Scotch Egg Pie

January 24, 2014

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So I can’t believe it, but apparently it’s the New Year! And quite a few days into it I must admit. Hmmm….I seem to have been a very neglectful blogger. In my defense, I have had quite a bit going on around here recently, you know, the usual Thanksgiving/ Christmas hysteria, but I also had several vacations, a family health scare and a small house fire…I will tell you all about those things a bit later, I promise. But enough excuses. Let me start anew by saying “Happy New Year” to all you folks out there on the “interwebs”. I would go on to tell you some nonsense about how I had made a resolution to blog faithfully every Tuesday and Thursday, but I think we all know that would be quite optimistic, bordering on delusional. Life just has a way of making a mess of those types of declarations, so I think I won’t bother. I’ll just get back into the swing of things with this great recipe for Scotch Egg Pie,  just in time for the upcoming Robert Burns Night celebrations on January 25th!

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Throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. I’m quite a Burns fan myself and will certainly be raising my glass to The Bard this weekend. I have given you some great Scottish recipes in the past in case you might be planning a Burn’s Night Supper of you own. Last year it was Cock-a-leekie soup

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which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

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The year before it was Deviled Scotch Eggs.

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And I had also previously given you the traditional Scotch Egg recipe. If you don’t know what Scotch Eggs are, believe me it is time that you find out! Basically it is  a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep-fried. Good Lord Have Mercy!

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Now, the Scotch Egg Pie we’re about to discuss was not deep-fried, it was baked. But I just knew from the get-go that it was going to be amazing! I mean how could it not be with the list of ingredients it was sporting…spicy sausage, hard-boiled eggs all wrapped up in a buttery flaky pie crust?!! My husband could hardly contain himself when I teased him with a description of the culinary creation which would soon be arriving on his dinner plate! I think I’ve mentioned before that he absolutely loves any sort of meat pie, pasty, empanadas, etc. He also seems to really have an egg thing. He never tires of them, any and every way you fix them. Now this Scotch Egg Pie checked all of the boxes for him. He knew it would be awesome. And I am happy to say it did meet, if not exceed his expectations. Just delicious!

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I found this recipe on BBC Good Food. The original version called for Lincolnshire sausages. Lincolnshire sausages are a type of pork sausage that is associated with the English county of Lincolnshire. These sausages have more sage spice than the usual peppery or thyme flavours you might find in sausages which hale from other locales. Furthermore, they are coarsely ground rather than minced which gives them a much more chunky texture. Well, I couldn’t find any authentic Lincolnshire sausages here in good old Virginia, but believe you me, there was no scarcity of coarsely ground pork sausage around here, so I just made do. And while I was at it, I bought some really hot spicy sausage, because we definitely like a bit of heat! Red pepper flakes, habañero sauce, jalapeños, or Sriracha…bring it on! I did customize the sausage mixture a bit further as well with the addition of some Worcestershire sauce and parmesan cheese. Oh and I used my favourite short crust pastry recipe which creates the most buttery flaky pie crust imaginable. I’m telling you it is the pie crust of your dreams, is really easy to make and has vodka in it! (Always a welcome addition in my opinion). I suppose just grabbing a box of premade pie crust of the supermarket shelf is easier, but if you do have the time, I highly recommend you try this particular recipe. If you are anything like me, this will be your go-to pie crust recipe from that point on!

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Although I served my Scotch Egg Pie with a lovely green salad and a pint or two… for a casual, simple dinner, I’ve been told that Scotch Egg Pie is normally seen as more of a picnic food than sit down dinner entrée. Indeed I can see how it would be fantastic for a picnic in that it is easy to eat with your fingers, though perhaps a bit messy and tastes equally good at room temperature or piping hot from the oven. It would be great for breakfast, brunch or in a packed lunch as well. And I think it would be a well received addition to any Burns Night Supper. I hope I’ve managed to inspire you with these lovely Scottish dishes. If so, whip some of them up and raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Saturday.

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Scotch Egg Pie

recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 8 medium hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 lbs. sausage
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme, leaves only
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 100 grams panko
  • 1 batch of short crust pastry (recipe below) or 500 grams of store-bought pie pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

If you are planning to make your own short crust, remember that it will need to chill 1 hour in the fridge before you plan to roll it out into the pan. You can make the pastry the day before if you are a super-organized, type A planner or if you are pretty laid back and usually just wing-it, start production on this recipe at whatever time a bit earlier than usual would be for you. If you are using store-bought pastry, move on to the next step.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter an 8″ springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Or, if you don’t have a springform, just use a regular 8″ round cake tin. Criss-cross two long strips of baking parchment in the tin to aid you when you are ready to lift out the pie.

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Let the eggs stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run cold water into the pan to cool eggs. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Place the sausage in a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg, thyme, 75 grams of the panko ( a heaping cup), 1 egg, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, pepper, salt and mix well. Set aside.

Roll out half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line the baking tin. Scatter the remaining Panko over the base of the pastry.

Pat about one-quarter of the sausage mixture into the bottom of the tin. Arrange the peeled eggs on top, spacing them evenly. Gently pack the remaining sausage mixture around and over the eggs.

Roll out the remaining pastry dough and cover the pie, crimping the edges. Cut a steam hole in the top of the pastry. Beat the remaining egg lightly. Glaze the top of the pastry dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place tin on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the pork registers 160° F.

Remove pie from the oven and lift it from the tin, or remove the sides if using a springform pan. Place the pie back on the cookie sheet and return it to the oven for 10 minutes or so to brown the sides. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Originally adapted from: Inspired Taste

Ingredients:

(this recipe makes dough for two pie crusts)

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

Directions:

This recipe will make enough dough for two pie crusts. You will need both for this Scotch Egg Pie.

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).


Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

March 30, 2013

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One a penny, two a penny! Hot Cross Buns! That’s right…it’s time for the Hot Cross Buns to make an appearance. I’m sure you’ve been seeing them everywhere, but I must say, look no further! The best Hot Cross Bun recipe can be found right here. This year I made buns with a bit of a twist from the old traditional ones I usually do and baked Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns. Let me just say, they are dee-lish! They are incredibly moist and bursting with apple and cinnamon flavour, most likely due to a fresh homemade apple cinnamon compote which is added to the dough along with golden raisins, and  bits of dried apple. And if that doesn’t tempt you, as soon as these little buns emerge from the oven, they are drenched in a syrupy apple cinnamon glaze. Do I have your attention now? Yum, yum, YUM!

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On Good Friday I always make Hot Cross Buns. I just have to do it. It’s like I have no choice. I find all of the lore surrounding them fascinating! Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and the cross that adorns them is said to be a symbol of the Crucifixion. However, these little buns may even pre-date Christianity. The cross could possibly have been made in honour of the Saxon Goddess Eostre and in that case would have symbolized the four quarters of the moon. The Buns that are actually baked on Good Friday are said to have quite an array of powers besides their delicious taste. For one thing, these pastrys will never get moldy. I actually have been putting a Good Friday baked bun aside for several years now and I can attest, they do not mold!

Preserved Buns from Easters past!

Preserved Buns from Easters past!

Furthermore, if you hang one in your kitchen, it will not only protect your household from fires but will also work as a charm to ensure all of your bread baking endeavours will be successful. Indeed, a dried bun from the previous year, also has medicinal properties. You can grate a bit of it into the liquid of your choice to make a restorative elixir that will help sick folks regain their health. This powder can also be applied directly to wounds with the same curative results. Amazing!

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Now I must stress that only Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday itself have these powers. So most likely you’re going to have to bake them yourself on the actual day to ensure your buns are filled with these magical properties. Hot Cross Buns are made with yeast, so just keep in mind, there are going to be a couple of rise times involved. You need to plan for it and unless you plan on getting up at o’dark thirty to start working on them, you probably won’t have them available for breakfast that morning. But you could have them ready by elevenses! They are a bit of work, but believe me, these buns are so worth it! And I had the most pleasant surprise. When I finished glazing the Hot Cross Buns I actually had some of the Apple Cinnamon Syrup left over. I set it aside and was quite happy to find that it had actually set up upon cooling, leaving me with a scrumptious jelly! Yup….Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns with Apple Cinnamon Jelly. It just keeps getting better! You’ve gotta make these delicious buns today!

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Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

recipe from: Technicolor Kitchen

yield: 20 Buns

Ingredients:

Apple and lemon compote:

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (375 ml) water
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cinnamon quill

Dough:

  • 5 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour (I had to add 1 extra cup flour) + 1/3 cup (46 g) extra for the piping mixture
  • 1 cup (155 g) golden raisins
  • 80 g dried apple, diced
  • 14 g (2 sachets/4 ½ teaspoons) dried yeast
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 5 ½ tablespoons (65 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (375 ml) whole milk
  • 100 g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Start with the compote: combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan, then squeeze in juice of half the lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 3mm-thick slices, add to saucepan with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon quill. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes). Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple. Remove the cinnamon quill, add it to the syrup and set aside.

Combine flour, raisins, dried apple, yeast, ground cinnamon, allspice, zests, sugar, apple compote and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to flour, stirring to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes) – I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook to knead the dough; gradually added 1 cup flour because the mixture was too wet. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl, so just slowly add flour as you are kneading until you see this.
Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough in a large rectangle or concentric circles, placing balls side by side onto prepared sheet, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
Preheat oven to 220°C/428°F. Combine the 1/3 cup extra flour and ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.

Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C/400°F and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (10-12 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and cinnamon quill in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer buns to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!


Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts

March 1, 2013

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It’s here! It’s here! Day #1 of my St. Patrick’s Day countdown of Irish-y recipes. And ya’ll, I’m starting off with a great one! Who doesn’t swoon at the thought of Buttermilk Doughnuts? And these particular Buttermilk Doughnuts are filled with a Chocolate & Raspberry Jam that will bring tears to your eyes. Now I’m sure some of you folks out there in internet land are saying “Uh…How are Chocolate Raspberry Doughnuts particularly Irish?” Well now, keep your britches on for a just a minute and I will make the Irish connection clear.

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The food scene in Ireland today is really changing rapidly. For such a long time when one spoke of Irish cuisine, bland boiled meat and potato was the unfortunate stereotype. But now a days I think most folks are aware that there is a real food renaissance going on in Ireland. The traditional Irish dishes, which were always rustic and filling but were for quite some time ignored, are being revived and served in the most hip restaurants to be found. You see, that wonderful mild climate that gives the country such gorgeous green vistas also produces an abundance of world-class fresh ingredients from wonderful grass-fed beef and dairy cows to gorgeous fresh fruit and vegetables. There is an emphasis on seasonal, locally sourced, quality food. And this new-found emphasis on fresh and local has created a resurgence in artisan producers. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of farmers markets in the country. Now farmers markets are amazing because you often get to meet the actual people who grow and craft the delicious food you are purchasing. (Lets take another look at those doughnuts…)

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Last October, Jay and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel over to Ireland to visit friends and family. Much to our delight, The 6th Annual Dingle Peninsula Food Festival was taking place while we were there. Now, if you are planning a trip to Ireland, let me just say, the Dingle Peninsula is a must see for your trip. National Geographic has declared it “the most beautiful place on earth” and it is ranked as one of Trip Advisors “Top 100 destinations in the world”.

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So, if you can manage to plan it so that you are there during the Food Festival, it will just be icing on the cake. The little town of Dingle really turns out for the festival! They have a “Taste Trail” which encompasses over 60 locations from pubs to galleries to shops. Walking that food trail was incredibly fun and tasty! The way it works is that you buy a book of taste tickets and then set off on the trail. Each location has a sample of featured local cuisine. We had kangaroo skewers (betcha didn’t know there were kangaroos in Ireland huh?), Spinach and Gruyère crepes and charming butterfly cakes, a pint or two of micro brew, plus many other tasty delicacies. We could barely waddle back home! But in addition to the food trail frenzy,  there are cookery demonstrations, food workshops, live music, the Farmers Forum, farmer’s/food markets and the Annual Blas Na hÉireann (Taste of Ireland): National Irish Food Awards. Blas Na hÉireann is the biggest competition of its type in Ireland. The prestigious awards, given as gold, silver and bronze in over 60 categories, are considered to be the ultimate benchmark of quality Irish produce and its passionate producers.. That’s where the Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves that I used to fill my lovely Buttermilk doughnuts come in. (Ahhh…it’s getting clearer…) My friend Theresa and her family own The Green Apron,  a small artisan preserve company located Derryclough, Ballingarry, (overlooking Knockfierna – the famous fairy hill) in County Limerick, Ireland. She makes those stunning preserves, which won a silver award in the Blas Na hÉireann Jams, Marmalades and Conserves category! That in itself was fantastic, but she didn’t stop there. Oh no. Theresa also won the Gold in that same category for her Apricot, Orange & Almond Conserve,

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Theresa & her daughter Athene accepting the Gold and Silver Awards

and she won a Silver in the Dips & Seasonings category for her Italian Butter Mix and last but not least The Green Apron won Best in Farmer’s Market for Small Producers for their stand in the Limerick Milk Market.

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Four awards! Woohoo!!! Over that exciting weekend Theresa also taught a cookery class entitled “Preserving Your Harvest” and was able to man The Green Apron stall, with the help of family and friends. I tell you, she is unstoppable! I was lucky enough to bring a jar of the award-winning Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves, with a clear Irish pedigree, back home with me. Now, I must confess, I can’t tell you the recipe for it. No, no, no. Top secret and all. Well, I guess I could divulge it, but then would have to track you down and kill you all before Theresa was able to take me out. What I will say, is that if you are in Ireland, you simply must get ahold of a jar. You can find the Green Apron in the Limerick Milk Market every Saturday. They also do some other markets and fairs from time to time, so check their Facebook page for updates. Or you can email Theresa directly to discuss the possibilities of mail order. For all of you in other locales, if you’re in Ireland, try to catch her at the Milk Market, or you can find her at the next Dingle Peninsula Food Festival.

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Otherwise, you’ll just have to find your own favourite, scrumptious jam to fill your doughnuts with. Check out your local farmer’s markets and I’m sure you’ll find some wonderful artisan producers. Or get busy and make up a batch of your favourite fruit. A quality jam will make all the difference in your doughnuts. I can remember I wouldn’t go anywhere near a jam or jelly filled anything when I was younger. It was something about the texture and that fact that the jelly tasted sort of plastic and not like any particular fruit. If it was supposedly strawberry or raspberry, it often just tasted vaguely “pink”. There was never any real fruit flavour shining through, just sweet goo. That is not the case with my Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts. Not only is the cake portion of the doughnut moist and tender, but it is also bursting with vibrant raspberry preserves, with a rich chocolate undertones.

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For those of you who just can’t get enough chocolate, I dipped several of my doughnuts in a chocolate glaze. I also covered some with granulated sugar. Now you know how parents supposedly don’t favour one child over another, or at least would never admit to it? Well, I gotta say, whilst the sugar tossed doughnuts are lovely, but the chocolate glazed, Chocolate & Raspberry filled ones will make you go weak in the knees!

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These doughnuts are baked, not fried, sooo….I guess that means they’re good for you? Alright, it probably means they are less bad for you than their deep-fried cousins, which you will not miss in the least, especially not the calories and fat part, after you get a bite of these much trimmer little devils. There is no yeast involved, so you don’t have to worry with rise times. And the recipe is flexible, if you don’t have a doughnut pan, you can make these up as muffins and stuff them full of the jam of your choice as well.

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Easy and Delicious! Now that’s what I like to hear!

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Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts

yield: 8 doughnuts

Recipe adapted from: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Ingredients:

For the doughnuts:

  • 7 Tablespoons (3 1/2 oz/105 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup (5 oz./155 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Green Apron’s Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves (or your favourite preserve)

For the toppings:

Sugar coated:

  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate Glazed: 

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon hot water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180°C). Grease Doughnut pan with butter or butter-flavoured nonstick cooking spray.

In stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating well to incorporate  until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in two additions, alternating with the butter milk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. the batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon batter into each doughnut cavity until it is 1/3 full. Place Green Apron’s Chocolate & Raspberry Preserve (our your favourite jam) in a pastry bag and pipe a line of the preserves in the center of each doughnut. Cover the preserves with doughnut batter until each cavity is approximately 2/3 full. Don’t overfill the individual doughnut cups or you’ll lose the doughnut shape during baking.

Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 minutes or until the top of the doughnut spring back when touched. Let them cool in the pan for 4-5 minutes before removing.

To add sugar-coating:

Place granulated sugar in ziplock bag. Dip the cooled doughnut in melted butter. Place doughnut in bag and gently turn until coated with sugar.

To Glaze with chocolate:

In medium bowl, microwave chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir until completely melted. Add hot water and mix until the glaze is smooth. If glaze is too thick, add more water until it reaches desired consistency.

Dip doughnuts into chocolate and place on wire rack until glaze has hardened.

Enjoy!


Herbed Chickpea Frittata

April 10, 2012

So while you are still thinking about eggs after Easter, I thought I’d share a recipe for Herbed Chickpea Frittata. What an absolutely perfect Spring dish! It is chock full of a ton of fresh herbs which give it it’s lovely spring-green colour. And I must say, in this house, chickpeas get top billing. We love those little guys! So when I saw a recipe for Herbed Chickpea Frittata, I just knew I had to make it.

I did alter a couple of things from the recipe which inspired me. I did not add any mint into the mixture, having none on hand. And I added feta cheese sprinkled liberally over the top of the frittata. The Mess in the Kitchen blog also recommended serving it with fresh squeezed lemon juice, which I’m sure would be lovely and go along fantastically with the whole Spring feel of the dish. We actually served it up with some Tzatziki sauce, which was also quite tasty.

The dish is very easy to prepare, comes together quickly and tastes wonderfully fresh with all of those chopped herbs. I thinks you can even feel somewhat virtuous about eating something which must be healthy. I mean, just look at all those herbs! If you want to just take it over the top healthy, to make up for all of that Easter candy you’ve been eating, serve it for brunch with a green salad. Healthy and delicious! Try it today!

Herbed Chickpea Frittata

recipe adapted from: Mess in the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 500 g canned chickpeas
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 20 g cilantro
  • 2o g parsley
  • 60 g chives
  • 10 g dill
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • two pinches saffron
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 8 eggs
  • salt (about 1 tsp)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, roasted
  • 1/2 Cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • tzatziki sauce for serving if desired

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Rinse Chickpeas and set aside.

Roast pine nuts until golden and set aside.

Chop all the herbs and put them in a food processor with eggs, onion, garlic and chickpeas.

Pulse until everything is well combined but not totally pureed.

Add the other ingredients and pulse.

Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Pour the frittata batter into your pan. Sprinkle Feta Cheese evenly over the top.

Place fritatta on a baking sheet and insert it  into the oven. Bake it for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!


Scallion Cheddar Scones

March 27, 2012

The other day, I had a craving for a savory scone and these little fellows really hit the spot! They are wonderfully moist and tender. The cheddar, scallion and Dijon mustard are just brilliant together. These scones are great for breakfast but equally as good for lunch when served with a bowl of soup, chili or stew.

You can make these in the traditional triangular scone shape, but I wanted these to be in a mini sized portion. A 2″ biscuit cutter worked quite easily here. Come to think of it, they would be great for appetizers, given their perfect little bite-size as well. Just imagine them topped with a little slice of ham. I must admit, I did make them to go along with a particular spread, which I will be blogging about next time. Like a hint? It involves bacon and is unbelievably tasty! Perhaps even life changing…But until then, make up a batch of these little gems, which are fantastic all on their own, especially when slathered with butter! YUM!

Scallion Cheddar Scones

recipe from: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

yield: 20 mini scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups (8 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick, 3 ounces) cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 Cup (2 3/4 ounces) cream or sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Cup (4 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3-5 scallions (1 Cup, 2 ounces) chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F

Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Rub in the butter with your fingers.

Mix together the eggs, cream, and mustard. Add this to the dry ingredients. Stir in the grated cheese and the scallions. Mix just until combined. This is the consistency of drop-cookie dough.

Liberally flour the counter and your hands. Pat the dough to 1″ thickness. Cut dough with 2″ biscuit cutter. (You can also shape these into traditional scone triangular shapes. If you wish to do this pat the dough into a 6×9″ rectangle, about 1″ thick. Cut the rectangle into 6 smaller rectangles, and cut each smaller rectangle into two triangles, forming 12 triangular scones.)Place on well-greased or parchment covered cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a scone comes out dry.

