Picnic Ideas

Vegetable Tart

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Over the weekend, I have been working on some ideas for my upcoming recipe book which will be packed full of ideas for picnic food. My new camera and photography equipment arrived this weekend so I have used it to try and take some interesting pictures of my food. I made Mini Savoury Tarts with a variety of fillings for the family to try. For the pastry, I used quick Flaky Pastry and all the family complimented me on them. In fact my eldest daughter would like larger ones making next time. ¬†Let me know what you think of the photos because I still think I need to work on the focus and lens part of the camera to achieve a better image. ¬†I am loving the colours of the photos though. ūüôā

Over the weekend I have submitted my first book for review to a readers website. It would be nice to get some input, positive or negative about the first book. In the meantime, I am busy filling up my new book with recipes, photos, ideas, nutrition, dietary changes etc. This third book will be packed full of ideas.

I still have a lot of links on the different posts in the blog to fill in but it is quite a time consuming job and I am still trying to separate my writing from spending time with the children so after school during the week I try to stop and have a complete break from the computer. It all depends where I am up to or what is going around in my head.

My best achievement over the weekend was adding the recipe pictures to the recipe page on the blog. I managed to work this out by myself without my husband having to step in to give me a helping hand. I am really pleased with how it looks now and hope I can remember how to do it next time I need to add a recipe.

For the children and their packed lunches I made some cookies packed full of chocolate chips and I am going to share this recipe today. These cookies which I made yesterday are from a recipe which has been included in my Easter Treats recipe book but I have tweaked it a bit for these Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I like to change things and my recipes never seem to stay the exact same but I think that is the versatility of the ingredients and knowing how they react together to make something that gives you the ability to produce something  totally different when you alter just one or two ingredients.

These cookies have very little sugar in them which is great for diabetics. The flour can be changed to suit a gluten free diet. In this recipe, an egg is included but I am sure you could make them with milk or even water just to remove the egg from the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24

Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 140g soft spread
  • 6 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp caramel essence
  • 350g plain flour
  • 150g chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4.
  2. Line two baking trays.
  3. In a bowl, weigh out the ingredients and mix them by hand to form a dough.
  4. Divide the dough into balls, about truffle size and place on the trays.
  5. Flatten the balls with a fork before baking till slightly golden brown at the edges.
  6. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.
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Nutritionally, per cookie contains:- Calories 121.0, Total Fat 6.3 g, Saturated Fat 3.7 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.4 g, Cholesterol 21.8 mg, Sodium 83.7 mg, Potassium 4.4 mg, Total Carbohydrate 15.1 g, Dietary Fibre 0.3 g, Sugars 4.2 g, Protein 2.1 g. 


The treat in the cookie can be changed to whatever you want to add, for example, dried fruit, Smarties, crystallised ginger, walnuts, – the list is endless. The cookie dough will hold any treat stable and in place when baked in the oven. There is no need to worry about the treat being burned or seeping out of the dough. This would be a great dough for using in the base of cupcakes or cheesecake. I have used this recipe many times to make Giant Cookies with for birthdays and other special occasions. I have changed the essence in the cookies depending on the other ingredients ¬†I have used, for example, caramel essence with fudge pieces. Usually I use vanilla essence but yesterday I had ran out of it so I used caramel essence instead. The cookies taste just as good. Ohhh I have just had another idea – what about white chocolate and strawberry pieces flavoured with white chocolate ¬†and strawberry essence (which I have in the cupboard) – don’t ask me why?

Tomorrow I will be adding another ingredient and my thoughts on it. I may start to construct my “Ingredients” page and add it to the blog. I am still thinking about what to add to the website ¬†but I am enjoying having everything more easily available on one site rather than shared between two. Any ideas on what else to include on the website then feel free to drop me a comment below.

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