Perfect Picnic Food

I was delighted to be back on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch last weekend. It’s always a pleasure to be on the show, but this week was particularly special as it was for a good cause. It’s been a tough and often very sad few months for this country, but in true British fashion we keep going with our heads held high! Last weekend was the ‘Great Get Together’, inspired by the memory of the late Jo Cox. The event was organised to remind us all just how important it is to remain united, even in the face of adversity. It was a brilliant opportunity for people all around the country to come together and celebrate everything that we have in common.

And what better way to bring people together than with food! So, with that in mind, I came up with some delicious, healthy takes on four picnic classics – quiche, scotch eggs, sandwiches and spring rolls (okay, maybe the last ones aren’t a classic – but they should be!). They all went down a treat on the show, and lots of you have been asking for the recipes – and here they are. So get cooking, pack up your picnic basket and make some time for friends, family and neighbours!

CHICKPEA QUICHE (gf, df, ve)

First up is this amazing chickpea quiche, which uses a homemade nut pastry crust that’s gluten-free and a chickpea filling instead of eggs. Fennel is in season so I braised some fennel and tossed it in lots of wonderful summer herbs. You can make one big tart if you like, but these mini ones are perfect for sharing and serving at a picnic. This dish is also eggless, showing that vegans can enjoy picnic dishes like quiche too!

The chickpeas are cooked like a roux with a non-dairy milk and coconut oil (a roux is traditionally 1 part butter 1 part flour), but avocado or olive oil could work too. A bit of turmeric gives some more flavour and taste to our faux eggs, and finally nutritional yeast gives it some cheesy umami deliciousness.


Serving size: 4-6 tartlets, or 1 medium sized tart

2-3 fennel, about 450g, sliced
2 large onions, sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 orange, juice and zest
(reserve some zest for garnish)
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt
1/8 tsp coarse black pepper
20ml water

50g coconut oil
75g gram (chickpea) flour
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
250ml nut milk
250ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
25 g fresh parsley, finely chopped (reserving some for garnish)

Homemade Shortcrust Pastry (gf, df, ve)
*optional, or buy pre-made shortcrust pastry
175g walnuts, ground
100g ground almonds
75g sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
75ml coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp chickpea flour
4-6 tbsp filtered water


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Use 10 wide x 2 cm deep 6 tartlet tin or one medium tart tin measuring 20-22 cm wide x 3 cm deep.
  3. Prepare fennel by cutting off fronds and bottom of base root. Slice into 0.5 cm thick slices with root intact.
  4. In a large pan, heat oil on medium heat and sauté fennel for 6-8 mins until brown on one side. Season with salt and pepper and flip over. Add onions and sauté for another 6-8 mins.
  5. Add orange juice, water and garlic.
  6. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure all sides are coated in the juice.
  7. Divide pastry (for homemade see below) between tartlet tins, and press it down with your fingertips to make a crust over the bottom and up the sides.
  8. Using a fork, make holes in the pastry bottom. Bake the tartlets in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  9. Once the fennel wedges are cooked and tender, uncover and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  10. To make quiche filling, heat oil in pan on med heat and add 50g of the gram flour and whisk vigorously. Once creamy, add the remaining flour and cook for another 1 min. Add half the stock whisking until smooth, then the other half. Gradually add the cashew milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. The sauce should start to thicken but stay smooth.
  11. Once thick, add the mustard, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  12. Off the heat, gently stir in vegetables with parsley (reserving some fennel and parsley for garnish).
  13. Fill the tart (tartlets) with filling and top with remaining vegetables, parsley, orange zest and dill leaves.
  14. Serve with a crisp green salad.

Homemade Shortcrust Pastry

  1. To make the base, place the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the almonds, sesame seeds, spices, salt and melted coconut oil and pulse until blended.
  3. Add flour and water and pulse a couple of times. Add more water as needed until sticky dough ball is formed in processor.



Next we have the Breadless Samosa Chicken Sandwich, which was a real crowd-pleaser on the show. Simon even said he was ‘blown away’ by it! The recipe was inspired by my mother-in-law, who used this mix in our family’s homemade chicken samosas. Generations of women will tell you that their secret samosa filling is the best because of their unique homemade garam masala mix. But of course, this one really is the best…

The filling is made with chicken breast, spices and coconut yoghurt. The bread is made using cauliflower and eggs then baked in the oven. The samosa chicken is then sandwiched between cauliflower bread – but of course regular works wonderfully too!


