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Good morning my little SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN… I’m going to EAT YOU!

1 Dec

20131117-121150.jpgSo… most of my mornings start with ‘morning, what would you like for breakfast… lunch… dinner’.  My whole day revolves around my meal times and I love to plan my meals – not only does this help me save a little money but it prepares me for my day ahead.

My normal weekend breakfasts generally HAVE to include an egg somewhere.  I love eggs… mainly scrambled, with lurpack butter on top of  an English Muffin – and for those that know me well they will know that this is my standard Saturday/Sunday morning treat.

When asking this question a couple of weeks ago the response was a SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN.  To be honest I was a little horrified this a) meant I would have to get up, get dressed, get in the car and head to a fast food restaurant, b) eat breakfast from a fast food restaurant and c) i’ve never had a sausage and egg mcmuffin and I wasn’t sure it was really what I desired for my breakfast treat.

This is where ‘comprimise’ is required and after a little discussion and working out what was in the cupboard (or what extra was required from the local store), it was agreed that it would be MUCH tastier to try and make our own, and so we embarked on creating our very own, up market, homemade, delicious SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFINS.  They were unbeilveably tasty, the best breakfast I have had in a very long time. WOW.  So… here is how to make them yourself.

PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: 4 McMuffins

INGREDIENTS for the sausage burgers…

  • 8 linconshire sausages
  • Plain flour

INGREDIENTS for the potato rosti’s….

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • salt
  • black pepper

INGREDIENTS for the poached eggs…

  • 1 pan full of boiled water
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 4 eggs

INGREDIENTS for the muffins..

  • 4 English Muffins
  • Lurpack Butter
  • 4 slices of burger cheese

HOW TO MAKE THE AMAZING McMUFFINS

The first thing that you need to do is to make the potato rosti’s as these take the longest to cook.  I was told that a Sausage & Egg McMuffin should always be purchased with a hashbrown, but we didn’t have any hashbrowns and I really wanted to make everything, so I decided on potato rosti’s.  They did not disappoint.

Peel the potato and discard of the skins.  The grate all the potato on the largest grater, place all of this in bowl and then you need to squeeze out the liquid before you can start adding all your other ingredients.  So take a handful of the grated potato and over another bowl squeeze this together quite hard using your hands, lots of liquid will come out of the potato.  When you cannot get anymore liquid out place this to one side and continue until you have done this to all of the potato and then throw away the liquid.  If there is too much liquid in the potato then they will just be a soggy mash potato, not a rosti!

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Stage 1 – grate all the potato, without the skins.

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Stage 2 – squeeze out all of the liquid from the grated potato and then throw this away.

Now you can add the egg, the flour, salt and pepper to the potato and mix all of this together…

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Stage 3 – add the flour, egg, salt and pepper and then mix well until all combined.

Place a frying pan on a low heat and add a little olive oil to the pan.  Heat until smoking slightly.  Now it is time to get MESSY!  So, using your hands take a handful of the rosti mixture and roll into a bowl.  Place into the frying pan and then repeat until you have 4 rosti’s in the pan.  Using a spatula flatten the rosti’s so you have 4 rounds that will fit into your mcmuffins.  They should look a little like this…

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Stage 4 – The rosti’s rounds cooking, flatten them gently using a spatula.

The rosti’s will need to be turned over every minute or so that they don’t burn.  Once they are golden brown, they can be transferred to an oven tray and place on 200 degrees, for about 15 minutes, so that the potato cooks through.  When they are cooked they should look a little like this…

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FINALLY – the rosti’s are cooked and ready to be placed in the mcmuffin tower.

Now we need to make the sausage burgers.  This is really easy to do.  Take the linconshire sausages, taken them out of their skins and then roll together 2 of the sausages (without skins) into a pattie shape.  Use flour on your hands and on the sausage meat to stop them sticking to you and making a big mess!  We didn’t do this at first and could NOT get the sausage meet off our hands.  Again, heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the sausage burgers to the pan and cook until golden…

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Sausages, flour for your hands and scisors to remove the sausage skins.

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Keep turning every few minutes until the burgers are golden brown.

There are now only a few things left to do, one of the most important though is to poach the eggs.  So take a large pan, add boiled water and then keep on a low heat.  To this add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and then leave to boil/bubble – but only a little.  Break an egg into a cup and then holding this in one hand, create a ‘vortex’ in the water with a spoon and into the middle of this gently place the egg.  The cup will allow you to get the egg close to the water and drop it in all at once without it going in in little bits!  The swirling water will bring all the egg together and create the perfect poached egg.

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My perfect poached egg…

Take this out of the water using a slotted spoon and then place to one side – on a plate and then cook the other poached egg.  A few minutes before serving place all the eggs in the water to heat through.

