Budget picnic food: ‘Red Sea’ sandwiches

red sea sandwich ketchup pilchards

The two easiest ingredients in the world for a tasty sandwich

We all know that eating oily fish is great for all of us, and is especially good for children — it helps brain developments and reduces the risk of things like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. (Admittedly, my 10-year-old doesn’t have this yet, but we have the 11+ exams next year so everyone’s blood pressure will be going up.)

However, like a lot of kids, my daughter only really likes oily fish when it’s pulled fresh from the ocean and grilled over an open fire on the beach. It’s hard to do that in South London.

So I devised this quick and easy sandwich that combines oily fish with a staple kid food — ketchup — and it’s become a firm favourite. It’s a nice change from the usual ham or tuna options for park outings and it’s one less thing I have to worry about getting into her diet. You can use pilchards, mackerel, sardines or other oily fish.

I was prompted to share this recipe not only because it’s a great addition to the picnic basket that only costs pence, but it also corresponds to our #MorrisonsMum Challenge featuring items that have undergone a big price cut at the supermarket. This recipe include pilchards, which have been slashed from 69p to 45p per tin and Heinz tomato ketchup (the real deal, the only ketchup), formerly £2.39, now £1.99. (You can check out the great prices with Morrisons price checker tool. My recipe falls into the Picnic Favourites category.

Jenography’s healthy “Red Sea” sandwich for kids


1 tin of pilchards or other oily fish (in tomato sauce or in oil — either works)

Heinz tomato ketchup

Sandwich bread with the crusts cut off


Gently mash a portion of the pilchards in a bowl with the back of a fork.

Add a healthy dollop of ketchup depending on the existing amount of tomato sauce that came with the fish. In our family we like these sandwiches quite wet as the sauce soaks into the bread.

Spread onto bread (we like with white bread or a seedy loaf with soya and linseeds).

This goes well with a leafy salad or blanched broccoli trees and visually the red and green look great on a plate.

As BritMums co-founder I can’t enter the Summer Recipe eBook Challenge, but you still can. Winners not only get £50 in Morrisons shopping vouchers, they will also be included in an official Morrisons recipe ebook (kudos!). Here is the staple disclosure:

“This post is an entry for the #MorrisonsMum (or #MorrisonsDad) Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool”.

Check out other favourite mum recipes at the Challenge here.

I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+


  1. July 2, 2014 / 10:49 pm

    A definite for me! My daughter is the Queen of the red sauce (as well as all white food) so this might be a great way to get some good oily fish down here (or resort to cod liver oil? which is what our mother gave us.)

    • July 3, 2014 / 9:35 am

      Cod liver oil — that’s a throwback! Thanks for commenting, Jody.

  2. July 3, 2014 / 11:59 am

    You see there was I thinking this was going to be an exotic recipe from your travels. Brought back very fond memories of pilchards eaten loads as a child. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part

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