It’s soup season, and what is soup without croutons!
I’ve always been a sucker for these, whether they’re still crunchy or have been left in the soup just long enough to start getting all soggy. Store bought is fine but honestly, you can rustle up your own in the time it takes you to heat up soup (honestly!) and they taste SOOOOOOOO much better. Also, it’s a great reason to use up any half eaten loaves of bread (food waste bad!), just wrap the loaf up and sling it into the freezer until you’re ready to make these, and then take the bread out to defrost the morning you have soup in mind.
Any crusty loaf will do, you could even use good old sliced white if you were in a pinch, but Sourdough is my favourite bread to use for this. There’s just something about the flavour of Sourdough that goes so damn well with soup – if you’re looking for soup inspiration, we’ve tried the croutons with Hubby’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and my Cauliflower and Cider Soup and they were delicious in both!
The croutons will last for around two weeks in an airtight container, if you can actually exercise any kind of self control and not eat the entire batch 🙂
Herby Garlicky Croutons
So easy-to-make-yourself croutons that you can rustle up while your soup is heating.
- 1/2 loaf of crusty bread
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Start by cutting your bread into bite-sized pieces and popping into a mixing bowl. Pour the olive oil over the bread and then add the garlic powder, parsley and salt to season. Use a big spatula to give everything a good stir, until the bread is well coated.
- Tip onto a baking tray and spread out. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, giving them a good shoogle about half way through. If the croutons are still looking a little pale then pop them under the grill for a few minutes to brown up.
- Add to soup, and enjoy!
- If the bread is a little stale even better 🙂
When I was given a jar of Mackays Orange, Lemon and Ginger marmalade and a blank slate to cook whatever I liked with it for #mackaysmarmalademarch my mind went as blank as the aforementioned slate! Being a devoted fan of the orange stuff, I’d already blogged all of my favourite things to do with it so coming up with something new was seriously challenging. Looking back through my old recipes for inspiration I found one involving marmalade that was a particular favourite – sticky marmaladey cocktail sausages – and wondered how I could improve upon those little beauties…
The thing is, sweet marmalade and savoury sausage is a properly delicious combination, the more so when the marmalade has reduced while cooking into a lovely sticky glaze that you can lick off your fingers. So I knew I wanted to stay with some finger-foodie, which led me eventually to these.
Sausage rolls are so easy to make that it really is a sin not to. The secret is good quality sausages and ready rolled puff pastry. Beyond that, anything goes, and half the fun is experimenting with different flavour combinations, like Thai red curry paste, or marmalade! What I love is that the marmalade adds a lovely but subtle sweet note without overwhelming the sausage roll (another reason to get good quality sausages). The black onion seeds add another savoury note as well a bit of texture, but you could use poppy seeds or sesame seeds if you have some of those handy.
The first batch of these taught me 1) not to get carried away with the amount of marmalade you use because it will get too watery and you’ll end up with the dread soggy bottoms, 2) not to glaze until you’re into the last 10 minutes of cooking time because a marmalade caramelises really really quickly, and 3) the combination worked just as well as I hoped it would.
Marmaladey Sausage Rolls
- 250g pork sausages or sausage meat
- 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
- 2 tablespoons marmalade (I used Mackays Orange, Lemon and Ginger)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp milk
- Butter or oil for greasing, or waxy baking parchment paper
- Black onion seeds (also called Nigella seeds)
- Start by preheating the oven to 200C. While it’s heating up, prepare the baking sheet by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper.
- Lay the pastry out flat on a lightly floured surface, or more waxy baking parchment, and cut horizontally right down the middle so that you have two long strips. Mix together the egg yolk and milk to make an egg wash, then brush the far border of each strip of pastry with a little of the egg wash.
- If using sausages, cut a slit up the length of the sausage skin with scissors or a sharp knife and poke all the sausagemeat out into a mixing bowl. Add one tablespoon of marmalade and then snap on a pair of CSI vinyl gloves and get your hands stuck in, mixing it all up until the marmalade is combined well with the sausagemeat.
