As picnic season finally is upon us, we are kicking it off with two new favorite things. One is a bike and the other is a bread. We have been dreaming of a Danish cargo bike for years and years, and last month we finally splurged on this one. It’s the perfect vehicle for us because we can fit all three kids in it, with seatbelts and all. It’s ideal to bring home heavy grocery bags with. And it’s environmentally friendly. All practicalities aside, it is also lots of fun to ride around with and we are roaming from playground to picnic spots without a hitch. We just pack a few blankets, a big smoothie, a rhubarb compote and this beauty of a bread.
We created this recipe for these kind of picnic situations. We wanted something spring-y and savory that would be more moist than a bread and not too heavy or complicated. It’s basically like a savory muffin that we bake in a sheet pan. It serves many, is easy to make, super moist and flavorful and you can make lots of variations on it.
Needless to say, this is also ideal for a brunch or or other weekend gatherings.
Just like a foccacia, the bread is just a base and you can play with all the toppings. Here are a few suggestions:
• Swap some of the potatoes with grated carrots, parsnip or swede.
• A teaspoon of mustard in the batter would add some complexity to the flavor.
• Add lots of different fresh herbs to the batter.
• Olives or capers could be good on top. Spinach could also be used instead of asparagus.
• You can use a dairy free yogurt instead of buttermilk and leave out the feta cheese if you prefer it dairy free.
• We haven’t tried a vegan version but replacing the eggs with chia eggs (1 egg = 1 tablespoons chia seed + 3 tablespoons water) has worked for us on similar recipes.
Asparagus & Potato Picnic Bread
100 g / 1 cup oat flour (or the same amount rolled oats, blitzed into flour in a food processor)
100 g / 3/4 cup rice flour (or buckwheat flour or spelt flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes
3 free-range eggs
125 ml / 1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil, at room temperature
125 ml / 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk (or yogurt or plant-based yogurt)
1-2 spring onions
3-4 potatoes (2 cups / 250 g)
100 g feta cheese
3 raw asparagus
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp quality olive oil
2 tsp honey
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F bake mode, grease a 30 x 22 cm / 12 x 9 inch tray or line it with parchment paper.
Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Make a well in the centre and set aside while preparing the wet ingredients.
Whisk eggs in a separate bowl, then add buttermilk. Finely chop the onion. Peel the potatoes, grate them coarsely and add them to the wet mixture along with the onion. Crumble in half of the feta cheese. Give it a good stir and then pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the flours. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to combine the batter and then pour it onto the tray.
Use a peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons and spread them out over the batter. Crumble the remaining feta cheese on top. Combine pumpkin seeds, oil and honey and sprinkle them on top as well.
Brush the asparagus with any remaining oil from the seeds. Bake for approx. 35-45 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely. Store the cake at room temperature in an airtight container and it will keep for a few days.
Great to bring on a picnic and serve with a tangy rhubarb compote or chutney.