“Chinese” Sausage Rolls

I don’t pretend that this is an authentic Chinese recipe, but the flavours used always reminds me of Chinese food.

I use ready roll puff pastry which makes these quick and easy to make.  They also freeze really well.

I sometimes dip these into sweet chilli sauce which is sublime but they are also pretty fabulous on their own.

Makes between 8 and 10

Ingredients

1 Large sheet ready rolled puff pastry

500 Grams Lean pork mince

50 Grams Breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp Ginger (grated)

2-3 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

2-3 Scallions/spring onions (finely sliced)

1/2 Tbsp Sesame oil

1 Tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

1 Tsp Chilli powder

1 Tsp Salt

1 Egg yolk

Sesame seeds (optional)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees
  • Add the pork, garlic, ginger, breadcrumbs, scallions, spices, and sesame oil to a large bowl and mix with your hands until well combined
  • Unroll the puff pastry, and evenly spread the pork mix in an even line down the centre of the pastry
  • Brush the long edges of the pastry with egg yolk.  Bring the long edges of the pastry together and together by crimping with your fingers or a fork.
  • Brush the long log created with egg yolk (and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you are using them).  Divide the long roll into 8 or 10 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I have to give props for the recipe to Deborah Robertson @lickedspoon, who I think got it turn from Martha Stewart (I love recipe family trees).

These cookies are a bit of a faff but they are well worth it. You need to chill the dough for at least 4 hours. I made the dough in the morning, then got on with my day while it chilled. You can do this, and by the time you bake them your house will smell devine and you’ll be worshipped as the domestic God/Goddess that you are.

You can make the dough a day or two in advance if you’re busy and it also freezes well. (freeze the dough before you roll it in sugar). These are pretty indulgent, but it is Christmas.

The original recipe says to add Kalhua or Tia Maria. I was making these for kids so I left it out, but definitely looking forward to making the adult version next time.

Makes 30

Ingredients

120 Grams Good quality dark chocolate

180 Grams Plain flour

50 Grams Cocoa powder

100 Grams Butter (room temperature)

2 Tsp Baking powder

1/2 Tsp Salt

2 Eggs

200 Grams Brown sugar

2 Tsp Vanilla extract

80 Mil Milk

2-3 Tbsp Castor sugar

2-3 Tbsp Icing sugar

Method

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave, giving it 30 second blasts, and stirring regularly (be care not to burn it). Allow to cool slightly
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer or with an electric whisk until light and fluffy
  • Mix all your dry ingredients together
  • Gradually add the vanilla and eggs to the butter and sugar and whisk at medium spead. Then gradually add all the ingredients and mix until it comes together as a dough, don’t over mix
  • Put a good sized sheet of cling film on your counter, empty half the dough onto it before forming it into disk. Wrap with the rest of the cling film and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours. Repeat with the second half of the dough
  • When the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius), and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper
  • Place the castor sugar and icing sugar into two separate bowls (your hands will get sticky later on, so it’s also a good idea to have a bowl of cold water too).
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it, and break of lumps about the size of a walnut and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the bowl of castor sugar, making sure its well coated. Then roll it in the bowl of icing sugar and place on the baking try
  • Make sure to leave space between the balls of dough as they will spread.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool before trying to move as they will very soft until they cool

Eve’s Pudding

With colder weather and darker evenings coming in all I want is comfort food.

This was one of my favourite desserts from school and is basically an apple sponge. Whatever you decide to call it, it’s delicious and even better with custard, or ice cream.

I’ve used eating apples, but you could use cooking apples if this what you have (just remember to add some extra sugar if the apples are very tart).

You can also use different fruit, like plums, pears, or rhubarb.

Ingredients

120 Grams Butter (plus extra for greasing the baking dish)

120 Grams Sugar

120 Grams Self Raising Flour

2 Eggs

1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

6 Dessert Apples

Icing Sugar (optional)

Method

  • Peel and core the apples, and cut into 3-4cm cubes. Put in a pot with a splash of water and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the apples start to soften. You can cook the apples for longer if you prefer, but I like them to still have a bit of texture. Allow to cool slightly
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light.
  • Add the vanilla and one egg to the butter and sugar and continue mixing. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour and the next egg and gradually add the rest of the flour while mix (this should stop the cake mix looking like it has curdled. If this happens don’t panic, just add a spoonful of flour and keep mixing
  • Transfer the apples to an oven proof dish (about 1-1.5 litre dish should be fine). Drain off any excess liquid and top with the cake mix before spreading it evenly across the top of the apples
  • Bake for 40 minutes, stick a skewer or toothpick in the middle of the pudding. If the skewer comes out clean the your pudding is ready, if not cook for a further 5 minutes and try again
  • Allow to cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar if you’re feeling fancy
  • Serves with custard or cream, or ice cream

Flake Meal Cookies

These are a traditional biscuits in Northern Ireland. Sometimes dipped in chocolate but equally delicious left plain.

