New research from the RSPCA shows the majority of us (56%) care about animal welfare but find higher welfare picnic foods hard to find. As part of a campaign to address this problem, the RSPCA has teamed up with Richard Johnson, TV presenter and food writer, to encourage more people to roll up their sleeves and make their own higher welfare picnic food.

Richard, dad-of-one, said: “Everything tastes better eaten outdoors. Everything. But there’s no need to go overboard with the food – Glyndebourne-style picnics with napery, silver cutlery and a candelabra are a bit OTT.

“Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten were picnics. As a child I remember bread and cheese on the edge of a cornfield in Devon. Picnics should be lengthy, sociable affairs, and that bread and cheese seemed to last forever. As an adult I’ll never forget sitting down outside a church in Corfu to eat tomatoes, ugly and fat, sprinkled with sea salt and tasting of the sun.

“My little girl still talks about it. It’s not a time to spoil happy memories with products that have involved pain and suffering.

“Even separate courses and elaborate dishes are considered a bit Hyacinth Bucket these days. Just keep it simple – and animal friendly.”

He added: “It’s a shame that younger people seem to be cooking less as it will mean many of them will be buying lower welfare pre-prepared food even though they don’t want to.

“I’ve got some wonderful memories of cooking with my mum and grandmother and I hope to pass on all their great tips to my daughter.”

Mustard Sausage Rolls

A special recipe courtesy of Richard Johnson for the RSPCA

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 6 Freedom Food labelled sausages
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 320g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • Thyme leaves

How to make:

Preheat the oven to 200C/fan oven 180C, Gas 6.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Tip into a large bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Split the sausages skin and ease the sausage meat out of the skin and into the bowl with the cooled onion. Add the thyme leaves and seasoning and mix well.

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to a rectangle of about 35x25cm rectangle, with the long side facing you. Cut the pastry in half horizontally. Then each half in half again lengthways.

Brush the pastry with the mustard. Make the sausage meat into a sausage shape and place along the middle of each pastry rectangle. Brush the long edge of the pastry with the beaten egg and roll the sausage up in the pastry to enclose, pressing the seam along the side to seal. Repeat until all the pastry and sausage meat has been used. Put the sausage rolls in the fridge for 20 minutes. Cut into bite size pieces about 4-5 cm. Brush with a little beaten egg and score with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with a little black pepper.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry has turned golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before serving.

Tip: Replace the fried onion with fried leeks or if you are a great mustard fan use English mustard for additional heat.

Bacon and Cheese Quiche

A special recipe courtesy of Richard Johnson for the RSPCA

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes


  • plain flour for dusting
  • 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100g Freedom Food labelled unsmoked bacon, cut into strips
  • ½ onion peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 1 x 284ml carton double cream
  • 200g English cheddar, grated
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and black pepper

How to make:

You will need a 23cm fluted-edge tart tin, about 4cm deep with a removable base.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/400F/gas 6.

On a lightly floured board roll out the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin and use to line the tart tin, pushing it into the edges firmly, then trim off the overhanging pastry and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or rice. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the pastry is slightly colouring, remove beans and parchment and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the pastry case from the oven & reduce the oven temperature to 170C/150C fan/325F/gas 3.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon until the bacon starts to colour just slightly but don’t get too crisp. Add the onion and cook until softened.

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, cream, half the cheese and nutmeg with a good grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt.

Sprinkle the bacon and onion in the bottom of the pastry case and pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes – the pastry should be golden and the filling should still have a little movement; remove from the oven and leave to continue cooking for about 10 minutes.

Tip: For added colour add a layer of sliced tomatoes or mushrooms. If time is really short use a ready made pastry case.

Rustic Ham Sandwich

A special recipe courtesy of Richard Johnson for the RSPCA

Preparation Time: 10 minutes


  • 4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise (look for one made with free-range eggs)
  • 1-2 tsp English mustard
  • 8 slices bloomer or rustic style bread
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ red onion finely sliced
  • 8 slices Freedom Food labelled cooked ham
  • a couple leaves lettuce
  • ground black pepper

How to make:

Mix together the mayonnaise and English mustard.

Spread the mustard mayonnaise onto half the bread. Layer with the tomatoes and onion slices. Layer with a couple of slices of cooked ham onto the bread, before topping with a few lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with black pepper and top with another slice of bread. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the sandwiches are made.

Tip: Replace the mustard with a teaspoon of pesto to make a pesto mayonnaise, delicious win a ham or chicken sandwich.