Chorizo Sausage Rolls

The sun is out, spring is here which can only mean one thing, summer is on its way and picnic season is upon us!

I love a picnic, it’s all about grazing, sitting in the sun and grazing as you watch the world go by. Hell, I like any meal that’s about grazing maybe that’s why I end up in the local Lebanese a little too often. I was inspired to make these fabulous chorizo sausage rolls after an afternoon tea at the Ham Yard Hotel, I had never had them before but combined some of my favorite things, sausage, chorizo and pastry! I immediately went home and started looking at recipes.

Depending on what equipment you have, you can blitz the chorizo up with the sausage meat or dice, depends whether you want a full on red roll or just chunks. Adding the chorizo just adds another layer to home made sausage rolls. If you get a good quality chorizo you will have those wonderful spices, the deep red running through the meat and of course that sweet paprika smell.

This is a fairly easy recipe and the best thing is you can freeze them so you have a supply ready at all times. See no excuse not to be whipping up a batch!
Ingredients

Filling

25g butter plus extra for greasing

dash of olive oil

150g peeled shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp granulated sugar

450g pork sausage meat

2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

100g cured chorizo cut into small cubes

1 tbsp fresh soft breadcrumbs

black pepper

Pastry

375g sheet of ready rolled puff pastry

plain flour for dusting

1 large beaten egg to seal and glaze

1. For the filling heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the shallots. Gently fry for about 5 minutes until they have softened. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue to cook over a low heat for another 10-15 minutes until they have caramalised. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool.  At this point pre heat the oven to 200 degrees/180 degrees fan. Lightly grease a baking sheet and line with baking paper.

cook the onions until they are sweet and caramalised

cook the onions until they are sweet and caramalised

2. Put the sausage meat in a large mixing bowl and add the parsley, chorizo and breadcrumbs and season with black pepper. Then mix it all together really well so the chorizo is well dispersed.

Your three main ingredients, sausage meat, chorizo and lots of parsley

Your three main ingredients, sausage meat, chorizo and lots of parsley

Mix everything together

Mix everything together

Until it is well combined

Until it is well combined

3. Lay out the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and cut in half lengthways. Divide the shallot mix in half and spoon one portion onto each piece of the pastry in a 5cm wide strip lengthways down the centre. Divide the sausage meat mixture in half and shape each into a sausage shape as long as the length of pastry. The lay it on top of the shallots. Brush the long edges of each pastry piece with beaten egg then take one long edge and roll around the meat and shallots to encase. Pinch the pastry together to join and cut away any excess. Turn each roll over so that the join is underneath.

spread the caramalised onions onto the pastry

spread the caramalised onions onto the pastry

then top with the sausage meat

then top with the sausage meat

and roll that bad boy, roll!

and roll that bad boy, roll!

4. Brush each roll with beaten egg and cut the long sausage into pieces. I got about 8 small sausage rolls out of each roll but you can make them as big or as small as you like. ( If you are going to freeze them then do not do the egg wash just cut them up and wrap them up and pop in the freezer, only egg wash when you are read to cook them)

Cut to your desired size

Cut to your desired size

5. Place the sausage rolls onto the pre prepared baking sheet and bake in an oven for 25-30 minutes. Make sure you give them space on the baking sheet as the pastry will puff up and you don’t want them sticking together.  Once cooked all the way through and golden brown remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.

Golden brown gorgeous sausage rolls!

Golden brown gorgeous sausage rolls!

Yum!!

Yum!!

Serve these delicious sausage rolls as a snack or with a salad or accompaniment to a fabulous picnic.

Enjoy xx

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Easy Peasy Victoria Sponge

The first cake I always remember being in our house as children is the good old victoria sponge cake. Its moist vanilla sponge, the jam and the buttercream filling – yum! Its one of the first things I learnt to bake and its one of my favourite still to make and of course eat! I

This recipe is one my mum uses and she taught me to use and is incredibly adaptable should you want to make it a marble cake or chocolate sponge, or make little fairy cakes instead. This is the easy peasy all in one sponge mix – its quick, its easy and you can adapt it to your needs. It’s perfect as a weekend baking treat, or if friends are popping by.

Ingredients

For the Sponge

225g Self Raising Flour

225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

For the Frosting

Icing sugar

80g butter

25ml milk

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Line and grease a two sandwich tins (20cm) and pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. In a large mixing bowl add all your ingredients, the flour, sugar, butter, eggs and baking powder and mix them with an electric mixer or spoon until just combined. Be careful not to over beat the mix as you will knock all the air out and you won’t get a good rise.

so easy, all the ingredients in one bowl together

so easy, all the ingredients in one bowl together

3. Spoon the mixture evenly into the two tins and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the sponge springs back when you press on it lightly.

