Recently I've fallen back in love with Haggis. Admittedly, our relationship had only been on a brief break, and it certainly made our reunion all the sweeter. Before we split, things between us had gotten a bit stale. You couldn't separate it from its old pals, neeps and tatties, and it was all too often doused with whisky, reeking of booze and disappointingly, inevitably limp.
But now, Haggis has changed its ways. I see it in a whole new way and can't keep my hands off it! I'm loving spicing it up and every day I can't wait to come home and try new things with it.
Jokes aside, all the above is true. Haggis is so much more than something you eat once a year at Burns night, boiled in a stomach and served with a whisky cream sauce. I had my eyes opened recently at a Haggis and Indian tasting where they took this very Scottish ingredient to the East and most successfully! Since then I've been experimenting at home. From sandwiches to the below recipe, the results have been both tasty and surprising. Be brave, give it a whirl; it won't bite and it probably won't even 'baa'.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
260g Macsween's Haggis (For this recipe I used their AMAZING venison one, but you can use their normal or vegetarian one as you like)
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil for frying. Enough to fill a saucepan at least 2 inches.
For the sauce:
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh mint
1 red chili (more or less to taste)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of half a lemon
1.5 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1. Begin heating up the oil gently over a low heat. It will take a while to heat and you don't want to bring it up too fast, so put it on a low heat and let it warm while you prepare the rest. It is hot enough when you drop a breadcrumb into it and it sizzles fairly vigorously.
2. Remove the Haggis from its skin and break it into chunks. Microwave it on high for about 2 minutes until it is cooked.
3. Season the beaten egg with salt and pepper generously.
4. Take a handful of Haggis and roll it into a ball about one inch across, or whatever size you'd like it to be. Dip it in the beaten egg, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it is evenly coated.
5. Carefully lower it into the hot oil and deep fry for about two minutes, until it is golden brown and crisp all over. Remove and place on kitchen paper (to soak up the oil). Repeat until all the Haggis is used.
6. To make the sauce: simply blend all the sauce ingredients in a processor/ blender/ pestle and mortar until it forms a paste with about the same consistency as a loose pesto (or a ketchup!). This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge until ready for serving.
7. Serve the crisp Haggis balls immediately with the spicy coriander dip. Enjoy.
Borek are traditional Turkish pastries, cigar shaped and filled with cheese and herbs. The pastry around the outside is crisp and the inside is salty, fresh with herb and soft. I love them served with Tzatziki, a yoghurt dip with cucumber and mint, or just with plain unsweetened yoghurt. Although you can buy them ready made in Middle Eastern supermarkets, and most restaurants in Turkey serve them as standard, they are really easy to make yourself at home. Give it a go.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
Yufka pastry sheets (1 pack is more than enough) or filo pastry sheets
300g feta cheese
1 egg, beaten and divided in 2 portions
1 handful of mint, chopped (no stalks)
½ handful of coriander, chopped (you can use the stalks)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Water (for sealing the borek)
1. Preheat an oven to 220 Celsius
2. Place the cheese, herbs and half the egg in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and season with a little salt and plenty of pepper.
3. Cut the pastry into triangles by slicing into 2 long rectangles and then slicing each rectangle diagonally repeatedly to get many even thin triangles – like slices of pizza in shape and about 2 inches wide (at the base of the triangle).
4. If you’re using filo, use three layers as it is very thin. Lay one triangle (or 3 stacked on top of each other if filo) in front of you, with the base of the triangle away from you and the pointy end closest to you. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling at the base end and roll the base end up and over it, then roll it up to the pointy end, flattening it a bit as you go and rolling it into a thin cigar shape.
5. Seal by wetting the pointy tip and pressing it onto the cigar. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat.
6. Brush each cigar with the other half of the beaten egg completely. Then brush with olive oil.
7. Bake for around 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and crisp. Keep an eye on it for this after about 12 minutes. Serve warm, with tzatziki or a plain unsweetened natural yoghurt dip.
As sunsets on beachy shore, blood red drops in orange jus
, the sunrise in the tequila, so are the shades of beetroot cured salmon. Stunning, stunning and that again. Plated on white and with baby yellow, mustard dill sauce, meals turn into studies of colour and taste. For nor is this recipe style over substance. The beetroot adds a pleasant earthiness to the classic gravlax flavours of salt and citrus. The horseradish, just a hint of the harsh. The gin? Well, I just fancied a tipple. No, not really. I felt the botanicals and juniper would combine well with the lime and dill and, indeed, they do. I hope you enjoy it - everyone I've served it to has! Serve with nice dense brown bread and a mustard & dill sauce (click here for the recipe)
, or even just alone or with a bit of lemon.