- Divide the sausage meat mixture in half and shape each piece into a long, thin sausage, along the length of the pastry towards the edge nearest you. Then roll the pastry away from you and up and over to seal in the sausage meat. Roll the whole thing over so the sealed edge is underneath.
- (If you’re making these ahead of time they can now be kept in the fridge for 24 hours, lightly covered with cling film, or they can even be frozen for up to 3 months - if cooking from frozen just add another 10 minutes to the cooking time).
- Use a sharp knife to cut into thumb-length sausage rolls, discarding the pastry ends. Score a couple of slits in the top of each one before lifting them carefully onto the greased/lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven, middle shelf, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Warm up the other tablespoon of marmalade in a small saucepan until it gets a little runny. After the sausage rolls have been in the oven for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and brush them with the runny marmalade before sprinkling all over with black onion seeds. Pop back into the oven for 5-10 minutes, until they are cooked through and golden.
- Freeze the sausage rolls individually on the pastry parchment, once they're frozen you can then pop them into a bag and they won't stick together!
In my neverending quest for lunches that don’t involve something dull stuck between two bits of bread I came across this recipe by The Cozy Apron on Pinterest, and immediately fell in like with it.
Persuading Hubby to try this was a doddle. He loves coconut almost as much as he loves variety so asking him to have a go at something new really didn’t require much persuasion at all…
That and there’s something fun about having finger food for lunch. Hubby quite likes to raid the deli counter in summer and have a picnic, even if that’s indoors which given the usual state of Scottish summers is usually the case. But as it’s not summer yet (or even remotely close) we decided to indulge in some hot finger food, courtesy of this recipe which we tweaked just a wee bit.
The original recipe also had a honey-mango-mayo dip but it didn’t really work for us. I suspect that might have been down in part to the overpowering honey that Hubby had used, but I’m not comfortable recommending something I didn’t actually like so instead let me suggest a honey-mustard dip or maybe a sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce, or mix the Thai with some mayo. Or even have them just as they are because really, the flavour of the goujons themselves was fantastic what with the quite lovely savoury and sweet coconut coating.
If you’re harbouring any doubts, or looking at these and thinking nasty nuggets from the yellow arch, you couldn’t be further from the truth! Although these are deep fried they’re not even remotely greasy, and the chicken inside was perfectly done and properly tender. We had ours for lunch but they’d be just as good as a starter or a badly behaved snack 🙂
Crunchy Coconuty Chicken Goujons
Grown up chicken "nuggets", coated in coconut and insanely moreish
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
- 2 x 1/2 tsp Onion granules
- 2 x 1/2 tsp Garlic granules
- 1/2 tsp Garam masala
- Cayenne pepper
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon chives, finely snipped
- Into a medium-sized shallow bowl (we used a pasta bowl) put flour, a couple of pinches of salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp each of onion and garlic granules and a pinch of cayenne pepper and give it all a good mix. Into another medium-sized shallow bowl crack the eggs and beat. Spread the shredded coconut onto a dinner plate. Set all three side by side and in this order.
- Fill the saucepan to half-way with vegetable oil and heat slowly up to 175C/350F.
- While the oil is heating, cut each chicken breast into 4 strips, then cut those in half to give you 8 strips per breast of roughly equal size.
- Place them into a bowl before adding 1/2 tsp each of curry powder, onion and garlic granules, another pinch or two of cayenne pepper, and then season with salt and pepper before tossing the strips so that they’re coated in the seasoning.
- Take one strip at a time and roll in the seasoned flour you prepped earlier until the strip is coated well. Next, dip it into the beaten eggs, and finally press into the shredded coconut until both sides are coated thoroughly. Set aside onto a clean plate and then repeat with until all the strips have been coated.
- When the oil is at 175C/350F add 4-5 strips of coated chicken to the oil and allow to fry for 1.5-2 minutes or until they are a deep golden colour. Remove and place onto kitchen roll to blot the excess oil, seasoning with salt and pepper while they’re still hot. Repeat until all the strips have been fried, taking care to check the heat between batches and reheat back up to 175C/350F if it’s dropped before adding more chicken – it’s the key to keeping the goujons from being greasy.
