When I heard it was National Picnic Week I thought great, a chance to indulge in my favourite snack with its delicious combination of peanuts, raisins, wafer, caramel and chocolate.

It has just the right texture and tastes substantial without the sickly gooeyness of, say, a Cadbury’s caramel.

I’ve always liked picnic bars but must admit I was surprised it had been given its own special National Picnic Week. Then I discovered the accolade had actually gone to the outdoors picnic; you  know, the one where you trek for miles, can’t get comfy sat on the ground, find the food you’ve packed is warm when it should be cold, sandwiches are wilting, the flask has leaked and you get attacked by wasps or bulls.

No, the picnic bar is a much safer option, tried and tested for nearly 70 years now there have also been almond versions – with almonds, a honeycomb version – with pieces of honeycomb, and even, in Australia, a hedgehog picnic – which thankfully contained biscuit pieces.

Rather unfairly the picnic bar has been advertised as “deliciously ugly” because it refuses to conform to flat side rectangular bar convention. No doubt Picasso faced the same blinkered criticism during his blue period.

As I was chewing over the picnic, both physically and metaphorically, my mind wandered to other bars that have been slated over the years and dispatched to that great vending machine in the sky.        

Fuse was a solid chocolate bar containing nuts, raisins, cereal and fudge. In test marketing it proved massively popular and was launched amid a major marketing campaign on “Fuseday” (a play on Tuesday) September 24 1996.

It sold an incredible 40m bars in the first week of production but, alas, failed to maintain its popularity with the nation’s tastebuds and was scrapped a decade later.

It’s unlikely anyone would launch a bar called a Snowflake these days given that the word is now an insult to anyone seen as too fragile but in the late 21st century a Snowflake was a white chocolate flake dipped in milk chocolate.

When former Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner married Grant Bovey the happy couple’s wedding snap even showed them sharing the snack. Sales dropped and not even a name change to Flake Snow could prevent the fall turning into an avalanche and the treat melted away in 2008.

The Texan, Pyramint and Banjo are others that have failed to stand the taste test of time meanwhile others go from strength to strength.

My beloved picnic can thankfully still be found in shops across the UK and much of the globe but it doesn’t even make the top ten of most popular bars judged by annual sales.

In third place is Twix, second is Mars but way out in front is the KitKat with more than one billion eaten in the UK every year –  thankfully no cats are harmed in its preparation.

And before you groan, this week’s recipe does not include a picnic bar, although you could take it with you on a picnic and eat it with the following delicious spread, if you have any room left that is!

Mini Victoria sponge cakes, Korean fried chicken, caramelised onion and feta sausage rolls, scotch eggs, tomato salad, coronation chicken sandwiches.

Mini Victoria Sponge Cakes:

Cake Ingredients:

  • 175g Butter
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 175G Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Raspberry Jam

Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 300g Icing Sugar
  • 150g Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Start by pre heating your oven to 180 degrees. Then in a bow, add your sugar and room temperature butter to a mixing bowl. Mix until white and fluffy, then slowly add your eggs. Once incorporated, sift in the flour and gently fold together, then add the vanilla. Evenly distribute into greased cupcake moulds and bake for around 10-15 minutes.

Whilst the cake is baking, add the softened butter and icing sugar into a bowl and whip together. Once the cakes are cooled, remove from the moulds and cut in half, add 1 tbsp of buttercream on top of one half, and the same with jam on top of the buttercream. Add the top cake and dust with icing sugar.

Korean Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1kg Skin on, boned chicken thigh and legs
  • 1000ml Buttermilk
  • 6 Cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp: Cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, fennel powder, mace, clove powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, ground white pepper.

Korean Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Gochujang
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 6 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 300ml Water


Start by marinating the chicken in the buttermilk. This can be marinated for up to 36 hours in a fridge. Ideally, marinate the chicken for at least 8 hours.

To make the dredge, mix all of the dry ingredients together, all the spices and flour.

Preheat a fryer to 160 degrees. In batches, take the chicken out the milk, and dredge in the flour mixture, making sure to cover the chicken as best you can. Then carefully drop into the fryer and cook for 20 minutes for dark meat and 15 for light meat.

For the Sauce, mix all of the ingredients together into a pan and bring to the boil, keep warm on the side once the sauce has reduced. Then in a large bowl, add the cooked chicken, and mix in the sauce to create crispy, sticky chicken. Serve immediately.

Caramelised Onion and Feta Sausage Rolls:


  • 500g Sausage meat
  • 1 Packet of ready to roll puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp Onion chutney
  • 150g Feta
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Egg


For the sausage rolls, place the sausage meat, onion chutney, feta and all the herbs and spices into a bowl and mix. Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle, the thickness of a pound coin. Lay the sausage at the bottom of the pastry in a tube/sausage shape. Then roll the pastry over the sausage and crimp with a fork. Cut off the excess pastry and slice into portions of your choice. Place on a greased baking tray and cook at 190 degrees for 12 minutes.

Scotch eggs:


  • 8 Eggs for scotch eggs, 4 for bread crumbing
  • 2kg Sausage meat
  • 1kg bread crumbs
  • 500g flour
  • 200ml milk


For the scotch eggs, start by blanching the eggs for 4 minutes in salted boiling water. Then quickly add to iced water to stop the cooking process. Peel the eggs in the water to make it easier, this is a really tricky process so you might lose a couple of eggs!

Lay out cling film, and brush with oil, take enough sausage meat to cover the egg and place in the centre of the cling film. Flatten the sausage meat to around 6mm and place the egg on top, wrap around with the sausage meat and tighten with Clingfilm to create a tight ball. Place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to set.

Set up a bread crumbing station with a mixture of milk and egg, flour and breadcrumbs then pre heat the fryer to 165 degrees.

Take the egg and sausage ball, carefully coat in flour, then egg and milk, then breadcrumbs. Place in the fryer for 6-7 minutes. If you are unsure whether the sausage meat will be cooked, just place in the oven for an extra 5 minutes.

Tomato Salad:


  • A mixture of fresh heritage tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Honey


Cut the tomatoes in all different shapes and sizes for a contrast in texture, add all the other ingredients and mix lightly.

Coronation Chicken:


  • 2 Cooked chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp fried, diced onions
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 3 heat tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp Sultanas


For the coronation chicken, dice the chicken breast and place in a bowl. Then, add all the rest of the ingredients and mix. Optionally you could garnish with fresh coriander and lime zest.