Tag Archives: picnic

Spicy Lebanese-Inspired Lamb Pasties

The contents of these wonderfully light, soooooo tasty pasties was supposed to be incased in pizza dough to create calzone but I didn’t fancy that; instead opting for ready-made short-crust pastry. The end result was even better than I had anticipated and a bit of a hit in our kitchen (Connagh had his own supply that were snaffled through alarmingly quickly).

The delicious, sweet lamb is gently spiced with the wonderful combination that is cumin, cinnamon and paprika and then nestled together with the tasty crunch of roasted pine nuts mixed with spinach and potatoes. Gorgeous when they come straight out of the oven but equally lovely cold (as Connagh will attest) so ideal for picnics, al fresco lunches or just…snaffling snacks!

Makes 12 – 14

What you need…

1 x 14cm saucer

2 x baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or Bake O Glide

6 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

400g lamb mince

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground paprika

175g spinach leaves

300g potatoes, diced and just cooked

1kg ready-made short-crust pastry

Plain flour, for dusting

1 egg, lightly beaten

What to do…

First of all, make the filling. Dry-fry the pine nuts until golden – don’t take your eyes off them – they brown really quickly. Tip out onto kitchen paper and set aside.

In the same frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir in the spices and sauté for a further 10 minutes.

Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. Stir in the pine nuts and cooked potato. Season well. Set aside to cool. (You could do this several hours in advance or even the day before, keeping the cooled mixture in the fridge).

When you’re ready to assemble your pasties, preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Dust your work surface with plain flour and roll the pastry out to about 5mm thick. Use the saucer to create 12- 14 pastry circles, inverting it onto the pastry and cutting around it with a sharp knife.

Use a spoon to dollop some mixture onto one half of each circle. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and then bring them together, crimping to ensure a good seal. Brush each pasty with beaten egg and pop them in the oven on the baking trays to cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown and yummy-looking!

Allow to cool down just a little before commencing the snaffling! Enjoy – rather lovely!

Inspired by…

Ideal Home Magazine

How easy…

Ever so, especially with the ready-made pastry!

Dips and Tapenades for Drinks or a Picnic

Having friends around for drinks or a picnicky lunch? Dips are always welcome. Here we have a selection of tapenades and dips to tempt the taste buds – the juicy, sweet but piquant sun-dried tomato version and the more earthy, intense olive one both shout with flavours of the Mediterranean. Then, there’s this recipe for guacamole which combines the luscious creaminess of avocado with a fresh coriander edge and a real kick of chilli. The three were all made in advance and in less than half an hour, using a mini food processor for each one and a quick wipe out in between – simple! Hummus – a staple in our household – has already been blogged but takes just seconds to knock up. In essence, dip into a quick, easy and vast array of flavours- yummy!

What you need…

for the Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Tapenade

200g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

A large handful of fresh basil leaves

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil (from the jar of sun dried tomatoes if possible)

50g pine nuts

for the Olive Tapenade

100g pitted black olives, drained

100g pitted green olives, drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 anchovies in oil, drained

½ garlic clove, peeled

Black pepper, to taste

for the Guacamole with Coriander

1medium tomato, quartered

1 just-ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped

½ fresh green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped

½ garlic clove, peeled and chopped

A large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Zest of half a lime, finely grated

A good squeeze lime juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What to do…

Stick all the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato tapenade into your food processor. Whizz until smooth. Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Rinse out your food processor and blade. Dry with kitchen paper. Chuck all the ingredients for the olive tapenade into your processor and whizz until smooth. Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Rinse out your food processor and blade. Tip all the ingredients for the guacamole into your processor, marvel at how lovely it is to have such a great gadget and then whizz the ingredients until the consistency is as you would like – rustically chunky, elegantly smooth or something in between! Decant into a serving bowl. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge until needed.

Serve with hummus and an assortment of breads, crackers and crudités; some cold, crisp dry white wine and most importantly a good collection of family and friends. Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

An absolute whizz!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon and Watercress Quiche

This quiche, for my sins, will always be known in our house as ‘on the floor quiche’. My first ever attempt at making a quiche – this recipe – was one week ago when, on completion, I took it outside to photograph it in the gorgeous dappled sunlight, and promptly dropped it all over patio floor! Bad language and wine ensued. Anyway, one week later, I tried again and this time successfully!

Why the reluctance until now to even give it a go? When I was growing up, quiche got really bad PR. I have no idea where the expression, “real men don’t each quiche” came from but it’s always been in the back of my mind. I also had a clear (but totally inaccurate) perception that quiche was bland, heavy, boring and frankly, tasteless, so why would I want to make that?! Turns out, that concept couldn’t be further from the truth. This quiche is light, the pastry is crisp and the filling is nothing short of delightful. I would definitely urge you to throw away any preconceptions you have on the quiche front and give this one a go!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 30 x 20cm rectangular tart tin or 1 x 25cm flan tin, either way, spring-form and lightly buttered with bottom lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper.

1 x large baking sheet

for the pastry

200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

A pinch of salt

100g chilled butter, cut into cubes

1 egg yolk, beaten

3 tablespoons ice-cold water

for the filling

A little rapeseed oil

3 salmon fillets

Juice of ½ a lemon

A good knob of butter

1 medium onion, finely sliced

200g new potatoes, cut into small cubes and parboiled

50g watercress, leaves picked and tough stalks discarded

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

3 medium eggs, whisked

300ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Tip the flour, salt and butter into your food processor (fitted with the plastic blender) and whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip out onto cling film, wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Whilst your pastry is resting you can prepare the salmon and onions. Preheat your oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6 and pop in a baking sheet to warm up.