Enjoy!


Boxty in the Pan

March 12, 2012

Boxty on the Griddle,

Boxty in the Pan,

If you can’t make Boxty

Sure you’ll never get a man!

 So goes an old Irish folk rhyme. Boxty or arán bocht tí in Irish-meaning poor house bread, is a traditional potato bread which can be made into pancakes (on the griddle), dumplings or baked into a loaf (in the pan). Last year I made the boxty on the griddle, or the pancake variety. This year I decided to serve up some Boxty in the Pan. For this version, you prepare the batter and then place it in a loaf pan and bake it. Once it has cooled, you slice it and then fry it in butter on the griddle. It can be served with breakfast, slathered with more butter (of course….you know this is going to taste great!) and topped with bacon or honey/preserves if you have a hankerin for something sweet along with your savoury. Boxty is quite versatile so it can also be served with dinner or with various toppings like smoked salmon. Yum, yum, yum!

Boxty is very easy to make. You get to use up any left over mashed potatoes you might have lingering about, like you were able to in my Potato Farls recipe. Grating the raw potato by hand can be a bit tiresome, but luckily I have a food processor and put it to good use. One other thing you want to make sure you do is squeeze all of the excess liquid out of the grated raw potatoes. To do this, I wrap the grated potato in a cotton tea towel and give it a good squeeze. Then you just mix everything together to make the batter and pour it into a loaf tin and pop it into the oven. About one hour later it’s ready! You can keep the Boxty in the fridge for 4-5 days and cut slices off to fry whenever the craving hits you…which could potentially be quite often once you get a taste of this dish. Just a warning…. My husband was quite pleased with the Gaelic Boxty from last year and happily was just as enthusiastic about my Boxty in the Pan. Have a loaf ready for St. Patrick’s Day morning!

Boxty in the Pan

recipe adapted from The Daily Spud & Gallagher’s Boxty House

Ingredients:

  • 250 gram raw grated potato
  • 250 gram mashed potatoes
  • 160 gram All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter a 4×8″ loaf baking tin.

In medium-sized bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside.

Peel and grate raw potato. (I used a food processor to grate mine) Place grated potato in cotton or linen dish towel and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.

In large bowl, place mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes. Add flour mixture and knead to form dough.

Add buttermilk and stir to combine. Batter will be thick.

Pour batter into prepared baking tin. Drizzle melted butter over the top of the boxty. Bake for 60 minutes until top is golden brown.

Allow boxty to cool.

On the day you wish to serve, slice thick cut of the boxty. Butter slice and place on griddle to fry.

Serve warm with more butter and toppings of your choice.

Enjoy!


Potato Farls

March 3, 2012

My friend Theresa introduced me to Potato Farls while I was living in Ireland. I am eternally grateful to her! I LOVE Potato Farls. But what are they you might ask. Potato Farls are a type of bread where potato replaces a portion of the flour. Traditionally served with breakfast, they are pan-fried, usually in butter.  Although they are more typically found in Ulster and Northern Ireland, we were still able to find them in the Republic where we were living. The type that we most commonly would buy were square pieces of potato bread, lightly floured and about 1 cm thick. They usually came in packs of four.

A package of farls

But let me tell you that technical definition does not do them justice. They are spectacularly tasty and will put most hash browns to shame! Don’t get me wrong, I love all potato dishes. But Potato Farls hold a special place in my heart. Of course when I came back to the States, Farls were scarce to say the least! So I had to figure out how to make some of my own. After searching about and quite a few attempts, I came up with a recipe that I’m very happy with. Mine are definitely different from the type found in Ireland that I was used to, but are indeed quite welcome in this farl-less land. Some of the differences between mine and the Irish variety are that I’ve added cheddar cheese to mine. I also cut mine out with a 2″ biscuit cutter, rather than sticking to the square shape. I’ve found that they are much crisper this way than either the square form or the triangle shape that you get when you cut a circle of dough into quarters. But feel free to shape these little gems anyway you like. I guarantee that you will love them any way they’re served up. These farls are very easy to make. You mix left-over mashed potatoes with some flour, salt and pepper and knead it until it forms a dough.

Rolled out farl dough

Then you roll it out to 1/4″ to 1/2 ” thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out the individual farls.

