Enjoy National Picnic Week with Pies, Pasties, Cakes & Sandwiches! My TOP Picnic Recipes

Smorgastarta - Swedish Sandwich Cake

Smorgastarta – Swedish Sandwich Cake

Enjoy National Picnic Week with

Pies, Pasties, Cakes & Sandwiches!

My TOP Picnic Recipes

National Picnic Week

This week, between the 16th and 22nd of June marks one of my favourite ways to eat, it’s National Picnic Week! We are a picnic family, it goes right back to my early childhood days in South Africa and Hong Kong, when I was popped into an “outspan box” (an orange box) which was placed on the back seat of an old Morris Minor and my mum and dad would take off on long road trips all over South Africa, as well as local trips for picnicking on the beach. I obviously can’t remember much from those days, as I was a baby and a toddler, but I can remember numerous other picnic days, and the excitement and anticipation I used to feel when my parents announced we were going on a picnic is still with me today, it must be in my genes!

What to take on a picnic

What to take on a picnic! Illustration by Cindy Mangomini

As the fabulous illustration by Cindy Mangomini shows above, there is picnic protocol – one needs to get it just right when one plans a picnic! There are essentials to pack, such as napkins, a rug (preferably tartan or plaid!), sun-cream (if you are lucky in the UK!), cushions (for wimps, and I have become very wimpy lately!), lots of plastic bags (for dirty plates and rubbish), bottles of water by the dozen and a parasol or beach umbrella for shade too. Then there’s the food and drinks to consider – the most popular picnic food from our family picnics were:

1. Sandwiches, usually made in mum’s home-made bread/bread buns.

Top fillings to include – Cheese & Tomato, Cheese & Pickle, Cheese & Onion, Beetroot, Ham & Pickle, Ham & Mustard, Cold Chicken, Egg & Cress and sometimes Cold Beef and/or Lamb

2. Pies and Pasties.

We always had some sort of pie or pasties on a picnic! Mum was (and still is) a wonderful pastry cook and fillings were as follows: Cheese & Onion, Cheese, Potato & Onion, Egg & Bacon, Sausage Plait, Corned Beef & Potato, Steak & Kidney, Gala Pie and Chicken & Mushroom

3. Salads

Mum always used to add a salad of some sort, even if it was just a few lettuce leaves, cucumber and tomatoes.

4. Cake! Cakes were always popular and especially Fruit Cake and Lemon Cake. 

Cakes came in all shapes and sizes and were ALWAYS home-made.

5. Sundries:

Such as packets of crisps, fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, pickled onions, chutney, relish and packets of biscuits.

6. Drinks:

NEVER any alcohol, apart from a bottle of beer for dad (sometimes) and a shandy for mum maybe and always home-made “squash” that was decanted into a “Tupperware” jug or individual beakers with lids!

Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Corned Beef and Potato Pie

When the weather is inclement or cold, we still enjoy picnics, but with flasks of soup and hunks of bread, as well as hot chocolate and slabs of fruity tray-bakes – for us, as a family, picnics are for all year round, but I must admit to being very fond of the lazy, hazy, sun-filled summer picnics the best. Today’s post is also an opportunity to share some of my recently commissioned “picnic style” recipes with you, and the following “edible and photographic  list” is just a small sample of some of my latest recipes creations……

Picnic Recipes by Karen S Burns-Booth:

Swedish Sandwich Cake (Smorgastarta)

Swedish Sandwich Cake

Swedish Sandwich Cake

Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Gala Gammon and Egg Raised Pie

Gala Gammon and Egg Raised Pie

Gala Gammon and Egg Raised Pie

Shooter’s Sandwich

Shooters Sandwich

Shooters Sandwich

And, as well as these commissioned recipes, I also have a special picnic category on Lavender and Lovage here: Picnics on Lavender and Lovage, so do take time to browse what I have on offer there. It’s time to go now, as I REALLY do have a picnic to prepare – the sun is shining and we are meeting some friends on the beach this evening for a nocturnal beach picnic…..but before I go, I would like to share THREE of my most popular picnic recipes, as well as a rather nifty infogram from the Picnic Week website too……..have fun and see you soon for a very special Summer Solstice post, Karen 

An Old Flask and Childhood Memories: Cheese, Onion and Potato Pasties Recipe



Pan Bagnat ~ A French Picnic Sandwich for a Summer’s Day Picnic at the Bottom of the Garden!

Pan Bagnat ~ A French Picnic Sandwich for a Summer’s Day Picnic

Pan Bagnat ~ A French Picnic Sandwich for a Summer’s Day Picnic

Vintage Blue and White on Sepia Sunday: Farmhouse “Teacup” Spiced Fruit Loaf Recipe



National Picnic Week's Top Picnic Tips


  1. says

    We went to a Shakespeare in the Park performance with another couple and I made a Veal and Ham Pie, rainbow slaw, and a blackberry and apple traybake. My friend’s husband pretty much refused to eat any of it. I saw that she even ate most of his dinner so I wouldn’t notice he hadn’t eaten anything (not that I would have said anything). It didn’t work because I’m eagle-eyed about how people react to my food, but it was sweet of her to not want me to get my feelings hurt! I thought all of it was delicious, though. And he was a really picky/whiny person–not very fun to hang out with. :-/

    • says

      Oh what a shame Lauren, and how sweet of your friend to try to hide her husband’s shortcomings too…….for what it’s worth, I think your menu sounds absolutely fabulous and I would have devoured mine and asked for seconds!
      I also LOVE Shakespeare when performed outside – I once saw A Midsummer’s Night Dream performed in the grounds of Fountains Abbey and it was magical – we also took a picnic with us and it was a fabulous evening.

  2. says

    Karen, I love a good picnic and so enjoyed this post! Lauren (previous commenter), I don’t understand people like your friend’s husband. I’m a slightly picky eater, but I can eat many things in the interests of being polite. Meat is one thing, but couldn’t he try some of the slaw and traybake?!

  3. says

    Now young lady , that sandwich cake is glorious!! Genius idea and so pretty for the picnic too. My favour picnic think is egg mayo. Don’t know why. Just love it. Xx

  4. says

    Oh I do love a picnic, but am usually so last minute and hurried that I forget pretty much everything useful bar the food and kids!. A fine collection of ideas and recipes and I so adore the beauty of your Swedish picnic bread though I’m not sure I’d be able to bring myself to slice into it!. And I’m totally unsurprised your Cheese, Onion & Potato Pasties are such a hit, they’d be gone first on any picnic of mine. Must must bake them! Lovely post Karen, happy picnicing x

    • says

      Thanks for your kind words about my mum’s cheese, onion and potato pasties Lou! And the BIG Swedish Sandwich Cake was actually quite easy to slice, albeit a but messy to eat, but very tactile! Karen

  5. says

    My gosh K. I love the swedish sandwich cake – One day I hope to try it.. I am one of those more last minute picnic packers so it tends to be left overs althoguth I did once have an amazing picnic in London’s Hyde park with the best potato salad I have ever made and 20 very good friends.

    • says

      Thanks Bintu! :-) I can throw together a last minute picnic, but I also like the planning aspect of it too! Sad I know, but true! Your Hyde Park picnic sounds wonderful……and with so many friends too!

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