The Great British Picnic

Photo by Alma Berliner

Photo by Alma Berliner

I can’t believe Midsummer has been and gone (it was on Friday 21st June, i.e. the longest day of the year). People say that Midsummer heralds the start of summer – but isn’t it a bit depressing to know your days only get shorter for the rest of 2013? Anyway, ignore the pessimist in me and enjoy some outdoor picnic recipes that I recently created for Farmison. Click on the titles to get the recipe.

Coronation Chicken

I mean, Coronation Chicken sounds completely weird on paper. I tried to de-weird it as much as possible with this modern retelling.

Venison Scotch Eggs

First it was black pudding, now it’s venison. Watch out posh sausages, I’m on a mission to breadcrumb and deep fry you.

Exotic mushroom arancini

Not gonna lie – these were a bugger to make! But so worth it…

Picnic Perfect Mini Frittatas

Move aside, Pippa Middleton. Don’t you know I can alliterate too? That makes me a bonafide food writer.

Jersey Royal Salad

Jersey Royals deserve the royal treatment.

Marinated Heritage Tomato Salad

So pretty I can’t bear to eat it!

Summer Berry Clafoutis

Finish your picnic with this delightful eggy treat…


Baby turnip fried rice with Chinese sausage

As you know I’m writing some recipes for Farmison at the moment, in exchange for my free pick of their amazing product selection. Sometimes they include lovely surprises in my weekly box and it brings a fun ‘Ready, Steady, Cook!’ element into my recipes. I think spontaneity and surprise often lead to the most creative results.

Last week they chucked in some baby turnips. I’ve only ever eaten turnip in a Chinese context – one of my favourite dim sum dishes is fried turnip / radish cake, which is also a traditional New Year dish (slightly disastrously attempted here). I took inspiration from the classic flavour turnip cake combination of chinese sausage / mushroom / shredded turnip to create an easy and filling fried rice.

Get the recipe for baby turnip fried rice with Chinese sausage at


Lamb Nihari with cauliflower and pea mash

In my previous blog post I talked about ways to lighten a traditional slow roast for summer dining. The theme continues with my take on meat and two veg, based on a Pakistani home cooked dish called Nihari that involves slow cooked lamb shanks. It’s a dish I have enjoyed in the past at my favourite East London curry house – Lahore Kebab House (though I’ve also recently found a viable contender in Needoo’s Grill).

I was inspired to make a potato-less mash out of caulfilower and freshly podded garden peas (in season now) served up with honey roasted Chantenay carrots and a refreshing cucumber and mint raita.

This recipe was created for – get the recipe for lamb Nihari with cauliflower and pea mash.

Slow cooked pork shoulder pancakes

You wouldn’t think that summer and slow cooking go together, but actually I think sticking a big hunk of meat into the oven for a few hours and forgetting about it is the nicest way to enjoy a sunny afternoon AND a delicious dinner!

I had some friends round for dinner on Monday, and I decided to slow cook a beautiful pork shoulder with a Chinese char siu marinade. Served with pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce it was an homage to Peking duck pancakes – providing a fun DIY starter for a light and summery evening meal.

This recipe was created for – get the recipe for slow cooked pork shoulder pancakes.

Three ways with asparagus

Asparagus is in glorious abundance in May, so I was asked to create three asparagus recipes for Farmison the other week. Their asparagus is from the Wye Valley – thick stemmed, crunchy and 100% British.

Beef, asparagus and mango rolls

A super easy and fun finger food idea, inspired by Vietnamese summer rolls. You can experiment with different colourful fillings like prawn, tofu, red peppers and so on.

Asparagus, bacon and goat’s cheese tart

Asparagus and goat’s cheese tart is a classic combo which I spiced up with a caramelized apricot and balsamic glaze that really complimented the smoky bacon.

Miso chicken and asparagus salad

I wanted an easy idea for a low carb, protein packed lunch or light dinner. Asparagus works so well in a green salad, tossed with sesame seeds and courgette ribbons – I could just eat it by itself!

What are your favourite asparagus recipes?