Recipe: 3 delicious Gizzi Erskine’s picnic dishes
When picnic o’ clock next strikes, delight friends and family with some delicious recipes from Gizzi Erskine, the glamorous chef and presenter of Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin. We've just had a look inside her latest book - Kitchen Magic - to find some mouth-watering recipes to share with you. Check out the yummy Sticky Thai Chicken and Mango Salad and dreamy Smoked Salmon Goat’s cCheese and Pea Tart. We love the ‘take them away before we eat them all’ Reese’s peanut butter cupcakes too! They’re sure to be a hit at a picnic...

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Sticky Thai Chicken and Mango Salad 


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 boneless chicken thighs, skin left on

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

3 tablespoons golden caster sugar

1 tablespoon lime juice

a 3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

1 red Thai chilli, chopped

For the salad

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 banana shallots, peeled and sliced

1 ripe but firm mango

2 rd chillies, seeded and cut into thin strips

a small bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked

a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked

juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 tbsp caster sugar


Heat the oil in a frying pan. Rub the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and lay them skin side down in the pan. Cook over a medium to low heat for 6-8 minutes, and turn regularly until skin is crisp and golden.

Remove chicken and set aside while you make the glaze. Add the fish sauce, sugar, 1 tbsp lime juice, ginger and chilli to the pan and stir until sugar melted. Let sauce bubble for a few seconds, then return the chicken thighs to the pan briefly and coat them in the sauce. Remove form the heat and leave to rest while you make the salad.

Heat oil in smaller frying pan. Add shallots – stir on medium heat for five minutes. Turn onto sheet of kitchen paper to cool and drain.

Peel the mango, Slice the flesh into long, thin slivers and put them into a bowl with remaining uncooked shallots, red chilli and herbs. In a smaller bowl, mix together the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar and pour over the salad. Slice the chicken over, sprinkle with crispy shallots and remaining sauce in pan.

Smoked Salmon Goat’s Cheese and Pea Tart


2 tsp olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and cut into small wedges

100ml white wine

120g smoked salmon, cut into thin strips

120g fresh peas

100g soft goat’s cheese

Shortcrust pastry

3 free-range eggs

150ml double cream

30g Parmesan cheese, grated

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs such as dill, mint and chives


Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/gas 3. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add red onion and fry on a fairly high heat for 5 minutes, or until slightly charred but beginning to soften. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pour white wine into a pan and boil on a high heat for 5 minutes until syrupy. Pour into mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Neatly scatter the red onions, smoked salmon, peas and goat’s cheese into pastry tart case. Add eggs, cream and Parmesan to the mixing bowl containing the reduced white wine and whisk together. Season.

Place tart on baking tray, pour on the liquid and place carefully on bottom shelf of oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tart begins to turn golden. You want it to still have a little wobble but it should not be runny at all. Remove form oven and leave to cool on wire rack.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes


170g softened butter

170g golden caster sugar

3 large free-range eggs

170g self-raising flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

3-4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped into small pieces

Reese’s peanut butter cups or peanuts, to decorate

For the peanut butter frosting

200g peanut butter

170g icing sugar

150ml full fat cream cheese


Preheat oven to 170degrees C/gas 3.

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with electric whisk for around 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, until combined. You may find the mixture curdles a little when you pop in your last eggs but it should come together again when you add the flour.

Sift over the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and stir. Add 3 tbsp milk and vanilla extract. You want the batter to fall off the spoon easily; if you think it’s too thick, stir in another tablespoon of milk. Stir in the chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Divide the mixture between 18 cupcake cases and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. You can check this by sliding a skewer into a cake; if it comes out clean, it’s done.


Beat peanut butter with icing sugar and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. There are no real rules when icing a cupcake except that it has to be really think – so whether you want to use a knife or piping bag, give them some shape or make them smooth, the choice is yours. Decorate with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups or peanuts.

Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic (Virgin Books) is out now.


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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor