Homemade Sausage Rolls

I’m going to start today by doing something I’d hoped I would never have to, apologising for my lack of blog posts this month. 
I know what you’re thinking: bad blogger, right? The truth is work as been hectic; I work in a client services role, which means we are manic one week and dead the next. The run up to Christmas is always busy though, which is a little frustrating when you just want to wind down and blog about all the delicious things you’ve been making. Especially when there’s been an abundance of culinary treats coming out of my kitchen of late. I just haven’t had the time to share them all, so hopefully the Christmas break will give me that opportunity to catch up, and be that committed, frequent blogger I set out to be.
There is another reason I haven’t been able to give my posts and recipe write ups as much focus as I would have liked, an exciting one too. Miss Friday’s Feast is currently undergoing a well needed visual make over. And, I just can’t wait to reveal the new look; all in good time.
So, today I give you my sausage roll recipe, just in time for making a batch to stash in the freezer for Christmas. Perfect for those Christmas drinks parties, when hosting a full blown dinner party is just out of the question. After all, Christmas is such a busy time for everyone, especially if your juggling a busy job with present buying, wrapping, planning and cooking – it can be exhausting, who wants to add extra stress by hosting a dinner party? Not me, I’d rather flop on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine and a plate of delicious warm sausage rolls I had the insight to make a month ahead. Yes, a whole plate.  Sounds a little Bridget Jones doesn’t it? The funny thing is, I actually have those pajamas, and will most likely spend the best part of December wearing them.

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler, which is what makes it so great, it makes about 16 bite sized sausage rolls, or 4 four larger ones. Just double the ingredients for a larger stash. I buy the puffy pastry in a ready rolled sheet, because all you need to do is cut it length ways down the middle and you’re ready to get cracking. Make sure you take the pastry out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it to allow it to soften slightly. Not too much though, you don’t want it gooey or stringy.

8 pork and herb sausages (or 500g of sausage meat)
Puff pastry sheet (375g)
1 egg yolk, whisked
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 coves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
If using individual sausages, remove the skin by piercing them with a sharp knife, place the sausage meat into a large bowl and season well.
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil and add to the sausage meat whilst still warm, this helps to bind everything together. Add the parsley, chilli and fennel seeds and mix well. I find clean hands are best.
Roll out the pasty onto a lightly floured work surface and cut in half length ways. Place the mixture in the middle of each piece, ensuring you leave enough pastry each side to fold over and close. Once you have rolled up your sausage rolls, pinch the fold together using a folk and brush with the egg yolk.
Cut the sausage rolls to the desired size before baking (otherwise you’ll have pastry everywhere) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven (200⁰C) for 14 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack, or gobble them down whilst warm, which I highly recommend.

Mustard & White Wine Sauce for Pork or Chicken

Pork chops have never been my favourite cut of meat, especially from the supermarket, they are always far too small, and to be honest can be a little tasteless. However, I bought some really decent sized ones from the butcher a couple of weeks ago and was determined to find a recipe that would change my opinion of the humble pork chop.

I wanted to cook them in a mustard sauce, but that boyfriend of mine was adamant he didn’t want the sauce with his chops. “I just want them plain” he groaned; it can be a struggle to get him to try something he isn’t sure about. So having moaned that he didn’t want sauce, I decided I’d serve it with his meat in a ramekin so that he could at least try it. Once he had scoffed his way through most of the chops and a whole ramekin of sauce he looked at me a rather wistfully and said “Is there any more of this sauce”… need I say more.

The sauce has a beautiful creaminess and the mustard seeds pop in your mouth creating little bursts of flavour. It works wonderfully with pork chops, but equally as well with chicken breasts (as in the pictures), and I dare say there are many other ways to enjoy it. But do try it, like Kieren, you might just be surprised.  

120ml white wine
60ml chicken stock
120ml double cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan combine the white wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil; allow to reduce by half. Add the mustard and black pepper stirring continuously. Whisk in the butter and cream, heat through for a further 5 minutes. You want the cream to thicken the sauce, but not to boil.

Serve with your chosen meat. For a thicker sauce (as shown with the chicken above) just add a little more cream.


