Scrumptious Sunday: Scotch Eggs

Hi kids!

It looks like winter is finally arriving in Cape Town. We had lovely rain all day yesterday, and today is sort of rainy, sort of overcast, somewhat windy but gloriously grey. You remember I love winter right? As I am typing, I’m sitting with a freshly brewed mug of coffee right under my nose – letting the aromas of strong, bitter, black coffee waft up my nose and entice my senses. And whilst I’m lost in my heady coffee aromatherapy, I’m daydreaming of soups and stews and one-pot wonders which naturally comes with the cold season – served in one bowl, perfect to cradle in my lap while I’m snuggled under a blanket in front of my TV, watching my stories. Winter. A wonderful, whimsical season. A wonderful, whimsical reason to indulge in bowls of steamy, hot, edible comfort.

But alas, I totally just side-tracked myself, and need to stop my rambling and get to the matter at hand. Agree? Okay. So the back-story is that the beau and I have started something new on Sundays, which I have (after our successful first adventure) dubbed Scrumptious Sundays. This is different to our failed Try-It Tuesday misadventure last year. Here’s why: I don’t want to feel pressure while cooking during the week. I just don’t have the time to try something entirely new, have it fail, and then whip up something else on a Tuesday (or any other weekday, for that matter). However, during the weekend we’re more relaxed. We’re laid back. And yes, then we have the time and energy to try an entirely new recipe, and run the risk of failing. Because it’s Sunday. And we have time (and I have the patience with my sous chef)! So obviously, we take time during the week to discuss what we want to make on Sunday. We only have 3 criteria. 1. It has to be a recipe we haven’t made before. 2. It has to be a treat. Something that wouldn’t be on our weekly rotation. 3. We have to do it together. The third point is clearly aimed at me – for I do not share well in the kitchen. When we have made our decision, I spend some time sourcing the recipe, taking the time to look at as many recipes as I can before deciding which would suit us best.

Our first attempt was something we’ve eaten only once before, bought at an artisinal fresh food stall, but after we ate it (about 3 years ago, mind you) we knew we loved it. So it was a natural decision that we would have to make it. Have you ever had a Scotch Egg before? If you had, you can skip this part. If not, hold on to your pantaloons! It is a soft boiled egg. A lovely, golden, sunny, happy example of what a soft boiled egg should be. Just barely holding it’s shape. A soft boiled egg cocooned in perfectly seasoned pork meat, breaded and then fried. Yes, fried. Deep fried. When you bite into it, the crunchy, crispy, golden exterior belies the goodness that awaits you. The pork is salty, and savoury. It is juicy and dripping down your chin is an absolute given. And then you get to the egg, the yolk still miraculously runny, golden and rich, almost sweet. Then you take another bite, and relive the entire joyride of scrumptiousness. It is magic. It is pure heaven.  And honestly, not that hard to make. Let’s get to it.

Scotch Eggs (makes 4 large Scotch Eggs)

Adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1414645/scotch-eggs

Ingredients:

  • 7 large eggs
  • 500g* good-quality fresh pork banger sausages, skinned (they MUST be fresh – no processed junk!)
  • 200g bacon strips, roughly cut into bits
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • Plain flour (for breading stage)
  • Dried breadcrumbs (for breading)
  • about 1 litre sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • scraps of bread, for testing oil

Method:

