The weekend before last we piled bags, kids and a thousand toys (“You can take one! Okay two. Okay, fill a backpack…”) into the car and headed off on a road trip. We had booked a house in Raglan to share with our friends, Paul and Faith, who also have two kiddies and a car full of dropped raisins and bits of crackers. We were pumped.


Raglan is one of my favourite places in the whole, wide world. It’s a short drive from the town where I went to University and it’s where close friends welcomed their baby boy (I don’t know what happened {*time!!*} but he’s almost an adult now). There’s water almost everywhere you care to glance and it has more art shops and cafes than any other type of retail (as well as a good secondhand bookstore, a Fairtrade shop and a herbal dispensary. You know, the essentials). The surf is good, if you’re into that kind of thing, the sand black, the vibe laid-back. Most times we have visited there has been a fair or a festival with fortune-tellers, buskers, bunting, wooden toys, home-made pies and bread and peach + mascarpone ice-blocks. The cicadas are chirrupy and the sunsets vivid and tangerine-coloured. #happyplace




Destinations like Raglan and willing adventurers like our friends deserve good road trip food. After stocking up on junk food must-haves (mallowpuffs, kettle chips, reduced cream + onion soup mix for dip, marshmallows, Whittakers chocolate) I moved on to sussing out a picnic lunch that would travel well and serve as leftovers for the rest of the weekend. This is the menu I went with:


* Baked salmon with greek yoghurt, herbs, chilli + pine nuts

* Soba noodle salad

* HUGE chocolate cake

* For the Littles – Sandwiches (ABC spread + jam, marmite + butter) + popcorn + fruit






All the food was made the night before and left to chill in the fridge so that by midday the next day it was ready to devour. I brought melamine plates, a picnic blanket, paper napkins and chopsticks for the adults. My friend Faith brought tiny metal teacups and felt animal masks. We laid our picnic blanket down at Hamilton Gardens, overlooking a little lake and hordes of hungry, beady-eyed ducks. Mask-clad kids (one sparkly owl, one rabbit with a felt flower garland, a bear and a shark) fed the ducks bits of their sandwiches while adults munched on salmon and soba noodles and then everyone had big wedges of sticky chocolate cake to finish.




So, if you’re looking for road trip food or picnic food or adult food for a kids party or food you can make in advance and serve up with barely any effort I recommend these three recipes:


Baked Salmon with Greek Yoghurt, Tahini, Herbs and Pine Nuts

(Serves 4 – 6)

This recipe comes from my friend, Missy. She had a Love Boat themed 40th birthday party and served this salmon. Afterwards I shamelessly hassled her for the recipe. (Note: Regarding baking salmon – I tend to wing it. But here is help from The Kitchn advising how to do it if you’re not familiar. Also, I prefer using enamel coated dishes for baking salmon, they really help to sizzle the fish.)



One side of salmon

Greek yoghurt (300 – 400grams)

1 Tablespoon tahini

1 lemon

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh and roughly chopped coriander

1/2 cup fresh and roughly chopped mint

1/2 cup fresh and roughly chopped parsley

Dash of balsamic vinegar.




Bake side of salmon in tinfoil, skin side down, and set aside to cool.

Mix Greek yoghurt and tahini in a bowl then squeeze in most of the lemon’s juice.

Put herbs and chilli in another bowl. Toast 1/2 cup pine nuts and chop roughly, once cooled add to herbs and chilli. Mix together and add squeeze of lemon and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Spread yoghurt/tahini mixture generously over salmon (about 1 cm thick) then sprinkle herb/pine nut mixture generously over the top.




Soba Noodle Salad

(serves 4 – 6)

2 packets Japanese soba noodles

4 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar / agave syrup

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 x finely sliced spring onion



Toast sesame seeds in a dry saucepan over medium heat. Remove when fragrant and golden brown; be careful not to burn! Cook soba noodles according to packet instructions ensuring to rinse with cold water after cooking. Mix all other ingredients together in a big bowl to make a vinaigrette. Add cooked and rinsed noodles. Top with sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seed. Toss together.




Feastin’ Cake

aka “Anne”, aka “Easiest and Best Chocolate Cake Ever”

(serves Heaps / 2 families for 2+ days / 15 hungry adults in one sitting)

This recipe comes from my friend, Beth, who writes the fantastic blog ‘BabyMac‘ (a source of many a great recipe, excellent household tips and regular swearing n’ cussing for which I am always grateful) and who named this cake “Anne”. Beth deserves all the credit for the recipe – this cake is delicious, fudgey and incredibly EASY. Thank you, Beth! All I did was double the quantities, sub out self-raising flour and make a different icing. Mainly because a) I’m greedy b) I didn’t have the exact ingredients for the original recipe and c) I’m greedy. Here is the original recipe she posted.



8 eggs

4 cups sugar

4 cups plain flour

2 cup cold water (with teaspoon bi-carb soda)

370g butter (melted)

8 Tablespoons cocoa

4 Tablespoons hot water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



170 grams dark chocolate

2 1/4 cups icing sugar

120g butter (softened)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract





Preheat oven to 150 degrees and grease and line 2 x 25 cm tins.

Put all of the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Turn the mixer onto high for 2 minutes OR use a hand-held electric whisk and beat for 2 mins (or use a wooden spoon and really give it some).

Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for approx. 50 – 65 minutes. Checking until a skewer comes out clean



Melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, or in the microwave in 20 second bursts. Once melted and cooled (but chocolate is still liquid) add all other ingredients to bowl of chocolate. Mix with a handheld beater or mixer till smooth and creamy. Top with sprinkles, chocolate shavings or whatever sparkle or sprinkle appeals to sense of celebration.






What are your favourite picnic foods? Any road trip eats tips?


Wishing you and yours many happy trails,

Hannah x


PS. This post was sponsored by Friendship, Adventuring, Love of Food, the letter C (for cake) and the number 8 (tally of road trip participants). Thanks again, Towns, we love you x