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Astar's midwinter picnic recipes - 1July

It's the middle of winter and due to the cold in our house we haven't been out much. 

Not healthy is what I think, so this weekend I am taking the Engineer on a midwinter romantic picnic and even if the weather is really bad, how fab to just sit together in the car and enjoy a bite to eat - JUST US!

This is the menu I've planned:

Leek tartlets
Recipe originally came from country Living magazine and I've altered it to suit.

Shopping list :

1 packet savory pastry, thawed
Olive oil
400g leeks
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
100ml cider or cheap bubbly wine
4 tbsp roughly chopped brazil nuts
1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme + extra for garnish
120 g soft camembert cheese or blue cheese
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water


- Preset oven to 180c fan bake or 200c
- Grease and line with baking paper large muffin pans
- Roll out pastry, then line muffin pans
- Cover and set aside in the fridge

For the filling:

- Heat oil in a large pan and fry brazil nuts. 
- Add garlic and leeks and stir for a moment or two.
- Add cider, thyme, salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes until soft and still whole and most of the liquid has disappeared.
- Leave to become completely cold.
- Fill pastry cases with leek mixture. 
- Brush top and sides with egg and water.
- Top with cheese then bake 25 minutes.
- Garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.
- When cooked keep warm.

Warm Smoked Chicken Salad

I think this recipe originally came from Cin Cin Restaurant, Auckland

To be served in noodle boxes - which thankfully keep it warm - available from Spotlight.

Shopping list:

2 smoked chicken breasts, diced
6 rashers of bacon, diced and pan fried
Assorted salad leaves - spinach, rocket etc
1 packet Crispy noodles
1/2 cup toasted and salted cashew nuts


1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice
Salt and freshly grated black pepper
50 g chunky peanut butter, or almond butter
400 ml coconut milk
100 g light runny honey
1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 cups milk


- Heat oil in a pan and add onions, ginger and garlic.
- Add dried spices, salt, pepper and cook for 1 minutes
- Add peanut or almond butter, coconut milk, honey, chilli sauce, soy sauce and milk.
- Simmer for around 40 minutes when sauce will have thickened.
- If the above all sounds far too much, then don't be put off.  Recipe makes more than enough sauce to be used for stir fry and other dishes - excellent with fish.

To make up salad - toss salad greens, chicken bacon and nuts together with dressing.

Fridge Fudge Slice (make the day before)

Shopping list:

180g fat raisins soaked in 120 ml orange liquor over night
300g dark cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces
180g butter
 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
180g glace cherries cut in half
225g digestive biscuits broken into small pieces, not crumbled


- Line a swiss roll tin with baking paper.
- In a double boiler melt chocolate, then add syrup and butter.
-  Mix to combine well.
- Add soaked raisins, cherries and biscuits and mix to coat well with chocolate sauce.
- Tip into tin, then place plastic wrap on top and use your hands to press mix over base.
- Place in fridge for several hours until set.
- Use a sharp knife to cut into thin slices.
- Dust with icing sugar before storing in an airtight container.