Thursday, 26 January 2012

Haggis and Clapshot Pie

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the lord be thankit.
By Robert Burns

Combining all your ingredients in a pie is a bit different from the usual ceremonial Burns night dinner with the address to the haggis and the nip of whisky but if you lead a busy life you can make and freeze it beforehand. If you are freezing it add 1 egg yolk to the mash. (defrost overnight). Try it with a nip of whisky.

Clapshot is an Orcadian dish of swede and potato mash traditionally made with dripping but I prefer to use butter. The addition of lots of freshly milled black pepper and chives makes it the perfect accompaniment to haggis.

Makes 1 large or 4-6 smaller pies

For the pastry
2 oz cold butter, cubed   
2 oz cold white cooking fat, cubed
8 oz plain flour
Pinch each of salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp chilled water

Rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add salt and pepper.

Add the water 1 tbsp at a time to form a firm dough. Rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Roll the dough out on a floured surface, to the thickness of a £1 coin.

Use to line a 20cm pie tin (or 4-6 smaller tins) prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 7-9 minutes until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the haggis
300 g haggis, cooked to instructions or peel the skin off and cut into slices and microwave on full power for 3-4 minutes. Leave to cool and drain on kitchen paper.

For the Clapshot
500 g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
500 g turnip (swede) peeled and cut into chunks
50 g butter
2 tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 egg yolk (if freezing)

Boil the turnip and potatoes in separate pots, in salted water until tender.
Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the butter, pepper and if using it, the egg yolk. Beat with a hand held electric mixer until smooth.

To assemble the pie
Crumble the haggis evenly over the base of the pie crust. Pile on the clapshot.

Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden then remove the pie from the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Chinese New Year

 Easy and tasty dishes to celebrate Chinese new year.

Sesame chicken

2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1tsp crushed chillies
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove crushed garlic
500g (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 spring onions, sliced diagonally, chopped 

For marinade: In a dish or bowl, blend cornflour with rice wine (or dry sherry); stir in lemon juice, soy sauce, chilli, ginger and garlic. Blend and stir in chicken strips to coat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

In a wok or large frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan until the seeds are a golden brown colour. Remove seeds and set aside.

To same wok or frying pan, add  vegetable oil and heat slowly.

Drain chicken, reserving marinade, and stir-fry in wok a few pieces at a time, until browned. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.

 Add the spring onions and stir-fry 1 minute more.

Return chicken to pan, together with reserved marinade  and sesame oil stir over medium high heat for another 2 to 4 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly coated with the sauce. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve immediately.

Pork dumplings

Delicious little parcels of pork cooked in boiling water for a few minutes, a great and quick starter or snack.  Try them with prawns or minced chicken too.  For the dip, I mixed 2 tbsp soy sauce with the juice of 1/2 a lime and a pinch of sugar.  The dough can be bought ready made, rolled and cut, from Chinese supermarkets.

For the filling

200g lean minced pork, chicken or prawns
2 spring onions, very finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
A little salt and pepper

Mix all the filling ingredients together thoroughly and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Put large pan of water on to boil.

Make the dumplings by placing a teaspoon of the pork mixture in the centre of each dough round, wet round the edges and seal with your fingers to make a crescent shape.  You can also make little pork purses by wetting the edges of the pastry and bringing them together in the centre.

Cook in batches in the boiling water for a couple of minutes they should then float to the top.  Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.

Serve warm with a dip.

Deep fried pork with orange

200g pork tenderloin sliced (or 4 pork chops)
4 fl oz Chinese rice wine
2.5 cm ginger, finely sliced
1 tbsp finely sliced spring onion
1 tsp salt
Oil for deep frying
2 dried chillies, cut into 5mm pieces
1 strip dried ornage peel, about 5cm x 2cm
4 fl oz chicken stock
2 fl oz sesame oil

Marinate the pork with wine, half the ginger, half the spring onion and salt for 30 minutes.

Heat wok and add sufficient oil to shallow fry the pork.

Scrape off any ginger and spring onion clinging on the pork, then fry the meat until golden brown.

Drain pork and pour out all but 1 teaspoon of oil.

Stir fry the dried chillies until reddish brown, then add remaining ginger, spring onion and orange peel, stirring well.

Put in the stock and cook for 1 minute, then add pork and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Taste and add extra salt if desired, then stir in sesame oil.

Aromatic duck with pancakes


2 fat duck legs
3 slices fresh ginger
3 star anise
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch black peppercorns
2 spring onions
1 tbsp five spice paste
2 tbsp dry sherry

Wash the duck pieces and dry with kitchen roll then rub them with salt.

Place the duck in a bowl with the ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns and spring onions, mix together the sherry and five spice paste and pour it over the duck and spices, leave to marinate for a couple of hours.

Place the duck and spices on a plate in a steamer and steam for 2-3 hours.  Top up the water occasionally.