Last, but certainly not least, you need to prepare the muffins, so take slice them in half, toast them lightly, spead a layer of Lurpack butter onto them and then place the cheese on, so that this melts…

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Toasted muffins with butter and cheese on… yum!

Now you can build your SAUSAGE & EGG McMUFFIN and then it is time to eat!  Here we go… rosti on top of the cheese, followed by the burger, followed by the poached egg and then top with the muffin lid!  NOW IT IS TIME TO EAT the McMuffin.. ENJOY!!  (I tell you it is well worth the preparation time and the cooking time and it is a total treat!)

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BREAKFAST is served!!

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How amazing does this look when it is sliced through!? WOW!

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ALL GONE!

 

YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without them. Aunt Bessie eat your heart out!

14 Jul

20130628-073606.jpgAs per the title of this post, a Sunday Roast is not a Sunday Roast without YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… and many of them.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love going out for a Sunday Lunch, however I only ever get ONE Yorkshire Pudding and I find that very very upsetting.

When I was a little girl Yorkshire Puddings were the thing we always argued every Sunday… and that was not just me and my little sister.  That was my Mum and Dad too!  My mum would make a ‘batch’ of yorkshire puddings.  Sometimes this would be 12 and as we got older it would be 16.  Then when Mark joined our family (my wee sisters other half) we started making 20.  So… ‘3 each’ or ‘4 each’ was the rule shouted as they were brought into the dining room.  During the meal we would ask each other ‘how many have you had?’ and we would systematically go around the table.  Sometimes LIES were told.  This would cause chaos… especially if you had simply and innocently forgotten how many you had (cough cough).

So… we grew up with Mum making Yorkshire Puddings every Sunday and therefore my sister and I are adept at making Yorkshire’s.  I therefore find it very ODD that people are shocked and amazed when I whip up a batch and don’t rely on Aunt Bessie’s fake, thin and skimpy puddings.  OH NO.  If I did that Mum would disown me, and rightly so.

In fact neither my sister nor I use a recipe, so this is going to be quite hard for me to write!  But here we go…

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 15 minutes

MAKES: 12 Yorkshire Puddings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Milk (enough to make a smooth batter)
  • Vegetable oil / lard /butter

HOW TO MAKE THE PUDDINGS…

First things first and possibly the MOST important stage.  Get out the Yorkshire Pudding tin… which is the one that is smaller than a muffin tin and is used to bake buns not cupcakes.  (I hope this makes sense!)  To each well in the Yorkshire Pudding tin add 1/2 a teaspoon of oil/butter/lard.  I prefer to use vegetable oil as I don’t think it adds a taste to the puddings.  Now place this in a hot oven – so heat the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 5) and then place in the tray with the oil.  You want to leave this to ensure that the oil is very hot, which should take about 10 minutes.  Whilst this heats up, lets make the batter…

In a medium sized bowl (or if you are like me I find it easier to use a measuring jug, as it will allow me to pour the mixture out neatly) place the 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour in and add to that the pinch of salt (but only a pinch).

Mix together the salt and flour and then make a well in the centre – a hole!  (I say this to the children I work with and they look at me like I am crazy!!)  It simply means make a space in the centre.  Into here add the egg (obviously crack it open!) and then add a good glug of milk.  If you want some help here, about 6 tablespoons of milk – but it doesn’t matter if its slightly more or less at this stage.

Now, using a fork start whisking the egg and milk (only) in the centre.  Keep going and you will notice that gradually the flour starts to stick and come into the mix, keep going and going until a lot of the flour has come into the milk/egg now you should be starting to get a think paste… don’t let it get too thick as so far you will have avoided lumps.

Add a dash of milk and continue to mix.  Add another dash of milk and repeat.  You can now bring in the rest of the flour by mixing around the sides of the bowl and add another dash of milk.

The batter for Yorkshire Puddings and pancakes is the same, the only difference is the thickness.  For pancakes you want a very thin consistency, for puddings you want a thick batter.  So in between the consistency of houmous and pancake batter.  (Hummm this is hard to explain).  So keep adding milk until you get the batter to this consistency and whisk well to ensure there are no lumps.

Now your oil should be hot, so take the tin out of the oven (using a glove) and begin pouring in the batter.  You want to fill each well up until it is approx. two thirds full – this will allow room for rising.  You also need to act very quickly as you need the oil to be hot as the batter hits it.  So, fill each well and then get them puddings straight into the oven.

Leave for 15 minutes and DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.  If you do they could drop and then you won’t get the impressive rise.  After 15 minutes open the oven and have a peak.  If they are golden they are ready.  I like mine a little doughy/heavy so I take them out after 15 minutes.  If you like them lighter in weight and darker in colour then leave them for another 5 minutes.

Add them to your roast dinner after declaring ‘2 each’ or ‘3 each’ and enjoy!  Any leftover batter (if you are cooking for one or two) could be used as pancakes… you just need to add more milk.  ENJOY and please… don’t fight.