- Dish up with the chives sprinkled over the top, something to dip on the side, and go to your tropical place 🙂
Adapted from The Cozy Apron
Adapted from The Cozy Apron
Things to look forward to in January – Awards season, restaurant offers, Chinese New Year (this year), 6 Nations (but not this year) and Burns Night! Not that I need The Bard’s permission, but tucking into a plate of haggis in honour of his birthday on the 25th is as good an excuse as any 🙂 I usually run in the opposite direction of anything involving offal, but haggis is the one shining exception. It is a wonderfully savoury eat, all spicy and peppery, and with that fantastic texture that manages to be crumbly without being dry. Can you tell I’m a fan…?
Of course, it has to be Macsween’s. I have the most wonderful butcher at the end of my street that does their own haggis, but I just can’t quite bring myself to be unfaithful to Macsween. So when I was challenged by @Eat_Scottish to get #InspiredbyBurns and put a new spin on the immortal trinity of haggis, neeps and tatties I was beyond delighted to find a Macsween’s haggis in the box of goodies they sent to inspire me!
But what to do with it?? Hubby and I spent a night brainstorming ‘things to do with haggis’ and came up with this! Or a variation of, elements of which didn’t survive the testing weekend (thank goodness for a testing weekend!)
I love haggis as a main course, either in a traditional style or as a part of something else like balmoral chicken, but I adore it as a starter with something sweet and sticky. Stac Polly on Dublin Street is to blame for that, their haggis parcels in filo pastry with a plum sauce is the stuff of legend. And The Magnum’s haggis spring rolls with Thai sweet chili sauce inspired me to try making them myself. So I knew I wanted to try my hand at a starter or something finger foody.
I have to say, the blini-esque tiny tattie scones were an inspired idea, and credit has to go to Hubby for coming up with (and cooking!) that. We actually made a giant tattie scone first time round and then took a cookie cutter to it, but the edges weren’t as clean or, most importantly, as crispy as when you cut first and then cook. It’s a wee bit more fiddly but well worth it. Alternatively, buy ready-made tattie scones and cookie cutter out what you need before warming them up.
We cheated a wee bit with the neeps by adding a few carrots for colour, but it contrasted nicely with the tattie scones and tasted good to boot.
The red onion marmalade you can make beforehand as it keeps for about 2 weeks covered properly in the fridge (or buy a jar of ready-made, there are some good ones out there) Our original idea was to actually top the haggis with it but it ended up hiding too much of the good stuff so we shifted it down a layer, but made sure to still show it off.
I’m afraid, though, that we didn’t keep a track of actual measurements so please excuse my somewhat vague recipe below. The only consolation I can offer is that whatever is leftover is scoffable in any combination of whatever is left – Hubby and I were merrily left downing tattie scones and red onion marmalade, hardship!
Which just leaves me to say…
“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!”
Stuff you’ll need:
Haggis (Macsween’s microwaveable haggis provides a good amount for making lots of these)
Cold mashed potatoes
Mashed neeps and carrots
Red onion marmalade (recipe here)
Chives, snipped for decoration
Salt and pepper for seasoning
To make the tattie scones:
This is all about mashed potatoes but firm mashed potatoes so don’t make it fluffy and creamy like you’re going to eat it, with lashings of butter and milk. You don’t want to add anything to the potatoes when you’re mashing them except seasoning and a little butter.
Once the mash is cold, mix with flour using a ratio of 5 parts mash to 1 part flour. Get stuck in with your hands and work it until it feels like a ball of dough – drizzle a little oil if it’s still crumbly to help bind it together. Divide into tennis ball sized amounts and chill for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Place the cold mash dough ball between two sheets of baking parchment or wax paper and roll out until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin. You want scones that are blini sized so use your smallest cookie/pastry cutter (or shot glass) to carefully cut out your scones.
Homemade tattie scones | fifigoesnom.com
Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add a little bit of oil. When hot, fry the scones for 4 minutes on each side.
Homemade tattie scones browning nicely | fifigoesnom.com
Excess dough can be rerolled , but store any dough you’re not using in the fridge between rolling as you want it to be chilled and firm when you’re ready to roll it out.
