Rocking The Picnic Theme

As the social distancing restrictions began to ease here in England, I enjoyed quite a few Sunday afternoon picnic with friends, I was on the hunt for perfect picnic treats. Well, here is a blogger who has come up with the ideal PICNIC invention.

Tandy Tandy Sinclair, the creator of  Lavender and Lime, has rustled up these fabulous Vegetable Cups, which have PICNIC perfection written all over them.

I have no shame in admitting I would feel the need to load about ten of these onto my picnic plate. This is Tandy’s post where you can find the recipe to make the quintessential picnic treat.

Vegetable Cups | Sweet Potato And Butter Beans

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Thank you to Tandy for rocking the picnic theme! Our international, multicultural community of WordPress bloggers have been busy. Indeed this picnic is going to be rocking all over the world!! Stay tuned as we travel the world with more BAKING and PICNIC creations!

The Teddy Bears’ Picnic

As soon as Robbie sent in her photos my heart just leapt. You will see more of her gorgeous BAKING CREATIONS later on, but we just had to start with this one! Is there anything that says BAKING, PICNIC and fabulous family fun for every blogger on WordPress to join with than THE TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC in a spectacular cake?!!!

robbiesinspiration Robbie, the creator of Robbie’s inspiration, has made delightfully intricate celebration cakes for her family.

I have been following Robbie’s posts about her writing and book reviews for ages, but it was only recently that I realized she is an incredibly talented baker and runs another site of WordPress which features her incredible creations. This is the post she published about the making of the this very special TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC CAKE:

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2019/10/02/a-cake-to-top-them-all-teddy-bears-picnic/

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I wanted a reason to make sure this Bing Crosby classic (I am sure I am not the only one who grew up with this being played at children’s parties) was part of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC! I am so glad Robbie provided the perfect excuse!

 

 

Over The Rainbow Picnic Pie

Since the end of May/beginning of June when social distancing relaxed to the point we were allowed to have outdoor social gatherings with a limited number of people (which to me spelt PICNICS) I have had a few. Picnics that is! How awesome to have lots of chance to make picnic creations that could be used for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC!!!

But to me…of all my picnic creations, this is the pièce de résistance. It is a Rainbow Picnic Pie that I made back in May for the first picnic I had with friends since the social distancing restrictions came into place in March. The photograph directly below is not my pie. This is what I was aiming for. You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see how my pie turned out.

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I followed the recipe below from the BBC Good Food website, although I toll a couple of liberties.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/veggie-rainbow-picnic-pie

Here is a step-by-step run through of my Rainbow Picnic Pie journey!!! Could there be anything more fabulous than a Rainbow Picnic Pie I ask you!!!???

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So to start with, here are the ingredients I used (….oh I forgot to add you need a little flour for dusting when you roll the pastry)

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  • 450g butternut squash, peeled, sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion sliced (I used two because I love onions)
  • 550g small waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 x 375g blocks all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 x 320g ready-rolled sheet all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 300g pack cooked beetroot sliced (I used a jar of already sliced beetroot)
  • 450g jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 200g block feta cheese
  • 150g frozen peas
  • small bunch each parsley  and mint, chopped
  • 10 eggs (yes, I know that is a lot of eggs!!!)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

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First of all pre-heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

The butternut squash has to be sliced….I sliced all my vegetables so they were roughly the same thickness…no more than half a centimeter.

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I then drizzled the slices of butternut squash in 1 tbsp oil and some seasoning and roasted them for 20 mins until they were softened.

Then the potatoes were peeled and I sliced them to half centimeter slices and boiled them for eight minutes.

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The sliced onions I genty fried in olive oil for just over ten minutes until they were soft

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Then the butternut squash, onion and potatoes need to cool before they can be used to fill the pie.

Now….I didn’t take a photograph, but it is important to line the baking tin (I used a 20x30cm deep pie tin) with at least two layers of baking parchment/greaseproof paper. It will be so much easier to remove if you do this. If you forget to do this…well…just don’t forget!!!

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So….now we come to the pastry section. I rolled out the two blocks of puff pastry into one large rectangle. The pastry should  not be too thin. Aim for around the thickness of a pound coin. Drape it into the pie tin leaving an overhang of pastry over the rim.

Then the rainbow filling process. I filled the pies pastry with the following layers:

  • breadcrumbs
  • beetroot
  • roasted red peppers
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • feta cheese
  • potatoes
  • frozen peas
  • herbs

I completely to forgot to season each layer, which the recipe says to do so. I think I was distracted by taking photographs. The pie still tasted great but I gave it a twist of salt and pepper over the top.

Then I took those ten eggs and beat them up before pouring them slowly over the vegetable layers. The egg manages to find it’s way through all the gaps. I left a tiny bit of egg to use on the pastry.

I also used some of the egg to brush the overhanging pastry.

Then I unrolled the sheet of puff pastry to create a lid for the pie. I pinched the edged together and with a sharp knife I removed the excess pastry.

I used the remaining egg to brush the pastry lid and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Then the pie went into the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and it baked for an entire one hour and twenty minutes (while I did all the washing up, sipped a Martini and lemonade and watched an episode of Pride & Prejudice).

After one hour and twenty minutes, this beauty came out of the oven:

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Then I had to wait anxiously for the pie to cool before I could remove it from the tin and slice into it.

When I did slice into it, I had the joy of seeing exactly what I hoped….a rainbow!!!

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Cool hey!!!!

I made it just on time for the social distancing rules to slightly ease. I chilled the pie and it was perfect for a Sunday picnic with a few friends, which was the first social event I had enjoyed in almost three months!

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That pie was demolished very quickly. Everyone thought it was fabulous! I hope you did too!!!

