Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

3 12 2010

Honey mustard dipping sauce is really versatile; it is great with chicken, sausages, ribs, in fact anything pork based, potato chips, sweet-potato fries even crudites.

You can get some really good sauces from your local supermarket or grocery store but I normally find these to be a little too sweet for my tastes and besides there is just something satisfying about making your own.

Ingredients:

75 ml American mustard

75 ml clear honey

75 ml Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp horseradish

Pinch salt

Pinch  black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined, I like to add in 1/2 tsp of English mustard powder to give it a little bit more kick but this is entirely optional.

If the sauce is a bit too bit sweet then you can add a little more of the American or dijon mustard to help offset it.

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Pigs in blankets

26 11 2010

Pigs in blankets are  great, they make a perfect accompaniment to your turkey on Christmas day, they are great as a starter and make an excellent festive finger food.

I understand that in North America pigs in blankets are little Vienna sausages in pastry not dissimilar to a sausage roll, well these aren’t them.

In the UK pigs in blankets are a chipolata sausage wrapped in a piece of bacon and roasted in the oven and typically most people would have them only at Christmas time.

The trick to serving great pigs in blankets is to make sure you use the best meat that you can afford, there is nothing worse than pigs in blankets made from the cheapest nastiest frozen sausages wrapped in watery bacon full of preservatives.

In recent years I have started using olive oil infused with sage, rosemary and garlic when I cook my pigs in a blanket, all three flavours go great with pork and just really help to lift it to another level.

To make 24 pigs in blankets you will need:

24 good quality pork chipolatas

24 rashers of good quality bacon, I prefer to use maple smoked bacon but it is up to you.

500ml of extra virgin olive oil

24 rosemary stalks with leaves till attached (optional)

12 sage leaves

2 garlic cloves

a handful of rosemary leaves

Method

The first thing you need to do is infuse your olive oil with the rosemary, sage and garlic flavours, I tend to do this well in advance so that you really get the flavour of the herbs coming through in the oil, ideally 2 weeks to 3 weeks minimum.

Bruise the herbs so as to help release their essential oils and drop them into your bottle of olive oil along with the garlic which should be roughly crushed.

I tend to remove approximately half of the oil from the bottle before doing this both to allow for displacement and also so as to have oil to hand to help dislodge any stray herbs that get stuck to the neck of the bottle.

Refill to the top with oil and place in a cool dark place for as long as possible.

Wrap each chipolata in a rasher of bacon, you might want to flatten the bacon out with the flat of a knife

when each pig is safely in it’s blanket I like to secure them, you can use a couple of cocktail sticks but  I like to be a bit fancy and use a woddy stalk from some rosemary sharpened into a skewer.

Lay your pigs in blankets into an oven proof dish and drizzle with the infused oil, if you have any sage leave left over I like to scatter these over before popping the dish into a preheated oven at 185 c for about 35 minutes.





Toad in the hole

21 03 2010

Last Wednesday I came in from work and was at a complete loose end as to what to make for tea; the cupboards and fridge were looking rather sparse and I was only a few minutes away from reaching from the dreaded stack of take-away menues when I was hit with a bolt of inspiration and decided to cook up one of my absolute favourites from childhood, Toad in the Hole.

I know that many people have many different ways of making this British classic but here is mine, stolen from my dear old mum’s cookery book, it certainly won’t make you thin but it will put a smile on your face.

To make enough to feed 4 people or two greedy ones you will need the following ingredients:

For the Toad in the Hole

100g Plain Flour

1 large egg

150 ml milk & 150 ml water

8 rashers of good quality unsmoked bacon

8 good quality pork sausages (cumberland sausages work very well in this dish)

1 onion thinly sliced

vegetable oil

For the Onion Gravy

1 onion thinly sliced

2tsp English mustard

2tsp plain flour

2tsp Worcestershire sauce (dark soy sauce if you can’t get Worcestershire sauce)

2tsp Vegetable oil

600ml of chicken stock ( vegetable stock also works if you prefer)

Method.

1.Preheat the oven to fan 200C/conventional 220C/ gas 7. Sift the flour and a make a well in the centre and crack in the egg. Beat lightly,then gradually pour in half the milk and water, beating all the time to form a smooth,thick batter. Continue for 2 minutes,then stir in the remaining liquid. (The batter can be made several hours ahead of time, however despite many people ascertations this is not needed.)

2.Wrap a bacon rasher around each sausage then put them, spaced apart, in a large roasting tin (preferably metal). Scatter over the onion and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the bacon and sausages are starting to colour and the onion is tinged brown at the edges.

3.Remove from the oven and quickly pour the batter over the sausages. Return to the oven for a further 35-40 minutes until the batter is crisp and well risen.

4.Meanwhile,make the gravy. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes or so until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until the flour has cooked out fully. Add the mustard, Worcestershire or soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 15 minutes, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Toad in the Hole is best eaten with mounds of fluffly mash potatoes and plenty of the onion gravy, enjoy!








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