Serves 2

To make the “bread”
500g raw cauliflower, riced
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
20g chives, chopped
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt
1/8 tsp coarse black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Remove the cauliflower leaves and slice off ends. Cut into florets and add to the food processor. Pulse to make cauliflower into broken rice.
  3. Whisk egg and to cauliflower rice along with chives, salt and black pepper mixing evenly.
  4. Mold mixture on a tray into sliced bread size, thickness and shape.
  5. Bake on parchment lined tray for 14-16 mins until firm.
  6. Remove from oven and leave to cool. Flip over bread and remove parchment and leave other side to cool.

For the samosa chicken
2 free-range/organic chicken breasts, 400g
6 garlic cloves, diced
2 lemons, juiced
5 cm piece ginger, grated
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp chilli powder (optional)
300ml water
2 pinches of salt
25g fresh coriander
10g, chives, chopped
1tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp coconut yoghurt

For the quick pickle carrots (optional)
1 carrot, julienne
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Combine marinade ingredients (except olive oil) in a medium pot. Heat pot to a boil and cook chicken breast on medium heat for 15 minutes covered. (If not fully submerged, turn chicken breast half way through so colour of turmeric infuses whole breast).
  2. Optional. Make quick pickled carrots by mixing the ingredients and setting aside for 15-20 mins trying to coat carrots in vinegar.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, remove from liquid and shred with two forks.
  4. Reduce marinade liquid on high heat until a sauce is formed.
  5. Take off heat and add olive oil and shredded chicken, coriander and chives.
  6. Serve chicken with cauliflower bread and carrot pickle.



This is my twist on the British favourite!

It depends on how you like your eggs as to how long to cook them for initially. 4 minutes for soft boiled and 6 minutes for hard boiled. Then make your vegan “meat” by cooking quinoa, herbs and spices, with flour to hold it all together. Finally bake them in the oven to crisp the cooked quinoa. It’s vegetarian friendly and still packed with protein!

scotch eggs

6 room temperature eggs
150g quinoa (white, red, and/or black)
280ml water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced finely
3 garlic cloves, minced with a pinch of salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp flaked sea salt
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
50g buckwheat flour (plus a bit more for dusting eggs)
10g dill, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce
1/2-1 tsp sriracha
250 ml yoghurt (coconut for vegan, dairy-free)


  1. Boil water in medium pot (enough water to completely cover eggs).
  2. Gently spoon eggs into boiling water and boil for 5 mins then directly into ice bath.
  3. Carefully peel eggs when cool and set aside in fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  5. Cook quinoa (can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 5 days). Bring quinoa, water and salt to a boil then reduce and simmer for 12-15 minutes covered until all water is absorbed and spirals are revealed. Turn off heat and keep covered for 10 mins before fluffing with a fork.
  6. On medium heat, add olive oil and sauté onions for 5 mins. Then add garlic, spices and salt, cooking for another 2 mins. Add mustard and lemon to deglaze.
  7. Off the heat, mix in herbs and mix thoroughly with quinoa. Add buckwheat flour and mix evenly until a sticky dough is formed.
  8. Divide the quinoa into 6 portions (about 90g each). On cling film, flatten a portion of quinoa into a rectangle about 0.5 cm thick. Dust egg in buckwheat and place in the centre quinoa. Wrap the egg with the quinoa by bringing all the edges of the cling film together, rolling and sealing a crust around the egg. Patch with quinoa as needed.
  9. Bake for 6 mins on a parchment lined tray.
  10. Carefully cut eggs in half using a bread knife to serve. Garnish with dill.


SUMMER ROLLS (gf, df, ve)

Finally, you can find the recipe for the Rainbow Summer Rolls in our previous post at the link below! (But here’s a picture of it anyway)


There you have it: four fantastic new original recipes for a summer full of fresh, guilt-free picnics with friends and family. So fingers crossed this lovely weather will continue!

And don’t forget to catch the show on Channel 4 On Demand whilst you can 😊:

Finally, we’d love to hear which recipe was your favourite! This week we’re treating a few lucky Insta followers to a free brunch if you let us know! To be in with a chance, just follow us at @mymapleandco and comment under one of our recipe pics telling us your favourite dish from this feature 😊. Good luck!