Jubilee Noms!

Jubilee Noms!

I couldn’t let the Jubilee go by without making a comment, especially given how much of an emphasis there was on celebrating with food – or maybe that’s just a reflection of the media channels I focus on 😉  And I’m quite unashamed to admit that this weekend has left me feeling surprisingly patriotic, and waving my wee plastic flag that was hidden in a bouquet I bought last week to brighten up the mantlepiece…

But well as celebrating, and thanking, Her Maj for all the hard work she’s done, the extra day off was a lovely excuse to get together with family.  Hubby and I put together a cheeky finger buffet (mostly during the 3 hour Jubilee concert which made for a great soundtrack to cook to!) and carried it all up to my parents’ place today, where we were joined by my brother, his wife, and their beautiful 3 week old son.

Hubby’s EPIC sausage rolls and my Champagne chicken and tarragon vol au vents deserve a blog post of their own, but for now, I managed to snap a quick pic of the whole spread before my family of locusts descended on everything (I really should have taken an “after” picture… LOL!)

 

~*~ fifi & Hubby’s Jubilee Menu ~*~

Coronation chicken finger sarnies (natch!)

Egg and cress finger sarnies

Sausage, caramelised onion cranberry chutney sausage rolls

Mini haggis spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce

Champagne chicken and tarrogan vol au vents

Pork and pickle pies

Potato salad

Pimms

~*~*~*~

If you celebrated as well, I hope you had a marvellous time!  Me, I’ll be eating plain boiled rice for the rest of the week to try and offset the damage done by today’s feast!

 

Easy-peasy Guacamole

Easy-peasy Guacamole

I love Mexican food. Maybe it’s because I’m an American, and we’re deluged with fantastic eats from our southerly neighbours. Or maybe it’s because I lived in Texas for awhile, and really came to love the Tex-Mex flavours you get down there. I like to think, really, it’s because Mexican food, done right, makes the best of fresh ingredients and gives you a dish that zings with flavour.

Fifi, on the other hand… Let’s just say that it’s been a trial getting her, shall we say… accustomed, to my enjoyment of Mexican food.

So, I bribe her with this guacamole. Maybe that’s cheating, but when you’re married, sometimes happy compromise involves being the sneakiest little bugger you can be, and finding every advantage you can. Thus, a bowl of this stuff.

It’s amazingly zingy with lime, and has a light freshness with coriander and tomato. Enjoy it with tortilla chips, or with your favourite Mexican food – we served it here with an impromptu lunch, born of having too many black beans for dinner-burritos, which I made into rather-nice-if-I-say-so-myself quesadillas. 

But, without further ado, here’s the recipe. It really is simplicity itself.

Easy-Peasy Guacamole
Serves 4
Rustic homemade guacamole, all zingy with the lime. Definitely one of my favourite things!
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Stuff you'll need...
  1. 2 large Hass avocados
  2. 1-2 limes
  3. Fresh coriander, about a handful
  4. 2-3 good sized cloves of garlic
  5. A generous pinch of salt
  6. ½ red onion, or less, finely chopped
  7. 1 medium tomato, peeled. (Cut a cross into the top and bottom, immerse into boiling water for about 20 seconds, then just peel the skin away with your fingers. Cut into small cubes.)
  8. ½ – 1 red chilli, de-seeded (also excellent when roasted!)
  9. 1 tbsp sour cream
Prep...
  1. As the avocado will begin to brown when exposed to air, juice your limes first. One juicy lime will usually be enough, but often it takes 1 and ½ to 2 before you have enough.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to the lime juice and mix, this will help the seasoning get through all of your guacamole.
Make It!
  1. Cut your avocados in half length-wise and remove the stones. Then take a spoon to the flesh and just scoop out spoonfulls of avocado straight into the mixing bowl. Pour your lime juice and salt mixture over the avocado to keep it fresh.
  2. Now coarsely chop a good-sized handful of coriander and add to the bowl.
  3. Next add your garlic, ideally put through a garlic press, or chopped very finely, followed by the tomato, red onion and chilli.
  4. Take a potato masher and give everything in the bowl a good bash. Follow with a fork and use that to do a bit finer mashing, while still keeping things fairly thick.
  5. Next, add a bit of sour cream - you don’t want a lot as this can dilute the flavour. About 1 tbsp with these proportions works great, and adds a bit of tangy creaminess that, I think, really compliments the guacamole blend nicely.
  6. All that's left is to decant into to a smaller container, cover, and give it some time to chill in the fridge. I usually do it for a few hours, but its fine to eat after just an hour if you can’t wait (fifi usually can’t!)
Notes
  1. Don’t be tempted to do any of this in a food processor, it just doesn’t work, and you really want it to have a nice ‘rustic’ feel to it with random chunks of avocado in amongst the mash. It’s also much better for scooping onto tortilla chips that way.
fifigoesnom https://www.fifigoesnom.com/
Haggis Spring Rolls

Haggis Spring Rolls

The first time I had these was in a fantastic wee pub called The Magnum, not far from where I live, that used to serve them as a starter with a sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce that just went amazingly well with the spicy peppery haggis.  I figured they couldn’t be that difficult, so I tried making them myself at New Year for my brother and sister-in-law and the results were none too shabby 🙂  Shamefully, I had to YouTube “how to roll a spring roll” first because I am, according to Hubby, the “most rubbish Chinese person in the world” (!) but that really was as tough as it got! To save you searching, I’ve tried to write up what I hope are simple yet sensible instructions, with pics so that you know what your roll-in-progress should look like.

I like to joke that Haggis Spring Rolls appeal to both my ethnicities at the same time, and this year when Chinese New Year and Burns Night were back to back these were perfect for satisfying two celebrations with one nom!

