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
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.
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.
Texan, Pyramint and Banjo are others that have failed to stand the taste test
of time meanwhile others go from strength to strength.
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
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:
- 175g Butter
- 175g Caster Sugar
- 175G Self Raising Flour
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Raspberry Jam
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.