Cranberry Bannocks

January 24, 2017

img_5401I’mmmmmm back! Just like last year, and I think every year before that, I have great intentions of keeping up with this blog. Then…wham! The holidays run me right over and don’t post one word. You’d think I’d figure it out and just sign off to everyone right around Thanksgiving. I’m always back at it by January 25th, which is tomorrow, so I’m right on time. And what is the significance on January 25th? It is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. And I’ve got a great traditional Scottish recipe to share with you, just perfect for the day…Cranberrry Bannocks!img_5389Bannocks, sometimes called griddle scones, are a quick bread which are cooked on top of the stove rather than baked in the oven. They are very similar to scones otherwise. Indeed in Scotland the words “bannock” and “scone” are often used interchangeably. Before the 19th Century bannocks were cooked on a “bannock stane” which was a slab of sandstone which was placed on top of a fire. Traditionally they were made with an oatmeal or barley flour and they could be either savory or sweet. One of the most famous types of bannocks is the Selkirk Bannock with is very similar to a fruitcake, chock full of raisins. They can be found in most supermarkets in the UK. Last year I shared a delicious recipe for Scottish Pancakes, or Drop Scones:IMG_3583

The year before was Steak Auld Reekie over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

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The one prior to that was Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade:

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Then there was that fabulous Scotch Egg Pie:

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And I can’t forget that  Cock-a-leekie Soup:

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Which I always serve up with fresh toasted Struan:

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And I don’t want to forget those mouth-wateringly delicious Scotch Eggs:

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which I have also done Deviled.

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So there you have it! That is quite a few Scottish recipes which would be very welcome at any Burn’s Night festivities. This years darling little Cranberry Bannocks would perhaps be best suited for a Burn’s Breakfast. They are soft and tender and delicious warm off the griddle, especially slathered with butter!

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Now I will say, these Bannocks are not sweet on their own and derive all their sweetness from the cranberries or whatever jam you might spread on top. If you prefer a sweeter bread, you might want to add a Tablespoon or two of sugar to the mix. I thought they were just perfect as they were. And I’m sure The Bard himself would approve. He actually mentioned Bannocks in his Epistle to James Tennant of Glenconner.

An’ Lord, remember singing Sannock,

Wi’ hale breeks, saxpence, an’ a bannock!

So tomorrow you should get busy, griddle some bannocks and don’t forget to raise a glass and drink a wee dram or two to Rabbie Burns!

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Cranberry Bannocks

  • Servings: 8 bannocks
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Vagabond Baker

Ingredients:

  • 50 grams dried cranberries, chopped
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for rolling out
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil (vegetable or coconut oil)
  • 150 grams buttermilk

Directions:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the chopped cranberries.

Add the oil to the buttermilk and stir.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture  and pour 2/3 of the buttermilk mixture into it. Gently begin to mix together with your hands, adding more buttermilk as needed until you have a soft dough.

Lightly flour a surface and turn the dough out onto it. Give it a couple more kneads, but take care not to overwork the dough or the bannocks will be tough.

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. Flatten the balls and roll them out into a circle, about 1/2″ tall.

Cut each circle into quarters.

Place an ungreased frying pan over low to medium heat. Once it is hot add one of bannock circles (4 pieces) to the pan. Cook the bannocks for a 5 – 8 minutes on each side. They should rise to double their thickness while cooking.

Cool on a wire rack and serve with lashings of butter, jam and clotted cream if you wish!

Enjoy!

