This weekend was one of Nathan’s ex-roommate’s birthday and to celebrate, there was to be a picnic in the park. Dolores Park, you ask? Golden Gate park, perhaps? Nope, Laurie Meadows Park in San Mateo. Despite the somewhat random location (i.e. no one attending actually lives in San Mateo), LM park turned out to be a cute little park with plenty of flat grassy space – great for picnics, picnicking doggies, and picnicky activities like throwing a frisbee around. Since it was a potluck, I decided to whip out one of the easiest picnicking recipes I know, courtesy of Jamie Oliver, the “Naked Chef”:

11 ounces (310 grams) small shell-shaped pasta
3 cloves garlic
9 ounces (225 grams) yellow cherry tomatoes
9 ounces (225 grams) red cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 handful black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
I handful fresh basil
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and garlic, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until al dente, and drain.Put the garlic to one side for the dressing. Put the pasta in a bowl.

Cut the tomatoes, cucumber, and black olives into small pieces, about half the size of the pasta, and place in the round metal container. Roughly chop the herbs and place these in the container.

Using a fork mash the cooked garlic cloves on the board with a little salt, add to the salad.

Add the oil, vinegar, and seasoning.