Hot Crust Sausage Rolls

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IMG_20140930_141525[1] 30/09/2014

These are the best thing I’ve baked in quite a while and there’s not even peanut butter in them. You just cannot beat homemade and these juicy, meaty, flaky, buttery sausage rolls are a casing point – they’re insane!

With the sausage meat, use any sausage meat that you like. You can use your favourite flavoured sausages or just good old plain pork. I would just recommend that you use a nice, good quality meat.

The homemade rough puff pastry is a definite must! I know it takes a while to make but the flavour and texture can NOT be rivalled. The addition of a few spices in the dough makes these something extra special too.

You do not want the butter incorporated into the flour at the beginning. It should remain in chunks that will become dispersed through the pastry as you fold and chill it creating delicate layers that will puff up to make the most amazing light and crispy casing.

Don’t be alarmed if you find a lot of fat has leaked out during baking either. This is quite normal. Just remove the rolls with a slotted spatula to a wire rack with some kitchen paper on to soak any excess liquid. The pastry will stay wonderfully flaky and crisp this way.

Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 225g ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 150ml cold milk
  • 500g sausages, any sort
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 beaten egg

Method:

  1. Place the flour, mustard powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, baking powder and butter in a bowl, toss the butter though then stir in the milk to make a lumpy sough without kneading.
  2. Using lots of flour, roll the dough out to 30cm across. Fold it in by thirds, roll again, fold again and chill for 30 minutes. Repeat this rolling, folding and chilling twice more before rolling the pastry out to about 30cm x 45cm and cutting it into three 30cm x 15cm strips.
  3. Heat the oven to 200C. Strip the sausages of their casings and mix the meat with the onion herbs and plenty of fresh black pepper. Shape the meat into three equal-sized ‘sticks’ about 30cm long, place one in the centre of each dough strip, fold the dough around, enclosing the filling and seal the edges with a little water.                                                      IMG_20140930_134156[1] IMG_20140930_134231[1]
  4. Press each roll to flatten slightly, cut to the size you want and place seam-side down on a tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Brush the rolls with beaten egg, slash the tops with a sharp knife and bake for 40 minutes if they’re large pieces, a little less if they’re small.

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I made 6 big sausage rolls with this recipe. You could freeze them if you don’t need them all and have a lovely treat waiting to be pulled out for when you fancy an indulgent snack. Who said freezer meals were boring?

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

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IMG_20140927_161437[1] 27/09/2014

Brilliant flavours, great texture. This shortbread recipe uses icing sugar for a nice ‘short’ finish. Refrigerating the dough for as long as possible really helps the final bite  as this gives the margarine time to firm up and the sugar dissolves into the dough to create a light, crumbly texture.

Ingredients:

  • 4oz, (1/2 cup) margarine
  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 100g packet of milk chocolate chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C
  2. Cream the margarine and the peanut butter together then beat in the vanilla.
  3. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the creamed mixture. Mix until the dough comes together.
  4. Stir in the chips, and turn the dough out onto a piece of waxed paper. Gently pull the dough together and form it into a log. If it is still crumbly, work it with your hands until it holds together smoothly. Roll it up in the paper, twist the ends securely and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
  5. Slice the log into discs with a sharp knife. Not too thick, not too thin, about 1/3 – 1/2 inch is juuuuust right. If a slice crumbles a bit, just smoosh the dough back together (technical term). IMG_20140927_161316[1]
  6. Bake on a greaseproof lined baking sheet for about 12-14 minutes. The cookies will not be browned and they may look undone, but don’t over bake. One of the joys of shortbread cookies is that they fall apart and melt in your mouth.
  7. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

IMG_20140927_161356[1]This batch gave me 21 little cookies but you could roll the dough mix into a big short log and make giant cookies too. I feel like I have a tiny bit more self control when I make things smaller though, although this can backfire significantly when I kid myself that I can eat lots because they’re diddy. Either way, they’re yummy.

Biscoff Suprise

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IMG_20140919_153426[1] 19/09/2014

Well it’s not really a suprise anymore but these cookies are sure to impress. Chocolate cookies encasing caramilesed cookie butter. Now come on!

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1¼ cups plain flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 4oz margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • ½ cup Biscoff Spread
  • 4 tablespoons of icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
    Prepare the dough: Blend margarine with both types of sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and blend well.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl. Blend just until the dough becomes uniform. Keep refrigerated while preparing the filling.
  3. Preparing the filling: Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add Biscoff spread and mix well with a spoon until the mixture resembles a soft, comfortable but not sticky dough. Make little balls from the mixture ¾ of an inch in diameter.
  4. Assemble the cookies and bake: Form balls from the dough, slightly larger than the filling balls (approximately 1 inch in diameter) and flatten them manually into flat and thin circles. Place a ball of filling at the centre of each circle, close off the edges of the dough so that the filling is well wrapped and roll between your hands until a ball is made. IMG_20140919_153558[1]
  5. Place on a baking tray and flatten to a thickness of approximately ¾ of an inch.
  6. Bake for about 9-10 minutes, just until cookies lose their shine and their tops stabilize.               IMG_20140919_153509[1]
  7. Remove and cool. You can store for approximately 3 days covered in an airtight container at room temperature.

A beautiful chocolate fix recipe with a hidden caramelised biscuit spread centre.

The cookie dough can be quite soft and sticky. Just add a little more flour and cocoa powder until you are able to handle it and dust your hands with cocoa powder before shaping the dough to prevent it from sticking to you. Refrigerating the dough is also important as it helps the margarine to firm up and the sugar to dissolve for a meltingly soft cookie.

