Posted 6th July 2012 by Claire McDonald
The summer holidays are coming and I dream of bare feet, sunstreaked hair and little children jumping through the sunlit spray of the sprinkler.
I have a feeling that the reality might be slightly less poetic. Summer holidays are a chance to make magical summer memories for you and your children, but they also mean no childcare, arg! And a need for precision planning when it comes to putting food on the table.
It's the bit of the day I find most stressful, trying to put together a decent lunch or tea, with two small boys yapping at my heels. But this holiday I'm not going to be caught short, I'm going to shop smart so there is always something for an impromptu picnic or a barbie.
My secret weapon is my freezer (OK, not so secret). Frozen broad beans with a bit of fresh basil can be whizzed up into a delicious summery pesto, as can frozen peas. I always have some ready rolled puff pastry in the freezer so I can knock up an open tart, perfectly portable for picnics, just keep them in the baking tray you cooked them in, and they fit perfectly under the buggy.
And I know it might seem a bit lazy but I've found ready chopped frozen onions a lifesaver and they mean so many meals can just be moments away.
So there are my top holiday tips, what are yours? Go on, let us in to your summer secrets in the comments box below.
Claire is co-author of the blog Crumbs Feed Your Family which she writes with her sister, Lucy. She lives in London with her two children and is a journalist who specialises in food, children’s food and health.
For more cooking ideas, check out our selection of seasonal desserts and summer recipes.