Delia’s Smoked Haddock

Smoked Haddock with Crème Fraîche, Chive and Butter Sauce

Every now and again Kieren will get a hunger for fish, and when this is the case, nothing else will do. So I go in search of dyed smoked haddock, a really big thick piece if I can find it (from the fresh fish counter).
Having popped into Sainsbury’s this week, that’s straight where I headed, and pointed at a nice thick piece and said “I’d like this piece of dyed smoked haddock please”. He looked at me for a moment with a peculiar expression, and then proceeded to explain to me in the most patronising way that it would be fairly expensive, which I thought was a little odd. So, there we stood, looking at each other. The man then said “It would be cheaper for you to buy it from the packaged fish section”.  Was the man assuming I couldn’t afford to buy fish this way? Or, did he think I was unaware of how much it would cost? Or, was he just trying to be helpful? Either way, I did find this all rather odd, if a little rude.
I came home with my chosen piece of fish (from the fish counter) having paid the scandalous price of £7.60, now I’m just kidding! Anyway, all this aside, I was in need of a little inspiration for my fish. Perhaps I should have asked the man in the supermarket; after all he seemed to know best. 
So, to Delia’s wisdom I turned. To all the Delia fans please don’t shoot me down in flames for saying this, but I have never really been a fan. Mainly because I find her recipes a little out-dated. With the industry so saturated with modern, and dare I say young celebrity chefs, Delia seems to get a little lost in the background for me. However, having tried this recipe I stand corrected, perhaps I was overlooking the fact that Delia can provide me with amazing classic recipes that, for want of a better expression, will stand the test of time.
Kieren has always fried his fish in a pan, which I know is his fathers’ influence. Sometimes we’ll visit his farther Mick, and he will be standing over the hob with 2 huge fish with their tails hanging out of the pan. Not that there is anything wrong with frying fish mind, it’s just I want to open his mind and taste buds to other (nicer) methods of cooking it. In this recipe the haddock is poached in milk, which keeps it wonderfully moist. Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in a liquid, and it’s a great way of cooking so many things, meat, fish, eggs and fruit. And, you can poach foods in so many things, water, stock, milk, cream, juice, beer, cider… the list is endless.
The verdict on this recipe is that it was very well received and undoubtedly enjoyed. It may have even converted Kieren from an “I only fry fish” kind of guy. Who knows? I did make a couple of adaptations to this recipe. I added a little more crème fraîche and an extra tsp of chives, I like the onion taste, and the fish has such a strong flavour it can handle it. There is no need to add salt in this recipe as smoked haddock can be very salty anyway.

For Delia’s Recipe click here


High Street Restaurant Review – Prezzo

Lobster & Crab Tortelli – with baby spinach and red chilli in a creamy saffron sauce
It’s no secret that I love a bargain, and where there’s an excuse to have a midweek dinner with friends I’m all over it. So, thanks to the likes of high street restaurants that have an almost endless abundance of midweek vouchers at the ready, I make it a regular event. See below for the top offers I found this month. I know some of you will be thinking high street restaurants are all about sub standard pizzas and run of the mill burgers, but they have really upped the game in the last year. Many of these restaurants are now serving amazing dishes at a fraction of the cost of other places. Surely it’s worth a try? Now obviously Prezzo is no Michelin–starred restaurant. But then again, the latest controversy with Claude Bosi proves that this doesn’t really matter! In my humble opinion, dare I open myself to such criticism?
Anyway, moving swiftly on… this new addition to the menu, from the filled pasta section was so delicious I almost couldn’t believe it was Prezzo. Anyway, who doesn’t love lobster, crab and pasta? This dish costing £11.95 had such a creamy saffron sauce, with a real bite of red chilli. The baby spinach brought a real freshness to the pasta and created a wonderful colour combination. It looks amazing right? And, I’m never shy of a big meal and this one surely didn’t disappoint; the portion size was great, i couldn’t eat it all. There’s a first time for everything! 
My pick of this month’s best restaurant offers:
Prezzo – Buy one main meal get another for £2 – Expires 26th November
Café Rouge – Buy one main meal get another for £2.50 – Expires 25th November
Zizzi – 25% off your food bill – Expires 2nd December
Loch Fyne – 20% off your food bill – Expires 30th November

Discovering the BBC Good Food Show

I woke up yesterday perhaps a little too excited to be going to the BBC Good Food Show at Olympia. When I arrived a surge of glee came over me, the day had finally come to discover all those foodie treats on offer. From cheeses and cured meats to chocolate wine and mega hot chilli sauces, my mouth was prickling with an array of tastes from the moment I arrived.  So in all my excitement to discover, well just about everything all at once, my head was awash with the variety of food and drink on offer. You become almost overwhelmed by the amount of things you can try. In hindsight the freshly made fudge just after the smoked cheese may not have been the best idea, but you just get caught up in the moment sometimes.
Spotting Rachel Allen was quite a treat, I’m a big fan. But, perhaps not enough of a fan to participate in the mile long queue for a book signing. But there was something quite nice about seeing just how excited people get about having their books signed by these wonderful chefs who prove such an inspiration in our daily cooking habits.  

The Restaurant Experience was most definitely a highlight of the day for me. I headed straight for the Blue Elephant stand for a lamb chop Krapao (lamb chop with holy basil sauce served with stir fried wild rice), of course accompanied by the recommended wine, a wonderful Hardy’s Shiraz. The food on offer at The Restaurant Experience was truly an impressive sight.

