Daily Archives: 18 June 2012

National Picnic Week

Picnic recipes from Dairy Diary

What better excuse do you need to eat al fresco than National Picnic Week?

It’s a pastime that I think is vastly underrated and we don’t do enough.

I know I know, the British weather is challenging and unpredictable, but be inventive!

Shelter from the rain under the boot of your car clutching a steaming cup of tea, enjoy a scone in a gale on the top of a crag, nibble a sausage roll huddled around a campfire on the beach. The possibilities are endless.

Some of my fondest childhood memories
involve picnicking, in particular snuggled
in a towel on a Gower beach or on a
snowy Peak District hillside with a mug
of cold soup and a primus stove that
would not ignite!

Picnics are not only fun, but can be inexpensive too – of course, you can go to town and make the whole works; complete with hamper, posh rug and champagne – but generally you don’t need to spend much.

Dining out, especially with a family, can be very costly and a picnic is a fun, low cost alternative. With a little planning and preparation a great day out can be had by all and store up those precious memories for children in the future.

Why not challenge yourself to undertake a picnic in the strangest place you can think of? With fantastic homemade food, of course!

Start with this fabulous Picnic Ciabatta and finish off with these delicious Apricot Cookies.

Elderflowers – free food from the hedgerows

AND don’t forget the drink too. Elderflowers are in bloom, so get picking quick!

I can still remember the taste of my Grandad’s homemade elderflower ‘champagne’, 30 years later.

Of course, it wasn’t really champagne, but a fizzy elderflower pop that was just divine! As an avid cyclist and walker he would discover an abundance of elderflowers on his travels, which we would collect for his wonderful home brewed concoction. As a wartime cook – he even once cooked for the king! – my grandad was a master at frugal cooking, and what better, than foraging for free food then creating something delicious!

Try our fabulous Spiced Elderflower Cordial.

A collection of Dairy Diary recipes:
Picnic Ciabatta
Apricot Cookies
Spiced Elderflower Cordial

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Spiced Elderflower

This spiced elderflower cordial captures the essence of warm English summers

Spiced elderflower cordial recipeMakes 1½ litres (2½ pints)
Time 6 days
359 calories per 150ml (¼ pint)
0g fat
Suitable for vegetarians

Caster sugar 1kg (2lb 4oz)
Boiling water 900ml (1½ pints)
Citric acid 50g (2oz)
Elderflower heads 20, flowers snipped from stems
Lemon 1, thinly sliced Limes 4, thinly sliced
Fresh root ginger 50–75g (2–3oz), peeled and sliced

1 Pour sugar into a bowl, add boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add citric acid and elderflowers and stir. Stir in sliced lemon, limes and ginger. Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place for 6 days, stirring daily.

2 Place a colander or sieve over a bowl and line with muslin or clean J-cloths. Pour boiling water through – to sterilise. Pour away water and wring out muslin or J-cloths.

3 Re-line sieve or colander, replace over bowl and strain the cordial through it. Discard elderflowers, lemon, limes and ginger.

4 Pour cordial through a funnel into two sterilised 75cl (11⁄4 pint) wine bottles. Seal with corks or screw caps and store in fridge. Will keep for a year or more. Serve diluted with chilled white wine, tonic or soda water, or top up with boiling water to make a hot toddy.

A Dairy Diary recipe

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Picnic Ciabatta recipe

This is no ordinary picnic ciabatta… this is a fabulous Dairy Diary ciabatta

Picnic ciabatta recipeServes 2
Time 40 minutes
695 calories per portion
40.4g fat of which 6.3g is saturated

Peppers 1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow
Vinaigrette dressing with garlic 6–8tbsp
Ciabatta loaf approximately 275g (10oz)
Watercress large bunch, washed and dried
Red onion 1, peeled, sliced and separated into rings
Anchovy fillets in olive oil 8–12, drained

1 Cook peppers under a hot grill turning frequently until lightly charred and blistered. Put in a bowl, cover with cling film and cool.

2 Peel and deseed the peppers into a sieve placed over a bowl, cutting each one in half. Mix the juices with the vinaigrette dressing.

3 Cut the ciabatta in half. Place the two halves, cut sides up, on a board and drizzle with approximately two-thirds of the dressing.

4 Arrange half of the watercress on the bottom half of the bread. Cover with half of the peppers and onion rings. Top with anchovy fillets, and drizzle with more dressing.

5 Add remaining onion rings, peppers and watercress. Drizzle with dressing. Replace the top of the loaf and press firmly together. Wrap tightly in cling film and chill for 30 minutes, or overnight if taking on a picnic.

A Dairy Diary recipe

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Apricot cookies recipe

These delicious cookies are perfect for summer picnics

Apricot Cookies recipeMakes 36 cookies
Time 30 mins
Calories 115 per cookie
Fat 8g of which 4.3g is saturated
Suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 175g (6oz)
Caster sugar 110g (4oz)
Soft cheese 175g (6oz)
Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
Ground almonds 75g (3oz)
Ready-to-eat dried apricots 75g (3oz), chopped
Fudge pieces 75g (3oz), chopped if necessary

1 Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Line baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.

2 Put butter, sugar, cheese, fl our and almonds into a bowl and beat together. Stir in apricots and fudge.

3 Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheets and press down lightly with a fork.

4 Bake for 10 minutes. Leave for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then lift off and cool on a wire rack.

A Dairy Diary recipe

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