Article 42: “Food for the Table” from the Swan’s Kitchen


School holidays!! Yet the children have just gone back to school. At least the weather will be getting better and some of the rules are being lifted so I thought I would do some ideas for a picnic as restaurants are not yet open along with a couple of edible gift recipes. 
Families can enjoy being out of doors in the open air.  We live in the most amazing part of the country where we can have new places every day to go out to visit from castle to coast, woodland and moors, villages and rivers.
We have always had sandwiches on a picnic menu and I remember jam ones and banana ones and chopped egg with tomato where my mum would have had the tomato on a fork over the gas flame on the cooker to char the skin making it easier to remove.  Baking sausage rolls was with short crust pastry or from Greggs.  Thankfully I wasn’t allowed those.  The sausage always seems to be alien to me compared with proper sausages.  Now we can buy ready rolled proper flaky pastry and James Martin even implored his viewers this week not to make their own.  Here is a new idea I have tried recently.

Gala Sausage Roll

Makes 8 thick slices.


  • 600g choice of sausages (I prefer Cumberland as they have more flavour)
  • 1 small onion or 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs – optional
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 hardboiled eggs and 1 beaten egg
  • Chutney or mustard to taste
  • 1 pack ready rolled flaky (puff) pastry
  1. Combine the sausage meat with the onions and any herbs used.  Season.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Cut the pastry into 2 pieces with one slightly wider than the other.
  4. Roll the smaller one to 38 x 13 cm and place it on the baking tray.
  5. Spread with any chutney or mustard used to within 2 cms of the edge.
  6. Spread a third of the sausage meat onto the base again leaving a border.
  7. Line up the shelled eggs down the centre and then cover with the remaining sausage.
  8. Brush the border with some of the beaten egg.
  9. Roll the remaining pastry to ensure it is wide enough to encase the sausage meat and lay it over the filling pressing the edges firmly including encasing the ends. Pop into the fridge and set the oven at 200C or Fan 180C/ Gas 6.
  10. When the oven is up to temperature brush the roll with beaten egg all over and score the top.
  11. Bake for 45 mins.  Leave to cool completely and thickly slice before wrapping in foil. 
This can be made in advance a day or two before but not frozen as the eggs don’t freeze very well.


Breakfast pie

Makes an 8” pie 6-8 servings
Just an upgrade to the familiar bacon and egg pie.
  • 8ozs (225g) plain flour
  • 4ozs (115g) margarine or butter
  • Iced water to mix
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sausages
  • Mushrooms – optional
  1. Rub the fat into the flour and mix to a firm dough.
  2. Roll out half of the pastry to line an 8” flat plate or use slightly more than half and line a quiche dish.
  3. Cut up bacon, halve the tomatoes, cut sausages into 4 pieces each and evenly distribute on the pastry base.
  4. Top with whole eggs with the yolks pricked to allow a little spreading.
  5. Top with remaining pastry.
  6. Bake at 200C or Fan 180C/ Gas 6 for 30 mins. 

Picnic Pie

Cuts into 12 squares
This is a recipe from Jim’s mum.  She made it every week as part of Sunday tea but I also remember demonstrating how to make this along with some other ideas for the Mother and Toddlers Group in Old Bethshan in the early eighties!!
Happy days.
  • 12 ozs(350g) plain flour
  • 6 ozs (175g) margarine or butter
  • Iced water to mix
  • 1 large tin PEK chopped into 1cm cubes
  • 1 onion finely chopped –I only use Aldi frozen chopped onion now as at 69p for a large pack it saves so much time and energy.
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1/2pt milk
  1. Rub the fat into the flour and mix to a firm dough.
  2. Rollout half to line a 12” x8” baking tin.
  3. Add the Pek and the onion to the base.
  4. Beat the eggs into the milk and pour onto the base through a sieve reserving enough to brush the top.
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover pie sealing edges well. Brush with the remaining milk.
  6. Bake 190C or Fan 180C /Gas 5
  7. Cut into squares when cold. 


... are always easy to eat but wraps can sometimes be easier for children. 

