Three Simple and Tasty Recipes for the Perfect Picnic

With Spring Racing Carnival beginning and the early arrival of warm weather, now’s the perfect time to head outside for a picnic.

Keep your menu simple and focus on the very best ingredients from Queen Victoria Market. Pack your basket with Chicken Ribbon Sandwiches that have a flavour twist on a traditional favourite and a sweet treat like my Lemon and Polenta Cakes. And to sip on, I make Watermelon Lemonade…which you can always give a little extra kick to with a shot of vodka!

Happy days!

Picnic 3

Chicken Ribbons Sandwiches

Recipe by Clare Hillier

If you’re going to make these sandwiches a few hours before they’ll be eaten, cover them with a just damp tea towel so they don’t dry out.


  • 12 slices of white bread
  • 2 chicken breasts – poached and shredded
  • ¾ cup whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped mint leaves
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper


  • Combine the chicken, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, basil, mint, salt and pepper.
  • Divide between half the bread slices and top with remaining bread.
  • Use a serrated knife to remove the crusts and cut sandwiches into thirds.

Picnic 2

Little Lemon and Polenta Cakes

Recipe by Clare Hillier

Wheat-free and terribly tempting, these Little Lemon and Polenta Cakes make the perfect sweet treat. They will also keep for three days in an airtight container.

Ingredients for the Cakes

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 90g polenta
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250g almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Ingredients for Syrup

  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


  • Preheat oven to 180C and line a 12-hole 1/2 cup (125ml) capacity muffin pan with muffin cases.
  • Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Combine polenta and baking powder, add to egg mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add almond meal, milk, lemon rind and juice, then stir until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans, and then bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Cool slightly.
  • Meanwhile, to make the syrup, place sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil 3 – 4 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Remove the cakes from the pan then brush with the hot syrup and set aside to cool completely.

Picnic 1

Watermelon Lemonade

Recipe by Clare Hillier

With its pretty pink shade, this Watermelon Lemonade is the perfect party drink.


  • 6 cups of seedless watermelon – chopped into cubes
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar*

*Be sure to taste the watermelon first. Depending on how sweet it is, you might need to adjust how much sugar you include.


  1. Bring water and sugar to the boil in a medium saucepan over a high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour into jug and refrigerate for 30 minutes to cool down.
  2. Meanwhile, blend watermelon and lemon juice in two batches until smooth. Pour into a jug and add sugar water. Stir well to combine
  3. Refrigerate for an hour or until cold.


Clare Hillier is Editor and Creator of the award-winning life and style blog, Checks and Spots.

Photography by Fiona Storey // Baker’s Drawer provided by Winnie & Co