Picnic Aesthetics

I love a good picnic. That encompasses a quiet, vast space of greenery and trees for shade, really good food and a reliable group of friends who will not be complaining about how hot it is/will not bail at the idea of eating amongst a good variety of insects. Growing up in the urban jungle that is Hong Kong, there rarely were open spaces or parks to have a picnic. If you did want a picnic you would have it on a small patch of grass and deal with it. But when I did move to Singapore, the sheer amount of greenery and parks everywhere astounded me, and I immediately declared that we HAD TO have a family picnic.

My Mother said no.

Of course, having a picnic in a subtropical country where the weather is an unpredictable folly is a difficulty. Also getting bitten by a cocktail of ravenous mosquitoes and sandflies is a force to be reckoned with. But if you’re prepared beforehand, having a great time at a picnic is highly possible, highly enjoyable, and will turn out to be one of the most memorable moments of a year-round summer. Here are my tips:

1. Find a good location. As mentioned, there are just so many places to have a picnic in Singapore. Some of my favourite spots include Bandstand, the gazebo at the Botanic Gardens, or anywhere under trees actually.  Fort Canning Park also has a few nicely shaded gazebos and open spaces. The Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park is also another good choice, but it’s mostly surrounded by housing estates so I don’t get outdoorsy, open spaced vibes as much. It can get really sunny, so shade is always important! And since rain is always sporadic and unpredictable, always prepare umbrellas!

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2. Bring primarily finger food. You know, the sort of stuff you wouldn’t need steak knives and three kinds of forks for. Fruits without peels or cores are a good call, such as blueberries, strawberries, grapes. I also like croissants, cocktail sausages, sandwiches, cupcakes, and sushi! Although once unrefrigerated, sushi can go bad, so bring a cooler bag or devour them asap!

3. Bring drinks! Not necessarily the alcoholic kind, but bring fluids because it can get really hot outside when you’re on a picnic in Singapore. Fainting from dehydration would be the last thing we want, would it. The drink pictured here is actually sparkling grape juice that looks fancy, so if you want a touch of picnic glam without blowing money on wine, try sparkling juice. Also, plastic champagne glasses do make everything look more sophisticated, AND they don’t break!

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4. Don’t forget wet wipes. With finger food comes gross hands, so bring along wet wipes or hand sanitizer to clean your hands once you’re done. Chances are, the nearest sink would be quite a walk away. 

5. Bring insect repellent. This is so so important because sandflies and mosquitoes reign supreme at any sort of greenery in Singapore. You can thank me later for this reminder when your legs aren’t spotted like the second coming of chicken pox. However, this does not render your food immune to insects. 

6. And also plastic bags. Bring loads of plastic bags to clean up your trash. There will definitely be junk to throw out when you’re done with a picnic, so do the environment a favour and clean up after! Also, we talked about how sporadic and unpredictable rain can get. These plastic bags will help you stash away all the uneaten food, drinks and mats while you and your friends are scuttling to pack up the aesthetic food party you’ve created on the grass. 

 

Sushi Wraps

These wraps are golden! Basically like sushi but wrapped like a burrito or a popiah and it’s so great as a snack on-the-go or a quick meal. It’s really easy to make, minimum cooking required and it’s fun!! I’ve been seeing variations of this recipe float around on Pinterest, decided to give it a go, and ever since I’ve already made these a few times. Stoked to share this, leggo.

Ingredients:

  • Japanese rice
  • Rice seasoning
  • Seaweed sheets (the big kind)
  • Cucumber
  • Egg
  • Crab stick
  • Mayo
  • Sesame Oil
  • Ham
  • Tobiko (egg roe)

While the Japanese rice is in the rice cooker, fry the eggs, place the crab sticks in boiling water to soften them and slice the cucumbers. I cut up the crab sticks and added sesame oil and mayonnaise. Afterwards, place your seaweed sheet on a flat surface and add in rice and the rest of the ingredients. Make sure it’s not too thick so that you can still wrap it up in the end! Usually if I make this for lunch, I would make it in the morning and wrap it up with a plastic cling sheet first so that it retains its shape.

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Happy munching!

Coffee Caramel Ice Cream

Singapore must be the only place where the weather can only get warmer and warmer, hence cravings for really good ice cream!! I’ve been so inspired to make my own after watching a tastemade video. I got this recipe off Nigella instead, and added some crushed, chunky caramel biscuit bits. This is really easy and didn’t take up a lot of time making, you’ll just have to wait for about 6 to 8 hours before you can dig into it!

Ingredients:

  • 300 ml of thickened cream
  • 175 g of condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee powder
  • 6 pieces of caramel biscuits (or just put in however much you’d like)

Whisk all the ingredients (besides the biscuits) in a big bowl until you achieve this creamy, light brown colour and there should be soft peaks formed when the whisk is lifted up. Put the pieces of biscuits into a ziploc bag and crush them up. I like my ice cream with a lot of chunky bits, so the biscuits weren’t that thoroughly crushed. When the creamy texture is achieved, mix in the biscuits until they are evenly spread out. Freeze for 6 hours and TADA ICE CREAM.

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Hope this beats the heat!