Monday 3 June 2013

Madhouse recipe ideas for National Picnic Week #picnicchallenge

Here at The Madhouse, we never turn down a challenge so when Unilever sent us through a fabulous hamper, including everything we needed for a family picnic, as well as a range of sauces and ingredients to use, I couldn't wait to get busy in the kitchen - especially as I have lots of packed lunches to prepare for this next week for eating outdoors on school trips.

The instructions for the challenge were to come up with a recipe idea using some or all of the ingredients from the hamper. I decided to create a selection of dishes, many of which are so simple they don't really warrant a full recipe, so you can throw them together in minutes.

First up is Sticky BBQ Drumsticks. These really couldn't be simpler to make and they take cold chicken to a whole new level. Put your raw chicken drumsticks in a large freezer bag, squeeze in a generous squirt of Colman's Smokey BBQ Sauce, squish the bag so that the chicken is evenly covered in sauce and leave to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight if you have time. (If your picnic is a last minute decision, you don't need to leave the meat to marinate - it just helps develop a fuller flavour.) Put the chicken in an ovenproof dish, scoop out leftover marinade with a spoon and smear it on top of the chicken then cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200°C. These need to be transported in a separate Tupperware dish as they are quite messy - don't forget a packet of wet wipes if you're eating with your fingers !

Recipe number 2 is Summer Veg Filo Tarts. Chop 1/2 red Pepper, 1/2 red onion and a courgette into chunks and gently fry until tooth tender. (You can use other veggies depending on what's in the fridge - aubergine, green pepper and mushrooms would all work too.) You can stop there, if you want a vegetarian option, or mix in some leftover cooked chicken or ham, if you so desire. Take off the heat, add a tablespoon of Maille Wholegrain Mustard and mix well. Place overlapping triangles of filo pastry in a bun tray, brush with a little olive oïl then fill with a pile of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with cheese (whatever you have - grated cheddar, mozzarella or goat's cheese all work) and place in a preheated oven (at 180°) for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the filo pastry has gone golden Brown.

Perfect finger food next - Honey Mustard Ham Pasties. In a bowl, finely chop a few slices of ham, a spring onion and a few slices of Leerdammer cheese. Add a tablespoon of Maille Au Miel (Honey Mustard) and a tablespoon of Hellmann's Mayonnaise with a Zing of Mustard. Mix well to combine. Cut out large circles of ready-made shortcrust pastry. Place a pile of ham filling in the centre of each circle, bring the two sides together and use your fingers to crimp the top and seal them. Brush with a little egg or milk and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes at 180°.

Time to recycle a recipe I concocted a few weeks ago for the veg box challenge - Fruity Coleslaw. Shred 1/2 a white cabbage, finely dice a large carrot and finely slice a small piece of onion (1/4 of a small onion should be enough). Place in a large bowl and add a generous squeeze of Hellmann's Mayonnaise with a hint of Garlic (or regular Hellmann's Mayonnaise if you prefer). Stir gently to evenly coat all the ingredients with mayonnaise. Throw in a handful of raisins and a diced apple (no need to peel it). Mix it all up and keep in a Tupperware dish in the fridge. This can be used as a side salad or to jazz up boring ham or cheese sandwiches.

Speaking of sandwiches, there's certainly nothing boring about these ones - Coronation Chicken Rolls. Cut a soft roll in half and spread with Bertolli margarine. In a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of Hellmann's Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of Colman's Sweet Chilli Mango Sauce and 2 tablespoons of mild curry powder. Mix in some diced leftover cooked chicken, a handful of raisins and a pinch of salt. Mix it all together and sprinkle with a handful of flaked almonds. Use to fill the rolls, adding some lettuce, if you so desire.

These Cheese & Bacon Muffins are a recipe that we discovered for Farmhouse Breakfast Week and they're designed for breakfast on the go. Juliette has been begging me to make them again so I decided to make some for our picnic lunches. Gently combine 250g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 175g chopped cooked bacon, 50g grated mature cheddar, 1 tsp Colman's Mustard, a pinch of Cayenne pepper, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 65g Flora Buttery and 125ml low fat yoghurt. Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 180° for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and firm.

 The final thing that I made was some Guacamole, to go with carrot sticks and red pepper strips. Just whizz up the flesh of one or two avocadoes with a squeeze of Hellmann's Mayonnaise with a Spark of Chilli, a squeeze of lemon juice, a shake of garlic salt and a pinch of salt.

I almost feel guilty - all the other kids and teachers will be enviously eyeing up our picnic lunches while they eat their soggy ham salad sandwiches !

National Picnic Week is taking place from 17th – 23rd June so let me know how you get on if you try out any of these recipes !

Disclosure : I received a picnic hamper, including a selection of ingredients, in order to come up with some recipes for The Unilever Kitchen Picnic Challenge.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Madhouse recipe : Stuffed Turkey Roulade

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