The Perfect Picnic – Copper & Ink

Festivals | 02 May 2023

The Perfect Picnic. Copper and Ink Blackheath. A man in chef's whites and round rimmed glasses smiles next to a woman with red hair, a smiling face and scarf tied in a bow on top of her head

Summer in the Park is back! And this year, we’re offering you some inspiration to jazz up your picnic basket by approaching some of the leading chefs, restaurants and food services in Greenwich & Bexley.

First up, it’s Tony Rodd of Copper and Ink, Blackheath, who has generously offered us a raffle prize of a meal for two. If you’d like to enter, join us at the Queenscroft Park Picnic on 22 July!

What is it about Picnics that you love?

Food for me is about coming together with friends and sharing an experience.  Picnics are great as they bring that experience into nature and that can really enhance the whole event.  I also love sharing food, and a picnic is a perfect opportunity to all bring a dish that can be shared between you. 

Talk us through your menu for a perfect picnic. What would you pack?  

For my perfect picnic menu, I would look to bring sharing platters that people can choose between.  That way, if someone is a little fussy, there’s plenty of other things to choose from.  Salads are always bright, healthy, and travel well.  You also don’t need to worry about food spoiling if too warm.  Think about bulking out a salad with seeds, nuts and fruit to make them more interesting.  Pasta salads or salads with pulses are also great to add some more filling ingredients and fruit salads make a great dessert.  Coming from a Greek background, I love stuffed vine leaves and these can be vegetarian or have mince meat filling them.  Breads and dips are perfect and tzatziki and taramasalata are some of my favourites. 

Do you have a fail-safe picnic recipe of your own you can share with readers? 

Greek meatball salad: 

Feeds 6 

For the meatballs: 

  • 400g lamb mince
  • 200g pork mince
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • Cornflour to coat 

 Start by dicing the onion and garlic.  Slowly cook this in a little oil to soften but not colour the onion and garlic.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool.  Once cool, add the miced lamb and pork, the dried herbs and the breadcrumbs.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and bring together by hand.  Take a small amount and cook in your pan to check seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if needed, or more dried herbs if you want this more prominent.  Once you’re happy with the flavour, roll the rest of the mixture into ping pong sized balls and roll in the cornflour.  Fry in some vegetable or rapeseed oil until golden on all sides and transfer to a baking tray.  Cook at 180C for 15 minutes or until they are pink in the middle but cooked through.  Allow to cool. 

For the salad: 

  • 1 cucumber
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Start by chopping the salad. The cucumber can be cut lengthwise and the seeds scooped out with a spoon and discarded.  Then cut the lengths of cucumber into half moon slices.  Slice the celery and halve the tomatoes.  Pick the leaves off the mint and crumble the feta.  Place the ingredients (including the meatballs) in a container, placing the heaviest ingredients at the bottom and the lighter ingredients on top to avoid them being crushed.  Put the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper in a jam jar.  When you arrive, shake the jam jar to make your dressing and toss the salad, dressing in the lemon juice mixture.  Enjoy! 

Who's Who

Tony Rodd. A Black and White photo of a chef's hands hovering over a plate of food

Tony Rodd

Tony Rodd (Masterchef finalist 2015) runs Copper & Ink in Blackheath with his partner Becky Cummings. When Tony & Becky set out to create Copper & Ink, they wanted to ensure that they collaborated with both local suppliers and those who provide ethically sourced produce such as John Charles Butchers and Fairtrade Foundation, but also to involve the local community by providing a space for them to feel at home away from home. The menu changes monthly and includes a large selection of Tony and Becky’s favourite drinks from around the world as well as an impressive cocktail list!

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