Monday, 24 January 2011

Haggis sausage rolls

Normally I would only blog about something sweet, but having lived in Scotland for 6 years I feel compelled to bake something special for the Burns night celebrations this week.

I shall of course be indulging in a full haggis, neeps and tatties supper and inflicting it upon my family, but in addition I have made some of these simple haggis sausage rolls - some of which I have given to friends as a small token and others have been presented to my colleagues at work.

This recipe makes approx 48 sausage rolls

1lb (454g) Haggis
500g Pork Sausagement
Sage or other herbs of your preference
Puff pastry (2 packs of pre-made block or 4 rolls of pre-rolled pastry)
1 egg (for sealing / glazing)

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (180)
If using pre-made pastry that is not pre-rolled then roll the pastry to approx 3-5mm thickness, retaining the square shape.  I use pre-rolled pastry as it saves a job.

The common Haggis will typically be sold as 1lb (454g) and so this recipe uses a whole average haggis.  Remove the haggis filling from the case and place in a large mixing bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, or possibly a knife if the haggis has been refrigerated, break the haggis up so if is in smaller pieces / lumps.  Add the sausage meat and mix together well so there is an even consistency of sausage meat and haggis.  

Season - probably a pinch or two of salt and a 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper.  Fresh or dried herbs are nice to add into the mix.  Sage works particularly well, but thyme or a selection of herbs will work too.

Cut the rolled pastry into strips approx 3cm wide and then each strip.  So from a pre-rolled sheet you should get 6 strips.  Then cut these strips into 2 - so you get 12 rolls from each pre-rolled pastry sheet.  Take a dessert spoon of the sausage mixture and roll it into a sausage shape in the palm of your hand.  The sausages need to be slightly longer than the width of pastry.  Place the sausage along the narrow end of each strip of pastry and roll into a sausage roll shape!

Use a little beaten egg to seal the pastry and brush a little on top of the roll to give it a nice glaze.  If you like you can score your haggis sausage rolls before glazing them.

Cut a piece of baking parchment and place it on a baking tray / sheet.  Place the sausage rolls onto the baking sheet (you should fit 12-15 on one sheet) and place in the top of the oven for 30-35mins or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up.  Repeat this process with the remaining bathes.


Friday, 21 January 2011

Banana and Pecan cake...

This is the most gorgeous, moist and delicious banana cake I've ever made.  The recipe is slightly adapted from an old recipe for banana and raisin loaf that I discovered in a magazine about 8 years ago.  Pecans and golden syrup are an unbeatable combination and when  you add them to bananas you get something even more special.

This recipe is a perfect addition to those cakes I reserve for the delights of 'afternoon tea'.  It is so simple to make and will easily hold its flavour for up to a week, if you can refrain from demolishing it all by then!!

225g self-raising flour
125g butter, softened and cubed
175g golden caster sugar
3 free-range eggs
few drops of vanilla extract
500g of over-ripened bananas (the blacker the better!)
2 tbsp golden syrup
80g pecans, roughly chopped (save 8-10 whole ones for the top)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.  Line the base of a 23" clip baking tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.  Grease the sides of the tin with a little butter.

Put the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl.  Using your fingertips work the two ingredients together until they resemble breadcrumbs.  Be delicate with the ingredients so as not to overwork them.  Add the sugar and stir together.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly for a minute or so.  Add the vanilla essence and beat again.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix together.

Remove the bananas from their skins and mush together in a small bowl or blender.  Add the bananas to the rest of the mixture and beat into a sloppy, wonderfully fragrant mixture.

Add the golden syrup, mix well and finally add the chopped pecans.

Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin.  Place the reserved whole pecans onto the top of the cake for a little decoration.  I like to use one whole pecan to denote one slice of the cake (see the picture below).  Sprinkle a little golden caster sugar over the cake then sit it on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hr.  

Check the mixture is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake.  If the skewer comes out clean then the cake is ready.  Leave to cool completely in the tin.  Once cooled, serve with tea of course!

> mmmm delicious!