Farls cut out and ready to fry!

Cook them in a greased frying pan until golden brown.

YUM!!!

 My husband and I love these Potato Farls so much that we look for excuses to make mashed potatoes (as if anyone would need an excuse…) and then make way more than necessary. Like I will buy a five-pound bag of potatoes and cook them all when I’m only making dinner for two. Yes indeed, I’ve now started freezing my farls so that I will always have some ready when that Potato Farl craving calls. Try a batch of these with your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Farl-licious Breakfast

You won’t be disappointed though might possibly become addicted…

Potato Farls

yield: 8 farls

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup cold leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil or butter in which to fry farls ( I often use bacon grease)

Directions:

Place left over potatoes, flour and shredded cheese in bowl. Mix by kneading until it comes together into a soft dough. I usually use my hands to do this, spoons never seem to get the job done easily.

Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to a circle about 1/2″ thick. At this point, you can choose to fry the whole circle and cut it into quarters once it has finished frying. For smaller round farls, using a 2″ biscuit cutter, cut out farls, re-rolling farl dough as necessary.

Heat oil or butter as you wish in a frying pan over medium high heat. ( I usually use bacon fat to fry them in, but of course, butter is lovely as well! Also, I prefer to use a cast iron pan, as the farls seem to come out crispier when I do.) Once pan and oil are nice and hot, add farls to pan.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over the Farls and cook until golden brown and then flip and cook the other side in same manner.

Enjoy!

*I will often make up a big batch of farl dough, cut out the farls and then freeze the uncooked farls, so that we can have farls at hand even when there hasn’t been any mashed potatoes about. Generally, I don’t even bother defrosting them when we’re ready to cook some up, but just pop them right into the pan frozen. That being said, they do tend to cause the oil to splatter and pop more when frozen so be cautious!


Sausage Rolls

March 2, 2012

Ahhh….Sausage Rolls. Oh how I’ve missed you! I was able to have a good old Sausage Roll practically anytime I wanted while living in Ireland. They are sold in many bakeries and convenience stores there. However, they are quite scarce here in Virginia. So I was completely over the moon when I came across this recipe for Sausage Rolls. These rolls are fundamentally the same as the Irish Sausage Rolls,  it is sausage meat rolled up in a puff pastry. I mean really, how can you go wrong? However, Irish Sausage is quite different from the sausages you find here in the States. In Ireland, the meat is pork, however, the texture is completely different, it is ground really finely and usually has some finely ground bread added in as well. I also didn’t feel it was as spicy as the sausage found here. I suppose if you really wanted to be authentic, you could search for some Irish Sausages from an Import store. However if you’d like to just get the gist of what they’re like, give these a try. In my Sausage Rolls, I used “hot” breakfast sausage, so they are spicy indeed. This recipe also has you throw in some ground or mince beef, garlic, BBQ and Worcestershire sauce. What you have here is an Irish Sausage Roll, but kicked-up a few notches in the spice department. They are ridiculously yummy! You can eat them hot, cold or room temperature or for breakfast, lunch, a snack or dinner. Cut up in smaller pieces, they would make fantastic little appetizers. I froze quite a few of these little devils when I made this batch and am quite happy with how they do with freezing. Make a batch and your family will be over the moon as well!

Sausage Rolls

recipe from: Manus menu

yield: 18 sausage rolls

Ingredients:

  • 15.75 oz. – 450 grams – ground (mince) beef
  • 14 oz. – 400 grams – pork sausage, skin removed – I used “hot” breakfast sausage
  • 1 big onion, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup Panko (or bread crumbs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 sheets puff pastry, thawed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450° F ( 230° C)

Put the ground beef, sausage, grated onion, garlic, sauces, Panko, salt and pepper and 1 of the eggs in a big bowl.  Mix well with your hands.  The consistency should be the same as that of meatballs.

Cut each thawed pastry sheet in half . Take a handful of meat, make a sausage as long as the long side of the half pastry sheet and place it towards one of the edges.  Brush the edges with some beaten egg.  Roll up the sausage roll leaving the ends open. Cut the roll into 3 equal parts.  Score the tops diagonally with a sharp knife and brush them with the remaining beaten egg .