4. Once cooked take out of the oven and allow to cool completely. While the cake is cooling you can make the frosting. Mix the icing sugar and butter together in a large bowl and once it comes together add in the milk and vanilla and turn the hand mixer up to full and mix until the frosting becomes light and fluffy ( you can leave it in the fridge until its needed).

Victoria Sponge5. Once the cake has completely cooled you can assemble it. Take one of the sponges and spoon the jam on – as much or as little as desired. Make sure the whole base is covered. Then spoon on the butter cream frosting and smooth over the whole base again. Then carefully place the second sponge on top. To finish dust with a little icing sugar.

Cover with jam - strawberry works well or maybe try blackcurrent!

Cover with jam – strawberry works well or maybe try blackcurrant!

Then top with light and fluffy buttercream

Then top with light and fluffy buttercream

Delightful Victoria Sponge

Delightful Victoria Sponge

There you have it, a quick and easy pleasing victoria sponge cake. Its light and fluffy and one everyone will love!

Enjoy! xx

First Time Quail

I love having people around for dinner, it’s a chance to show off and cook something you wouldn’t normally cook during the week. So there I was pondering what to make as I wandered aimlessly around the supermarket – this happens more times than you would think – and I happened upon the game section of the meat aisle. I love game, its something that I generally only have as a treat when I go out for dinner, I never seem to choose it as something to cook at home. I don’t know why because venison is my favourite meat and I love little birds like grouse and Poussin. Of course I have ventured into the world of game before with delicious rabbit ragu!

Now one thing I haven’t tried before is quail, not sure why, but I haven’t. There in the fridge of the supermarket were quail, on special offer and calling to me. I had to do it, why not, try a new meat and learn to cook something new as well. sold!

Now quail are a tiny bird, not that much meat but as long as you have some good sides then one is more than enough for a person, although if you are feeding a hungry person who eats a lot you may want to serve them two!

tiny quail, enough for one... unless you are hungry

tiny quail, enough for one… unless you are hungry

I decided to keep my first time quail cooking simple. I looked through my cook books and the internet for recipe recommendations, how to cook, what sauce to make with it and some got really complicated. Simple is what I wanted.

To start with I decided to stuff my bird, I didn’t have time to make my own stuffing so good old store-bought would have to do, and also I was going to wrap it with streaky bacon to keep the meat moist and add a bit of flavour ( quail dries out quite quickly so if you are not using bacon make sure you baist it through cooking.

stuffed and wrapped quail ready for the oven

stuffed and wrapped quail ready for the oven

Ingredients (meal for 2)

Stuffing of choice – the size of your quail will depend on how much you make up, so make a little as per the packet to start and if you can fit more in then make some more.

2 Quail, no giblets (take out f the fridge one hour before cooking)

2 strips of streaky bacon

olive oil

mixed herbs to season ( I used thyme, rosemary and a little bit of tarragon)

150ml white wine

300ml chicken stock

1 teaspoon of flour

salt and pepper to season

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven). Make up your stuffing as per the packet instructions or if you are feeling super fancy make it from scratch! Once made put it to one side to cool as you do not want to be handling it hot.

2.  When the stuffing has cooled stuff the quail. Wrap one piece of bacon around the bird and secure it with a toothpick. You may want to secure the hole where you stuffed the bird with a tooth pick as well to stop the stuffing coming out. Then drizzle with olive oil and rub the herb mix in to it. Place the birds onto a roasting tin and put them into the oven.

3. Cook the birds for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. The juices should run clear. For the gravy, 15 minutes into cooking pour in 150ml of white wine  and place the tin back in the oven.

4. Once cooked remove from the oven and let the birds rest for 10 minutes. While resting make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat and add the chicken stock, while stirring add the flour. Continue stirring ( with a whisk) until the sauce thickens and season to taste.

5. Remove the tooth picks and place the quail  on to plates. Serve with creamy mash potato and green beans. Serve with the gravy.

so yummy! stuffed quail with creamy mash and veg!

so yummy! stuffed quail with creamy mash and veg!

Enjoy! xx

Ferrero Rocher Cheesecake

I think for most people your association with the Ferrero Rocher is christmas or your parents dinner parties. They are something we used to insist on having at Christmas at our house as they were seen as so luxurious… maybe be it was just me and my siblings (shiny things when younger are so appealing!)  Now its more associated with slighty kitche or being funny and saying ‘Ambassador you are spoiling us’.

For me I never stopped like the Ferrero Rocher, they combine hazelnut and chocolate, what is not to love. It’s like a grown up spoonsful of nutella! But for some reason they seem to have stopped coming out at Christmas, and you very rarely seem them in shops, they are usually hidden at the bottom on the sweet aisle of the supermarket. When did Ferrero Roche stop being cool?!

who doesn't love these guys?

who doesn’t love these guys?