Ingredients (makes 2 salmon fillets worth - half quantities for one fillet):
1 salmon (Ask your fishmonger to gut it for you and take its two fillets off. I'll tell you how to fillet it though below, in case you buy it whole like I did or get it from a generous fishing friend. It doesn't matter if it is scaled or descaled for gravlax). Use just one fillet too if you want to make less.
60g fresh dill, big stalks discarded and leaves chopped finely
7 tablespoons salt, sea salt best and finely ground
2.5 tablespoons of sugar
3/4 of a lime, diced
300g raw beetroot, grated
2 tablespoons gin
3 tablespoons grated horseradish
1. Fillet your salmon (skip ahead if you have done this): with a very sharp knife, carefully slice the salmon from tail to the head end about parallel with the gills. BE CAREFUL NOT TO PUT YOUR KNIFE IN TOO DEEP AND PUNCTURE THE GUTS. A sharp knife is key. Reach in and draw out the guts with a tug, discard. Take a teaspoon and scrape along the spine to remove the blood sac. Rinse out with a bit of water.
Chop the head off, just behind the gills. Place the fish with the spine side facing you and slice down the spine of the fish, cutting the top fillet off by sliding the knife in and along the top of the spine bones, following the natural line of them and making the cut in smooth, slices. Cut along like this to the tail and remove the top fillet. Turn the fish upside down and repeat with the other fillet. Done.
If making just one fillet's worth, cut the fillet in half (so you have two fat short pieces, NOT two long skinny pieces).
2. Take a plate large enough to hold the fillets and lay clingfilm over it. Mix the salt and sugar together. Mix the beetroot with the gin and horseradish. Lay the fillets side by side on the dish.
3. Scatter the salt, sugar mix down the middle of each fillet. Don't scatter it out to the edges - keep it in the middle fat bit, it will spread out to the thinner edges while it cures and if you place it on the edges it will over cure them.
4. Take half of the dill and scatter it all over one of the fillets so that all of the flesh is covered. On top of that place half the grated beetroot. Then scatter the diced lime over it. Make sure the lime doesn't touch the flesh of the fish or it will make it go white as the acid 'burns' it. Keep it on top of the dill and beetroot. Then cover it with the rest of the beetroot, then the dill.
5. Place the 'undilled' fillet on top of the other one, flesh to flesh (skin on the outside) like a salmon fillet sandwich! Wrap the clingfilm up and around the fillets, forming a tight parcel and trying not to get any air in there. Take more clingfilm and wrap it even tighter. Put a second plate on top of the parcel and weigh it down with something.
6. Refrigerate this for 2 days. Expect leakage and drain this off about twice a day and turn it occasionally, twice a day to make sure the brine (formed by the salt and lime) cures the salmon evenly.
7. After 2 days remove the wrapping, separate the fillets and scrape off the beetroot, dill and lime. Slice diagonally in thin slices. Serve!!!
48 hours later...
Sliced and beautiful
A very pretty, very dainty little canape to be munched with drinks or before (or after) a meal! Feel free to adapt this to make one large Pavlova, if you like. It tastes just as good. Swap in and out the raspberry and pistachios as you like.
Ingredients (Makes about 24 canapes):
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
225 caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
400ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 punnet raspberries, halved
50g pistachios, toasted and crushed
1. Preheat an oven to 150 Celsius and line a tray (you'll probably need two) with baking parchment.
2.Place the egg whites into a large bowl and with electric beaters beat the egg whites until the form stiff peaks. Stiff peaks are when they form foamy mountains in the bowl that when the bowl is held upside down, do not fall out.
3. Gradually add the sugar, while whisking until it forms glossy, shiny, beautiful to look at peaks. Whisk in the cornflour and vanilla extract.
4. Spoon the mix into a piping bag. Carefully pipe mounds of the meringue onto the baking tray, swirling up to form little piles with peaks. See the photos below to get a guide on what shape you are aiming for. If you don't have a piping bag you can either: a) use a strong plastic bag that has good corners - spoon it into a corner, twist it so that it is tight and conical and then snip off the corner and use it like a piping bag. OR, b) use a table spoon and carefully spoon it onto the parchment, then adding another spoon on top and swirling the meringue with the back of the spoon to form a nice, meringue like pattern. Try and get a nice peak on the mound too.
NB - if you are making one large pavlova use a spoon to ladle it all onto the baking parchment and swirl into a large circle.
