TG Escapes Blog
Time for a Picnic
With two weeks to go till the end of the summer holidays, and still plenty of sunshine up for grabs, why not get baking and creating with the children and head off for a picnic? Here are a few of our own tried and tested family favourites, which allow for everyone to add a little individuality to the same basic recipe.
For the basic dough, which is more than enough to feed 4 children and 2 adults, you will need:
450g strong white flour
1 sachet dried yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
250 ml warm water
Simply mix together, knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes or so, and leave to prove for a couple of hours before a quick second kneading, cutting into 4 portions (or lots of mini balls) and rolling out as thin as you like. Place the bases on baking trays before adding tomato sauce and toppings.
The tomato topping requires:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of crushed garlic and plenty of dried mixed herbs
I tin of tomatoes
Seasoning to taste
Heat the oil on a medium heat, chuck in the garlic and herbs for a few seconds and pour in the tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes and then whizz up for a smooth sauce.
Suggested toppings (it’s nice to put whatever you choose into separate bowls so that everyone can create their own signature pizza):
Sweetcorn, peas (really, they are lovely on pizza), pineapple, peppers, olives, capers, jalapenos, ham, pepperoni and, of course, lots of grated mozzarella.
Once assembled, bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees/180 fan/gas mark 6 for 12 minutes or so.
Pressed Picnic Sandwiches
Long ciabatta loaf, sliced in half lengthways
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 big handfuls of baby spinach
250g roasted red peppers from a jar
8 slices prosciutto or other cold meat
Big handful of basil
125g ball mozzarella, cut into slices
½ red onion, very finely sliced
Simply slice the ciabatta in half lengthways and pop in a preheated oven (200C/180C fan/gas 6) crust-side down, on a large baking tray and drizzled with a little olive oil, for a few minutes until just golden and lightly toasted. Meanwhile, put the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and mustard in a bowl, then whisk them together with a fork. Remove the toasted ciabatta halves from the tray and drizzle the bottom slice with about half of the dressing.
Arrange the rest of the ingredients in layers (again let each child make their own choices) drizzle over the rest of the dressing and pop the other slice of ciabatta on top.Press down on the sandwich to squash all the layers together. Then wrap the sandwich in baking parchment and tie it together with a couple of pieces of string before placing a heavy baking tray on top and squashing down with something heavy. Pop it all in the fridge overnight or until you are ready to eat it. Cut and serve in slices.
You will need:
350g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g soft light brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees/ 160 fan/ gas mark 5 and lightly grease 2 large baking sheets. Sieve the flour, ginger and bicarb, before rubbing in the butter (until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs) and stirring in the sugar. Beat the egg and syrup together in a separate bowl then add to the other ingredients and mix to form a dough. Knead on a floured surface until the gingerbread is nice and smooth. Cut into 2 or 3 chunks and then roll out on a freshly floured surface (be warned, the dough is pretty sticky) to about 5mm thickness, before using whatever shaped cookie cutters you can muster and lifting the biscuits with a fish slice onto the baking sheets (leave a centimetre or so between cookies as they do spread a little).Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, and leave for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
As an entirely optional extra, try melting some milk chocolate and spreading it over one surface before decorating with sprinkles. Yum.
Happy baking and picnicing.
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