Scotch Woodcock

This is a recipe I probably should’ve googled before starting this, rather than waiting until after I’ve made it!

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I did find a few references to this recipe and they all say it’s a savoury consisting of creamy, softly scrambled egg served over toast that has been spread with anchovy paste! I have to say I was totally thrown by the egg bit and I had been convinced it should not be scrambled!!

Anyway I started by seiving the anchovies, and I had enough to spread over two small slices of toast..

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Then I started with the egg and milk mix, and I tried to cook as slowly and as gently as possible because I was thinking it shouldn’t scramble!! I did eventually end up with a thick creamyish looking mix that did have a bit of a scrambled consistency..

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That was spread only the toast then I cut it into triangles and topped with some leftover whole anchovies and paprika..

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I served this as an appetiser before dinner, but it actually comes in a sub chapter of after dinner savouries!

Despite there being very little anchovy on each one it is very strong, it’s not like a strong fishyness but is very salty, which I quite like! I think I didn’t scramble the egg mix enough and should’ve had a thicker layer of that, but even in doing that I wonder if you would taste it over the strong anchovy!

I think the idea is just to have a small portion each, and although I did enjoy this I couldn’t manage more than 2 small bite size portions!

Would I make these again? Yes, but I’d cook the eggs a bit longer..

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Scallops and Bacon

So what to have with champagne cocktails? I’d thought of doing something with oysters but think I’m still a bit scared of them! So opted for scallops instead..

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This is only the second time I’ve cooked with scallops but I’ve been eating them more when in restaurants and do really like them! I am worried about both overlooking and undercooking! Anyway I got 6 scallops for the two of us..

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They are sprinkled with salt, pepper and lemon juice..

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Then each one is wrapped in a slice of streaky bacon..

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I cooked them under the grill for roughly 5 minutes. I’d hoped to have some lovely pictures of the cooked scallops but as usual once it’s dark in my kitchen everything looks rubbish..

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I did make a tartare sauce of sorts, I mixed mayonnaise with chives, gherkins and capers..

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So this recipe is really meant to be an appetiser but I was making this for our tea! So what to serve with scallops and bacon…..chips!

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It’s may seem like a very unusual Tuesday night dinner, but I thoroughly enjoyed scallops and bacon with chips, washed down with champagne cocktails!

The scallops were lovely and soft and quite sweet, which combined with the salty bacon is really good! I don’t think they were overcooked which is good, and am just wishing I’d made more!

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Vol-au-vents/Bouchees

I wanted to make vol-au-vents to have as an appetiser but when I read the actual vol-au-vent recipe it says to make one big one! I wanted to make small individual ones which is apparently a bouchee!!

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I opted to make flaky pastry, which is apparently the most common of the flaked types of pastry. The chapter gives some good pastry tips which I perhaps should’ve read before making the pastry! It says to handle lightly and as little as possible, I think I over handled it during the rolling and adding of the fat!

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I was also perhaps a bit heavy handed when rolling and cutting out the shapes..

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Next I cut into each one with a smaller cutter..

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They were brushed with egg and then into the oven. After 15 minutes I had expected them to be really well risen but I was a tad disappointed..

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I’m thinking the two reasons for this are that I over handled the pastry and I think I rolled it out too thin. I then cut out the centres of each one and tried not to eat all the inner bits of pastry!

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I opted to make a chicken and mushroom filling, then realised I had turkey instead! I fried the turkey and mushrooms and mixed into a thick white sauce. That was then piled into each case and then back into the oven for another 15 minutes..

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We were having these with a glass of prosecco before dinner and are rather good. The pastry isn’t as light and flaky as it should be but still tastes good. The filling is good, nicely seasoned sauce helps hold that all together.

Would I make these again? Yes but I’ll be slightly less heavy handed with the pastry next time!!

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Cheese and Anchovy Dartois

Never heard of a dartois before, but I wanted an appetiser for a dinner..

