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Summer Picnic Inspiration – A Summer of Flavour

Summers here, or if
you’re from Northern Ireland like us, the sun is out slightly more than usual.
But it’s still an excuse for a picnic or BBQ. So we decided to pop down to the
local Marks and Spencer’s, grab a hamper and fill it to the brim with some of
their new Summer of Flavour range.


We never go on a picnic
without some of our home baked goodies too so we got busy in the kitchen yesterday.
So we have included some of our picnic recommended baking inspiration below too,
things which will endure a bit of a battering in the picnic basket on your way
to the destination.

So we grabbed our duffel bags and picnic baskets and headed to our
favourite picnic destination, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. For anyone
not familiar with this location it might sound a little strange but half the
museum is transport related and the other half is made up of historic buildings
all relocated and therefore saved from destruction, all set in acres of
wonderful countryside. We highly recommend a visit.
There are so many
delicious sweet items in the Summer of Flavour range from Marks and Spencer’s
but we’ll be good and cover the savoury items first. We decided to have a mini
barbeque and cook up some chicken burgers using the new Coconut, Lemongrass and
Kaffir Lime Chicken Breast Escalopes with some of the incredible Pesto Mayo in
some Soft Brioche Burger Buns. You can cook these in the oven too but we wanted
to add a nice barbecue flavour too.
We had the chicken
burgers with some torn pieces of the new and incredibly tasty BBQ Pulled Pork
Firebread with Pink Pickled Onions and Spicy Slaw. It sounds very American and I
guess it is influenced a bit by US street food, but its well worth picking up
on your next shopping trip and its perfect to share too.
We love snacking on
pasta salads and other cold items during a BBQ as then you are in no rush to
eat them before they go cold. We chose to pick up some Pasta, Spinach and Pine Kernels
with Pesto Dressing and some Honey Glazed Tequila Prawns. Although we were not
too fond of the Tequila and Lime dip which comes with the prawns their honey
glaze was enough to make them incredibly juicy, flavourful and absolutely delicious.
We’re massive fans of
pastry in all its forms so it won’t come as a surprise that anything made of
pasty which encases other tasty mouthfuls is right down our street. When we
spotted spiced Butternut Squash Pastries and Red Pepper and Feta Filo Pasties
needless to say they ended up in our basket. Although these are best eaten hot
they could be cooked prior to your picnic.
We absolutely love the
new tea infused summer drinks Marks and Spencer’s have released, I especially
love the Watermelon and Coconut White Tea when its ice cold, an amazing thirst quencher!
My new summer drink.
Now the bit I know you
have all been waiting for, trust me we were too. The sweet stuff!
Needless to say there’s
an amazing range of new treats up for offer this summer and its all perfectly
suitable for a BBQ or picnic. M&S have released two pannacotta summer desserts;
A Twist of Passion is our favourites comprising of a creamy vanilla pannacotta
with passion fruit and yuzu topped with passion fruit glaze and seeds. Now that
is summer in a pot! Incredible when served with some wonderfully sweet summer
It’s hard to turn down
cake especially when they are mini cakes. Newly launched the Sour Cherry and
Pistachio Mini Cakes are sure to become a firm favourite among regular M&S
shoppers. Now the Senga Strawberry and Madagascan Vanilla Wraps may look deceiving
at first, designed just like a sandwich wrap but made of cake and filled with luscious
strawberry sauce and cream. These are an incredible twist to cake on the go!
Pineapple Coconut and White Chocolate Cookies taste exactly as they sound,
tropical and delicious. These cookies wonderfully crisp with small chewy pieces
of pineapple embedded in them.
Everyone knows Percy
Pig! Well he has two new friends Globetrotting Percy and Mad Frogs!
Globetrotting Percy’s are exactly the same as Percy Pigs with one twist, new
fruity flavours and now include tiger and panda pals in the bag. Mad Frogs are
indeed a little mad, they are mango, orange, pineapple and calamansi flavoured
sweets. What’s mad about that though? Well they have a hint of chilli in their
feet. Unusual but you’ll find yourself addicted as easily as Percy Pigs!
You can’t have a picnic
without some crisps and M&S have ensured to include some new varieties and
types into their summer range. Our favourite are the Hand Cooked Prawn Tom Yum
Potato Crisps and the Eat Well Delicious and Nutritious Apple Crisps. I know
apple crisps have been on the market for a while but these are the nicest we have
tasted, they actually taste like apple and are crisp not chewy, just like
crisps are meant to be.
Now we did say our
picnics are never complete without some of our own baked goods. So below are
some recipes of some treats which should survive the hike or drive to your
picnic spot
Sticky Gingerbread Loaf
We make this without
the syrup icing as it wraps easier but you can add this if you wish.
The Ingredients:
200g Silver Spoon®
Caster Sugar
180g Butter
250ml Milk
4tbsp Golden Syrup
1tbsp Ground Ginger
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
1tsp Bicarbonate Soda
260g NEILL’S® Plain Flour
150g Silver Spoon® Icing Sugar
2tbsp Hot Water
1 Heaped Tbsp Golden Syrup
Preheat oven to 160c.
In a saucepan add the
Butter, Milk, Sugar and Golden Syrup and bring to the boil.
Turn off heat and set
In a separate bowl
sieve the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate soda.
Make a well in the
centre of the dry ingredients.
Pour the saucepan of
melted butter mixture into the centre of the dry ingredients slowly combining
both together until everything comes together.
When you see no more
flour particles visible pour into a prepared loaf tin. Non Stick or Cake
Release spray is brilliant for this recipe.
Bake in the centre of
the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10
mins before running a knife carefully around the outside and turning out onto a
wire cooling rack.
While the loaf is
cooling combine all the topping ingredients and mix until smooth.
Drizzle the topping
evenly over the top of the loaf while still warm. This will help some be
absorbed into the loaf making it nice and moist.
When completely cooled
store in an airtight tin or container. This loaf tastes even better the next
day or after
You’re Done!
Cherry and Coconut Loaf
The Ingredients:
210g Caster Sugar
75g Butter
2 Eggs
220g NEILL’S® Plain Flour
120ml Milk
1.5tsp Vanilla Extract/Essence
35g Desiccated Coconut
1tsp Baking Powder
4tbsp of Runny Icing
12 Glacé CherriesThe How-To:
Preheat oven to 170c
Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth, add the eggs and beat until
Stir in the vanilla extract/essence
In a separate bowl sieve the flour and baking powder together
Halve the 12 Glacé Cherries and mix them into the flour. This helps stop the
cherries from sinking to the bottom of the cake when baking
Add half of the flour into the butter mixture
Now add half the milk
Stir until combined
Add the second half of the flour and milk and stir until combined.
Stir in the coconut until well combined.
Pour the batter into a loaf tin. place a rectangle of baking paper in the
bottom. This makes it a lot easier to turn out later!
Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out
Allow to rest for 10 mins, turn out.
In a separate bowl make about 4tbsp of thin icing (mixing about 10tbsp of icing
sugar with a little water)
Drizzle this over the still warm cake. Allow to cool and soak up the icing.You’re Done!