5. Place into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. They should be slightly coloured and crisp on top. Then turn the heat off and leave in the oven for a further 30 minutes.
NB - if you are making one large pavlova bake for 1 hour, and leave with the oven switched off for one further hour.
6. Place the cream into a bowl and whisk until it is thickened. Mix in the vanilla extract.
7. Spoon the cream neatly on top of the meringues. Place on top the raspberries, about 2 or 3 halves to each meringue, and then scatter the pistachios over the top.
whisked up egg whites and sugar - STIFF PEAKS!
piped meringues :D
Pralines are a traditional Creole confectionery item, famed for their moreish sweetness and nutty crunch. They derive their name from Marshal Luplesis-Praslin whose butler invented the recipe for pralines as a digestive aid.
Essentially pralines are a sort of rustic, caramel based fudge, mixed with pecans and set into disks. They are absolutely delicious as a sweet snack but, made smaller, could even be used as canapes!
Give them a try - uber easy - and bring a touch of Creole flavour to your life!
Recipe courtesy of the New Orleans School of Cookery.
Ingredients (Makes about 1-50 pralines, depending on size):
1.5 cups white sugar
0.75 cups light brown sugar
0.5 cup milk
6 tbsp butter
1.5 cup pecans, lightly toasted (bake at about 140 Celsius on a tray for about 20 minutes until fragrant and browned)
1 tsp vanilla extract - use good quality - no essence!
1. In a saucepan melt the butter. Once melted add the milk and vanilla. Stir to combine.
2. Add the sugars and the pecans. Using a wooden spoon (don't use metal; it conducts heat too easily and can cause the caramel to harden/be ruined), stir it in.
3. Continue to stir constantly, never leaving it, until the mixture comes to a 'soft ball stage' - this means that when a teaspoon of it is dropped into cold water, if forms a soft ball in the water. Or, more easily, use a sugar thermometer and wait until it reaches 238-240 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Remove it from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens, becomes creamy and a little cloudier and until you can feel sugar crystals starting to form on the sides of the pan. The spoon should make a bit of a rasping sound on the side, brushing against them.
5. Using a spoon (size depending on the size of pralines desired!), spoon portions of it out onto oiled baking paper and set down in a circle shape. Leave to cool, until room temperature and crisp. Serve. These will keep for around 3 days. Delicious.
dolloping the praline on the wax proof paper
A pretty little canape that is damn fine on the tongue too. Cute in a scaled down afternoon tea sort of way, and easy too (but shh, that's a secret).
Photograph courtesy of Victoria Albrecht.
Ingredients (makes approx. 20)
200g caster sugar
200g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 lemons, zest and juice
3 free-range eggs beaten
200g self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with butter, then add a small amount of flour, turn the cake tin to coat the sides and bottom and shake out any excess.
2. Beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy, using an electric whisk.
3. Gradually add the eggs, whisking after each addition until the egg is completely incorporated into the mixture before adding the next. Carefully fold in the flour using a metal spoon.
4. Stir in the lemon juice.
5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and is cooked through. (The sponge is cooked through when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.)
6. Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes. Once cooled remove from the tin.
7. Using a circular cutter about an inch across in size (if you don’t have one try using a shot glass or a champagne flute!), cut as many little circles of cake out of the sponge as you can and place on a tray.
8. Add a little splodge of lemon curd to the top of each one and place a raspberry on top. The curd acts as glue (you can also add it to the bottom to stop it sliding around on the tray.
9. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
A very dear friend gave me this recipe while I was at University and throwing events with the Food Society I was involved in where we had to pump out hundreds and hundreds of canapes on the spot multiple multiple times a year for 4 years. As I think I expressed a few posts back, this has left me with a deep rooted reluctance for all things canapeY. However, despite this cynicism, this is one of the only canapes that can drag me out of my stupor, into the kitchen and into an appetite. If I needed more reasons to adore this girl, this just put the proverbial cherry on the cake. Or Clafoutis. Mmm.
Flaky, cheesey, buttery pastry flavoured with salt and rosemary - oh god - topped with salty salty feta cheese, juicy sun dried tomato and olive - oh god, oh god, just too good.
Trust me, make these - you'll never ask for another canape recipe again. And so easy too; simple to make both for small numbers and immense. Pretty too, people will marvel. Give it a go.
Ingredients (makes 20):
For the shortbreads:
50g plain flour, sifted
Pinch cayenne pepper
50g cold butter
50g parmesan cheese, grated
1tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
For the topping:
10 semi dried tomatoes
Salt and black pepper
110g feta cheese, diced
10 Black olives, halved
1. Preheat the oven to 200Place the flour, a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt, butter, parmesan and the rosemary in a bowl and rub together to form a smooth dough. Alternatively you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor. This is a dry dough.
