Some picnic food ideas

Easy Coronation chicken pies

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil; 1 onion; 2 tbsp medium curry powder; 3 tbsp mango chutney; 1 large cooked chicken breast; diced into chunks; 140g double cream; knob of butter; 500g pack shortcrust pastry; flour for dusting; 1 beaten egg; 2 tbsp flaked almonds (optional).

Makes 12

Method:
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the mango chutney and the cream and heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chicken (this can all be done in advance).
2. Heat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound

coin. Cut out 12 circles slightly bigger than the muffin holes and 12 circles big enough for lids. Use the pastry to line the muffin holes.
3. Divide the chicken filling between the pies. Add the pastry lids and pinch to seal. Brush the tops with more beaten egg and scatter with almonds if desired. Make a slit in the lid with a sharp knife and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and hot through.

Vol-au-vent style Coronation chicken pies
These are a twist on the above and use puff pastry

Roll out some puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into squares. Score a smaller square inside each one, leaving a 7.5mm border, taking care not to cut the pastry all the way through. Put the squares on the tray, lightly brush with egg glaze and bake for 15 mins until puffed up and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When cool, carefully remove and discard the central piece of pastry from each one. To serve, fill with the chicken mixture.

Spanish tortilla

Ingredients
200ml olive oil; 1 medium onion, finely sliced; 600g waxy potatoes such as Jersey Royals or Charlottes, peeled, halved and cut into thin slices (like thick crisps); 6 medium eggs, beaten; salt and pepper; 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 8

Method:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame, add the onion and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft and brown. Rinse the potato slices under cold water and pat dry. Add the potato to the pan – if it seems overcrowded, you can cook them in a couple of batches. Cook until the vegetables are tender and on the point of falling apart, then drain well, keeping the oil for your next omelette.
2. Add the potato and onion to the beaten eggs, season well, and leave to stand for 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger onion flavour.
3. Put a smaller pan (about 22cm) over a medium heat and add the extra virgin olive oil. Turn to coat, and then, when hot, add the mixture – it should almost fill the pan. Cook until it comes away from the edge of the pan, and looks about two thirds set.
4. Place a plate, or a saucepan lid, over the pan, and invert it so the tortilla flips on to the plate. Slide it back in, tipping any liquid egg in with it. Cook until it is springy to the touch: be careful not to overcook it: it should still be moist in the middle.

Gazpacho Shots

Ingredients
400g ripe tomatoes; 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks; ½ small cucumber, peeled and cut into rough chunks; ½ red onion, roughly chopped; 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped; ½ tsp salt; 1 tsp sherry vinegar; 20ml very good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Garnish
Small piece of cucumber, 1 small tomato, a few chives and basil leaves, chilled vodka, crushed ice.

Serves 4

Method:
1. Slice the tomatoes. Put all the vegetables into a liquidiser and blend well. Then pass the blended mixture through a sieve or food mill, reserving the juice and discarding everything else.
2. Add the salt, vinegar and olive oil to the juice, stirring well. Taste and check the seasoning. Chill well until needed before transferring to a thermos to take with you.
3. For the garnish: peel the cucumber, remove the seeds and chop into tiny dice. Drop the tomato in boiling water, drain and remove the skin. Discard the seeds and cut the flesh into tiny dice, like the cucumber. Snip the chives and basil into short lengths. You can prepare the garnish in advance and add it to the drinks at the picnic spot.
4. Once there, fill the glasses with gazpacho and top each one with a little of the cucumber and tomato dice, and a few of the snipped chives and basil leaves. Add ice and vodka if required.

Strawberry granola bars

Combine equal parts honey and brown sugar with a little oil and bring to a boil; toss with good granola until the mixture is very sticky. Add some bite-sized strawberry pieces, and more nuts, raisins and chocolate chips if required. Line a pan with waxed paper or film with oil. Press mixture into pan and allow to cool.

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