Cranberry Bannocks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Steak “Auld Reekie” over Crispy Tatties & Neeps

January 23, 2015

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So hold on a second here! We’ve still got a couple of days til we get to Burns Night. For all of you folks who missed my last posting (it’s still up so you could just take a peek now…) Sunday January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns, the National Poet of Scotland. On that night folks throughout the world will remember him and celebrate with a Burns Night Supper. I just gave you a great Scottish dessert recipe (Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade…take a look…you know you want to…) and I just couldn’t resist throwing another recipe into the mix this year – Steak Auld Reekie over Crispy Tatties & Neeps. I’m just imagining the big question mark a lot of you must have hovering over your faces right now. Anything “old reekie” doesn’t sound very appetizing huh? And what the heck is “tatties & neeps” right?!!  So let me explain.  Reek is the Scots word for smoke, not for something horribly stinky as you might have imagined. Auld Reekie was the nickname given to Edinburgh back in the day when it was full of smoke from all of the open coal fires burning in the city. Steak Auld Reekie is not then some putrified filet, but it is rather a classic Victorian dish of fried steaks with a cream and smoked cheese sauce. Get it….smoked cheese gives the dish that lovely smoky taste which is reminiscent of smoky old Edinburgh from back in the day. And of course it has a bit of Scotch whisky thrown in for good measure.

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Now Tatties & Neeps are simply Potatoes and Turnips (also known as Swede or Rutabaga). Haggis with Tatties & Neeps are the quintessential dishes served at a traditional Burns Night Supper. The Tatties & Neeps in that case are prepared similar to chunky, roughly mashed potatoes. Since I was not going to be serving Haggis (I actually like it…) but Steak Auld Reekie I decided to do a variation on the traditional Tatties & Neeps. I grated the potatoes and swede, formed them into a panko crusted pancake and fried them to a crispy golden brown. Now I made the pancakes fairly large, 5″ – 6″,  so that I could serve the steaks and sauce on top of them. However, you could make smaller sized patties if you wanted to serve them as a side dish, perhaps with a little dollop of sour cream and Coleman’s mustard.

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I will warn you, the whole process of making the Crispy Tatties & Neeps was messy. It is really challenging to work with those raw pancakes and I also found it difficult to just leave them be once I had gotten them into the frying pan. I wanted to keep poking at them and checking the bottom. Don’t do it! They need 5 minutes undisturbed! Fooling with them simply makes them fall to pieces and you’ll end up with a pan of hash browns, which I guess isn’t really a bad thing at all, but likely not what you’re going for here. Of course it’s always nice to have an escape route should kitchen disaster strike…”Yeah…we’re having Steak Auld Reekie and Tatties & Neeps Hash!” So this Sunday don’t forget Scotland’s favourite son. I’ll leave you with a little snippet of a toast written to Rabbie Burns by Stewart Archibald of Ballater, Scotland:

His name still ranks amongst the best fae the bonnie Scottish shores, His words they still work wonders and open mony doors, So as we gather here the nicht lets toast the Ayrshire man, Fa maks us friens thru troubled times in far flung foreign lands. Pit doon yir fags, get on yir feet and raise yir gless up high, Let’s toast and hope his name lives on, till a’ the seas rin dry.

“RABBIE BURNS”

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Steak Auld Reekie with Crispy Tatties & Neeps

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Steak Auld Reekie from:  Rampant Scotland: Traditional Scottish Recipes

Fried Tattie & Neeps inspired by: Epicurious

Steak Auld Reekie

Ingredients:

  • Four 8 oz (250 g) fillets of Aberdeen Angus Steak
  • 4 Tablespoons Scotch Whisky
  • 13 fluid ounces (350g) heavy cream
  • 4 oz. (125 grams) grated smoked cheese
  • 1 oz. (25 g) butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Grill or pan fry the steaks to your preference and keep warm. Pour whisky into a pan (the same one if you are pan frying a sauce pan if you are grilling) and flambé. Add cream and grated cheese and bring to the simmering point. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has been reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the butter. When ready to serve, place steaks on top of Crispy Tatties & Neeps panackes and pour sauce over the steaks.

Crispy Tatties & Neeps

Ingredients:

  • 1 large russet potato, washed and peeled
  • 1 yellow turnip or rutabaga
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Panko
  • olive oil for frying
  • sour cream and spicy mustard

Directions:

Grate potato and turnip. This can be done by hand or with a food processor. (Lazy me choses the processor every time). In medium bowl combine grated potato and turnip with onions, chives and egg. Mix together.