I like these because they’re quick to make and are made from ingredients that you can usually find in the cupboard.

They can be a bit crumbly when you are trying to roll and cut them out, but they squish back into shape.

This recipe is from http://www.traybakesandmore.com

Ingredients

110 Grams Butter

55 Grams Sugar

30 Grams Plain flour

150 Grams Porridge oats

30 Grams Dessicated Coconut

1/4 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Chocolate for dipping (optional)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (Celsius)
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Combine all the other ingredients before adding to the butter and sugar, work together with your hands until the ingredients come together in a ball
  • I find it easier to roll out the mix between 2 sheets of baking paper but you can also roll it out on a floured surface
  • Roll out to about 0.5cm thick and cut out and place on a baking sheet, leave a little space between them as they will spread
  • Bake for 15 minutes before cooling on a wire wrack

Cook’s Perks

One of the good things about being the cook is that you get access to the best bits.

I was making a savoury pie, using shop bought puff pastry, and had some left over. I hate food waste, so rather than throw it out, I dusted it with some brown sugar and cinnamon to make a version of bite sized Danishes. I also sprinkled with sesame seeds just to be fancy, but they’re without these.

With only 3 ingredients these are delicious little perks of being the cook.

Ingredients

Ready made puff pastry

Brown sugar

Cinnamon

Method

I had a 5-6 centimetre wide piece of puff pastry. Dust with brown sugar and cinnamon and roll up in a coil.

Cut into 1-2cm slices, place on a baking sheet (sprinkle with sesame seeds if you want to), and bake for 15 minutes at 200 degrees (Celsius) until gold brown.

Chicken Crackling Butter

This may be the most totally filthy thing (in a good way) that I have ever made.

My sister saw this on a food programme and asked me to make it. She couldn’t remember which programme or I would give credit where its due.

I cook with chicken thighs alot, and when I’m feeling healthy I’ll remove and discard the skin. I’ve now started making chicken crackling (super crispy chicken skin crisps).

This butter makes a delicious topping on top of steak, or even melted onto pasta. Under no circumstances should you be left alone with it and a loaf of French bread, unless you want your loved ones to find you covered with crumbs, glistening with butter and filled with shame. Feck it, it’s totally worth it.

You can make larger batches and freeze the butter (if you don’t trust yourself)

Flatten out the chicken skin before placing another baking tray on top.

Ingredients

75 Grams Butter (room temperature, and cut into cubes)

Skin from 3-4 chicken thighs

Salt

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees (Celsius)
  2. Place the chicken thighs on a chopping board, and run the back of a large kitchen knife a long the skin to flatten it out.
  3. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and then place another baking tray on top to keep the skin flat
  4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken skin is a deep golden brown. Set to one side and all to cool completely
  5. When cold, whizz the chicken skin in a food processor until it looks like sand, you can leave it a little coarser if you prefer
  6. Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until everything is well combined. Check the seasoning and more salt if you think it needs it
  7. Transfer to a sheet of cling film and shape into a sausage shape and wrap before freezing or refrigerating

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Pie

Any type of chocolate dessert is normally a winner. This pie is similar to a Kentucky Derby pie, I have left out the bourbon, and reduced the sugar because I found the original version overly sweet. The finished result is still rich and delicious and feels really indulgent.

This is divine served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you’re short on time you can use shop bought pastry or even a pre-made pastry case.

Serves 8

(For the pastry case)

125 Grams Butter

200 Grams Plain flour

2 Tbsp Sugar

Pinch of salt

Cold water

For the filling

125 Grams Butter (melted, and allowed to cool)

125 ml Golden syrup

4 Eggs

200 Grams Brown sugar

50 Grams Plain flour

150 Grams Walnuts (roughly chopped)

125 Grams Dark chocolate (roughly chopped) or chocolate chips

1 Tsp Vanilla extract

Method

  1. For the pastry, add the butter, sugar and salt and flour to a food processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, (you can use the old fashioned rubbing in method if you don’t have a food processor). Gradually add cold water until the mix comes together as a dough. Form into a ball and wrap in cling film and then chill in the fridge for 30 mins
  2. Grease a 12 inch pie dish/tin, ideally one with removable base. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper until 1/2 cm thick (you can check the size by placing your tin the centre of the pastry and checking there is enough room to cover the depth of your tin)
  3. Carefully transfer the pastry to the pie dish and gently ease the pastry into the edges, place in the fridge and chill for another 30 mins. Trim any excess pastry that hangs over the edge of your pastry case
  4. Preheat your oven to 180 degree (Celsius), place a sheet of baking parchment in the prepared party case and add baking beans (I use old uncooked rice, rather than buying the fancy clay baking beans), Blind bake for 20 minutes and then remove the baking parchment and baking beans
  5. For the filling mix, whisk the melted butter (make sure its cool), eggs and add the sugar, vanilla extract and golden syrup and whisk until it lightens in colour and increases in volume (the sugar should have dissolved)
  6. Whisk in the flour, ensuring there are no lumps, and then fold in the chocolate and walnuts with a spatula
  7. Pour the filling mix into the pastry case and bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes, until the centre of the pie is just starting to set (it will continue to cook as it cools)
  8. Cool for a couple of hours before serving with whipped cream or ice cream

Migas

If you always end up with left over bread this is a really tasty way to use it up.