Ideally, use spring roll wrappers and deep fry until golden rather than bake, but spring roll wrappers aren’t the easiest thing to get your hands on so I’ve gone with filo pastry for this recipe which work just as well and should be readily available in your local supermarket.

If you’ve got friends coming round for dinner, these are great for making beforehand and keeping chilled until needed (I’d probably take them out of the fridge about half an hour before popping in the oven).  These are also a great way to try haggis for the first time if you’re a little nervous of the ingredients 🙂

Haggis Spring Rolls
Yields 4
A Scottish take on the humble spring roll, the best of both of my heritages!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
You'll need
  1. Approx 130g haggis (Macsween's microwave haggis is perfect for this as its already cooked, and half a patty per spring roll works out just right.)
  2. 4 sheets of filo pastry, approx 20cm by 20cm
  3. Melted butter for brushing
  4. Thai sweet chilli sauce for dipping
To start
  1. Get the oven on first, you want it heated up to 200C before you put the spring rolls in.
  2. Wet some kitchen roll or a tea towel and wring out so that it’s damp rather than soaking. Lay this over your stack of filo to keep the pastry from drying out as you take one sheet out from under it at a time to work on.
  3. Position the first sheet of filo so that one corner is pointing at you. Spoon one quarter of the haggis in the bottom part of the sheet, towards the corner nearest you but not touching the sides, in a sausage shape (if you’re using Macsween’s microwave haggis don’t heat it up first, put half a patty in a small bowl and loosen it up with a fork first).
  4. Start by folding the bottom of the sheet up and tuck it loosely against the haggis, too tight and the pastry might split later when you’re rolling it.
  5. Next, gently fold over one side, and then the other (it should look a little like an envelope) before rolling it up from the bottom. Stop just short of rolling it right up and brush the last exposed corner of filo with a little of the melted butter before rolling up completely, this will seal the roll.
  6. Place on a pre-greased baking tray and very very lightly brush melted butter over the top – too much butter and the rolls won’t brown, so you really want to touch the pastry with the brush and no more.
  7. Pop in the oven and bake until they’re a lovely light golden brown, about 15-30 minutes, give them a few to not burn your mouth, and then NOM!
Notes
  1. For tips on rolling the spring rolls, check out the photos below!
fifigoesnom https://www.fifigoesnom.com/

To roll:

Wet some kitchen roll or a tea towel and wring out so that it’s damp rather than soaking.  Lay this over your stack of filo to keep the pastry from drying out as you take one sheet out from under it at a time to work on (thanks @si_watson for recipe testing and spotting this omission!).

Position the first sheet of filo so that one corner is pointing at you.  Spoon one quarter of the haggis in the bottom part of the sheet, towards the corner nearest you but not touching the sides, in a sausage shape (if you’re using Macsween’s microwave haggis don’t heat it up first, put half a patty in a small bowl and loosen it up with a fork first).  Fold the bottom of the sheet up and tuck it loosely against the haggis, too tight and the pastry might split later when you’re rolling it.

 Next, gently fold over one side, and then the other (it should look a little like an envelope) before rolling it up from the bottom.  Stop just short of rolling it right up and brush the last exposed corner of filo with a little of the melted butter before rolling up completely, this will seal the roll.

 Place on a pre-greased baking tray and very very lightly brush melted butter over the top – too much butter and the rolls won’t brown, so you really want to touch the pastry with the brush and no more.

 

Sticky Marmaladey Sausages

Sticky Marmaladey Sausages

I love me some marmalade on toast, so finding out that this week was National Marmalade Week (25 Feburary to 3 March) just gave me excuses I didn’t need to attack the sticky orange stuff!  My favourite by far is Tiptree’s Tawny Thick Cut by Wilkin & Sons, which has a delicious abundance of shreds.  For the record, shredless is an abomination and will never be tolerated under my roof!

But marmalade is not just for toast!  Somewhere, somehow, I found out that marmalade goes insanely well with cocktail sausages… Really!  So in honour of Marmalade week may I present to you my exceedingly moreish Sticky Marmaladey Sausages – they’re great for handing round at parties, and even went down really well cold at an office charity buffet lunch type thing.

The recipe below (if you can call it a recipe!) is for party sized quantities, but it’s totally scalable  if you happen to have cocktail sausages lying around and fancy a cheeky hot snack 🙂

I used to buy cheap and cheerful marmalade for this, but I do think the better the marmalade the better the glaze, so don’t be afraid to use whatever you have on hand for toast.  Your tastebuds will thank you for it!

Sticky Marmaladey Sausages
Gooey, sweet-tart marmalade goes perfectly with the sausages, perfect for parties or a cheeky weekend snack.
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
You’ll need
  1. 3-4 tablespoons of good marmalade
  2. Approximately 50 uncooked cocktail sausages
Instructions
  1. Cook!
  2. First things first, set the oven to 200c.
  3. While the oven is warming up, melt the marmalade in a saucepan and then pour the gooey loveliness over the sausages in the roasting tin and mix until coated.
  4. Place the lot in the pre-warmed oven for 15/20 minutes, and then take the tin out and give the sausages a good shoogle about. Don’t worry if the marmalade looks a little runny, it will eventually thicken back up again.
  5. Put it all back in the oven for another 15/20 minutes, at which point the marmalade should have become a magical sticky delicious glaze all over the sausages. The sausages will be cooked through after 30/40 minutes so you can take them out at this point, but if you like your sausages a little browner then put them back in the oven until they have reached your preferred shade.
  6. Once out, give them a few minutes to cool down, and then tuck right in!
fifigoesnom https://www.fifigoesnom.com/