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After a bit of googling I did find a few other recipes and images and they were pretty similar and it gave me a good idea of what my end product should be!

I was making both as I had half a can of anchovies in the fridge that needed using, and I wanted to convince my family that they don’t taste that bad!!

So first I made the flaky pastry which obviously the recipe for that comes from the pastry chapter!

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I was making 4oz of pastry so halved all these ingredients. I do have some lard in the fridge so opted for a lard/butter mix. It was harder than expected getting the lard and butter mixed together..

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Once they’ve been worked together I rubbed a quarter of it into the flour..

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After a bit of kneading and mixing it does end up in a very workable dough, it was easy to roll out and not too sticky..

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So the recipe says to put another quarter of the butter mix onto the pastry in flakes like buttons on a card. Well am not too sure what it means by buttons on a card, and it’s not exactly flakes, more like splodges..

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After a bit of folding and rolling I left the pastry to rest in the fridge. It did all get a bit sticky by the time all the butter had been incorporated.

While that was resting I made the filling. I mixed the egg and butter together, which is actually not an easy thing to do!! It was a disgusting lumpy mess!

I halved that mix and to one half I added cheese and to the other I added mashed anchovies.

Once the pastry had rested I started rolling it out.

First square was topped with the anchovy paste..

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Then I made another square and that was topped with the cheese mix..

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Each one was topped with another square of pastry which was then brushed with egg and marked into fingers..

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After about 20 minutes in the oven they were looking nicely golden-brown..

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Each one was cut into fingers..
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Well these were great! The pastry is very flaky as you would expect but it’s really good! I loved both fillings, the anchovy one is quite strong but I did really like it, and think the others in my family enjoyed it too! The cheese one is fab as well! I couldn’t pick a favourite and that fact that they were polished off in a matter of seconds has to be a good sign!!

Would I make these again? Yes definitely..

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Nuts and Bolts

Tonight I was making a pre- dinner nibble and the book has a whole list of suggestions..

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This is the only one that has a real recipe involved..

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First off I couldn’t decide what unsweetened cereal would be good in this, the only one I thought would be suitable was all-bran, but then that doesn’t really fit with the nuts and bolts! I thought I should be using something round to be the bolt to go with the pretzel as the nut! I was going to use Cheerios but pretty sure they’ve been sweetened! So anyway I opted for all-bran with the pretzel sticks..

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I do love pretzels, and probably prefer them to crisps, so to mess about with them and have them bake in the oven does seem like an unnecessary process to me!

After 15 minutes there didn’t seem like too much of a change, they were slighty darker but I didnt have time to leave in any longer..

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I honestly didn’t get the differnce with the pretzel sticks, they are salty and baked anyway so seems slightly pointless adding more salt and baking them again!

The all-bran sticks did taste differnt! I don’t mind all-bran just as it is but once it’s been baked in the oven with some butter and salt it does taste a load better!

So this was something different to nibble with a pre dinner drink but to be honest I probably wouldn’t waste my time doing this again and would quite happily eat the pretzel sticks just as they are and save the cereal for breakfast!

Would I make this again? Doubtful..

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York Fingers

I was having a friend over for Christmas drinks and had some scraps of puff pastry that needed using up so decided to make these to have with a glass of prosecco…

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It doesn’t actually advise on a quantity of pastry, I didn’t weigh what I had but I guess you could alter the other ingredients based on how much you have. I did use the full quantity of everything else.

First off I rolled out the pastry and put the cheese on top. I probably could’ve sliced my cheese a touch thinner..

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Then I rolled out again and cut into fingers..

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The recipe does say to roll out very thinly and I did think I could’ve rolled mine a bit thinner.

Then they were brushed with egg and topped with more cheese..

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Most of them puffed up quite considerably!

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I had to press them down a bit otherwise it would’ve been impossible to spread anything on them!

I do love horseradish but I didn’t want to add too much, I opted for a teaspoon to mix with the minced ham..