Grease a large piece of foil using the oil and place your salmon in the middle. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and scrunch the foil together to seal. Pop your salmon parcel onto the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a moderate heat, add the onion and cook to soften for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Returning to your pastry: on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and line your tin with it. Trim off the rough edges, prick the base with a fork and pop back in the fridge for another 30 minutes (this will prevent shrinkage during the cooking process).

Take your pastry case out of the fridge, line with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. Pop it onto your hot baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the case to the oven for a further 5 minutes – this will allow the pastry to dry out and prevent a soggy bottom!

Reduce the oven to 180°c / 350°f/ gas 4 and now it’s assembly time.

In a large jug, whisk together the cream and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and add the watercress and dill. Set aside for a mo.

In your pastry case, arrange onions so that they are evenly spread and top with the salmon and potatoes. Pour over the cream and egg mixture and pop into the oven on your hot baking sheet for 30 minutes or until the filling is just set and the top is turning golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve immediately, when it’s room temperature or cold – whichever is your preference – it’s just lovely! Great for a picnic or light lunch with salad.

Salmon & Watercress Quiche close up w

Inspired by…

Camilla Stephens, Higgidy

How easy…

Very easy, very relaxing. Just don’t drop it!

Higgidy Party Pie

 

Stuffed with duck, pork, apricots and garden herbs, this is so much more than just a hot water-crust pork pie! Created for celebrations (the original recipe has three pies, stacked to create a wedding pie) this is so gorgeous, it’s worth having a party for in its own right! Luscious, unbelievably tasty on the inside with fabulous crisp pastry on the outside, this pie has totally converted a woman who simply didn’t eat pies, to one whose flicking through the Higgidy cookbook looking for the next one to do! It’s gorgeous; if you’re feeding a crowd, make this the centrepiece!

Serves 12 – 16

What you need…

1 x 20cm spring form cake tin, 10cm deep

300ml water

250g lard

1 teaspoon salt

750g plain flour, plus a little for dusting

1 egg, plus a further 1 for glazing

for the filling

500g pork shoulder, cut into 1cm cubes

400g sausage meat

150g streaky bacon rashers, cut into 5mm strips

1 small bunch thyme, leaves stripped

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly

1 egg, beaten

50g fresh breadcrumbs

2 duck breasts, skin removed and meat cut into 5mm strips

200g semi-dried apricots

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

To make the pastry, pour the water into a large saucepan, add the lard and salt and slowly bring to a gentle simmer over a moderate heat. Don’t allow it to boil.

Once the lard has melted, remove from the heat and tip in all the flour. Using an electric handheld whisk, beat the mixture to form a glossy paste. Add the egg and whisk until evenly incorporated. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a couple of minutes until smooth.

Cut away one third of the dough and lightly roll it into a circle, slightly larger than the cake tin – this will be your lid – cover with cling film and pop into the fridge whilst you do the rest of the pie.

Shape the remaining dough into a rough circle and place in the middle of your tin. Gently work it over the base and up the sides of the tin with your fingers until just peeping over the top. Pop it in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 190˚c / 375˚f / gas 5.

Put the pork, sausage meat, bacon, thyme, nutmeg, redcurrant jelly, beaten egg and 1 teaspoon salt into a food processor and whizz until evenly combined.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the bottom of pastry case and then put half of the pork mixture on top. Next, add a layer of duck. Season and then add a layer of apricots. Finally, top with the remaining pork mixture.

Brush the top edges of the pie case with beaten egg and place the pastry lid on top. Crimp the edges to seal. Make a 1cm hole in the centre of the pie to allow the steam to escape and decorate your pie, if you fancy.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160˚c / 310°f/ gas 3 and bake for a further 1½ hours or until the pastry has turned a deep golden brown. Take the pie out and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the tin.

It’s so impressive to serve and that first slice draws ‘oooooohs and aaaaahs’ of delight. Then they taste it – yum!

Tip…

This fabulous celebration of a pie can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days so it can be made in advance of any entertaining.

Inspired by…

Camilla Stephens, Higgidy

How easy…

I was daunted when I first looked at recipe but in fact, this kind of pastry is really easy to make and the filling is just a case of a bit of prep and then assembly. And it’s soooooo worth it!!!!

 

 

 

Fast, Fresh and Fabulous Smoked Salmon Paté

Stuck for a lovely starter that is simply no hassle at all? Looking for a quick, delicious lunch or perhaps part of a picnic or fridge raid-type of snack? Whichever, this paté is made in about 3 minutes flat and is simply delightful – light, fresh and quite delicious – dress it up or serve it as it comes, this is another one on the favourites list for so many reasons – give it a go – blink and it’ll be done!

Serves 4

What you need…

175g smoked salmon, roughly chopped

75ml double cream

50g crème fraiche

Juice of 1 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

What to do…

Chuck the lot in the food processor. Whizz until smooth. Pop into a serving dish, cover with cling film and stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to indulge. That’s it! Seriously! Never buying ready-prepared again!

Inspired by…

James Martin…

How easy…

You can almost do this asleep it’s that simple!