Apologies folks, I was all set to update you with the recipe for the wonderful Sourdough I’ve been working on over the last week and there is a communication issue between the Blackcurrant and my computer so I can’t get the photos from one to the other and it doesn’t seem worthwhile posting it without the photos so instead I shall talk to you about Scotch Eggs.
We’re having unseasonably warm weather. If you were to close your eyes and be a little on the side of a fantasist, you might actually imagine summer has arrived. It is only the beginning of Spring and it’s certainly not as warm as it was last week but all of this put me in mind of picnics. Not a soggy sandwich and a Ribena but a real, glorious wicker basket picnic. The kind that Ratty and Mole took on the river.
Anyway, having grown up around the river, very close in fact to Ratty and Mole’s river, I think I am well placed to pack an excellent picnic basket. I also credit early Enid Blyton delving. They were always off somewhere with fresh ripe tomatoes from a kindly farmer’s wife and lashings of ginger beer. I would be genuinely disappointed if my friends didn’t respond to the question “What can Eleanor do?” with “Appear at any occasion with some hard boiled eggs, slices of ham and lashings of ginger beer, all given by a kindly farmer’s wife”. It’s my thing. Others can play the piano, paint or put up flat pack, I create amazing picnics. Years ago, we went to watch the finale of the Spider show in Liverpool, (if you weren’t aware of the Spider that unfurled itself in Liverpool during the Capital of Culture celebrations, it’s definitely worth checking out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/image_galleries/spider_final_gallery.shtml) and I packed hot sausage rolls and hot tomato soup and we were so grateful for them when it was freezing cold and dark that night.
Enough about picnics past. With all this spring in the air and the warmer weather and the idea of picnic-ish food, I decided to make some scotch eggs. This is the kind of recipe that I have made years ago and not touched since because it felt like such a hassle but actually they’re ridiculously simple and easy and not at all hasslesome. Not to mention, there is not much as tasty as a still warm Scotch Egg especially when it’s crunchy and the yolk hasn’t hardened in the fridge.
- 300g sausages (removed from their skins) or sausagemeat
- handful of chopped parsley
- handful of thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- grated nutmeg
- 4 eggs (relatively small ones, large ones will make covering them harder)
- 2 beaten eggs for dipping
- flour for dipping
- flavourless oil for frying (I use CrispnDry because it does exactly as it promises and makes things crispy but not greasy)
- Put the eggs on to boil for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and place under running cold water. This stops the yolks from decolouring. If you’re concerned your eggs are going to overcook, tap the top of the egg against the pan breaking the shell. This will stop the egg cooking. Peel the eggs and dust them in flour.
- Mix the sausagemeat with the salt and pepper, parsley, thyme and nutmeg.
- Taking a piece of cling film, spread a thin layer of sausagemeat in a circle about 3 inches in diameter.
- Place the floured egg in the centre of this and then fold the meat around the egg making sure that the whole egg is cooking. They will begin to resemble little Faberge-esque eggs.
- When these are wrapped, dip the meat/egg into the flour and ensure it is completely coated, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs.
- When these are completed, put the oil in a saucepan, no higher than a third up the pan. Bring to the boil, being exceptionally careful of hot oil and splashing. I had a bit of a scare by a drip of condensation dropping into the hot fat!
- When the oil is hot enough, test by dropping in a breadcrumb – if it browns quickly and fizzes on contact, the oil is hot enough, lower (I used a ladle) the eggs into the hot fat. I cooked 2 at a time in order to have control over them and the scalding fat.
- After 5 minutes and when the breadcrumbs are brown and crispy, remove from the pan and place on kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. (if you use CrispnDry, you probably won’t need to)
- Serve immediately or wrap up tight for your picnic.
Mixing the herbs and sausagemeat..
Wrapping the hard boiled egg
Like a Faberge Egg
Egging and Breadcrumbing and a random heart
Smoking hot oil
the temptation to cut one open is too great!