Milk Chocolate Brownies


30ml of Water
30g Butter
110g Caster Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
230g Good Quality Milk Chocolate
2 Eggs
80g NEILL’S® Plain Flour
0.25tsp Bicarbonate Soda
0.5tsp SaltThe How-To:
Preheat oven to 160c
Prepare a brownie pan or baking tin.
In a small saucepan add the water, butter and caster sugar and place on the
lowest heat.
Allow to heat mixing occasionally until it starts to bubble a little.
Remove from the heat and keep stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
Break up the milk chocolate into chunks and start adding this to the hot sugar
mixture. Keep stirring until all the chocolate dissolves. This will go quite
Pour this chocolate mixture into a bowl and beat it for about a minute. This
will cool it down slightly.
Now beat in the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time.
In a separate bowl sieve the flour, bicarbonate soda and salt
Add the flour to the chocolate mixture.
Stir well until all the ingredients come together in a smooth consistency.
Pour into the baking tin or brownie pan if you have got one.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted comes
out clean.
Allow to cool for 5-10 mins before turning out to cool.
Serve with freshly whipped cream for a super decadent dessert.You’re Done!


BakingBar was launched in 2010 to provide simple and straightforward baking guides and recipes. BakingBar are currently recipe developers for Neills Flour and MyProtein.