Heat oil in a skillet. Form tennis ball sized portions of the potato/turnip mixture, using an ice cream scoop and then compact it a bit more with you hands. Transfer potato turnip ball to one hand and with the other grab some of the panko. Place the potato/turnip ball on top of the held panko. With your recently freed hand grab more panko and press down over the top of the potato/turnip ball. Gently place it in frying pan. Push down on ball with a spatula to flatten into a 5″ – 6″ pancake. Now here is what might be the hard part for some of you folks. Don’t touch it for about 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes has passed and it is golden brown on bottom, turn pancake over and cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer to ovenproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining portions.

Enjoy!

Steak Auld Reekie with Crispy Tatties & Neeps brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade

January 20, 2015

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O.k. It seems like corks were just popping on New Year’s Eve and BAM...next thing I know we’ve nearly reached the end of January! Indeed the 25th will be happening this Sunday. So what is the significance of January 25th you might ask. Well, throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, folks will be celebrating with a Burns Night Supper to mark the occasion. Robert Burns, who is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland, was born on that day in 1759. 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 Scotch Egg Pie, which is a type of meat pie that has spicy sausage surrounding an inner circle of hard-boiled eggs all wrapped up in a buttery flaky pie crust.

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The year before I shared 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 that 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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So I have already set the bar pretty high for myself when it comes to Scottish delicacies for your Burn’s Night Supper. Nevertheless, I think I’ve risen to the challenge yet again. This year I’m going to turn my attention from the savory to the sweet. I’ve got a great Scottish dessert I’d like to share with you, Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade Sauce. Now I bet that’s got you drooling huh?

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Dundee Cake is a famous traditional Scottish fruit cake which hales from…bet you guessed it already huh? Yup…Dundee. You see, there is a famous marmalade company, Keiller’s, which is located in Dundee and they are credited with developing this recipe in the 19th Century. Actually, there is a chance that although they popularized this cake at that time, the recipe is much older, dating back to the 16th century perhaps. The legend goes that Mary Queen of Scots did not like glace cherries in her cakes. I can’t say I blame her. I think those things are quite suspicious to say the least. So the classic fruit cake recipe was somewhat altered for her and a cake was made without the usual cherries, but with blanched almonds instead.

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Dundee Cake is often served at Christmas time throughout the British Isles, but definitely in Scotland. Indeed, recently the town of Dundee has put in a bid to have Dundee Cake awarded a Protected Geographical Indicator Status from the European Commission. That will prevent anyone who is not from Dundee from selling a cake labeled as Dundee Cake. You know, it is like Champagne. Champagne is only bottled in Champagne France. If it is produced in any other locale, it is not Champagne and needs to be called Sparkling wine. If the Dundee Cake is awarded PGI status, consumers will have 100% guarantee of its authenticity and confidence that they will enjoy all of the unique characteristics that have long been associated with this type of cake traditionally made in Dundee.

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So what is this cake like? Well, it is delicious of course! And don’t even start raising your eyebrows and giving me that “are you kidding me… it is a fruit cake” kind of face. Unlike many fruitcakes you might have encountered in the past that were most likely used as a door stop rather than eaten, this cake is light and buttery with a touch spice and warm citrus notes. Not to mention that it is chock full of juicy, whisky soaked fruit and festooned with circles of almonds.

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Notice I spelled whisky properly here. When referring to Scotch, there is no “e” in whisky. And speaking of whisky, don’t forget that each slice of this moist, rich cake should be served with a generous pour of Hot Whiskey Marmalade Sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Yum! It will change everything you thought you knew about fruitcakes! I hope I have inspired you to host a Burns Night Supper of your own or at least to raise a wee dram and drink a toast to Scotland’s Favourite Son this Sunday.

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Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade Sauce

  • Servings: one 8 inch cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Epicurious

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Scotch whisky (plus more for soaking fruit)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup dark raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup chopped candied orange peel (I used mixed candied peel from King Arthur Flour)
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • Whole blanched almonds (Can’t find pre-blanched almonds in the store? No problem. See instructions below**.)