2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 0.6 cm thickness. Using a 2cm fluted pastry cutter cut out circles. Place the dough on baking sheets lined with baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Bake until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.
4. Top the shortbreads with tomatoes and feta. Garnish with olives and serve at room temperature.
Delicious as a starter or as canapes!
For the pork belly:
Approx. 450g Pork Belly slices
salt and pepper
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Honey
2 tsp Fish Sauce
2tsp Lime juice
1 hot (or 2 medium) red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
For the dipping sauce (makes approx. 2 cups/1 small bowl):
250 g caster sugar
500 ml water
1 hot red chilli, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
40g ginger/ 1 inch piece, finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
30 ml fish sauce
30 ml mirin (Japanese rice vinegar)
1 limes, juice only
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 small handful coriander, chopped
For the Pork:
1. Place the pork belly slices in a dish and cover with the marinade ingredients. Marinade for 3-24 hours (the longer the better).
2. Preheat the oven to 100 celsius.
3. Shake off the marinade. Rub the oil into the pork belly and season the slices, rubbing plenty of salt into the skin. Lay in a baking tray, skin side up.
4. Bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until the pork is tender and soft and the skin crisping. Leave to rest for 10 minutes or so.
5. Get a frying pan hot and lay the slices in skin side down. Leave skin to crisp, moving the slices around occasionally to prevent them from sticking, for a couple of minutes, until the skin is crispy.
6. Slice each slice into 3 to make cubes and re-season.
For the marinade:
7. Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and boil on medium heat until it forms a syrup, approx. 10 minutes. The consistency should be slightly thicker than water.
8. Add the chillis, garlic, lemongrass and ginger, and simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, mirin and fish sauce.
10. Leave to cool and add the chopped coriander and spring onions.
11. Serve alongside the pork belly.
In my last 4 years I have made - and I make this statement with not one ounce of exaggeration, I promise - hundreds and tens-of-hundreds of canapes, nay, thousands of canapes have passed through these fair hands. Every year with my food society we hold at least 8-10 events where we make canapes for members, either as bribes or just as general treats, and this combined with the odd catering job and dinner party has made canapes into somewhat of an old hat for me. I'm constantly thinking of ways to reawaken my interest for what is an exciting food group, full of opportunity for imagination and food-play (see what I did there...ey).
When a friend offered me this recipe for earl grey cupcakes I was first of all excited, second of all hungry and third (of all?) 'ly inspired. Having whipped around the quantities and altered a few things this recipe for earl grey mini-cupcakes was born!! Enjoy!
Ingredients for cupcakes:
125ml semi-skinned milk
6 earl grey teabags - split them open to get the tea loose
110g unsalted butter
225g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
125g self-raising flour
120g plain flourMethod:
- Preheat oven to 160C (fan)/ 180C)350F/gas mark 4
- Line tray with mini cupcake cases - you can get them from any supermarket. Don't get the full size ones...get the really tiny ones!
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it just begins to boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the tea.
- Cover with clingfilm and leave to infuse for about 30 mins, then sieve the mixture through a double layer of muslin cloth to remove the tea leaves.
- In a large mixing bowl cream the butter sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth.
- Add the almond extract, and the eggs gradually, mixing after each addition.
- Combine the two flours together in a separate bowl.
- Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Then add a third of the infused milk to the creamed mixture and mix well. Repeat this process until all the flour and milk has been added.
- Spoon the mixture into the mini cupcake cases, filling them about two thirds full.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 mins until slightly raised and golden brown.
- Leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 mins and then move them onto a wire cooling rack and leave until cool.
Ingredients for Vanilla Frosting:
110g unsalted butter
60ml semi-skinned milk - keep an eye when adding, too much can make the mixture runny. Add a bit at a time, you may not need this much.
1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
**If you don't own a piping bag, don't sweat it - take a sturdy plastic bag (like the kind you get new potatoes in from the supermarket, for example), make sure it is washed out, spoon in the mixture and squeeze into one corner. Snip the end off the corner and use as a piping bag!!!
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth.
- Gradually add the remaining icing sugar and keep beating until your have a smooth and creamy buttercream.
- Spoon into a piping bag** and pipe on top of the mini cupcakes in a spiral, coming to a little peak!
- Serve on a cupcake stand or, as in the picture above, use a household prop - on my 22nd birthday I used my bookcase to make a wee stand!!