With spring having actually arrived, it’s time to make the most of the warmer weather. Everyone loves a picnic, so why not make a day of it and take your friends, your family or your kids?
Of course, the crucial thing about picnic food is that it must be easy to eat alfresco, ideally without much need for cutlery or even plates. Messy, sloppy food served sat on a picnic blanket just isn’t fun for anyone.
This is where baked goodies really come into their own. From tray bakes to cupcakes, teacakes and pastries, these picnic treats are not only easy to make at home, they taste totally delicious and won’t fall apart in your hand!
We’ve got three yummy recipes that you can prepare the day before, ready to pack into the hamper on the day. Better still, if you have a double oven in your kitchen and a bit of spare time, why not batch bake and freeze?
Salmon & Dill Cupcakes
275g self-raising flour
150ml plain yogurt
100g smoked salmon (finely chopped)
6tbsp sunflower oil
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
1 tbsp fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
For the topping: 150g cream cheese
50g smoked salmon
Zest from ½ lemon
Few sprigs of dill
Put flour and Cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix together the oil, milk, yogurt and egg in a separate bowl, then add to the flour. Add in the salmon and dill and stir until well combined. Line a cupcake tray with 12 cases.
Place equal spoonfuls of the mixture in each cupcake case, then bake in a preheated oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for about 20 minutes until golden and firm to touch. Set aside to cool.
To make the topping, mix the smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon zest until smooth. Fill a piping bag with the mixture, snip off the end and place a swirl of topping onto each cupcake. Garnish with a sprig of dill and some caviar (optional)
250g unsalted butter
250g self-raising flour (sifted)
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 2 limes
For the icing: 300g cream cheese
100g icing sugar (sifted)
Zest of 1 lime
Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, the beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla, flour, milk and lime juice and zest. Pour the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin (20cm x 30cm) and bake in a preheated oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes until well risen and golden. Take out and cool.
To make the icing, beat together the icing ingredients, reserving half the lime zest and half the mint for garnishing later. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and garnish. Cut into 12 portions when cool.
Gluten Free Blueberry & Lemongrass Teacakes
140g unsalted butter (melted)
120g ground almonds
90g rice flour
1/2tsp baking powder
120g icing sugar (sifted)
4 egg whites (gently beaten until frothy)
1 large lemongrass stalk (finely chopped)
2 vanilla pods (scraped)
Pinch of salt
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt, then add the lemongrass and vanilla. Make a hole in the middle of the mixture and pour in the egg, then mix until smooth. Add the melted butter and gently fold in the blueberries.
Grease 8 muffin or brioche moulds and divide the batter equally, then bake in a preheated oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.