Wednesday 15 February 2012

Waste not ........

It's half-term again and what with horrible cold weather, two fairly ill children (a lot of coughing, especially at night), we are completely broke as usual and the fact that I have no car (Hugh needs it for work), my prospects are looking fairly grim. We need something cheap, fun and entertaining to keep the kids happy. Cooking of course!  Our first venture was sausage rolls.  Primarily because it is one of the few things that my daughter, Amelie, happily eats.  However she is customarily fussy, even about them.  Usual complaints vary from too gristly (often valid); too peppery (her delicate pallet can be a little over-sensitive but even so, she may often have a case); there is some minuscule speck of green in them (down-right picky).  So as a treat I thought we would make them just the way she likes them.  Organic, out-door bread pork mince, not too fatty, no gristle, no seasoning at all, apart from her beloved salt, but not too much and absolutely no herbs. We used ready rolled good quality, all butter puff and in a matter of minutes we had a fabulous hot little snack for lunch.  

I had a little pastry left so we made some pig's ears or to use the more official name Palmiers for tea. Considering how quick and simple the whole procedure was, it was as always, remarkable quite how much clearing up there was to be done afterwards. Still, I felt after this impressive achievement of spending quality time with the kids that I was justified in sitting them in front of a DVD for the next two hours. Well, it was raining!  

Which after extensive clearing up still left me with about an hour spare.  I decided to knock up a couple of scotch eggs which I thought we could have with some salad for dinner.  First of all I seasoned up the pork mix with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a little mace and wrapped it around a couple of soft boiled eggs, which I then panned and deep-fried.  So, lunch, tea and dinner all sorted from half a pound of mince, a few eggs and a packet of puff pastry. And it is a good way of using up old bread.  Pretty economising, even for me!

Sausage Rolls
Add whatever extra flavouring you like to the pork; herbs such as thyme, sage or parsley, mace, nutmeg, lemon zest etc. 
I packet of good quality all butter puff pasty
2 eggs (one for filling and one for egg-wash)
150g outdoor bread pork mince
Couple of handfulls of freshly made breadcrumbs

Put the meat into a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Add a few handfuls of breadcumbs and one of the beaten eggs and seasoning well with black pepper and a little salt.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about a thickness of about ½ cm, and cut into 3 lengthways. Divide the meat into little sausages, as long as your pastry, and roll each one up allowing an overlap.  Paint this with egg-wash before sealing. Slash the top with a knife and brush the outside with more egg-wash. Repeat with the rest of the pastry and meat.  Put the rolls on a baking tray, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack, and serve warm.

You can flavour these with all sorts of different sugars such as cinnamon, vanilla, cardomon or nutmeg.  Alternatively you could make a savoury variety with parmesan cheese and a little cayenne and decorate with poppy seeds.
Puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle. Paint lightly with egg-wash. Sprinkle with lots of sugar (and spices if using) over the dough. Roll up the left vertical side inward, stopping in the middle of the dough. Roll up the right side of the dough. The two rolls should be meeting at the middle and touching. Press the two sides together gently. Starting at one end, cut off pieces of the log, in slices about 1/2 inch in thickness. Lightly sprinkle sugar onto each side. Pinch and press the sides of the two rolls together to ensure that they don't unroll during baking. Place on large parchment lined baking sheets or non-stick tray. They will increase size a little, so leave plenty of room between each. Set the tray in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the sugar has caramelized. Turn if necessary. Allow them to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

Soft-boiled Scotch Eggs
Add whatever extra flavouring you like to the pork; herbs such as thyme, sage or parsley, mace, nutmeg, lemon zest etc. 
2 large free-range eggs
150g outdoor bread pork
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couple of handfuls plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 free-range egg, beaten (some for the mix and some to pane)
Few handfuls of breadcrumbs (some for the mix and some to pane)
Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Place the eggs, still in their shells, in a large pan of boiling water over a medium heat keep at a gentle rolling boil for exactly five minutes. Drain and cool the eggs immediately under cold running water, then peel. Mix the pork with a few handfuls of breadcrumbs, one of the beaten eggs and some salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Wrap the pork around each egg. Make sure the coating is smooth and completely covers each egg. You want it to be about 1/2 to 3/4 cms thick but It should not be thicker than 1cms or it will not cook. Dip each coated egg in the flour, then the remaining beaten egg, rolling to coat completely, then dip and roll into the breadcrumbs to completely cover.

Heat the oil in a deep heavy-bottomed pan and using a thermometer, heat until about 170 Degrees. Carefully place each scotch egg into the hot oil and deep-fry for at least 10 minutes, turning frequently, until golden and crisp and the sausage meat is completely cooked. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Carefully remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve cool. I like mine with HP sauce.  Class!

1 comment:

  1. I adore home made sausage rolls - they are miles better than any shop brought ones. The great thing is you can have them exactly how you like them.

    I bet the kids had great fun making them - and eating them!


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