remove from pan
- Toss the beans into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes till tender and drain then revive in cold water to keep their green colouring
- Arrange the leaves on base and add all the other ingredients on top.
- To make the dressing put all ingredients in a small jar and shake well.