  1. Put 4 eggs into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, set the timer for 5 mins. When 5 mins is up, quickly lift the eggs out with a slotted spoon and plunge into a big bowl of cold water. (We cooked the for 4.5 minutes, which was great, but you must then be careful because they are very fragile and the yolk WILL break and run). You can give the eggs a quick crack on one end and then put it into the cold water. This will cause the cold water to seep in, stopping the cooking and making peeling easier.
  2. Put the sausage meat, bacon, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder and nutmeg into a food processor with plenty of seasoning. Break in 1 of the remaining eggs and mix everything together.
  3. Crack remaining 2 eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork. Tip the flour into another bowl and season well. Finally, tip the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
  4. When the eggs are cool peel them carefully. If you hold the eggs over the bowl of water as you peel, all the shell bits will collect in there and you can dip in the egg to wash off any fragments.
  5. Now coat the eggs. We set up the ingredients along our counter like a conveyer belt: cooked eggs, mince, then flour,  beaten egg and finally breadcrumbs, plus a baking parchment-lined tray at the end to put the finished scotch eggs on.
  6. Take a good chunk of mince and pat out to thinly cover one hand. Sit the egg on the meat, then mold over the mince to cover, squeezing and patting so it is an even thickness. If you keep moving while you spread the mince, it’s much easier. You’ll probably have a gap (depending on how big your hands are – just patch and pat with a bit more mince). Roll carefully in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat, gently squeeze the finished eggs to compact the breadcrumbs – this will ensure a crunchy exterior, and transfer to your tray. Repeat to cover all 4 eggs, then cover with cling film and chill for 4 hrs or overnight. (You can fry them immediately, which is what we did. The chilling will just keep them together better. It really wasn’t an issue though.)
  7. To cook, pour the oil in a large, deep saucepan to about 4cm deep. Heat until a small chunk of bread browns in about 1 min. Carefully lower in a scotch egg and fry for about 5-8 mins, turning gently, until evenly browned. Depending on your pan, you can probably do 2-3 at a time, but don’t overcrowd. Lift out onto a kitchen paper-lined tray. If you like your scotch eggs warm, pop them into a low oven while you fry the rest – but they stay hot quite long on their own too. Keep an eye on the oil – if the scotch eggs start browning too quickly, the oil might be too hot and you risk the pork not being cooked before the scotch egg is browned. If the oil gets too cool, the scotch egg may overcook before it is browned. Enjoy warm or cold; best eaten within 24 hrs of frying. We loved it served with a bowl of mayo, but it’s really up to you.

* We ended up having a little bit too much of the pork mixture. I wouldn’t use less pork though – rather have too much than not enough to cover all your eggs. We just used the remaining pork mixture, rolled mini meatballs, breaded them and deep fried them too! They were darling and delicious!

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So? What do you think? Are you going to try it? Let me know how it goes if you do!

Until next time, Much Love.

Childhood Revisited: Banana Bread

When I was a kid, my mom used to bake banana bread. That was her thing. She’s not the “I’m gonna bake a cake and a hundred cupcakes just because” type of lady. Cookies and cakes and tarts? Not her thing. But she had two things that she would bake regularly. Bran muffins, and banana bread. So banana bread was always something you could chow at our house. There was always some to be found. And when she took her freshly baked loaf out of the oven, she would barely wait for it to cool before she would start slicing. With a simple slathering of butter. Sometimes with some cheese. Always with a cup of tea or coffee.

With my teen years, came the rebellion. Against anything and everything. And along with the rebellion came a sudden dislike of my darling mom’s banana bread. Petulant, you might think. I agree. I just felt that after years of banana bread feasts, I had had enough. No more. I didn’t like it anymore. But then, I grew up (eventually we all do). I still maintained the no banana bread rule, long into my relationship, even though the beau adores banana bread. I wouldn’t have any of it. However, about a month ago, after I did a detox, I had some bananas sitting on my counter, ripening by the minute. I couldn’t eat any more bananas after the detox. And so there they sat. Blackening. Menacing. Judging me for letting them go to waste. So, I decided. Screw it. I’ll give banana bread another shot. Worse comes to worst – he’ll have a whole loaf to himself. Besides, I also just recently discovered (after trying it for the first time in years) that I, in fact, do like beets. I was being brave.

So I baked it. And it was good. It was dense and moist and soft and pale yellow on the inside. And instantly I was sitting next to my mom, sipping on some tea, munching on her freshly baked love offering. And I was proud for trying it. And being able to once again say that I, in fact, do like banana bread. Even more than that; I was ecstatic about how beautiful it looked, sitting there in my never before used loaf pan. And I realised that even if you don’t like to bake, baking a banana bread that comes out looking like that, is really satisfying. And I got why my mom did it. So, in reverance to my dearest mommy, a banana bread recipe:

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Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/banana-banana-bread/

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour

  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda

  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt

  4. 1/2 cup butter

  5. 3/4 cup brown sugar

  6. 2 eggs, beaten

  7. 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

  8. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

I challenge you to test your tastebuds. Try something you stopped liking as a kid. Who knows, you might have a new obsession! Let me know how it goes!

