The Big Lunch: Six recipes for a stunning summer street party

Food for thought: these Big Lunch recipes are all for a good cause  (Supplied)
Food for thought: these Big Lunch recipes are all for a good cause (Supplied)

What if, on one day a year, people came together with their communities and shared a meal?

That’s what the Eden Project decided to do in 2009 when they launched The Big Lunch, an annual and nationwide celebration of friendship, food and fun.

Fifteen years and £87m raised for good causes later, the event is back this 1 and 2 June.

Last year, more than £14m people took to their gardens, parks and even the streets with food, bunting, music, quizzes and games. The idea is not just to share friendship, food and fun, but to fight loneliness in our communities while raising funds for good causes.

And if you’re stuck for what to bring, we’ve got some recipes from their lineup of star-studded celebrity backs including Prue Leith, Clodagh Mckenna and Giuseppe Dell’Anno.

This year’s Big Lunch will also be one of the greenest yet, with top tips, planet-friendly recipes and ideas to swap and share.

Here’s everything you need to get started.

Prue Leith’s Spanish pepper and chickpea salad with vinaigrette

In a simple salad like this one, every ingredient counts (Smith & Gilmour)
In a simple salad like this one, every ingredient counts (Smith & Gilmour)

Serves: 4


For the salad:

2 large red (bell) peppers, roasted and peeled

1x400g can of chickpeas (garbanzos), drained

3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Zest of ½ a lemon

Salt and black pepper

For the vinaigrette:

60ml extra-virgin olive oil

20ml/1 tbsp sherry vinegar (or alternative vinegar such as white wine or apple vinegar)

1 tsp clear honey

To serve:

2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

Pinch of paprika


1. Slice the (bell) peppers into about 1cm/½in strips and combine with all the other salad ingredients in a bowl.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.

3. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently.

4. Leave the salad to marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.

5. Before serving, give the salad a final toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Serve the salad on a large plate and top scattered with the almonds and paprika.

Clodagh Mckenna’s spinach, leek and feta filo pastry tart

With shop-bought pastry and a handful of ingredients, you can whip up a delicious lunch in no time (Supplied)
With shop-bought pastry and a handful of ingredients, you can whip up a delicious lunch in no time (Supplied)

Serves: 4


2 tbsp olive oil

2 leeks, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed / minced

200g spinach (or asparagus)

2 eggs

200ml double cream

80g parmesan cheese, grated

100g crumbled feta cheese (or ricotta)

Grating of fresh nutmeg

4 sheets of filo pastry

50g butter, melted

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.

2. Place a saucepan over a low heat and add the olive oil, then stir in the sliced leeks and garlic. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Then remove the lid and stir in the spinach. Cook for a further 1 minute. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

3. While the leeks have been cooking, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and then pour in the cream and grated parmesan cheese. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a grating of fresh nutmeg and whisk again. Then fold in the cooked leeks and spinach.

4. Grease a 23cm, loose bottom tart tin with the melted butter. Brush each sheet of filo pastry with the melted butter and place the filo pastry sheets in the tin, one by one, in different angles so that each corner of the sheet isn’t overlapping on the rim and gently scrunch the pastry to form a pretty rim. Spoon the tart filling into the centre of the tin and using the back of the spoon spread the mixture out evenly. Crumble over the feta and gently press it into the mix.

5. Place the tart in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 8 minutes then check to see if the pastry golden. Cover the edges of the tart loosely with foil to stop the filo getting too dark and bake for a further 12-15 minutes or until the centre is just set.

Ashleigh Mogford’s caprese pesto orzo

This super simple pasta dish is a go-to for busy home cooks (Ella Miller)
This super simple pasta dish is a go-to for busy home cooks (Ella Miller)

Trust me, this is going to become your new go-to for busy nights. No boiling needed, just some roasted tomatoes with garlic, pesto, onions and olive oil that soak up into the orzo. The gooey mozzarella cheese on top makes this dish delish.

Serves: 4

Time: 40 minutes

4 cloves of garlic

1 white onion

1 handful of fresh basil, chopped

300g cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

Chilli flakes, to taste

Salt and pepper

300g orzo pasta

2 tbsp pickled red peppers, chopped

4 tbsp basil pesto

200g grated mozzarella cheese

To serve:

Fresh basil leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan.

2. Chop the garlic, onion and basil and put them into a medium baking dish with the tomatoes, olive oil and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and add the orzo and pickled peppers. Pour over 600ml of water and stir to combine. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Stir the pasta around, swirl through the pesto, then sprinkle over the cheese. Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce has bubbled. If there’s a lot of oil from the pesto on top, drain off the excess. Top with fresh basil leaves.

Crystelle Pereira’s ginger, coconut and dark chocolate hobnobs

Love Hobnobs? Then you’ll love these cookies (Vanessa Lewis)
Love Hobnobs? Then you’ll love these cookies (Vanessa Lewis)

I love the classic Hobnob – there is something about that crunchy, oaty biscuit that is so comforting, especially when dunked in a cup of strong tea. However, I wanted to make this biscuit even better, and so i’ve basically created a hybrid of the Hobnob and the Gingernut, with a really warming and fiery ginger flavour. The ginger is offset with toasted coconut, which brings a lovely, nutty flavour to complement the oats, and then dipped in bitter, dark chocolate, which just marries everything together. It’s one of my favourite flavour combinations, and I really hope you enjoy making these.