Why not try hiding other fillings in the centre of the cookies such as peanut butter or cubes of white chocolate?!

Scotch Eggs

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IMG_20140917_220030[3] 17/09/2014

I recently had a trip to Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and for those of you who know it, you’ll also know that no trip there is complete without a trip to the pork pie shop and the Dickinson Morris sausage shop next door. Like a kid in a candy store, I bought way more sausages than anyone could ever eat and currently have a glut taking up a large portion of my freezer. These scotch eggs are a great alternative to usual sausage recipes (not that there’s anything wrong with any meal with sausage in) and you could also try it with any of your other favourite sausage flavours. Chorizo is particularly tasty.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 whole medium eggs in their shells, plus 1, lightly beaten
  • 250g Toulouse pork sausage meat
  • 250g Pork mince
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. English mustard
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4-5 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup seasoned flour
  • 2 cups seasoned, dried bread crumbs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place 6 eggs in a saucepan of boiling water. Boil for 6-7 minutes. Drain eggs, transfer to a bowl of ice water and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain eggs, peel and discard the shells then set aside. This will give you just set egg yolks with a slight bit of run in the middle but if you’re not sure about runny yolks then boil for 9 minutes.

    2. Combine sausage meat, pork mince, Worcestershire, mustard, cornstarch and thyme in a bowl. Season with salt and lots of pepper and mix until evenly combined. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and form each portion into a flat disc with your hands then shape these around each cooked egg to cover completely. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    3. Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a large heavy pan and heat over medium-high heat until a digital thermometer reads 170°C. Combine remaining beaten egg with milk in a bowl and place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Season the flour and breadcrumb bowls with more salt and pepper and thyme. Working in batches, coat each meat-covered egg in flour, shaking off excess then dip in milk mixture to coat and dredge in bread crumbs using your hands to press the breadcrumbs in.

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  1. Fry, two at a time so the temperature of the oil does not drop, until deep golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

These eggs are seriously good however you eat them; with pickles, salad, chips or on their own with a brew. I had a couple left over that I stored in the fridge and I reckon the sausage meat was even more flavoursome the day after.

I used half sausage meat and half ground pork mince for a slightly lower fat content and my favourite Toulouse sausages that are flavoured with garlic and herbs.

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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Biscoff White Chocolate Cookies

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IMG_20140916_132302[1] 16/09/2014

Yet another recipe that has come from using leftover jars. This time I made my own cookie butter morsels and added them to white chocolate chip cookies for a gooey, luxurious addition to a classic.

When you bite into the cookie, you get the soft chewy cookie then hidden chunks of rich creamy biscoff. The kitchen smells pretty good while you bake them too…

Ingredients

For the Biscoff morsels:

  • 5oz White Chocolate, melted (Green and Black’s)
  • ½ cup smooth Biscoff spread (Lotus)

For the Cookies:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup white chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Prepare Biscoff morsels by melting white chocolate bar and mixing in Biscoff spread. Pour onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread thinly. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When cooled, break into little morsels.                                                                                   IMG_20140916_132400[1]
  2. For the cookies, beat melted butter with the sugar for 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Gently fold in the Biscoff bits. Refrigerate cookie dough for 1-2 hours for best results.
  3. Take a large teaspoon of dough and dip one end into a bowl of white chocolate chips. Lay cookie dough ball on a greaseproof paper lined baking sheet (chocolate chip side up). Bake cookies in an oven preheated to 180C for 12-14 minutes or until just baked. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

This recipe made 30 cookies. I highly recommend making a big batch because they’re pretty tasty!

Peanut Butter Granola

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IMG_20140910_140925[1] 13/09/2014

I love this kind of recipe because I always have half empty jars from previous baking ventures that need using and granola is a great way to use them and create a tasty breakfast for the week in the process.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • A handful roughly chopped peanuts (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and honey and pop in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds until the peanut butter and honey have all melted. Stir together and then add in the cinnamon and vanilla extract.
  3. Add in the oats (and peanuts if using) and stir until all the oats are coated with the mixture.
  4. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. It may take more or less time for yours to turn a golden brown. It will still look soft when you take it out but it’s ok – it hardens up as it cools.
  5. Store in mason jars or any airtight container.

This would make cute gifts portioned up into little bags too!

Seeded Coconut Clusters

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IMG_20140910_143729[1] 12/09/2014

Four types of seeds plus coconut flakes, tossed with tahini, coconut butter, and maple syrup create the perfect crunchy granola clusters. Eat as a snack or for breakfast with yogurt, fruit, or just good old milk.

If you don’t have some of these ingredients you can replace coconut butter with regular butter, maple syrup for honey or golden syrup and tahini for peanut (or any other nut) butter. The point is you can change whatever you like to your taste.

The trick is also to make sure your mix is ever so slightly wet when it goes in the oven (from the syrup and butter) as this is what will harden and form those crunchy clusters once removed from the oven.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup linseeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut butter
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1/8 – ¼ cup pure maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing until everything is evenly coated but not too dry looking.
  4. Spread the mixture out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing the mixture every 5 minutes, to avoid burning.
  6. Cool the granola completely before removing.
  7. Store in a glass or airtight container/jar.

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As you can see from the second picture, I added a cup of oats, some sultanas and a little more syrup to one batch of this recipe for a crunchy and substantial breakfast bake.

I would also say that the touch of salt in this recipe is absolutely necessary. It by no means makes the recipe ‘salty’ but really brings out the flavours of the toasted seeds and oats and stops the whole thing being overly sweet. Enjoy experimenting!