Aldi now do small wraps with 50/50 wholemeal called Both in One. 8 for 99p
Here are some filling ideas.
Coronation chicken:  Use left over chicken with a little mayo, Korma or mild curry paste, sultanas and even left over rice works in this mix.
Tuna: Add mayo, cucumber, sweetcorn, and tomato and mix together.
Cheese Savoury:  Grated cheese, grated carrot, and smashed hard boiled egg with spring onion and a little mayo.
If using mayo – the lightest; then butter is not needed and the filling glues to the wraps.
And so on………………


Blueberry yogurt loaf

  • 160g (6ozs) butter (or marg)
  • 220g (8ozs) sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g (5ozs) Greek yoghurt
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 225g (8ozs) Self Raising flour
  • 125g pack of blueberries

  1. Preheat oven 160C Fan150C/Gas 4 and line a 1lb loaf tin.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, yoghurt, and lemon zest to combine.
  3. Add flour and whisk again lightly to combine.
  4. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Pour into tin and bake 1hour giving cake an extra 10 mins if a skewer does not come out clean.
  6. Cool completely in tin and then dust with icing sugar but not if going on picnic as it can become messy.
  7. This can be served as a pudding with extra blueberries and yoghurt. 

For Christmas my blog was about edible gifts.   So here are a couple that will be great for Easter too.


Lemon Curd

  • 4 lemons unwaxed if possible
  • 4 large eggs
  • 110g (4 ozs) butter
  • 340g (12ozs) granulated sugar
  • 2 x 340g (12ozs) clean jars with metal lids

    1. Thoroughly clean 2 glass jars and pop in the oven at 100C to sterilise.  Put the lids and other utensils in a bowl and cover with boiling water to also sterilise.
    2. Thinly grate off the lemon rind making sure to avoid the white pith and put in a microwavable bowl.  Add the juice from the lemons.
    3. Chop up the butter into small lumps and add with the sugar to the bowl.  Begin to heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
    4. Beat the eggs well and add to bowl through a sieve.  Return to the microwave.
    5. Check every half minute beating well every time until mixture is thick enough to cover the colour of a wooden spoon but not the shape.  It should be the consistency of custard.
    6. Pour into jars and put the lids on straight away.
    7. Label and decorate attractively.

This is so quick and easy to make and always pleases. Always use butter for the best flavour.  Margarine does not have the taste but also the soft ones have too much water and this affects the consistency.

Angel Wings Shortbread but could be rabbits with a different cutter

The wings can be tricky but just gently use a knife to ease off the pointy bits. There is no rush and just make them with love.

The proportions are 1 sugar, 2 butter and 3 flour.  I made the following quantity and got 15 biscuits  but just 12 for the rabbits,

  • 50g (2 ozs) caster sugar
  • 100g (4 ozs) butter at room temperature
  • 150g (6ozs) plain flour
  1. Lightly butter a baking tray (Don’t use oil as flavour is affected.)
  2. Preheat oven to 160C Gas 3
  3. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor till forms a dough OR
  4. Cream sugar and butter and blend in flour till dough is formed.
  5. Cut out shapes as close together as possible to limit the number of rollings and place on a baking tray.
  6. Bake for about 15 mins till lightly golden.
  7. Immediately sprinkle with caster sugar.  Put white icing on the rabbits tails
  8. Lift onto a wire tray to cool and then pack into a cellophane bag and tie with curling ribbon.  Red or green for Christmas and yellow for Easter.

Flavouring alternatives
  • Ginger 1 tsp powdered ginger and a tbsp of glace ginger (from Sainsburys)
  • Chocolate chip Chop up some dark chocolate or buy chips
  • Almond   Swop tablespoon of flour with ground almonds. Wet top lightly and add flaked almonds to look like feathers.
  • Gold Spray wing tips with edible gold spray. 

The children will love making these but you will need to make a double batch if using some as a gift as otherwise none will leave the kitchen!!

The Gift that Jesus gave us that first Easter is immeasurable but a little pack of some love will sow a seed to introduce people to this amazing love.

Click here to download a pdf sheet with these instructions on.
by Marna Swan Blog #5, 30/03/2021