A royal picnic: Coronation crayfish & mango

Posted in: WF

With a royal wedding and a long weekend ahead of us, our food thoughts turned to posh picnics in the park. Here are a few ideas to add a regal twist to your Tupperware fare.

Created in honour of our Will’s granny on her Coronation (and for his great, great grandfather’s Silver Jubilee before that), we’ve added a modern touch as a nod to the young lovers.

You can sub the crayfish for chicken. Or make extra sauce and pour over salads or rice. Who said us Brits can only do fish and chips?

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 dsp curry powder
50ml white wine – or chicken / veggie stock
1 dsp tomato puree
1 ½ tbsp mango chutney
2 limes, juice of
1 bch coriander, chopped
200ml yoghurt
100ml mayo
1kg crayfish, cooked and shelled – or 1kg roast chicken, chopped into 1inch pieces
1 Indian / Alphonso mango, chopped 1.5cm pieces


  1. Saute onion and curry powder in olive oil for 5 mins. Add stock, tomato puree, chutney, salt and half lime juice and cook for further 5 mins. Allow to cool.
  2. Blend with coriander, followed by yoghurt, mayo and remaining lime. Taste. The coriander and lime should cut through and balance the creamy, spicy sauce.
  3. Pour onto crayfish / chicken and mango. Leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hrs, overnight is ideal as the meat will absorb the curry spices.

Serve with a watercress salad and Turmeric & coconut rice. Set rice to boil as normal, subbing a little water with coconut milk and adding 1 tsp turmeric. Chill and top with chopped chilli & coriander.

Indian mangoes are at the height of their season in April, and easy to find in veggie stalls. Not exactly local, but we’re not here to do away with international trade. Provided said delicacies aren’t flown in, that is.


A royal picnic: Rhubarb & cardamom compote

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, V, WF

Rhubarb & cardamom compote with shortbread hearts & clotted cream
British, tick. Seasonal, tick. Seductive, tick. Instead of shortbread, you can use scones. We like the heart touch though.

Not exclusive to royal weddings, this compote goes with just about anything: Put it on porridge, pop it in yoghurt or serve it with pancakes. Add it to cheesecake or eat it with ice cream. But don’t limit yourself to the sweet stuff; try it with mackerel or pork belly.

500g rhubarb, peeled and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
2 tbsp maple syrup or 1 tbsp agave
1 dsp butter
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1 pod, split length ways or ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 orange, zest only


  1. Melt butter in a pan and lightly toast cardamom, cinnamon stick and vanilla.
  2. Add rhubarb, maple syrup or agave and orange zest and stew till soft, aprox 10 mins.
  3. Cool and transfer to Kilner jar or airtight container. Store in fridge for up to 3 days.

Try with crushed digestive biscuits and cream, a la Granny Macintyre.

A royal picnic: Shortbread hearts

Posted in: V

Makes 20 (ish)

Plenty of seduction, not a lot of wholesome (although this version’s impressively low in sugar). But some things are best savoured exactly as they are, butter included. And would you mess with an age old Scottish family recipe?

150g plain flour
30g semolina
120g unsalted butter, softened
30g caster sugar – lavender sugar’s also good, or the zest of a lemon


  1. In a bowl or blender, mix butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in flour and semolina until you get to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30mins.
  2. On a floured surface, roll to aprox 1cm thick and cut into heart shapes with a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter.
  3. Place on baking trays lined with baking paper and chill in the fridge for a further 15 mins. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
  4. Bake for 15 – 20 mins, until lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack (carefully!), sprinkle with sugar and leave to cool. Store in an airtight container until picnic time.

Wrap in greaseproof paper and tie in place with some Union Jack ribbon. Serve alongside jars of the Rhubarb & cardamom compote with clotted cream.

A couple of teaspoons, and let everyone dig in for sweet and tangy bite sized Britishness.

Time Out Abu Dhabi: Zade Dirani, Clare… and cake

Posted in: Reviews, Travel

Forget the famous pianist and nearly famous guests, I still manage to get food into Time Out. Not one to shy away from work, I’m the only guest papped clutching cakes, or indeed anything edible. Yep, I’ve checked all the photos. Not cool.

Particularly given that while everyone’s applauding the brilliant Zade Dirani’s arrival, I’m head down, debating which of said cakes to eat first. As my more cultured brother pointed out, ‘Thank God that wasn’t on camera’. Quite.

Time Out Abu Dhabi, Zade Dirani… and cake!