Remove from the steamer and leave to cool (skin side up).

Heat some oil in a wok, over a medium heat and fry the duck skin side down for 6 minutes turn and cook for 1 more minute.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Shred with 2 forks and serve with Chinese pancakes, cucumber, spring onion and plum or hoisin sauce.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pork Stroganoff

Pork is under-used when it comes to stews and casseroles, try this very tasty pork stroganoff with rice or mashed potatoes, a warming dish for this time of year, I'm sure it will become a  favourite.


500g pork fillet cut into thin strips
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp smoked paprika
300g button mushrooms thinly sliced
1 medium onion thinly sliced
300ml Crème Fraiche
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly milled pepper

Trim any fat and sinew off the pork fillet, slice in half lengthways then cut into thin strips. Toss the pork strips in the flour, paprika and seasoning

Heat a wide non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and cook the onions for 5 minutes.
Add the pork and cook, stirring for 3 minutes 

Add the mushrooms to the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously. 

Add the crème fraiche to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes, add the parsley. Check the seasoning.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes

Adapted from a recipe by putporkonyourfork

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Apple Tart with Almond Sponge

A lovely winter pudding which can be eaten hot with custard or creme fraiche but especially nice eaten cold with a cup of tea.

For the filling you will need 2 eating apples, peeled and cut into thin slices and 3 tbsp raspberry jam.

Top with flaked almonds before baking and brush with warm apricot jam when you remove it from the oven.


For the pastry

4 oz cold butter, cubed
8 oz plain flour
1 oz icing sugar
1 egg, beaten

Rub the cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Sieve the icing sugar into the mixture and stir to combine.

Add the beaten egg and bring it together with your hands, forming a dough, rest the dough in the fridge while you make the almond sponge.

For the sponge

200 g butter, softened
220 caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
220 g ground almonds

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating the mixture between each addition.

Fold in the flour and ground almonds until it has all been incorporated.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Grease a loose bottom flan tin with a little butter.  I used a 8" x 10" rectangular tin but a 10" round tin works just as well.

Roll out the pastry and line the flan tin.

Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the base of the pastry and lay the sliced apple on top of the jam.

Spoon on the almond sponge mix and even over the top with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes until the sponge is golden and bounces back when pushed.

Remove from the oven and brush with a little warmed apricot jam.

Leave to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Goats Cheese Red Onion and Walnut Tarts-Flavoured with maple syrup

These little tarts are so easy to make and taste great.  Have them for a starter, a snack, or with a jacket potato and coleslaw for a very quick and easy supper.  If you don't have maple syrup use runny honey (also delicious).


1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
200g soft goats cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 small red onion, finely sliced
Maple syrup
100 g chopped walnuts (hazlenuts are also good)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Cut out 5" rounds from the puff pastry, lay them on a baking tray.
Spoon 1 tsp maple syrup on each pastry round and spread to 1/2" from the edge of the pastry.

Scatter over some red onion slices and top with a slice of goats cheese.

Press some chopped walnuts into the cheese and spoon over 1/2 tsp of maple syrup.

Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and risen.

Serve hot.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Lamb Pasties

Eaten hot or cold with a salad, pasties make a delicious and filling lunch. For a main course try them with mashed potato and minted peas.

Makes 8

1kg stewing lamb, finely diced
110g potatoes, diced
110g swede, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
110g butter, cubed
110g lard, cubed
1 egg, beaten
75ml very cold water
450g plain flour
Large pinch salt
The pastry
Add the salt to the flour and rub in the fats to the seasoned flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Slowly add the water and mix to a very stiff dough. Knead lightly until smooth. Place in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4

Combine the filling ingredients in a large bowl.

Roll out the pastry to 5mm thick and cut into 15cm rounds. Divide the filling between the pastry rounds, brush the edges of the pastry with water and bring up the edges to meet at the top of the filling.

Crimp the edges of the pastry together and make a small cut to let the steam escape. Brush with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Petticoat Tails

Shortbread biscuits with a sugary top and a buttery flavour, what could be nicer, try them with a warming glass of mulled wine you will be pleasantly surprised.
I use salted butter, which seems to enhance the flavour.

They are very easy to make and keep for about 1 week in an airtight container.


6oz plain flour
3oz semolina
6oz salted butter, softened
3oz golden caster sugar

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Seive the flour and add to the semolina, gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar until a dough is formed (this can all be done in a food mixer).
Pre-heat the oven to 150C
Roll the dough lightly to form a round to fit a 20cm fluted tin, press into the tin and prick all over with a fork.
Bake for 1 hour until the shortbread is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. Before the shortbread cools completely mark out wedges with a sharp knife.
Break into wedges and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Mincemeat and Cranberry Muffins

This recipe makes 12 huge muffins which I thought would be good for sharing, apparently not!


