Some picnic cooking

Sep 16th, 2015

Some picnic cooking

I did some baking the other night of various things to take with us on picnics.

First I made some ‘Cornish’ pasties – these were definitely not authentic (I know there is a lot of controversy about carrot v. swede v. potato), so perhaps I should call them ‘Argyll’ pasties.

I made a basic pastry with 10oz plain flour and 4oz rolled oats. I then added 4oz hard vegetable cooking fat (Trex) and 1oz margarine (or butter) and rubbed in before adding water. This was an idea I got from WWII recipes (ration book cooking) about how you could reduce the fat content in pastry by adding oats which contain their own fat, and it seems to work. Make a stiff dough – not trying to make it too short because it has to be firm to hold the filling together. Roll it out quite thickly and cut into circles using an ordinary side plate as a template.

Make the filling – fry onions and leek together in a little oil. Slice some new potatoes (or cube old ones), and cube some carrots and swede. Steam until nearly cooked (I have to admit that I hate undercooked potatoes), then mix with the onions and leeks. Brush the outside ring of the pastry with water, and put a big blob of the vegetables in the middle. Season – then if you want it to be vegan, seal it up. Otherwise I made some cheese (grated strong cheddar – Cornish Cove from M&S is very nice), and some meat (sirloin steak cut into small cubes) ones. Bring the edges up together and crimp with your fingers to firmly close the seal. Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 200C for 20 minutes, then reduce temp to 160 and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Very nice (I think the cheese ones are nicest).

I also had a go at making a healthy(ish) trail bar for taking walking as the ones from the supermarket are packed with fat and sugar. I used apples from my garden for this – it is vegan if the margarine is.

Melt 6oz low fat spread or vegan margarine. Add 6oz golden caster sugar and two tablespoons golden syrup and melt together. Add 2oz sultanas and two large cooking apples peeled and grated. Then add rolled oats (about 1lb) and mix together to a thick dough. Line a deep baking tray or ceramic dish with baking parchment, grease and press the mixture down – it should be about 3/4″ thick. Bake at 180C until brown which should take about half an hour. Cut into bars (this makes about 12 to 16) and leave to cool. Note that these are not sticky like a flapjack but softer and moister. Absolutely delicious but I don’t think they would keep well so I froze most of mine in small batches (also not good for the will power to have them sitting there in the kitchen!).

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