Bake in a preheated oven for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF  (180° C) and cook for another 20 minutes.

These sausage rolls can be frozen, thawed and reheated as needed.

Enjoy!


Chocolate Cinnamon Babka French Toast

January 27, 2012

I made a great loaf of Chocolate Cinnamon Babka not too long ago. We mostly scarfed it up right away, but I did manage to squirrel away a few pieces for just this purpose. What can I say? I’m sure your imagination can run wild with this one! It was awwwwwwwesome! The orange zest really complements the chocolate in the Babka. I didn’t even need any syrup, though I couldn’t resist the butter :) If you are planning on making that Babka, do your best to save a few morsel for this treat!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka French Toast

yield: 6 slices

Ingredients:

  • 6 thick slices of Chocolate Cinnamon Babka
  • 6 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • Finely grated orange zest from one large orange
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and orange vest.

Add Babka slices to the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly.

Leave the bread in the egg mixture for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to soak up some of the liquid.

Lightly oil a griddle and heat it over medium-high heat. Remove the bread from the egg mixture and place on the hot griddle.

Cook until the babka is a golden brown, 1-2 minutes and then flip and cook the other side

Serve hot with butter and syrup if desired.

Enjoy!


Deviled Scotch Eggs

January 23, 2012

O thou! whatever title suit thee,–

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
Clos’d under hatches, 
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
To scaud poor wretches!

*Spairges:to bespatter by flinging/Brunstane cootie:BrimstoneBowl

Robert Burns “Address to the Devil”

That’s Right! Robbie Burns Night is coming up soon. Traditionally, Burns Night celebrations are held near the poet’s birthday, January 25th. It was through a post about a Robbie Burns Night last year that I first learned about Scotch Eggs. Having never encountered one before, I nearly couldn’t go on until I made them. I think I instantly fell in love. Are you kidding me, a hard-boiled egg, enrobed in sausage, rolled in Panko and deep-fried?!! Be still my heart!

So this year I decided to step it up a bit and make Deviled Scotch Eggs. (Hence I thought an excerpt from the Burns poem “Address to the Devil” appropriate – if you haven’t read this poem before, it’s pretty amusing, if you can manage to get past his Scots dialect. I provided some translations.) Basically, I made the Deep Fried Scotch Eggs that I did last year, but then I cut them in half, took out the yolks, deviled them and stuck them back in and sprinkled them with paprika. I wanted to sprinkle them with bacon bits, but I didn’t have any on hand. Oh dear Lord! What has gotten into me? These Deviled Scotch Eggs are awesome.! I will say, if you’re feeling a bit more healthy, Edible Ireland has some awesome Oven Baked Scotch Eggs, you might want to check out. If you’re interested in the history and origins of the Eggs, check out my Scotch Eggs blog from last February. This year I served them along with a salad, fresh fruit, and of course, chips.

I mean I already had the deep-fryer fired up. How could I not throw a few potatoes in? I think I might just feel my arteries clogging as I type. But really folks, sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy some awesomely bad for you comfort food and my Deviled Scotch Eggs are just what you need! (if not what the doctor ordered :) )

Deviled Scotch Eggs

yield: 12 Deviled Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. bulk sausage-we prefer “hot” but  country-style or herbed would work just fine.
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs-shells removed
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 raw eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 Cup Panko
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying

For the Deviling Process:

  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s English Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • paprika and crumbled bacon to garnish

Directions:

For the Scotch Eggs:

Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer to 365° F.

Cover counter top with large sheet of waxed paper.

Divide the sausage into six equal portions.

Flatten the sausage into thin circles.

Place an egg in the center of each round. Enclose each egg completely in the sausage.

Dredge the sausage-coated eggs in flour, dip them in the raw egg and then roll them in the Panko until they are entirely coated.

Fry Scotch Eggs two at a time for 10 minutes.

Transfer to paper towels and allow to cool to touch.

To Devil them:

Halve the Scotch Eggs lengthwise and remove the yolks.

Mash the yolks with a fork and then place them in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

Using a pastry bag or sandwich bag with an end snipped off, pipe the yolk mixture back into the Scotch Eggs.

Garnish with paprika and bacon crumbles.

Enjoy!


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