160g golden caster sugar

160g plant based butter

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 tbsp stem ginger syrup

160g plain flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

6 bulbs of stem ginger (95g), finely diced

70g rolled oats

130g desiccated coconut

4 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

120g 70% dark chocolate

15g coconut oil


1. Preheat your oven to 160C Fan.

2. Next, toast the desiccated coconut. Add 130g desiccated coconut to a dry pan on a medium-low heat, and stir this around for about 7 minutes until toasted and golden. Transfer to a dish and set aside.

3. Next, combine 160g plain flour, 4 tsp ground ginger powder, ¼ tsp salt, 70g oats, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda and 55g of the desiccated coconut, and mix this to combine. Leave this to one side.

4. In a large bowl, beat together 160g softened butter and 160g caster sugar until well combined.

5. Next, add 1 tsp vanilla and beat again to incorporate.

6. Then, add 2 tbsp golden syrup and 1 tbsp stem ginger syrup and beat this well to incorporate.

7. Next, fold in the dry ingredients into the wet batter, until no flour pockets remain.

8. Finally, add the 6 bulbs of chopped stem ginger and mix until dispersed in the batter.

9. Divide the dough into 25g portions, and then roll these into balls.

10.Add 45g of the remaining desiccated coconut to a large bowl, and then roll each ball into the desiccated coconut and place on a baking tray.

11.Making sure the balls are spread out, as the biscuits will spread, bake these for 25 minutes, rotating halfway, and leave to cool on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

12.Once the biscuits are completely cool, add 120g dark chocolate and 15g coconut oil to a shallow, heatproof bowl and heat this in the microwave in 10 second increments until completely melted.

13.Dip one side of each biscuit in the chocolate, shake off the excess, and then place these back on the wire rack, chocolate side facing up. Sprinkle the chocolate covered side with some more of the remaining desiccated coconut.

14.Once all coated, place the biscuits in the fridge for 5 minutes to harden if needed, and then enjoy.

Alice Fevronia’s strawberry sheet cake

You can whip up this perfect summery dessert in no time (Supplied)
You can whip up this perfect summery dessert in no time (Supplied)


For the strawberry cake:

300g sliced strawberries

2 tbsp caster sugar

225g unsalted butter

450g caster sugar

4 large eggs

250 ml buttermilk (or whole milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice)

2 tsp vanilla

475g plain flour

2½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pink food colouring

For the buttercream:

250g butter

500g icing sugar

3 tbsp whole milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

Handful of strawberries to decorate


1. Roast the sliced strawberries with the 2 tbsp sugar at 160C for 20 minutes.

2. Once cool, blitz to a purée and set aside.

3. Raise the oven temperature to 175C.

4. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

5. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined.

6. Add the purée, buttermilk and vanilla.

7. Mix in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and mix until fully incorporated.

8. If you want to enhance the pink colouring, add some pink food colouring.

9. Transfer to a lined 9x13 inch tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

10.For the buttercream, cream the butter and icing sugar until very pale, and add the vanilla.

11.Once the cake is cool, spread the buttercream on top and decorate with halved strawberries.

Giuseppe Dell’Anno’s farinata (chickpea pancake)

Farinata can be found under different names all over the world (Supplied)
Farinata can be found under different names all over the world (Supplied)

Farinata is a centuries old delicacy that dominates the Ligurian street food scene, although it can be found, with different names, all over the country, from Pisa (cecìna) and Livorno (torta di ceci) to Piedmont (bella calda) and Sardinia (fainè). Its unbeatable combination of simplicity and flavour make it one of the most addictive street food I have ever come across. Thankfully, it is incredibly easy to bake at home, even without the wood-burning ovens traditionally used by professionals.

This recipe is for the basic black pepper farinata, but you can spice up yours by adding thinly sliced onions or artichoke, or just a sprinkle of fresh rosemary just before baking. The resulting pancake must be no more than 5mm thick, it should retain a soft core in a crispy skin. Although farinata can be stored for up to 3-4 days, it is at its best just baked and still warm. The amount makes six serving, but I unashamedly roll the whole thing up in grease proof paper and happily eat the lot!

Serves: up to 6 (for a 27cm tart tin)


100g chickpea (gram) flour

½ tsp salt

300g lukewarm water

30g extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground


1. Add the flour and salt to a spouted jug large enough to accommodate all ingredients. Slowly trickle in the water while mixing with a fork or, better, with a small whisk. Once all the water is added, keep mixing until the runny batter looks smooth and homogenous. Cover the jug with a plate or clingfilm and leave it to rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours.

2. When ready to bake, set the shelf in the lowest position in the oven and preheat it to 220C fan. Cut a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the tin, scrunch it up, then unfold it and line the tin with it. Pour the oil in the lined tin and swirl it around so the bottom and the sides are well coated.

3. The batter will have separated upon resting: the solids will have sunk at the bottom and a layer of liquid will have formed at the top: give it a good stir to mix things up again then gently pour it into the tin. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until the top has a golden brown colour and it looks crispy and crunchy.

4. Take the farinata out of the oven, sprinkle the pepper over the top, and let it cool for 5 minutes before sliding it onto a serving plate. Use a pizza cutter to slice it and serve it hot, either on its own or in a warm focaccina. Farinata can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days as long as it is either well wrapped in clingfilm or in an airtight container.

The Big Lunch is back on 1-2 June and it’s set to be the greenest yet! Made possible by The National Lottery, The Big Lunch is your chance to join millions of people across the UK sharing friendship, food and fun in their communities! Tuck in and get the party started with free resources out now at