Paul Flynn: The picnic almost broke me, but Hot Love made up for it

Salmon brioche rolls, orzo and almond tzatziki and sausage salad with Austrian twist

Salmon brioche rolls. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

Salmon brioche rolls. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

 

Silvia was an Austrian au pair who came to help us for a busy summer. We love Austrian au pairs. We’ve had quite a few over the years; they add a cheerful energy to the house and are natural outdoorsy people.

Silvia settled in quickly. One evening over dinner she told us boldly that she was going to show Máire and I how to make Hot Love. Hello! She giggled knowingly and informed us that Hot Love was actually a very popular Austrian dessert of microwaved raspberries with a little sugar served over vanilla ice-cream.  We had a lot of hot love that summer.

To recompense, one day I proposed a hike in the Comeraghs and a picnic at the top. I made enough sandwiches to feed an army and packed fruit, crisps, water and two flasks of tea. I would carry the only rucksack. While not exactly K2, even at the lower levels, I was huffing and puffing. Silvia looked at me with pity, occasionally offering to carry my load. I wheezed away every offer, eventually reaching the top. My children expressed worry at the sounds emanating from my startled body.

The view was majestic. Calm returned to my lungs and I ate most of the sandwiches, determined to lighten my cursed load. All I had done was transfer the weight to my stomach. On the way down I fell and hit my shoulder off a rock. I still wouldn’t relinquish the rucksack. For my pride I spent the next few months in physiotherapy.

The recipes this week are picnic suggestions. The salmon brioche rolls are luxurious and the filling has been a starter of mine for years. I love tzatziki and I’ve added orzo, tomato and almonds to make it a satisfying lunch.

Potato , shallot and sausage salad. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography
Potato , shallot and sausage salad. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

The sausage salad is an homage to those lovely Austrians that were part of our home for years . We are still in touch with all of them. They used to bring us sausages from Styria called Käsekreiner, smoked pork sausages stuffed with cheese that oozed, blistered and bubbled as they cooked. They were so good, and bad. I eyed the defibrillator as I ate them.

Salmos brioche rolls

Serves six

Ingredients
150g salmon fillet
75g smoked salmon, finely chopped
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1 tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp chopped dill
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
6 brioche rolls

Method
1 Take a small to medium sized pot and fill it two thirds full with water. Add some salt and bring to a simmer, then lower the salmon into the water.

2 Poach for no more than one minute before removing from the heat and allowing to cool in the water.

3 Remove the salmon then pick out any skin and bones. Flake the salmon into a bowl then add the smoked salmon, creme fraiche, horseradish, chives, dill, lemon and seasoning, Fold everything together gently. Divide into the brioche rolls and away you go.

Orzo and almond tzatziki. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography
Orzo and almond tzatziki. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

Orzo and almond tzatsiki

Serves four

Ingredients
250g orzo pasta
Half a cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
200g natural yoghurt
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 x 125g packet mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
50g flaked almonds, toasted
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
A little orange zest
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt and lots of black pepper

Method
1 Cook the pasta as per packet instructions and allow it to cool.

2 Fold all the rest of the ingredients into the pasta, making sure it’s all mixed well. Serve at room temperature.

Potato, shallot and sausage salad

Serves six

Ingredients
1kg washed baby potatoes (I leave the skins on)
300g of your favourite sausages
100ml sunflower oil
30ml red wine vinegar
30ml water
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
A drizzle of maple syrup
2 large shallots, peeled and finely diced
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped tarragon or 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method
1 Cut the potatoes in half and cook them in salted water. 

2 Cook the sausage. Allow to cool and slice thinly.

3 Meanwhile put the sunflower oil, vinegar, water, mustard, maple syrup, shallots, salt and pepper into a large bowl.

4 Drain the potatoes when cooked. Allow to cool just a little before adding them to the dressing, along with the sausages and herbs. The warm potatoes absorb the dressing much more successfully than cold. Also, the shallots mellow in the heat.

5 Check for seasoning, then serve warm or cold.

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