To make the neeps:
Aim for a 3:1 ratio of neeps to carrot. Peel and cube, then boil for 20-25 minutes or until a fork goes easily through a cube. Drain and roughly mash (the bits of carrot poking through look great I think!) with some butter, milk and salt, and pepper to taste.
Roughly mashed neeps and carrots | fifigoesnom.com
Cook the haggis according to the packet instructions and then break up in a bowl.
Grab a tattie scone and spoon/smear the mashed neeps and carrots on top. Take care not to overload it otherwise you’ll lose the taste of haggis, and make a mess when you’re trying to fit it in your mouth!
Add some red onion marmalade on top. It’s tempting to load this on but again you’ll risk losing the taste of haggis if you whack too much on.
Top with haggis and then sprinkle with snipped chives for a little colour.
I defy you not to eat your own body weight in these…
Inspired by Burns | fifigoesnom.com
Haggis, Neeps & Wee Tattie Scone Canapes with Red Onion Marmalade
A bite-sized take on the traditional Burns Night supper.
- Haggis (Macsween’s microwaveable haggis provides a good amount for making lots of these)
- Cold mashed potatoes
- Mashed neeps and carrots
- Red onion marmalade
- Chives, snipped for decoration
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- This is all about mashed potatoes but firm mashed potatoes so don’t make it fluffy and creamy like you’re going to eat it, with lashings of butter and milk. You don’t want to add anything to the potatoes when you’re mashing them except seasoning and a little butter.
- Once the mash is cold, mix with flour using a ratio of 5 parts mash to 1 part flour. Get stuck in with your hands and work it until it feels like a ball of dough – drizzle a little oil if it’s still crumbly to help bind it together. Divide into tennis ball sized amounts and chill for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
- Place the cold mash dough ball between two sheets of baking parchment or wax paper and roll out until it’s about the thickness of a pound coin. You want scones that are blini sized so use your smallest cookie/pastry cutter (or shot glass) to carefully cut out your scones.
- Put a frying pan over a medium heat and add a little bit of oil. When hot, fry the scones for 4 minutes on each side.
- Excess dough can be rerolled , but store any dough you’re not using in the fridge between rolling as you want it to be chilled and firm when you’re ready to roll it out.
- Aim for a 3:1 ratio of neeps to carrot. Peel and cube, then boil for 20-25 minutes or until a fork goes easily through a cube. Drain and roughly mash (the bits of carrot poking through look great I think!) with some butter, milk and salt, and pepper to taste.
- Cook the haggis according to the packet instructions and then break up in a bowl.
- Grab a tattie scone and spoon/smear the mashed neeps and carrots on top. Take care not to overload it otherwise you’ll lose the taste of haggis, and make a mess when you’re trying to fit it in your mouth!
- Add some red onion marmalade on top. It’s tempting to load this on but again you’ll risk losing the taste of haggis if you whack too much on.
- Top with haggis and then sprinkle with snipped chives for a little colour.
A bit of a random recipe choice to blog at first glance, I know but it’s ahead of a wee Burns Night Challenge I’ve been given so watch this space to see how I use this 🙂 In the meantime… this sweet sticky stuff is a wonderfully versatile accompaniment to so many things – cheese, pates, terrines, cold meat, hot meat (steak sarnie or burger anyone?) – stir it into a quiche mixture, or make a tart out of it and top with goats cheese, and its a fab wee crostini or canape topper. And it’s so easy to make that I’m actually a little ashamed at how often I’ve bought it ready made… New year’s resolution #147 – never again!
There are so many recipes online, all variations on a theme, but the one I’ve adapted substitutes pomegranate juice for the more traditional red wine, and I’m much happier drinking leftover pomegranate juice than I am red wine 😉
Depending on the size of onions you’re using this should make about 1 cup. If you know what you’re doing making jams and marmalades from scratch (I don’t!) then pop this into a steralised jar and it should keep in the fridge for up to three months. Otherwise, it will last in the fridge covered for up to two weeks.
Caramelised Red Onion Marmalade
A sweet, sticky, versatile accompaniment to all sorts of savoury noms.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup dark brown soft sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
- salt to season
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on a medium-low heat before adding the onions. Saute for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and translucent.
