The Perfect Picnic

In preparation for the beginning of the bake-off and in true British summer style, my friends and I decided to have a picnic. We are all relatively unfussy lovers of all things edible so there was no end of picnic possibilities. There was plenty of hummus, veggie sticks, and ripe plum tomatoes, a tapas picnic of sorts.2014-08-06 19.12.09 There was, however, a centerpiece- the star of the show, a deliciously cheesy, spinach, bacon, mushroom and feta quiche. Quite the mouthful.

The bacon and mushrooms are not part of the original recipe but we decided to go all out and it was no mistake. Some sun dried tomatoes wouldn’t go amiss either.2014-08-06 19.24.06

So, let’s start with mains and perhaps if you keep reading you’ll find a dessert to follow.

  • 100g butter (if you’re using bacon this is not necessary)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 275g frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • 200g mild Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly pepper to taste
  • Shortcrust pastry for a 23cm (9in) dish
  • (I used shop bought for the first time ever! Time was of the essence, use your
  • own recipe or try this one)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190C

Roll out your pastry enough to cover the pie dish with some overhang, keeping in mind it will shrink as it cooks.

Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the frying pan along with a knob of butter, perhaps 20g if you’re a stickler for precision, cook over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until soft, add the garlic last as it’s most likely to burn.

Let the flavours come together for a couple of minutes over a low heat before adding the mushrooms and spinach.

In the meantime beat the eggs, add the milk, some salt and pepper and beat further to combine.

Check your veg, continue to cook until most of the water has evaporated, then add the crumbled feta and half of the cheddar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the mix from the pan into the prepared pastry case then, pour over the milk and egg mixture, allow the two to combine.

Stick it on the oven, removing after the first 15 minutes to sprinkle the remaining cheddar on top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, the quiche is done when there’s only a very slight wobble in the middle – like a cheesecake. 2014-08-06 18.39.55

Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Once we’d had our fill of carrot sticks and quiche it was just about 8 o’clock. Now, no picnic is complete without cake and by the time the bake-off started we had all settled down, cuppa in hand and a slice on our laps. It was the perfect combination of a quintessential apple crumble and bright summer fruits.2014-08-06 20.44.57 Light, in every sense of the word, but not without that dense-ness necessary to hold the berries in place and leave you just satisfied. The perfect way to end the picnic and, considering the theme was cake, start the bake-off!

 Preheat the oven to 180C

Grease and line a loaf tin

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 175g muscovado sugar
  • 175g butter
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 small eating apple
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g blackberries
  • 125g raspberries

Start by rubbing together the flour, sugar and butter just like you’re making a crumble topping or pastry. Make sure all the butter is rubbed through and you have a sandy texture.

Measure out 5 tbsp. of the flour, butter and sugar mix, into a separate bowl. To those 5 tbsp. add the cinnamon and demerara sugar, leave aside for now.

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Grate your orange zest finely, and the apple down to the core – don’t worry about peeling it.

Beat the eggs and then stir in the zest and grated apple.

Add the teaspoon of baking powder to the dry ingredients followed by the wet egg mixture. Stir with a light hand, gentle but quick, until the mixture is just combined and drops easily from the spoon. 2014-08-04 21.06.59 2014-08-04 21.26.38

Fold in 3/4 of the berries try not to break them.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, level off and place the rest of the berries on top. Finally, scatter the crumble mixture over to cover them.

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Bake for 1hr 15 – 1hr20 mins.

Check after 50 minutes and cover the cake with tinfoil to stop it burning.

When finished a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

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Et voila!

If you intend to follow suit, you’ve time to whip up both these delicious treats in time for the second episode tomorrow evening.

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Raspberry Bakewell Tart


I say a Bakewell tart but whether it actually baked well is debatable. I know a bad workman always blames his tools but there’s just something funny about the oven in this flat. I don’t think it’s ever the temperature it says it is on the dial! My pastry was beautifully short on the outside but the underneath, while not the most disastrous soggy bottom, wasn’t great. The filling was also slightly more dense than I expected.  That aside, it went down well with my flatmates so it can’t have been all bad.

Start with your pastry:

  •  250g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • (I only used 200 after trimming the excess)
  • Butter a 23cm tart tin
  • Roll the pastry to about 2mm thick
  • Line the tin with the pastry trimming any excess
  • Stick in the fridge for at least 30 mins Image


I dusted a sheet of baking paper with icing sugar to roll out my pastry, but I’ve found that if well-chilled stickiness isn’t really a problem.

For the filling:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 200g almonds
  • 100g raspberry jam
  • 50g raspberries
  • 50g flaked almonds (to scatter on top)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add one egg and beat thoroughly

Repeat with the second egg

Add the flour and almonds and mix until just incorporated.

Putting it all together:

Take your pastry out of the fridge

Spoon the jam into the pastry case and spread evenly

Crush the raspberries lightly and scatter them over the jam (I made sure none of my raspberries were completely whole but there were some sizeable chunks)


*I I love fruity pies or tarts so I was generous with my raspberries, about 100g more generous. Next time I try this perhaps I won’t be quite so generous with them, blaming my tools again but they could be contributing culprits to the soggy bottom!

Spoon the almond mix onto the jam and spread evenly

Scatter flaked almonds over the top and bake for 45 mins – checking at 30 minutes or so. Cover with tinfoil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking if the almonds look too toasted.

It took about an hour for a skewer to come out of my tart clean, and even then I’m not sure it was as done as it should have been. I’ll have to have another attempt in a trusted oven and let you know if it is just my baking skills that are to blame.

Allow it to cool in the tin before transferring it to a plate and dusting with icing sugar.