I knew I would be coming home with enough treats to keep me going for a while, but couldn’t take too much, simply because I wouldn’t have been able to carry it all. But, I have come home with an impressive list of websites where I can find many of the products I tasted. So without further ado, here are the tasty little gems that made it into my basket…

Smoked Free Range Duck – The Artisan Smokehouse – £4.95
Double gold winner at the 2011 Great Taste Award
This sliced smoked duck breast had a wonderfully rich complex flavour. You get 80g in a packet, which is about 8 slices. Four of these were consumed last night, it really is utterly delicious. The duck breast is hot smoked over maple wood. It can be frozen, so I’m stashing the rest in the freezer for Christmas.

Special Spice Blend (classic medium hot) – Swaadish – £3.95
I honestly couldn’t believe how tasty this curry sauce was. And, I really don’t like making curry from a jar, I feel like someone else has done the fun part for me, but I really couldn’t resist this. The onion seeds really make themselves known in your mouth and look wonderful against the creamy orange sauce. It’s slightly spicy, but it doesn’t have a kick, for me it could be slightly hotter, so I’ll add a couple of chillies when cooking.  Swaadish had a great selection of curries, not your typical korma, masala and the like, but flavours like mint and coconut and fennel.

Selection of German Sausages – Continental Cottage, fine food from Germany – £10
A rather portly German fellow in an apron presented his sausage stall. He didn’t even need to offer me with a bargain; where there is German sausage I’m sold. He seemed to be doing a roaring trade, due to his German Salami Mix £10 deal, a total of 10 sausages for £10, what could be better than that? The selection includes 1 chorizo, 1 hazelnut, 1 black pepper, 1 green pepper, 3 kabanos, 2 small chilli sausages, and a very large sausage to top it all off (I’m not entirely sure which type of sausage this is, but it’s much like a salami).

Smoky Redwood Cheese – The Cheshire Cheese Company – £3.95
Gold Award Winner for four consecutive years – International Cheese Awards
The cheese stalls were the first I headed for. Who knew there were so many varieties to choose from? I could have quite easily come home with a huge bag of just cheese, but I was quite restrained. Only because I couldn’t carry it all back through the London rush hour on the tube. Anyway, this smoked cheese is from The Cheshire Cheese Company, even from the fridge it is so creamy it practically melts in your mouth. The smoky flavour is so intense, and it’s coated with a dusting of paprika. This was also devoured last night; I’m quite saddened by the fact that there is only half left. I may have to hide this in the fridge from my other half.

Spiced Honey Mustard – The Tracklement Company – £2.95
With an impressive strong taste this little pot really is something special. It has a wonderful sweetness to it from the honey, and the mustard seeds pop in your mouth, amazing! This will make a wonderful glaze for gammon, next time I make my boiled bacon recipe; I’ll give it a coating with this mustard and finish it off in the oven. I can’t wait already, definitely a recipe for sharing with friends at Christmas.

Hot African Lemony Piri Piri – Bim’s Kitchen – £4.50
I visited Bim’s African sauce stall right at the beginning of the day, and tasted almost everything he had to offer, even the super spicy sauce, very hot indeed! He has a colour coding system, the yellow jars contain no chilli, the orange a slightly spicy whilst the red ones are hot hot hot! So obviously I opted for a spicy sauce. It is a spicy lemony piri piri that will be a wonderful addition to meat, fish or vegetables. Bim recommends that chicken and pork would be great with this sauce.

Available at: a number of stockists throughout the UK as mentioned on his website available on Amazon
If you are visiting the Good Food Show this weekend, stop by and let us know what you discovered. 

Harissa pasta sauce with big flavour

This is a super simple sauce that’s healthy and packed with big flavour; delicious with pasta, chicken and white fish.  So, if you’ve a spare 20 minutes, I suggest you use it making a batch of this; it can be put into jars and kept for up to a week in the fridge, or frozen for a rainy day.
It kind of came together as a concoction of things that needed using up, which I often find is a great way to discover new recipes. The roasted peppers, onions and garlic give a wonderful level of flavour, combined with a splash of balsamic and tbsp of Harissa, it’s simply heaven.
Harissa is a North African spicy cooking paste made up of rose petals, garlic; red chilli peppers and a blend of spices (smoked paprika, cumin, caraway and coriander), although the ingredients can vary slightly depending on the country. Its most commonly found in Moroccan and Tunisian cooking, and is a popular ingredient in tajines, soups and stews. Harissa can also be used as a condiment, served as an accompaniment to many dishes.
This spicy little sauce really packs a punch, perfect for adding big flavour to sauces and stews. But go easy, a little goes a long way.

2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 red peppers roasted
2 red onions roasted
5 cloves garlic roasted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp Harissa (mix of garlic, chilli and rose petal)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tbsp sugar
Handful of fresh basil
Place the peppers, onions and garlic on a roasting tray, drizzle with oil and roast at 200⁰C for 20 minutes, once cooled use a food processor to blend to a paste.
Place a pan over a medium heat and add the chopped tomatoes, herbs, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the paste along with the Harissa. Continue to cook for 10 minutes. Before serving add a handful of freshly chopped basil.