- Add the sugar, stir well, and cook for a minute or so. When the sugar has dissolved add the vinegar and juice, season with salt, and turn the heat up. Bring it all to a boil before reducing the heat back down to a simmer.
- Cook until the liquid has evaporated, which should take somewhere between 30-60 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the marmalade doesn't burn.
Hello September! It appears I’ve been a total blog slacker through August… I blame it entirely on my palette having an Autumnal if not downright Winter bent, and my cooking preferences with it. Which means it’s just about time for me to start cooking up a storm here again 🙂 So for the first time in ages, I spent a whole day in the kitchen happily testing new recipes, much to Hubby (aka The Chief Taster!)’s delight!
To get the blog ball rolling again I’m going to start with the good old sausage roll, but with a twist.
I’m lucky to have the most awesome butcher, Crombies, at the end of my street whose sausages are seriously in a different league to supermarket-bought. And not just the quality of the sausages but the wonderful variety of different flavours, they really do have one to suit every mood 🙂 So when I saw this recipe with its oriental flavouring I knew that no ordinary sausage would do and got myself down to Crombies on Friday morning (before work no less!). Sure enough, they had a batch with ginger and mango that sounded perfect.
Sausage rolls are my buffet downfall, posh or ‘narsty’ they always seem to hit the spot. And Christmas isn’t Christmas without at least one batch of them to snack on while watching Love Actually (don’t judge me!). But Christmas is a little while away still… so when I found this recipe on the Good Food channel’s website the Thai twist gave me a perfect excuse to indulge myself out of ‘season’.
I was not disappointed!
These have a deliciously spicy hit which marries really nicely with the fresh coriander, and the crushed peanuts add a lovely crunchy texture to the otherwise flakey buttery pastry. I can totally see me rustling up a batch of these to serve with drinks the next time I have friends round for an Oriental supper. Or for hubby ‘just because’ if he asks me nicely, which he always does 😉
Thai Sausage Rolls
A spicy Thai twist on the humble sausage roll.
- 50g skinless peanuts
- 250g pork sausage meat
- 1-2 tbsp Thai red curry paste, depending on how much spice you like (we found 1.5 tbsp perfect)
- 1 large handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- 375g ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp milk
- butter or oil for greasing
- chilli dipping sauce, to serve
- 1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
- waxy baking parchment
- mixing bowl
- pastry brush
- baking tray
- food processor, or a ziploc bag and a rolling pin
- CSI style vinyl gloves!
- Put the oven on to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and grease a baking sheet with a little oil. Put the peanuts in the food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped OR pop in a ziploc bag, zip up, and bash to bits with the rolling pin for a bit of stress relief 😉
- Lay the pastry out flat on a lightly floured surface, or waxy baking parchment, and cut horizontally right down the middle so that you have two long strips. Mix together the egg yolk and milk to make an egg wash, then brush the far border of the pastry with a little of the egg wash.
- Put about a third of the smashed peanuts in the mixing bowl. Add the Thai red curry paste and coriander to the bowl and then snap on the CSI gloves! Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut a slit up the length of the sausage skin and then poke all the sausagemeat out into the bowl too. Get your hands stuck in and mix it all up until everything is combined.
- Divide the sausage meat mixture in half and shape each piece into a long, thin sausage, the length of the pastry. Put one in the middle of each pastry strip, then roll the pastry away from you and up and over to seal in the sausage meat. Roll the whole thing over so the sealed edge is underneath.
- (If you’re making these ahead of time they can now be kept in the fridge for 24 hours, lightly covered with cling film, or they can even be frozen for up to 3 months and defrosted before cooking.)
- Use a sharp knife to cut into bite-sized sausage rolls, discarding the pastry ends, and score a couple of slits in the top of each one. Lift them carefully onto the greased baking sheet and brush with the remaining egg wash before scattering over the remaining crushed up peanuts.
- Pop in the oven, middle shelf, and bake for 20–30 minutes until cooked through and golden.
- Serve warm with lime wedges and lashings of chilli dipping sauce, and bask in the adulation of your loved ones!
Adapted from Good Food
Adapted from Good Food