Anyone For A Picnic?

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Please send your photos to:

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

This year we are holding the BAKING CONTEST for bloggers who love to bake. There are no restrictions on your choice of bake. It can be bread, biscuits, cakes or pastries. Savoury or sweet. Healthy or indulgent. Any combination of flavours! We would absolutely love an international feel to the events. So far…we have European, African and American dishes on the menu – but we would love to see more from Asia. So if you are able to spice up our picnic, we would be delighted!

For those who cannot find baking essentials in their local shops, we don’t want to leave you out. Please make something to bring along to the picnic. It can be anything you like, drinks, dips, salads…whatever you would love to see at a sensational picnic feast with other WordPress bloggers.

All you have to do is send your photos in to the email address above. Of course you can create your own post! We will link to your post during the BAKE-OFF to make sure lots of other bloggers see your work.

Remember THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC will be held on:

18/19th July

…but please send your photos as soon as you can. We are looking forward to sharing some amazing bakes and phenomenal picnic creations with you all!

It’s going to be great fun!!! We’ll be setting WordPress on fire! In a good way!!!

What Will Be In Our Picnic Basket?

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Bloggers have been sending in photographs of their baking for the BAKING CONTEST which will be judged by our kitchen guru and baking legend Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen. The bakes are looking fabulous.

We also have photos of picnic creations pouring in! What a feast the 2020 SUMMER PICNIC is set to be. There is still time to take part.

THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC will be held:

18/19th July 2020

But please send in your photos now to:

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

SUMMER PICNIC 2020

Break, Eat, Picnic, Nature, RecoveryWordPress bloggers have been a tremendous force for good in recent months encouraging another to STAY AT HOME, STAY SAFE, STAY ALERT and FOLLOW THE DIRECTION FOR EVERYONE’S PROTECTION.

It is a joy to see the blogging community have all been doing their bit in helping each other through these hard times. We are very excited about an event ahead that we hope will help you to build more bonds with fantastic bloggers who make a great contribution to the delightful WordPress blogging community.

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In the last BAKE-OFF post, we told you about the BAKING CONTEST. But the second feature of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 is:

THE SUMMER PICNIC

Many of us are still having difficulties finding baking essentials at our supermarkets. We don’t want to leave anybody out of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF, which is why we are also hosting a virtual picnic to coincide with the BAKING CONTEST.

If baking is not an option for you at the moment…or else you are not that keen on baking at all, could you bring along something else to our SUMMER PICNIC? It could be your homemade lemonade or sangria, it could be a dip like hummus or guacamole. Perhaps you make a fabulous coleslaw or potato salad. Indeed salads of every variety would be welcome because it is summer and we are all trying to be healthy.

We would love an international flavour to the SUMMER PICNIC. Do you make spring rolls? Tacos or fajitas? How about pakoras or bhajis? We would love any type of tapas, mezes or canapes. Pickles, chutneys, jams, curds or any other preserve are all welcome.

Undeniably all three of us have a sweet tooth, so we welcome sweet contributions. Do you make trifle or fruit jelly or any other sweet treats?

Authentic, Food, Vegetables, Fruits

 

What do we need you to do?

Please send a photo of your picnic creations so it can be featured in The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off 2020 to:

crushedcaramel@gmail.com

It would be great if you could start making picnic treats now and send the photos in as soon as possible! But the BAKE-OFF and the SUMMER PICNIC will be held in just over seven weeks time. If you want to send us the recipe you followed or a story about what you chose to make, we love all of that. We want to share you as a blogger as well as your bake to the whole of WordPress!

Of course if you would like to create your own post about your picnic creation – please do so, and please mention THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC and invite your blogging buddies and followers to get involved.

(If you have any questions at all – please feel free to post your questions in the comments of any of our posts and we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.)

Perfect Day

I am not ready to stop reliving one of the most beautiful days of my life. It’s almost two years since Goldfinch took me for a magical day out into the countryside. I wish I could have that day over and over again. It was perfect. I wrote the following after that favourite of days with Goldfinch:

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I am quite sure that I have dreamed of a day like yesterday… only the reality was wonderfully better than any fantasy.  You made it better! I now understand the word perfect.

What are the chances?  Both of us with a day free, the weather absolutely glorious.  Late spring – a trillion leaves glowing with life, still fresh, verdant, lush.  The bluest of blue skies.  Greens of all shades singing out in joy as they are bathed with golden sunshine.  Blossoms and flowers of every conceivable hue of pink and purple.

Birds in jubilant chorus.  Lullaby trickle of a stream that can’t be seen but must be close.  An occasional rippling rustle as a kind breeze freshens everything under the sun.  There was a hum, a rhythmic hum of life invigorated by the rays of the sun.

Who would not enjoy a picnic in a conveniently isolated and idyllic location?  The day could not have really failed to please.  You picked a little pocket of paradise. But it was you who made it true paradise.  Do you realize you just gave me the most perfect day of my life? A day I will long to repeat a thousand times. As your strong yet gentle hand clung to mine, waves of celebration burst into my heart.  I would have skipped like the five year old me.

persFinding the perfect spot dappled with shade near to the small pond.  Six goslings, with adult geese watching over them, curious about our arrival.  We laid your fleecy blanket down and I set out a picnic feast, probably enough to feed half of a rugby team.  It was delightful to see you enjoying everything I had made.  Being able to show love to you and seeing you enjoy my love is making life sweeter than I’ve ever known.

After we were both full, relaxing with the knowledge we had many blissful hours ahead.  Feeling your embrace, the many times you squeezed me again as if to make sure I was truly in your arms.  Your soft kisses on every part of my face. I’d be happy to be lost in your arms forever.

I could love you forever Goldfinch…

If you would let me…