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We’ve been really spoiled with glorious sunshine recently, so after our latest shop (get a look behind the scenes here) and some baking by Amy and me, we decided to make the short trip out to Chew Valley and have a picnic by the lake. We go there a lot to escape the hussle and bussle of the city. It’s just the most beautiful place to recharge your batteries and relax and only a ten minute drive away from where we live.
For our picnic the Denglish way, we made some traditional English scones (recipe will be up shortly) and Amy took over when I unsuccessfully attempted to make German pretzels. For some reason, I didn’t manage to form a long enough roll, so any pretzel shapes looked absolutely hideous. Instead of chucking them out and substituting with something pre-baked however, I decided that this was the perfect chance to get Amy involved. I gave her little chunks of dough and told her to roll sausages – she does this with Play Dough all the time, so she’s a real expert. Her pretzel sticks might not look perfect, but she made them herself and they tasted lovely. Here is how you make them:
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
250 ml water
50 g soft butter, I used Flora Cuisine
500 g self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
150 g bicarbonate soda
1 l water
2 tbsp of coarse sea salt
1. Mix yeast, sugar and water and let the mix rest for 10 minutes.
2. Add butter, flour and salt and kneed to a firm dough. Leave to rest for 60 minutes.
3. Kneed again, before forming the traditional pretzel shape or pretzel sticks.
4. Place them on a baking tray covered in grease-proof paper and let rest while you prepare your salt solution.
5. For your salt solution, dissolve the bicarbonate soda in 1l water. Bring to the boil and add the pretzels one at a time for about 30 seconds.
6. Sprinkle your pretzels or pretzel sticks with coarse sea salt and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. You could also add seeds of your choice or cheese before baking.
With everything packed, we set off to Chew Valley Lake. We parked the car, had a little play on the play ground and walked over to the picnic area. When we started unpacking our picnic basket however, a massive wall of black clouds appeared. Seconds later, it started raining cats and dogs and we had to hurry up to get back to the car. Luckily, we could get the food back without any noticable damage, but Amy was not a happy bunny.
She sat by the window, looking outside while the raindrops were hitting the window. Our picnic by the lake was off the cards, but we didn’t let that spoil our weekend. We spread out Amy’s favourite polka dot blanket, threw some cushions into the mix and spread out our picnic food before getting comfy on the living room floor. We might have even had some guests in form of Millie, the doll, Bigsby and Amy’s furry little friends Monchichi and Bunny (yes, we’re terrible creative in terms of cuddly toy names). Everything is more fun with friends, don’t you think?
Amy instantly sat down and got comfy on one of the cushions. We’ve never had a living room picnic before, so she was all smiles and got really excited about our little setup. I could just about prevent squashed strawberries all over the blanket.
We didn’t have a massive picnic as we had dinner planned already, but Amy really enjoyed tucking into the pretzel sticks and I could even get her to eat some melon – she’s never wanted to try it, well apart from the pips. Strange child! While we snuggled on the floor and filled our bellies with British scones and ham, German pretzels and fruit and mini cakes from somewhere in between, we decided that we’ll have regular indoor picnics from now on. It was such a fun and relaxed afternoon that it would be a shame not to repeat it. I can actually see this becoming a nice little Sunday afternoon tradition: We’ll snuggle up, spread out some food and watch a film or play a game. Sounds like the perfect thing to do on a Sunday, don’t you think?
How about you? Are you a fan of indoor picnics? What’s your favourite picnic food?