The Cookbook Challenge No. 50: Picnic

I'd been eyeing this cookbook off for sometime now since discovering it on my brothers bookshelf. Unfortunately, at $70 my purchase of it was going to have to wait. However a chance encounter at the Book Grocery saw me purchasing this little puppy for under $30 and it's been the best money I've spent it a long while.....I love this book and am planning to cook every single thing inside it.

Yep, it's that good!

At the beginning of this week, I made the decision that no matter what I made for this week's theme, it had to come from this book - even if I had to adapt the recipe, but when flicking through, I found something perfect for a Spring picnic.....

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Pan Bagna (Bathed Bread)

Cookbook:  Provence Cookery School  Author:  Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine


6 ripe, medium tomatoes, sliced | White parts of 3 spring onions, sliced | 4 boiled eggs | Leaves from 1 small head celery | 1/2 small red capsicum | About 16 small black olives | 4 large, crusty white rolls 

For the Vinaigrette | 6 anchovy fillets, packed in oil or salt | 12 tbsp olive oil | 2 1/2 tbsp red or white wine vinegar | Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Peel the eggs, then slice cross ways and roughly chop the celery leaves. Core the red pepper and cut into thin strips. Pit the olives, leave whole or halve if you prefer.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette, drain or rinse the anchovy fillets and pat dry on kitchen paper. Finely chop or mash them. Put them in a bowl or cup and add the olive oil and vinegar. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the bread horizontally in half and place the halves in front of you, but sides up. Put a generous spoonful of vinaigrette on the bottom half of each roll and spread well with the back of the spoon. Add the sliced tomatoes, strips of red capsicum, sliced spring onion and egg, chopped celery, and black olives. Season lightly. Spoon over the rest of the vinaigrette.
  4. Add the top half of each roll. Set on plates and press down each pan bagna gently but firmly. Leave to soak for a few minutes before cutting in half and eating.

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The recipe calls for fresh crusty rolls, however when I went to pick up my morning coffee from one of my favourite places - Sugardough, I spotted this beautiful fresh sourdough baguette...perfect!

Technically not a recipe as such, as the only cooking involved boiling eggs, but yum, yum, yummmmm!

So fresh and simple, and the fact that you drizzle the dressing straight onto the roll itself is genius. It soaks into the bread giving you a little zesty zing as you take a bite....also helps soften the crusty roll, protecting your gums a little...just a little...

The authors give a little note:

"Give flavours time to develop, even if it's simple food like a sandwich. A lot of Provence dishes are best enjoyed at room temperature. Think of a terrace on a warm summer's evening -"

One of the goals that is high on my list is to travel back to France for a few months, visiting the countryside, stopping at the local markets and feasting on all their fresh food, and that's exactly what I thought of when I ate this delightful little sandwich.