Toffee Apple Flapjacks

Picnic season is upon us. Pack your blanket, waterproofs, swimming costume, sun screen, umbrella, wellies, sun hat, a flask of tea and let’s go!

The British weather certainly keeps things interesting! Anyone who has taken a break at the seaside will recall the biting Atlantic winds, sandy sandwiches and sitting huddled in the car while it pours with rain, because there’s nowhere else to go. We can have snow in April, balmy days in Bournemouth in the winter and everything else in between. Sometimes the sun shines (“Phew, what a scorcher!”) Be prepared for anything, but don’t let it stop you getting out and having fun!

This year I bought Mr Crumbs membership of the National Trust as an anniversary present and we are trying to tick of as many places as possible before it runs out. Thankfully not having to pay to get in means we can take advantage of the excellent cafês and tea shops instead of having to eat sarnies on a bench in the rain, which is nice. But there is something rather romantic about a traditional picnic in beautiful surroundings, so I’m on the lookout for recipes and ideas for picnic food that it easy to prepare, easy to eat and (most importantly) travels well! These toffee apple flapjacks fit the bill nicely, even Eldest Son who is not keen on flapjacks raved about these. Simply change the oats to gluten free oats, for a gluten free option.

Toffee Apple Flapjacks

  • 3 dessert apples
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 130g toffees (I used Werthers toffee, because it’s softer than a lot of other brands and is easier to cut up)
  • 140g butter
  • 140g golden syrup
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 250g rolled oats
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°c/160 fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a square cake tin or traybake tin.

Peel, core and chop the apples. Put in a small saucepan with the lemon juice and caster sugar, simmer gently until soft. Puree till smooth. Chop the toffees into smallish chunks. A greased knife or scissors will work best.

Measure out the oats into a large bowl. Put the butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Pour the butter mixture and apple puree onto the oats and mix well. Stir in the toffee pieces.

Scrape everything into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 20 mins, until golden brown on top. Cool in the tin on a wire rack. Cut into squares or bars while still slightly warm.

Potted Ham For Posher Picnics

Summer may be drawing to an end, but between now and October (contrary to the belief of Mr Crumbs who is a wuss) there will be plenty of warm and sunny days to enjoy a picnic somewhere scenic. In pre fridge days potted ham and other potted meats would have been a staple on every tea table and picnic basket to the point where people got a bit tired of it, there weren’t many ways of keeping meat for just that little bit longer.

In today’s leftovers concious society it’s nice to come across such a thrifty recipe which is so delicious, so good in fact that it is worth making specially on purpose. Serve as a starter if you’re into that sort of thing, for lunch and picnics with crusty bread or crackers or on sandwiches, particularly for afternoon tea (very popular with old ladies)

Many recipes recommend ham hock for potting, I find it too stringy and gelatinous, prefering to buy a gammon or ham joint, slow cook it for tenderness and enjoy a couple of meals from it, then use the leftovers for potting. Just one third of a gammon joint costing £5 will make a couple of ramekins full of potted ham, which is plenty.

Potted Ham

  • leftover cooked ham or gammon joint
  • some of the stock it was cooked in
  • butter

Cut the ham into chunks and put into a food processor. Chop finely.

Add a knob of butter and a splash of stock and process again. Repeat this step until the ham has become a paste.

Pack into ramekins. Cover with clingfilm or seal with clarified butter. To clarify butter, gently heat a couple of ounces in a saucepan until melted, leave to stand for a few minutes to separate. Pour the yellow melted butter over the ham leaving the white milk solids behind

See how the butter is separating into liquids and solids.
See how the butter is separating into liquids and solids.

Pop in the fridge till the butter has set and there you have it! Pack up a picnic and enjoy the autumn sunshine. But do take some waterproofs, just in case!