Summer’s here – so that means picnics.
Whether they’re leisurely ones with the family or, more likely, enjoyed in the field while grabbing a quick break from combining or corn-carting, here are some ideas for making a tasty offering that’s a little more interesting that usual.
Ideal for keen cooks – and those keen to try a new technique or two – these suggestions from Seasoned Cookery School represent a real “taste of harvest”.
See also: Recipe – farmhouse gooseberry shortcakes
Beetroot Scotch ‘eggs’
- Makes 8 “eggs”
- Time to prepare About 1 hour plus chilling time
- Cooking time 5-7 minutes
- 8 x cooked mini beetroot (available at most supermarkets)
- 120g quinoa, cooked as per packet instructions
- 150g soft, rindless goat’s cheese
- 2-3 tbsp of fresh dill, parsley or coriander
- 2-3 tsp of capers (optional, if not using replace with a good pinch of salt)
- Ground black pepper
- 50g plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten panko breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions, drain and allow to cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix the goat’s cheese until it softens. Stir in the herbs, ground black pepper, capers and quinoa. Mix until well combined.
- Take the mini beetroot out of the packet and pat dry with kitchen roll.
- Take an eighth of the cheesy quinoa mix and place in the middle of a piece of cling film. Place one of the beetroots in the centre of the mix. Using cling film to help stop your hands getting messy, gently work the quinoa mix all the way around the beetroot until it is completely covered.
- Roll the “egg” in the plain flour, then dip in the beaten egg and coat in the panko breadcrumbs.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes to help them firm up (or up to 24 hours, until needed).
- Heat up veg oil in a deep-sided pan/deep fryer to 160C. Do not leave the oil unattended.
- Gently lower the Scotch “eggs” into the veg oil and they should sizzle immediately.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning if required until they are golden brown. The centres don’t need cooking so don’t worry about the internal temperature.
- Remove from the fryer, dry on kitchen roll and serve warm or cold.
Lemon curd & berry madeleines
- Makes about 20
- Time to prepare About 1 hour plus 3-12 hours chilling time
- Cooking time 12-14 minutes
For the madeleines
- 3 medium eggs
- 120g sugar
- 1 lemon (zest only)
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 4 tbsp milk
- 200g butter
For the filling and topping
- A small jar of lemon curd
- A small punnet of cherries (destoned), raspberry or strawberries – one per madeline and some for topping if desired
- Icing sugar to finish
- Melt the butter in a small pan/in the microwave then allow to cool.
- With a handheld mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and frothy.
- Put the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and add the finely grated lemon zest.
- Mix the maple syrup and milk with the cooled butter, then add to the frothy egg mixture. Fold in the flour, taking care not to bash the air out of the egg mixture. Ideally, leave to rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 190C. Grease and flour your madeleine tin (the madeleines need to slip out of the tin, so do this very thoroughly).
- Place a tablespoon of the madeline mixture into each shell and press a berry into the batter. This should fill the shell.
- Bake for 5 minutes and turn the oven off for 1 minute (this will help the madelines to rise), then reduce the temperature to 160C and bake for a further 5-7 minutes until just cooked.
- Transfer to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Repeat with the rest of the mix in the same tin after you have washed and dried it.
- Meanwhile, fill a small piping bag with the lemon curd and pipe a small amount on top of the fruit, topping with another berry if desired.
- Allow to cool then dust with icing sugar before serving.
Pesto and pancetta picnic rolls
- Serves 8
- Time to prepare 1 hour plus 2 hours proving time
- Cooking time 30 minutes
For the dough
- 400g strong white flour
- 1 tsp table salt
- 7g sachet of fast-acting yeast
- 50ml olive oil
- 250ml lukewarm water
For the filling
- Olive oil
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 120g pancetta cut into cubes/short slices. Pancetta is an Italian-style cured meat, but there are now some fabulous British produced pancettas on the market – try a local farm shop for inspiration
- A handful of rocket
- 50g feta cheese, crumbled
- 100g green pesto
- Salt and pepper
- Put all your dough ingredients into a bowl and knead until the dough is soft and elastic. This
can take up to 10 minutes, the dough should feel light and smooth, but will start heavy and
craggy – keep going. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in
a warm place for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- While the dough is proving, prep the filling. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and gently cook the pancetta until it is just coloured. Remove and then in the same frying pan add the peppers and onions, cooking for 5-10 minutes until they are beginning to soften. Remove from the frying pan and allow to cool.
- When the dough has doubled in size take it out of the bowl and press down on it to knock some of the air out of it. Roll it out until you have a large rectangle about 5mm thick.
- Spoon pesto over the dough surface, making sure you leave an inch gap along one of the long edges. Sprinkle the pancetta and remaining filling ingredients on top of the pesto, including the vegetables you cooked earlier.
- Starting on the long side, where you haven’t left the gap, roll up the dough fairly tightly. You want to end up with the seam on the bottom.
- Cut the dough sausage into 7 equal rounds and place them in a 23cm cake tin lined with baking parchment.
- Leave the dough to rise again for 30 minutes in the tin. You’ll notice how the rounds begin to join together.
- Bake the scrolls at 180c for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden. When cooked remove from the tin and allow to cool for 15 min before serving or eat cold.
Seasoned cookery school
Seasoned is owned by dairy farmer’s wife Clare Major in the grounds of the beautiful Catton Hall Estate in Derbyshire.
It operates more than 100 different cookery and baking courses taught by some of the country’s best chefs, some are BBC Masterchef and Great British Bake Off finalists.
To find out more visit the Seasoned website