Recipes: Tuna & olive pizza pockets, scroggin slice, and spicy picnic eggs

Make these tuna and olive pizza pockets in advance, so they're ready to go when it's a nice day for a picnic.
Ross Giblin

Make these tuna and olive pizza pockets in advance, so they're ready to go when it's a nice day for a picnic.

Do people still go on picnics or have they been abandoned in favour of stopping at the mall food court?

We always went on picnics when I was a child – possibly due to the joint forces of living in the back of beyond and there being many mouths to feed – and I still love them. A bit of forward planning will save you from starvation in the wild (or the horrors of dining from the service station).

Don't forget to take lashings of ginger beer and a compass for Famous Five-style adventures.

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TUNA AND OLIVE PIZZA POCKETS

Makes 10

Preparation time: 1 hr 30 minutes (includes one hour rising time)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

These are very portable and perfect for picnics that involve a bit of a hike. You can also make them in advance and freeze them, then they'll defrost while you're climbing up the hill or waiting to get into the cricket.

For the dough:

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1 ⅔ cups warm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast

1 tablespoon caster sugar

4 ¾ cups high grade or 'strong' flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons soft butter 

For the filling:

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ a tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped

1 ½ cups grated tasty cheese

1 x 180g tin line-caught tuna in oil, drained

Salt and pepper

To finish:

4 tablespoon coarse dried breadcrumbs

1 egg, lightly beaten

Make the dough first. Put half the water and the sugar in a small bowl. Stir well, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave it to sponge for five minutes.

Put the flour and salt in a large bowl, then stir in the yeast mixture and the remaining water. Mix to form a soft dough, then knead in the butter. Turn out on to the bench and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is springy.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside for an hour.

While the dough is rising, put the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, capers, cheese, and tuna in a small bowl. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning.

Heat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius, and line two trays with baking paper.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces and flatten each one with your hands into a roughly circular shape. Divide the tuna and tomato mixture between each one, then fold the dough up and over the filling, pinching the ends in. Put the dough parcel on the prepared tray, seam side down. Brush each one with a little of the beaten egg, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown and risen. Cool on a rack before packing in your picnic basket. If planning to make them ahead, wrap in foil when cool and freeze.

SCROGGIN SLICE

Makes 30 small slices

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

If you live a pure and blameless life, you will probably think that this sweet treat is straight from the devil's own recipe book. Everyone else will love it, especially after a long walk in the bush, a river swim, or a hard day's work in the garden. This can be frozen, but let it defrost before eating if you value your teeth.

For the base:

150g butter

1 cup caster sugar

¾ cup plain flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup whole oats

1 egg

For the topping:

¾ cup dates, cut in half

¾ cup sliced New Zealand dried apricots

¾ cup almonds or walnuts, roughly chopped

100g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

½ a tin of condensed milk

Heat the oven to 180 degrees,  and line a slice tin (internal measurement 18 x 27cm) with baking paper.

Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the remaining base ingredients. Stir well to mix, then press into the prepared tin. Bake for 10 minutes, until light golden.

Remove the tin from the oven and arrange the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate on top. Drizzle over the condensed milk, then return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes, until the topping is caramelised. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into small slices. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

SPICY PICNIC EGGS

Serves 4-6 as part of a picnic spread

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 8 minutes

If you can go to work on an egg (an egg marketing phrase often erroneously attributed to novelist Fay Weldon), then I can't see why you can't take one on a picnic. Tone down the spice factor if feeding these to very young children.

4 large free range eggs, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1-2 teaspoons sambal oelek, gochujang paste, or other chilli sauce

1 teaspoons vinegar

1 tablespoon very soft butter

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Bring a small pot of water to the boil and add the salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, then lower the heat so the water is simmering. Cook for eight minutes, then drain the eggs. Crack the shells and leave them under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Shell the eggs and cut in half lengthways.

Gently scoop out the yolks (they should be perfectly soft, but not runny) and put them in a small bowl with the chilli paste, vinegar, butter, and coriander. Mash until smooth, then spoon this mixture back into the whites. If taking on a picnic, press the halves back together and wrap carefully in greaseproof paper (twist each end so it looks like a giant sweet). Unwrap to serve.

For more of Lucy's recipes, visit kitchen-maid.blogspot.co.nz

 - Stuff

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