I wrote this post for the Otago Daily Times November last year. I was looking through my posts on SLC and realised that I hadn't shared this staple of my childhood with you! Make the most of what remains of the New Zealand Summer (Yes I am in denial about daylight savings ending) and take your weekend lunch outside.
My paternal grandparents retired to a 400-year-old stone house in the south of France. Every three to five years from the age of 8 Mum and Dad packed us all off and we took a family holiday there for a few weeks to see the family (I make it sound like we just jumped in the car). The entire extended family convened for what seemed like a never-ending French summer.
Each lunch time we would squeeze around this massive ancient wooden table with bench seats and make ourselves sandwiches with fresh baguettes from the village boulangerie. We would have huge wheels of camembert and slices of ham and vine tomatoes, and cram them all into chunks of fresh baguette.
After I handed in my dissertation last year I hung around Dunedin for a couple more months so that I could spend time with my excellent non-student friends. It was the first time that I had seen Dunedin sans students as well as the first time I had seen glimpses of summer in that southern city. After all I only usually had to be there during term time.
With that beautiful weather came the opportunity for al fresco dining.
Picnics are my favourite. You would quite often find a handsome young gentleman and me hanging out on the grass beside First Church of Dunedin.
One Sunday we took a picnic lunch to the glade beside the golf course with a brilliant orange blanket I found at the op shop for $2.
Reliving my childhood, I packed the ingredients required for my favourite French sandwiches.
So while this isn't really a dinner option, I hope it inspires you to pack up and take your food outside and make the most of all the last remaining warm afternoons and evenings.
French Summer Sandwiches
1 large freshly baked baguette
400g ham (thin-shaved or thick from the bone)
2 tomatoes, sliced
half a red onion, thinly sliced
200g camembert (because we are greedy cheese gluttons), sliced
4 Tbsp cream cheese
salt and pepper
lettuce (if you are feeling guilty about all the cheese)
Slice the baguette into four or five sections and cut each piece almost in half (so you get a bread hinge on one side).
Spread each side with cream cheese then layer on the ham, camembert, red onion and tomato. Season with salt and pepper then dive in!
Best enjoyed in the sun with excellent company.