20 oz plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz granulated sugar
3 oz dried or fresh cranberries
3 oz sultanas
2 large eggs
16 oz ready-made mincemeat
480 ml whole milk
6 oz butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180C
Place large muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin tin

Sift together in a large bowl, the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and sugar.

In another bowl mix together the eggs and milk, stir in the mincemeat and butter.

Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients, stir gently to combine (the mixture should be lumpy) finally stir in the cranberries and sultanas.

Spoon the mix into the muffin cases and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas Chutney

My Christmas chutney (adapted from a Delia Smith recipe) is made and sitting on a shelf waiting for the appearance of the turkey, great cheeses, pies, and cold cuts of meat, and ready to perk up any leftovers.  It makes a great Christmas gift, (if you can bear to part with it.)

This chutney is very easy to make and can be eaten almost right away but will keep for years in a cool dark place and the flavour will develop with time.

I used my food processor to chop the onions and fruits, except the dates they don't chop well in the processor but only take 5 minutes to chop by hand.


For 4 x 350ml jars

570 ml cider vinegar
450 g onions, peeled and chopped
50 g salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp ground allspice
350 g prunes, no-soak variety, chopped
275 g dried apricots, no-soak variety, chopped
275 g pitted dates, chopped
150 g sultanas or dried cranberries
450 g demerara sugar

Place all the ingredients in a large pan mix well to combine.  Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 1.5 hours, accasionally stirring, until there is no visible liquid when you pull a wooden spoon through the middle.

Pour into warm steralized jars place on a waxed disc and seal with a tightly fitting lid.  Label when cool.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Salmon Fishcakes with Dill and Lemon Mayonnaise

Poached salmon makes great fishcakes.  I try to keep the flakes of fish as big as possible by folding the fish into the potato mixture after all the other ingredients have been incorporated.

Makes 5 large fishcakes

1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large salmon fillets
1 bay leaf
12 whole peppercorns
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 large bunch dill, keep a few leaves for decoration then finely chop the rest (save 1 tbsp for the sauce)
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 oz butter
Oil for shallow frying (I used rape seed oil)
3 slices seeded brown bread, made into breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp plain flour

Poach the salmon with the bay leaf and peppercorns in simmering water for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and place a lid on top.  After 7 minutes remove the lid and drain off the liquid.  Remove the peppercorns and bay leaf.

Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender, drain and return to the pan to dry out add the butter and mash until you have a smooth consistency.  Set aside.

Add the chopped capers, chopped dill, parsley and lemon juice to the potato mixture and mix thoroughly.  Flake the salmon fillets and gently fold them into the potato mixture.  Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
Mix the grated lemon zest into the breadcrumbs.

Form the fishcake mixture into large patties then dip each patty first into flour then into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat, test by dropping a few breadcrumbs into the pan, if they gently sizzle the oil is ready. 

Place the fishcakes in the frying pan and cook for 2 minutes, turn them and cook the other side for 2 minutes followed by a further minute each side.

For the dill and lemon mayonnaise

6 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped dill
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix all the ingredients together and keep it cool until needed.

Serve the fishcakes piping hot with the mayonnaise on the side.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Little Pies with Chicken Ham Chestnuts and Cranberries

Another great freeze-away for Christmas, small savoury pies.  These ones have a bit of a festive edge with cranberries and chestnuts.

For the pastry

8 oz plain flour
2 oz butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 oz white cooking fat, chilled and cut into cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp English mustard powder
a little chilled water

Seive together the salt, flour and mustard powder.

Rub the fats into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs,  add cold water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms a dough that is not too wet.

Place the dough in clingfilm and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

For the filling

2 large chicken breasts, cut into smallish pieces
1 small red onion, finely chopped
100 g vacuum packed chestnuts, chopped
25 g dried cranberries
200 g unsmoked bacon, chopped
1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
Salt and freshly milled pepper
150 ml double cream
1 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry gently until softened then add the chicken and bacon, turn the heat up slightly and stir fry for 4 minutes until lightly browned.

Toss in the chestnuts and cranberries and cook for a couple of minutes then add the cream , stir to combine then simmer for 2 minutes.  The cream should reduce a little.

Taste the mixture add pepper and salt, if necessary.

Stir in the chopped herbs and leave to cool while you roll the pastry.

On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and using a 3" round cutter cut out 12 rounds, roll out the remaining pastry and cut out 12 x 2.5" rounds for pie lids.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Place the larger rounds into a 12 hole muffin tin and spoon in the filling, wet the edges of the lids with water and place one on top of each pie, press down the edges to seal and brush each pie with beaten egg.  Cut a couple of slits in the centre then bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle over a little sea salt.

Serve warm or cold.

To freeze, cool completely then wrap in cling film before freezing.  Defrost at room temperature.

Haggis and Clapshot Pie

Some hae meat and canna eat, And some would eat that want it But we hae meat, and we can eat, Sae let the lord be thankit. ...