I decided to start making my own Scotch eggs after witnessing my boyfriend struggling to satisfy his odd British craving in Sydney. Since I hate the idea of deep-frying anything, I also tweaked the classic recipe for a healthier version using only just a touch of oil spray and a hot oven!
Ingredients: makes 10 eggs
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
3 tbsp worcester sauce
500g Pork mince
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Plain flour, to dust
Breadcrumbs, to coat
2 eggs, lightly beaten to coat
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place 10 eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water to cool completely, peel and dust with a bit of flour so that the surface is nice and dry.
2. In the meantime, combine the onion, garlic, chilli, herbs, worcester sauce and mince. Season with salt & pepper, mixe well and divide the mixture into 10 even portions.
3. To assemble to scotch eggs, mould half of one portion flat in the cup of your hand. Place a hard-boiled egg into it and shape the rest of the meat around to enclose. Roll it between your hands to smooth the surface. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
4. Roll each egg in the egg wash and breadcrumbs and set aside. Repeat with the other eggs.
5. When you have assembled all of the scotch eggs, place them onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spray with oil and bake on high heat for 20 minutes. Spray again lightly, change the oven setting and grill for another 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
Scotch eggs are great sliced over a green salad for a light dinner, or simply packed for a picnic or a lunch box! Mini scotch eggs using quail eggs can also make a great party food option!
A California roll is a creative American twist on sushi. It’s really easy to make, can be great addition to a sushi platter, a fresh canapé idea for a party, but can also be saved in cling film for a healthy lunch!
Ingredients: ( 4 rolls)
2 cups sushi rice (also called japonica rice)
1/4 cup Japanese rice vinegar + extra to moisten your hands
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 sheets nori (seaweed sheets)
1 avocado, peeled, cut into thin slices
100g sashimi salmon, cut into strips
1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes in cold water and rinse several times until the final change of water runs almost clear. Steam the rinsed rice following the package’s directions.
2. Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat until fully dissolved, but without boiling the mixture. Take off the heat and let it cool.
3. When the rice has finished cooking, transfer it to a wooden bowl or at least non-metallic, as metal can react with vinegar and ruin flavours. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, cool down the rice by gently spreading it out and folding in the vinegar mixture gradually until evenly sticky and shiny.
4. Place a sheet of nori, shiny side down, onto a bamboo mat or sheet of baking paper. spread 3/4 cup of sushi rice mixture with wet hands, leaving a 3cm border uncovered at the end. Spread a small line of wasabi to one end and place a strip of avocado and fish. Roll up firmly, using the mat or baking paper as a guide, seal by moistening the uncovered strip using your finger.
5. Repeat with remaining nori and fillings. Cut each roll into 6 pieces. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.
You can also replace the avocado with cucumber and the salmon with crab sticks for a change.
If you found this one easy and feel up for more, why not take a look at my Nigiri Sushi instructions to make it a full sushi mix platter!
Duck Liver parfait is really economical and easy to make, but it tastes luxurious and looks really fancy too. My French compatriotes would probably hate me for saying that, but I see it a little bit like a Green peace foie gras – similar in taste and texture but without the arrogance, cost or cruelty! You can also make it up to 48h ahead and save it in the fridge as an early start of a fancy meal. You can also double the measures and serve it as the master piece for a party.
Ingredients (serves 4 people)
400-500g fresh duck liver, fat, strings and green patches trimmed
20ml olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1 slice of bacon, chopped
50ml cognac or brandy
250g butter, diced
6-8 fresh sage leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cornichons, Brioche and salad to serve
1. Soak duck livers in the milk for 1.5 hours at room temperature. If you are using frozen livers, simply allow them to defrost in water for 1h and then soak in milk for another 30 minutes. After soaking, drain, rinse under cool water and pat dry with kitchen paper.
2. Heat a bit of oil and a nut of butter (5g) in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, bay leave, thyme leaves and bacon. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and starting to colour.
3. Add your duck livers to the pan with an extra small splash of oil and season with a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook on a high heat for 2 minutes or until the liver pieces start to plump up. Add 50ml brandy or cognac to the pan and cook it off.
4. Transfer everything to to the food processor and blend it until smooth. Add the remaining 120g of butter to the food processor, bit by bit, and season with another good 2 good pinches of salt and pepper. Pass through a fine sieve if you have one and spoon it into a serving bowl and place in the fridge to start the setting process.
5. To make the clarified butter, place the remaining 125g of butter on low heat and cook slowly until the white dairy and clear oil are separated. Clean any impurities off the top and pour the clear liquid into a separate pan, before placing it on medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the sage to the butter to fry and take the pan off the heat. Let it cool down and pour over the cooler pate mixture. Refrigerate the finished parfait for at least 4-5 hours or until the top layer looks hard and thick.
6. Serve the parfait with cornichons, fresh butter, freshly toasted brioche and a green leave salad.
Some people like to eat the sage flavoured clarified butter with the parfait, but you don’t have to. Even if you decide not to eat it, it’s still playing a key role to locking in the flavours and keeping the parfait fresh. You can save it up 4-5 days in the fridge when sealed. If you can’t find duck liver, replace with chicken liver. /em>
Click here for a Valentine’s version of this dish!
I made this one as a Vegetarian, Gluten free and pregnancy friendly alternative to other starters on Christmas day. I really thought it would come across as slightly dull, but everyone really loved it and to my greatest surprise it was the first one gone despite most people having other meatier and cheesier options! I replaced the traditional bread crumbs with polenta to suit the gluten free diet, but it really worked a treat! The wasabi mayonnaise as a dip was also a great way to lift a simple dish to something a little bit more fancy. Who would have thought that boring cucumber slices are not the only option to specialist diets?!
Ingredients (for 20 mini fish cakes)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and boiled
420g canned salmon
220g Whole egg mayonnaise
4 tsp coriander, chopped
4 tablespoons grated onion
2 Egg yolks
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Olive oil
1. Boil the potatoes for 15 min, allow to cool and roughly mash it. Remove skin and bones from the canned Salmon and flake it into chunky pieces over the mash.
2. Stir in 2/3 of the mayonnaise, coriander, egg yolks, onion, salt and pepper. Refrigerate mixture for about 30 minutes to firm up.
3. Beat egg and milk into a small bowl.
4. Shape cooled mixture into about 20 small patties, roll each one in egg and milk mixture, coat with polenta. Repeat again with a second layer of egg mixture and polenta to make it crispier. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook patties for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through.
For the wasabi mayo, simply mix remaining mayo with 2 dollops of wasabi!