Well I have decided to say hurrah for the Ferrero Rocher and I recently found a cheesecake recipe that brings the FR back to life. It was my birthday recently and I had a small wine and cheese soiree with friends as one of my many celebrations and I decided as hostess I was going to make this Ferrero Rocher cheesecake as it just looked simply decadent. The original recipe calls for it to be made as one large one but I decided to go crazy and make enough individual ones seen as I have an abundance of ramekins lying around the flat.

Ingredients

140g unsalted butter

300g digestive biscuits, broken up

500g cream cheese, softened ( I used low-fat cream cheese in mine and worked perfectly)

85g icing sugar

300ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

15 Ferrero Rocher, 5 roughly chopped

4 tbsp hazelnut chocolate spread

25g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1. Make the cheesecake base first by melting the butter in a small pan over a low heat. Then blitz the biscuits in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. Add the meted butter to the biscuits and pulse until well combined. Tip the biscuit mix either into a 23cm spring form cake tin or into individual ramekins( you will get 10 individual cheesecakes if using ramekins) and press the mix down firmly into the base. Chill while you make the filling.

For the base, blitz the biscuits

For the base, blitz the biscuits

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

and then mix with the melted butter to make your base

2. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl until soft. In another bowl whisk the cream and vanilla into soft peaks then fold it into the cream cheese. Stir through the chopped chocolates and spoon the mix on top of the biscuit base ( either large version or individuals). Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to chill. The large version will take at least 6 hours to chill but the small ones take about 2-3 hours until they are fully set.

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

Mix the cream cheese with the icing sugar

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Get those chopped up chocolates in the mix!

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

Take the bases out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix

mmm cheesecakes... back in the fridge with you

mmm cheesecakes… back in the fridge with you

3. Once the cheesecake has set its time to top it. Place the hazelnut spread in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat for 3-4 mins until runny. Spread the chocolate over the top of each cheesecake ( or the one large one) and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and the remaining chocolates.

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Melt the hazelnut chocolate spread for topping the cheesecake

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Top the cheesecakes with the melted chocolate, along with chopped hazelnuts and ferrero rocher!

Chill the cheesecake until you are ready to serve.

This was a massive hit! Its rich and creamy and covered in chocolate and nuts, there is nothing not to love. Of course you can use the basic cheesecake mix as a starting point for creating any kind of cheesecake you like if Ferrero Rocher doesn’t take your fancy. You could make a cookie based one ( Oreos seem to be everywhere), or some soft fruit like blueberries.

If you are having a party or friends round for dinner this is a real winner!

Enjoy xx

Courgette and Sweetcorn Fritters

Quick and easy cooking that is what we like! These courgette and sweetcorn fritters are super quick and yummy and a great solution for dinners or lunches. They are a perfect store cupboard staple. The best way to serve these fritters is with a simple avacado and tomato salad.

Ingredients

100g Plain Flour

1 tsp baking powder

150ml milk

1 egg

150g grated courgette

2 spring onions finely chopped

60g sweetcorn

salt and pepper

Whisk the flour, baking powder, egg and milk together into a batter. Then add the grated courgette, sweetcorn and onions and mix it all in. Season well.

The Batter
The Batter
The Ingredients
The Ingredients
Adding the courgette and sweetcorn to the batter mix
Adding the courgette and sweetcorn to the batter mix

In a heated frying pan ( I used spray oil to grease the pan) spoon a tablesoon of the mixture into the pan ( you can usually get 3-4 fritters in the pan depending on the size). Let the fritters cook on each side for 1.5 – 2 mins, they should be fluffy and golden brown on each side. Pop them on a plate and put them in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batch.

Put the batter into the frying pan!
Put the batter into the frying pan!
fry in the pan until golden brown
fry in the pan until golden brown

Serve them with this fresh avacado and tomato salad.

Ingredients

1 avacado chopped.

1/2 spring onion

1 half a tomato finely chopped.

salt and pepper

Mix the chopped avacado, spring onion and tomato together in a bowl and season well. Using a form smash some of the avacado so you get a mix of smooth and chunky avacado.

Avacardo!
Avacardo!
chopped tomato
chopped tomato
Mix the ingredients together for Avacado salad
Mix the ingredients together for Avacado salad

Serve the fritters with the avacado salad and top with some roast tomatos or salsa!

Courgette and Sweetcorn fritters with avacado salad and roast cherry tomatoes!
Courgette and Sweetcorn fritters with avacado salad and roast cherry tomatoes!
 
Enjoy!