Sunny Afternoon

Sorry for the absence - it's been a busy week and I've barely had time to sleep, let alone blog.

My Easter break was good; well, apart from the hours of revision! It involved quite a bit of shopping for summer clothes (still a work in progress), going for morning runs and trying to feel healthier and meeting up with old friends.

Isn't it strange how with some people,  no matter how long you spend apart, it can feel as if you’ve never been separated? During the holidays I met up with a group of girls from a camp I'd been to in the summer. After three consecutive years there my sister and I knew we'd made some friends who would last a lifetime and, despite only living together for less than a month in total, it feels as if I've known them for aaaages. 

We decided to meet up in fair Lisburn for a picnic in one of the parks. I adore picnics, especially when it gives me the chance to do a little bit of experimental baking. I don't really like Lisburn though - too many generic chain shops and not enough cute independent boutiques (I'm not snobbish at all) - but it seemed like a good central point for us all.

We met in the centre and ambled up to Wallace Park. It's recently been refurbished and now boasts a great playground, rows of daffodils and a tennis 'dome' - not to mention a large hill covered with soft grass.

It was upon this hill that we decided to enjoy our lunch. We spread out the picnic mat (okay, it's really a beach mat), sat ourselves down and each pulled out crisps, drinks and cake. We'd arranged beforehand to bring  one item each and any necessary cutlery that we needed - and in that way everyone knew they'd like at least one thing on the menu! 

The goodies were revealed - rocky roads (with Galaxy chocolate, mmm), crisps, cake, sweets… the standard healthy picnic, really. 

We brought carrot and pepper sticks plus houmous, laughing cow cheese (always a good call) and some little sausage rolls made by moi. We nipped into a bakery on the way up and bought a soft loaf of bread that was enjoyed by all. 

The weather was absolutely perfect - warm, sunny, with a slight breeze. Spring had truly arrived! We sat in the sun for a good two hours, laughing and chatting about nothing much in particular; just catching up on what we’d all been doing recently. The time flew by and before we knew it we began to spilt up to go home. 

Just before we had to go, we wandered over to Castle Gardens. It was refurbished a couple of years ago and is really quite pretty, with two water features, long paths and a great view from the top. The sun was nowhere near ready to set but it had softened from the strong rays earlier in the day into a warm glow. Wow. Lisburn, you are great. 

Mini Sausage Rolls (makes about 20)
200g sausage meat 
1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 block of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

  1. Heat the oven to 220C.  Mix the sausage meat with the herbs in a bowl. Set aside. 
  2. Roll out the puff pastry until it is rectangle-shaped and about the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut in half. Cut each in half again, lengthways.
  3. Take one of the rectangles and begin to spoon sausage meat along the longest side. Once you’ve reached the end, brush a little egg up the opposite side and roll your sausage up in the pastry. Cut into small pieces and brush with egg wash. 
  4. Repeat for the remaining pieces of pastry and sausage meat. Cook in the oven for 20 -25 minutes, until golden brown and the meat is all cooked. Try a mini roll if you need to check!