This dish apparently started with poor shepherds in Spain and Portugal. I like recipes that allow you to use up what’s available and this is perfect for using up scraps of streaky bacon, ham or other smokey meats or cold cuts

This dish does use a lot of oil, which is why I’ve included it amongst the poor filth recipes. It’s quick, easy to make and tastes great. I like for breakfast/brunch with fried eggs. It also makes a fantastic hangover cure.

Ingredients

500 Grams Stale bread (broken into chunks of various size, but not as small as breadcrumbs)

1 Onion (cut into fine slices)

2-3 Cloves of garlic

50 Grams Chorizo (peeled and sliced)

1 Red pepper (cut into 1cm strips)

50 Grams Streaky bacon or other left over meat or cold cuts (cut into 2cm slices)

1 Tsp Smoked paprika

2-3 Tbsp Olive oil

Method

Serves 4

  • Heat a large high sided pan and add the chorizo, and streaky bacon until it starts to crisp up. Remove from the pan and set to one side
  • Add the onion, garlic, red pepper and paprika to the pan and cook in the juices released from the chorizo and bacon until the onion becomes translucent
  • Add some oil to the pan and then add the stale bread chunks. Fry until the bread starts to brown, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn
  • Add the meat back to the pan and stir well
  • Serve with fried eggs.

Cucumber and Mint Mojitos

These are not mojitos in the true sense (I’m not really a fan of rum). But they are incrediblely refreshing, and a great Summer drink.

I make individual ones in a cocktail shaker (a great addition to your Amazon wish list if you don’t already have one). You can also increase the ingredients and make a big jug of these if you have friends round.

I have included the recipe for a simple syrup, but if you’re short on time you can buy this pre made. Make sure to have plenty of ice.

Ingredients

Simple syrup

250 Grams Sugar

250 ml water

For the cocktail

1 Shot Simple syrup

1 Shot Gin

Cucumber

Mint leaves

Lime

Soda or tonic water

Method

  1. To make the simple syrup, add the sugar and water to a pot and heat until the sugar was dissolved, set to one side and allow to cool
  2. With a potato peeler shave ribbons of cucumber and add to a tall glass and top up with crushed ice.
  3. Roughly chop a tablespoon of cucumber and add to a cocktail shaker along with 5 mint leaves and a wedge of lime. Muddle these in the shaker (this a fancy term for giving them a bit of a bash to release their flavour, I do this with butt of a wooden spoon, but use what you have)
  4. Add a shot of gin and a shot of simple syrup to the shaker, along with a couple of ice cubes and shake for all you’re worth. If you are making a jug of these, then make sure to stir thoroughly
  5. Pour into your prepared glass and top off with some tonic or soda water and a sprig of mint and wedge of lime if you’re feeling especially fancy

Lemon Bars

I love any form of lemon dessert and these are the ideal tea time treat. There’s a rich buttery shortbread base and a zingy lemon topping.

OMG I love these so much, I have to distribute these among friends and family or else I could easily eat these entirely by myself. If you have better self discipline than I do, these will keep in an airtight box for 2-3 days.

Use a food processor if you have one to make them even easier to make. There’s no need to roll out the shortbread base, just press it into the dish.

Makes 18

Ingredients

For the base

120 Grams Butter

130 Grams Plain flour

30 Grams Icing sugar

For the topping

Juice and finely grated zest of 3 lemons

190 Grams Sugar

3 Eggs

65 Grams Plain flour

Extra icing sugar for dusting the finished bars

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius) and line a 9 in x 12 in baking tin with parchment paper
  2. To make the base, add the flour, butter, and sugar to a food processor and pulse until it looks like breaks crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor you can use the rubbing in method to combine the butter and flour
  3. Transfer the crumb mix to the baking sheet and press it down. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until light golden brown
  4. Allow the base to cool slightly before making the topping
  5. Using your food processor again, add all the topping ingredients to the bowl and whizz until light and fluffy
  6. Pour the topping on top of the cooled base and bake for 25 minutes (or until the centre doesn’t jiggle
  7. Allow to cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and cutting into bars