Surprise picnic dinner!

Last Friday I’d planned a secret surprise picnic dinner for me and my wife. I didn’t mention it here because she reads this blog. My plan was to spend all day Friday cooking, while she was at work, and pack a picnic dinner into the car before she got home. And then when she got home from work, say we’re going out for dinner and lead her to the car and drive off, without saying where we’re going.

As it turned out, she felt a bit sick on Friday morning and decided to stay home! So I couldn’t cook without her asking what I was doing. So I decided to postpone the whole surprise. Ideally I’d do it on a Friday, but this week my wife has a dinner out with her old schoolfriends planned. And I had a bunch of ingredients already purchased that I needed to use up. Today was the first day she spent the whole day at the office (some days she comes home to work from home for the afternoon) – so today was the day!

I started with the ingredients I’d bought: baby spinach, French shallots, and button mushrooms.

Raw ingredients

I chopped the shallots:

Chopping shallots

Put them in a saucepan over a low heat to sweat and start caramelising:

Caramelising shallots

Meanwhile I chopped and sautéd the mushrooms:

Sautéing mushrooms

And while all this was going on, I was making spinach quiches in the oven:

Spinach quiches

Once the shallots had well and truly caramelised:

Caramelised shallots

I assembled the shallots and mushrooms into savoury tarts:

Caramelised shallot and mushroom tarts

Once all the cooking was done, and cooled down I packed it into containers in the car with a bottle of rosé wine. When my wife got home from work, I sprung the surprise, said we were going out for dinner, and led her out to the car. We drove to a nearby lookout spot in a park:

Picnic dinner view

And had dinner:

Picnic dinner

While the sun went down over Sydney Harbour:

Picnic dinner sunset

It was really good, and my wife was delighted! The weather was slightly cool, and a little windy, so not perfect. Maybe we can do sunset picnic dinners more as we head into summer.

So that’s pretty much what I did today… I spent over 4 hours cooking!

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