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John Torode's winter picnic

Beginning his Scottish highland adventure in a vintage Caterham, John Torode drives the famous NC500 route before cooking a delicious winter picnic of soup and salmon tarts, with magnificent views of Loch Torridon!

Butternut squash soup 

Serves: 2 - 4


2 tbsp butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

1 litre vegetable stock

Croutons, to serve


1. Heat the butter in a large pan then add the onion and cook gently until softened and light golden brown. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add the butternut squash and potatoes, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil

3. Simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender

4. Blitz until smooth in a blender, or use a whisk and beat quickly to break the vegetables down

5. Serve in a bowl with croutons on top.

Haggis sausage rolls

Serves: 4 – 6


300g haggis, crumbled

300g sausage meat

375g ready rolled puff pastry

Salt and pepper

Beaten egg, to glaze


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6. Line a baking sheet with baking paper

2. Mix together the haggis and sausage meat, divide the mixture in half and roll into two long sausages, each the length of the longest edge of the pastry. Place one at each edge of the pastry then cut the pastry in half down the middle.

3. Lightly brush the pastry with water. Roll each piece of pastry to encase the sausagemeat, finishing with the join underneath. Cut into pieces of your chosen size and place on the baking sheet.

4. Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until cooked through, golden brown and risen. Remove and eat hot or cold.

Salmon vol au vents 

Serves: makes 6


400g puff pastry, rolled out to a rectangle about 22 x 28cm

1 egg, beaten with a little milk

300ml crème fraîche

2 tbsp grated fresh horseradish, or horseradish sauce

juice of half a lemon

4 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs to garnish

150g cooked salmon fillet, flaked

Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper

2. Use an 8cm round cutter to cut 6 rounds out of the pastry

3. Place on the baking sheet then brush with beaten egg

4. Use a 7cm cutter to make a little indentation in each circle but don’t cut all the way through - the puff pastry will cook and puff all the way up and the centre is able to be pulled out or pushed down

5. Use a fork to prick little holes in the centre circle, then place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden

6. Turn the oven down to 180C and cook for a further 5 - 10 minutes. Leave to cool a little then use your thumb to press down the centre of the vol-au-vent.

7. Mix together the crème fraiche and horseradish. Season with salt and lemon juice then add the chopped dill.

8. Spoon into the pastry cases, top with the salmon and finish with dill sprigs

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