Picnics, yay! You’ll be needing something delicious to take. But make it something fast. And don’t wait until tomorrow. Never put off a picnic.

‘Make hay while the sun shines’ is very good advice if you have a paddock full of lucerne and a tractor. But the principle remains the same if all you want to do is head outside and sit under a tree or on the beach with something delicious to eat.

You have to do it while you can. No point waiting.  NEVER PUT OFF A PICNIC.

Because it might rain. There might be an earthquake. Someone might ask you to do something for them. Or you might just sigh and think ‘why bother’. You need food you can put together fast, so you can get out there before the world changes its mind.

I love a good quiche lorraine, all richly melting ham and cheese in a creamy egg custard with a good pastry crust; perfect picnic fare. But in this instance, it takes too long. (Rain, remember? Earthquakes.)  

So here’s a baked frittata instead. I just chucked eggs, cheese and ham together with a few peas from the freezer just to see what would happen, and it was great. And fast. And easy. And delicious.

By all means, do a classic quiche instead (like this one with asparagus on Good Food). But why, when the time you put into making it, could be spent picnicking?


150 g peas

8 large eggs

150 ml full-cream milk (or cream for a richer mouthfeel)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

150 g leg ham, shredded or diced

125 g grated cheddar or gruyere

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Sea salt and pepper

Serves 4

  • Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 1 minute, then drain and cool.

  • Heat oven to 180C (conventional). Lightly oil a 20cm x 30cm baking tray (eg lamington tray), line with baking paper, and place on a baking sheet in case of spill-over.

  • Whisk eggs with milk or cream, mustard, sea salt and pepper.

  • Scatter most of the ham, peas, cheese and parsley over the base of the pan, and pour the custard batter on top. Scatter remaining ham, peas, cheese and parsley on top.

  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes on the upper middle rack until puffed and lightly golden (a knife inserted in centre should come out clean).

  • Cool for 5 mins then use the baking paper to lift the frittata from the tray, and cut into squares.

TIP: You can add anything you like to the basic recipe, as long as it doesn’t leach moisture when it’s heated. Things like asparagus, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, etc need to be cooked first.  Roast chicken, crisp bacon, roast veggies, feta, pan-fried salmon, roasted red peppers, barbecued chorizo, all good. Perfect use of left-overs, in other words.

Thanks for reading! And liking, commenting, subscribing, or sharing.

Again, special thanks to my right-hand man, Terry Durack, for being my right hand while mine is in a splint. You can do a lot with your left hand, but whisking eggs isn’t one of them.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and waters upon which I work, live, cook and play; the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. I fully support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to be enshrined in Australia’s Constitution.