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My finished YORKSHIRE PUDDINGS… GOBBLE GOBBLE!

Shortbread SISTA’s… with some sisterly LOVE x

23 Jun

20130623-105240.jpgLast month I popped home… to the North, for a long weekend and we decided to have a family baking day.  My little sister was DYING to show me her shortbread recipe and as I had just purchased some cheeky little LOVE heart cutters, it seemed completely apt to get them out and make some sisterly shortbreads.

So, I do hope you enjoy the recipe, my little hand model and the abuse I got during this baking session… but we love each other really and its all part of the fun of baking!

We decided to play around with the shortbread recipe, so we made some plain shortbreads with cinnamon sugar on the top and then we made some chocolate shortbreads, which were wonderful and last but not least some almond and cinnamon shortbreads.  All of them were absolutely delicious and very quick / easy to prepare

PREPARATION TIME: 8 minutes (per batch)

COOKING TIME: 20 minutes (per batch)

MAKES: 8 shortbreads (per batch, we made 3 batches as per the below!)

INGREDIENTS:

Gemma’s basic shortbreads, which follow the 3 to 2 to 1 recipe…

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g sugar

…We added cinnamon sugar to the top of these, so mix 50g brown sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon and then sprinkle over the top before baking.

Rebecca’s chocolate  shortbreads…

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate / milk chocolate /white chocolate (broken up into bits)

SallyAnn’s almond and cinnamon shortbreads…

  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

… you could add the cinnamon sugar to the top of these too, just for some extra tastiness.

HOW TO MAKE THE LOVELY SHORTBREADS…

You definitely don’t have to make all three batches of these shortbreads, you could just choose one and have a go.  They really are one of the most simple recipes I have ever made.  At first, when my sister suggested it I was concerned that they would take a long time to prepare as my perception was that shortbreads are quite a tricky, fiddly thing to make, but they really really are not and as we demonstrated you can play around with the ingredients and add whatever you like.  We did not follow a recipe for the chocolate / almond shortbreads, we just got a few ingredients out of the cupboard and had a go (which I think is the fun of baking).

I would urge anyone who is a keen baker to start experimenting with recipes and flavours, it really adds a new dimension to baking and I think its something that has really changed my baking style over the last year and using a new ingredient is not something that phases me.  When I next make these shortbreads I am going to play around with a home-made apple purée and apricots/almonds or even one batch with dates.

  1. Weigh out the butter and place this in a large bowl.
  2. To this add the sugar.
  3. Cream together the butter and the sugar.
  4. Weigh out the flour and add this to the mixture.
  5. Bring together into a smooth, thick paste.

If at this stage you have made a double/triple batch of this mixture then separate out and add whatever fillings you like either chocolate or almonds or apricots.  I am going to show you (with the help of my hand model) how to make these shortbreads.

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First, flour your worktop.

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Take your shortbread dough out of the bowl and then shape gently into a round.

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Pat down a little.

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Roll out…. Roll 3 times one way and then turn 90 degrees. Roll again and then rotate again.

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Roll out until the dough is about 1cm to 1.5cm thick.

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Now you can cut out your shortbreads into whatever shape you desire. We choose love hearts (to use my new cutters). If you don’t have a cutter, you could use a stencil like the one below…

heartpattern

Use this stencil if you want to make love hearts and don’t have a cutter!

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Cut out all your shapes and then gently remove from the dough. Bring the dough that is left together, but DO NOT PLAY WITH. Literally bring into a lump/ball and then place to one side.

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Place gently on your baking tray. Line the baking tray with a non-stick sheet, but if you don’t have one of these use butter to grease the tray.

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If you want to make chocolate ones, add the chocolate and then bring together into a dough.

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Roll to 1cm to 1.5cm then cut out…

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Space evenly on the baking tray and then, if you are sprinkling with sugar, do this at this stage, before you bake the shortbreads. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees / gas mark 4 for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden but not brown. You want them to be doughy/soft inside, not hard and crunchy!

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Now it is time to tidy up!!

I hope you shortbreads turn out well… I shall leave you with some of the silliness that happened whilst we were baking!  And no… piggybacking was not offered… I was JUMPED on.  When asked if I could have a piggyback I was told ‘Oooo no, really, but your the big sister who is supposed to give the little sister piggybacks.  Little sisters can’t give them to big sisters as they are BIG‘.  Charming.

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ABC, 1..2..3… with SIXTEEN SiZzLinG Sausages, sizzling in a pan…

21 May

photo‘Why am I calling this an ABC recipe?’ I hear you ask… well… this recipe was sent to me by Anna Buttery and it’s a Casserole!  But making this recipe is also as simple as ABC, 1… 2… 3.  The ingredient list looks lengthy and potentially quite ambitious, but I assure you it isn’t really.  It is all about having the confidence to ‘have a go’ and even if you don’t do everything to the letter, it doesn’t matter as with something as simple as a casserole you can’t really fail.

