Veggie picnic snacks!

My friend Agnes and I have been busy perfecting these snacks for our first veggie picnic food stall at Auntie Maureen’s Gourmet Food Fair at The Bell pub in Walthamstow this Saturday 29th June (details here: and We are lovingly serving veggie scotch eggs, spinach and chilli bites and caramelised onion, feta and olive tarts. Please see below for the recipes! And come along if you are in the area : )

veggie scotch eggs

Veggie scotch eggs

We are rather proud of these moreish scotch eggs. They took several attempts to get the delicate leek, herb and lemon flavour right and are perfect picnic fodder! If you don’t have a deep fat fryer you can simply fry them in a frying pan.

Ingredients (makes 6)

7 eggs, 6 of them hard boiled and one beaten
1 leek, chopped
190g fresh white breadcrumbs
Zest of 1/2 lemon
50g shredded veg suet
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 heaped tsp fresh sage, chopped
2/3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Sunflower/vegetable oil

Peel the hard boiled eggs and toss in the flour. Fry the leeks in the oil for a few minutes until softened then mix with 115g of the breadcrumbs, the lemon zest, suet, herbs, mustard and seasoning. If the mixture is a bit dry add a little water. Shape the mixture around the eggs, then toss in to the beaten egg and then the remaining breadcrumbs.

If using a deep fat fryer, pour in enough oil to fill it one-third capacity and heat to a temperature of 190 degrees C. Fry the eggs three at a time for about 2 – 3 minutes until brown. If you don’t have a deep fat fryer you can deep fry them in a saucepan or, alternatively shallow fry, turning the balls frequently to brown on every side. They are best eaten on the day.

red onion feta olive tart

Caramelised onion, feta and olive tarts

These are lovely tarts which contain the rich, caramelised crunch of the onions, creamy saltiness of the feta and bite of the olives. They are made using shop-bought puff pastry which is easy and delicious. Any leftover caramelised onion mixture could be kept in the fridge and used to accompany meat and cheese.

Ingredients (serves 6 as a main)

Olive oil
3 red onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar/light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
375g ready-rolled puff pastry
100g feta or goats cheese, crumbled
175g pitted green or black olives, chopped in half

Heat oven to 220 degrees C/gas mark 7. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then gently fry the onions for about 10-15 mins until golden and soft. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, then cook for a further 5 mins until the juices are reduced and syrupy.

Unroll the puff pastry onto a baking tray. Score a line a finger-width in from the edge all the way around, then cover the middle with the onion mix. Alternatively, to make individual tarts, unroll the sheet and use a knife to cut it into six equal sized rectangles. Score a line a finger-width in from the edge all the way around each tart.

Scatter the cheese and olives over. Season and drizzle the olive oil over the topping. Bake for 20-25 mins or until the pastry is risen and golden and the base is crisp.

spinach chilli balls

Spinach and chilli bites

The great things about these bites– moist balls of spinach with garlic, parmesan and a chilli kick – is that they are so versatile. You could have them on their own as a bite sized snack, on top of some pasta (with fried leeks and lemon zest perhaps) or with salad in a pitta, as an alternative to falafel.

Ingredients (makes 10)

500g spinach leaves, washed
2 eggs, beaten
4 shakes ground nutmeg
1 garlic clove, crushed
110g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g parmesan, grated
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Blanch the spinach leaves in a pan of salted, boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then drain well and refresh in cold water. Using your hands, squeeze out as much water from the blanched spinach leaves as possible, then finely chop. Transfer the spinach to a bowl then stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg, garlic, breadcrumbs, parmesan and chilli. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper. Mix well until the mixture binds together, adding more breadcrumbs or more water, as necessary.

Roll the spinach mixture into golf-sized balls (or smaller if you fancy!) and cover the base of a frying pan in a thin film of olive oil. Heat gently over a medium heat then add the spinach balls, in batches if necessary, and fry for a few minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown all over. Repeat the process with the remaining spinach balls. Alternatively you could deep-fat fry at 150 degrees C for a couple of minutes for a really even coating.