Much Love

The Girls Who Bake – February 2014

Hi guys,

Sorry it’s been SO long! No excuses, I know. Bad blogger! Let’s move on though, okay? Let’s talk about our Baking Day! This time, it was my sister’s turn to host – and we had a blast! Her choices of treats to bake were Nutella filled rolls with an Espresso Glaze, and Triple Chocolate “Skinny” Muffins. The skinny muffins was a choice very cunningly made to soothe our guilty consciences, because, you know…it’s skinny! Before we started, my sister and I went to a group yoga session on the beach at Blouberg. We were very nervous since we’re new to yoga, and have never done a group session – we just do yoga at home. It was such an amazing experience though (except for the minor back injury I got)! My future sister-in-law joined us later that afternoon to help as well. Although, the two “helpers” generally mostly sit and drink wine… 😉

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Back to baking! We should have just made full-blast fattening triple chocolate muffins…Because the skinny ones were not so good. (That’s an understatement) I’m not entirely sure where we went wrong, but they were the most bland thing I’ve ever eaten! We tried one after they came out of the oven and we were shattered! Ugh. We ended up dousing them with some of the Espresso Glaze just to add some moisture and sweetness… Ah well, you win some, you lose some, amiright?!

As much as I disliked them, I’ll still post the recipe. If you try it and they come out well, let me know!

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TRIPLE CHOC CUPCAKES

Adapted from: http://dashingdish.com/recipe/triple-chocolate-chunk-muffins/

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup Oats
3 Egg whites
3/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Plain greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
1/2 tsp Cream of tartar (or 2 tsp. vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Hot water
1/2 cup Baking stevia OR 1 cup sweetener of choice that measures like sugar – we used honey
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips – we used dark chocolate, which might have affected the taste, so go for semi-sweet…
Tip Foil cupcake liners, remove the inner paper lining (because paper liners tend to stick to muffins!)

Method

THE ESTIMATED TOTAL TIME TO MAKE THIS RECIPE IS 35 MINUTES.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.
  3. Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.
  4. Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.
  5. Place the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. We had to bake them an additional 5-10 minutes longer to finish cooking.
  6. Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!! Here is where we drowned them in Espresso Glaze to at least try to impart SOME flavour. You’ll find the Espresso Glaze recipe in the Nutella Rolls recipe.

Now, let’s get to the good part. Nutella Rolls with Espresso Glaze. You could even stop reading after Nutella and you’d know that it was going to be fantastic. Because who doesn’t love Nutella? Who??? So, let’s go!

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RECIPE: NUTELLA ROLLS WITH COFFEE GLAZE

Adapted from: http://heatherchristo.com/cooks/2013/12/15/nutella-rolls-with-coffee-glaze/

For the dough:

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

½ cup canola oil

½ cup sugar

4 1/2 cups AP flour

1 package yeast

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

1. In a large pot, heat the milk, oil and sugar to a simmer. Then set aside to cool to luke warm.

2. When the milk mixture is luke warm, add 4 cups of flour and the yeast and stir well. Cover the pot with the lid and let sit somewhere warm for 1 hour.

3. When the dough has risen, stir in the last ½ cup of flour and the baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Let sit another 30 minutes.

Devide dough in half and roll out into approx. 30x40cm rectangles.

Filling:

13 ounces nutella

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Coffee Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Espresso (or strong coffee)

2 tablespoons cream

pinch of salt

Instructions

1. When the dough is finished rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.

2. Dust the countertop with a tiny bit of flour and roll the dough out into a big even rectangle.

3. Spread the nutella evenly over the top of the dough.

4. Gently roll the dough and nutella up into a log.

5. Slice the log into 12 rolls. Place them on the sheet pan and brush them all with the melted butter.

6. Drape a kitchen towel over the top of the nutella rolls and let them rise for 30 minutes.

7. Bake the Nutella rolls for about 15 minutes or until golden.

8. Take them out and transfer them to a cooling rack. While they are cooling make the Coffee Glaze.

9. Whisk the coffee glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Let them set up and then serve immediately.

How good do they look?! They were amazing. Gooey and oozy and sweet and sticky and all the things you want from a baked good. As per usual the wine was flowing, and we were barely snacking, much less eating, so after our day of baking we were ravenous and somewhat tipsy. Which led to us going out for a beer and then getting fast food… Yes, I know. You can shake your head at us. We deserve it. But this had led me to the following conclusion: We must find time to eat properly in between  baking. So, I have decided that from this month forward – which incidentally is my month to host – there will be food to feed us all… Not just sweets, but real food too, although who could say no to a life lived on sweet delights?!

If you make these, let me know how it went! I’d love to know about your baking adventures too!

Much Love