Follow these simple steps and make a delicious, hearty dinner that you will be extremely proud to show off to your friends and family.  I made it this weekend after Anna recommended it to me, as my parents were visiting London and I had them and 2 hungry house-mates to feed, so the 5 of us sat down to dinner and really enjoyed this meal.  The herbs, wine and balsamic vinegar gave the casserole a fabulous flavour and I found that the recipe wasn’t too expensive make, so I could happily feed everyone for under £10.

I bought some garlic bread and baking potatoes (which I roasted in the oven at the same time as the casserole) as my carbohydrate and they complimented the dish well.  On finishing the meal I still had 4 sausages left, so I had 2 meals for work too.  Just sublime!

PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes (including cooking the sausages)

COOKING TIME: 1.5 hours

MAKES: 8 portions (to feed your family, or to freeze)

COST PER PORTION: 91p… this gives everyone 2 sausages, lots of beans and casserole sauce and if you then add a carbohydrate to this you want to add an extra 25p per person for a potato or some garlic bread or maybe even some rice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 Cumberland sausages – I bought 3 packs from Sainsbury’s for £5 and used 2 packs, using these offers is a great way to save money – £3.34
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes – 69p
  • 1 bag Sainsbury’s cherry tomatoes – £1
  • 200g tomato passata – 24p
  • 3 gloves of chopped/crushed garlic – 4p
  • 4 whole garlic cloves – 5p
  • 2 large onions (red or white)
  • 2 rosemary sprigs – from my garden so free to me!
  • 1tbsp fresh thyme – also from my garden so free to me!
  • 1 can of cannellini beans – 69p
  • 1 can of baked beans – any brand will do, I had a spare tin of Heinz, Branston are cheaper and have more flavour but the Sainsbury’s own are the cheapest, so the choice is yours – 70p
  • 150ml Red wine – only use this if you have a leftover bottle lying around, I did so this went in.  If I hadn’t I would not have opened a bottle for this, as I just cannot afford to.  For this reason, and because we are using up leftovers this is pretty much a freebie!
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar – 30p
  • 1 red chilli with seeds or 3 tsp chilli powder – this is a store cupboard ingredient, or if you have a chilli plant in the garden it’s pretty much free!
  • 1 tsp paprika – this is a store cupboard ingredient, so we don’t need to include this in the costings.
  • 1 Kallo stock cube – beef or pork is fine, use Kallo as they are organic, have less salt and more flavour, cheaper stock cubes mean you are paying for expensive salt! – 12p
  • 2 stalks of celery – 10p
  • 100 ml water – if you do not use the red wine increase this to 200ml

HOW TO MAKE THIS DELICIOUS CASSEROLE…

So, the first thing to do is to cook the sausages! Lets get them going in the frying pan, turning them a quarter turn ever couple of minutes so that they become nice and golden/brown all over.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Once done remove them from the pan and place them on a plate to rest.  Do not throw all the ‘sausage juice’ left in the pan away, as this is where most of our flavour is going to come from.

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…my sixteen sizzling sausages, sizzling in the pan!

Next, peel and chop the onions in to 8ths and separate a little.  Throw these into the pan with all the sausage juice and cook until golden.  To this add the little pieces of celery, the chopped/crushed garlic and then the pressed, whole garlic cloves in their skin. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and then add the chilli, the chopped up rosemary, the thyme (leaves only, not the twig bits as these will get stuck in your teeth).  Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and then add to the pan and leave for another 5 minutes.  Now add the balsamic vinegar and the red wine and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.  IMG_5414

Finally add the stock cube, the tin of chopped tomatoes, the baked beans and the cannellini beans.  I would also add the water at this stage, as in the oven the sauce will reduce somewhat and you don’t want a dry casserole!

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Stack the sausages, as per the picture in your casserole dish.  This will allow the sauce to get in between the sausages and allow everything to mingle nicely together.  To this add the casserole sauce, and if there are any sausage juices on the plate where the sausages have been resting, put these into the casserole and mix a little.  It should look a little bit like this now…

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Cover this with tin-foil and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for an hour.  If you want a jacket potato wrap this in foil and put this in the oven now too. For the last 30 minutes remove the tinfoil, reduce the heat in the oven to about 140/150 degrees and allow some of the liquid to evaporate off.  The sauce will become all sticky and gooey in this time and become extra tasty.  Now you are ready to serve – with the carbohydrate of your choice.  YUMMY.

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The final casserole… all scrummy and ready to eat. It may look like an ordinary casserole, but believe me it’s a taste sensation. THANK YOU ANNA BUTTERY xxx