For the Hot Whisky Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons whisky
  • 4 oranges

Freshly whipped cream for serving.

Directions:

For the cake:

The night prior to baking, place the raisins and currants in a bowl. Pour enough whisky over fruit to cover it. Allow fruit to soak overnight. This is an optional step, but I believe that it not only allows the fruit to plump up a bit, but it gives it a wonderful boozy flavour!

Preheat oven to 300°F. Butter 8-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides; line bottom with parchment paper. You could also use a springform pan or if your 8″ cake round does not have 2″ high sides, line the sides with parchment paper to gain the 2″ height. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and spice into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, whisky, and grated orange peel in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir in dry ingredients, then all dried fruits and candied peel. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake 1 hour. Remove cake from oven. Brush top with 2 tablespoons marmalade. Arrange almonds around edge, pressing lightly to adhere. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer. Cool cake completely in pan on rack. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.) Turn cake out of pan; peel off parchment. Place upright on plate.

For the Whisky Sauce:

Combine marmalade and whisky in medium saucepan. Cut all peel and white pith from oranges. Working over bowl to catch juices, cut between membranes, releasing orange segments. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice from bowl to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until marmalade melts and sauce is heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to serving bowl.

Serve cake with warm sauce, orange segments, and whipped cream.

Enjoy!

Dundee Cake with Hot Whisky Marmalade Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

*Don’t have pumpkin pie spice?: Pumpkin pie spice is a combination of mostly cinnamon, with some ginger, allspice and nutmeg added into the mix. This recipe only calls for 1/8 tsp. of the spice. You could just add a dash of the above spices and call it a day.

**How to blanch almonds: Take raw unsalted almonds and drop them in boiling water. Allow them to boil for 60 seconds, but no longer. Remove almonds to a colander and rinse them with cold water. Blot them dry with a paper towel. The skins can easily be removed at this point by simply squeezing the almond between your fingers. Let the almonds dry entirely. Voila! You now have blanched almonds ready to use in this recipe.


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).


Cock-a-leekie

January 24, 2013

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Some hae meat and canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae let the Lord be thankit.

*The Selkirk Grace *

as delivered by Robert Burns

This Friday, January 25th, is Robert Burns’ birthday. 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 wanted to give you a nice Scottish recipe in case you were planning on holding such a celebration as well. My first inclination was to make Haggis, that great chieftain o’ the puddin-race, as Burns put it.  But I quickly realized that it would likely be difficult to come across the ingredients. Since I couldn’t even find lard around here, I think sourcing out a sheep’s heart, lungs and stomach would be quite the challenge! So, I decided on Cock-a-leekie soup, a standard starter at many a Burn’s Night Supper. And an easy choice for me because my husband is absolutely mad for anything with a leek in it. (Must be that Welsh blood in him.)

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This soup is very easy to make and delicious to boot! The first time that I made it, I was a bit nervous about adding in the prunes. I thought a fruit would taste quite odd in a chicken soup. But although you see bits of prunes in the mix, you don’t get a sweet, fruit taste when you eat them. They add to the overall flavour of the dish and I think they would definitely be missed if they were omitted. You’ll have to trust me on that. I served my Cock-a-leekie soup up with some toasted Struan bread.

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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. Click here for the Struan recipe that I use. If you are looking for some other dishes to serve at your Burns Supper, take a look at my Scotch Eggs, ( a hard boiled egg encased in sausage and then deep fried.)

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Deviled Scotch Eggs (the eggs as described above, but with the yolk part “deviled”.)

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and Chranachan for dessert. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

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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 Friday.

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Cock-a-leekie

recipe from: Martha Stewart

yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (on the bone; 4 pieces)
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless chicken breast halves (on the bone; 3 pieces)
  • Four 14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 2 cups white wine or water
  • 2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts.

Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve.

Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve.

Enjoy!

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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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