picnic in the paddock | as featured in the autumn 2019 edition of graziher magazine

We’ve been enjoying ‘the picnic in the paddock’ in Boorowa for as long as I can remember. I always look forward to the end of summer where the weather starts to cool off a bit, happily saying goodbye to the stinking hot days with temps above 40℃. The change of season is a great excuse to dust off the picnic basket and dig out the ol’ picnic rug; I love a good picnic in the paddock.

And this particular spot on the farm is a special place. It’s where my father-in-law Dave proposed to his wife Anne, almost 33 years ago. Known more commonly as Nee and Pop these days by their four grandkids (four and counting) it’s a magical setting for a picnic. Blue dog never tires of swimming in the dam, the large Yellow box provides some much sought after shade for us all and it’s only a short drive back to the house through the paddock – our girls taking it in turns ‘driving’. Look out!

Along with the usual rent-a-crowd, flies and ants are regular guests at these affairs, always turning up promptly as if they were invited by the hostess herself. Give me flies over mozzies any day of the week though. Some people seem to be invincible to the mosquito; one careless application of Aerogard and they’re right for the rest of the day. Me – I get eaten alive.

I could be wrong (it has happened before) but everybody loves chicken schnitzel don’t you think!? And these homemade schnitty rolls are no exception. What’s there not to like about a delicious piece of ‘crunchy on the outside, succulent on the inside’ chicken breast? Using minimal ingredients and eaten hot or cold, if you can master the art of a perfectly crumbed piece of schnitzel, you’ve got yourself a crowd pleasing dish to whip up on any number of occasions. This creamy and slightly spicy coleslaw is really easy to make, you’ll just need some fresh bread rolls and you’re all set.

Throw in some fruit, make sure you’ve got plenty of cold drinks on board and whatever you do – don’t forget something sweet to enjoy with a hot cup of tea; Nee’s trusty thermos hasn’t seen much action since the ‘Pantry on Pudman’ opened in town.

I can’t think of a better way to bring in the Autumn months – a lazy Sunday afternoon picnic with good food and even better company.

What more could you want?

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chicken schnitzel + coleslaw rolls

1 x kilo of chicken breast
250 grams of Panko breadcrumbs
250 grams of regular breadcrumbs (make your own or use store-bought crumbs)
2 x eggs, whisked
1 x cup of plain flour
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Bread rolls, buttered, for serving
Spicy coleslaw, for serving
Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

to make the schnitzel:

  • Prepare the chicken breast – Remove any sinew and slice in to thin pieces, equally the same thickness. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Working one at a time (setting up a bit of a production line), coat each chicken breast in flour.
  • Next, dip the floured chicken in to the egg mixture, coating on both sides.
  • Now coat the chicken in the breadcrumbs and using the heel of your hand, pat down firmly to ensure that the crumbs stick and at the same time, flattening the chicken breast.
  • Reserve on to a clean plate and continue until you’ve crumbed all of the chicken fillets.
  • When ready to fry the chicken – in a heavy based fry pan, add a good glug of vegetable oil (enough oil to cover the base of the pan entirely) and bring to a medium-high heat.
  • In batches, add the schnitzel to the oil and cook for a couple of minutes until you can see that the edges are cooking and crisping up nicely.
  • Turn the chicken and cook on the other side.
  • Once cooked and golden brown, reserve on to some absorbent paper towel to drain any excess oil.

spicy coleslaw

1/4 of a white cabbage, finely shredded
1/4 of a purple cabbage, finely shredded
2 x carrots, peeled and grated
2 x spring onions, finely chopped
A good couple of tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise
1 x tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce
A dash of white vinegar
A squeeze of fresh lemon
Salt and pepper

to make the coleslaw:

  • Simply add all veggies in to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl – stir together the mayo, sweet chilli sauce, vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  • Combine.

When ready to serve, add a piece of schnitzel and a generous amount of coleslaw to the buttered roll, adding a little extra sweet chilli sauce if you wish.

If you make these rolls, please leave your comments below. xx

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