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Once the pastry fingers had cooled I spread some of the ham mix over each one and then sprinkled over some paprika..

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So they aren’t the prettiest canapé, I probably could’ve refined them a wee bit! I thought these were really nice served with a glass or two of prosecco! The cheesy pastry is good and then the ham with the horseradish sauce is a great topping. I think it could take even more horseradish sauce but then maybe that’s just my preference. Overall though these were good!

Would I make these again? Yes I would.

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Stuffed Anchovy Eggs

I’m having dinner with friends tonight and I was to do a starter. So I decided I’d make this recipe to have as a starter/canapé! Not sure how popular this will make me…

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I started off boiling the eggs, and opted for nearer 10 minutes to make sure they were hard boiled.

Then I mixed the anchovies and capers. I do love capers and can eat them by the spoon out of the jar! Anchovies I’m not too sure about! It really is a strong flavour so I opted for just four fillets from a jar

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So then I mashed all that with the egg yolks. Took a good bit of mashing to get anything resembling a paste!

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So it doesn’t look very nice just now but I did have to try it and it’s actually quite pleasant. Once the anchovies have been thoroughly mixed throughout everything they actually add quite a pleasant flavour!

Then it was back into the egg whites..

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I served this on a mixed salad and had some smoked garlic mayo on the side but didn’t have any parsley to sprinkle over the top!

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Well considering I don’t like eggs I actually really liked this!! The yolky bit with the anchovies and capers is by far the best bit and really is good. The cold egg white is not that interesting and I’d quite happily leave that off the plate and have more off the yolk bit

I was worried my friends were going to hate this and not invite me back but I think they were pleasantly surprised too!

Would I make this again? Maybe!!

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Cheese Meringues

Tonight I was looking for something to serve with drinks before dinner and I thought this fitted the bill nicely!

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I decided to just half the recipe as I didn’t want to make too many. Plus I didn’t have any egg whites left in the freezer! So I was using a whole egg and was worried about wasting the yolks! Can egg yolks freeze like egg whites? I had to go check that out and apparently you can! You have to add some salt or sugar to the yolk before freezing to stop the yolk thickening too apparently!!

Anyway these are prepped quickly..

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I did very carefully fold in the cheese and seasonings but despite that the egg white lost a lot of volume and the mix wasn’t looking like much anymore.

I carried on with the deep frying, and the minute a spoonful of the mix was added to the oil it started to puff up so I then thought this was going to work out ok.

After only a few seconds they were browning and reckon they were cooking for just over a minute in total. Although after the initial puffing up they had now completely deflated!

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So as you can see they are not the puffed up cheesy meringues I was hoping for! So how did they taste? Actually pretty good! They are crispy on the outside and what is left on the inside is chewy. The flavour is fab so it is a shame they look so bad!

Would I make these again? Yes but I’d try baking rather than frying

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Cream Cheese Boats

It was another family birthday so I wanted to make a canapé to have with some pre dinner drinks..

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So first off I was making more pastry, this time a cheese pastry. I used the recipe for that back on 2nd September last year when I made the cheese straws!

I made the pastry earlier in the day and left in the fridge for a while.

So I don’t have a boat shaped mould, or know where I would get such a thing! I opted to use a muffin tray and cut circles of pastry. I ended up make 12 small circles.

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I always seem to have disasters any time I cook pastry on its own like this. If I’m making a tart I usually use baking beans to stop the pastry rising. I’m assuming that pricking the pastry with the fork is to keep the bases from rising so have my finger crossed!

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After just over 10 minutes they are nice and golden and they have kind of risen all over and don’t really look like boats!!

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So the fork thing didn’t really stop them from rising!

I carried on with the cream cheese and opted to add chives. I attempted to pipe on the cheese but it really wasn’t much and I ran out afte piping into 5, so I had to kind of spread on the rest.

I couldn’t bring myself to buy processed cheese for the sails! So instead I bought a block of Edam and cut slices of that for the triangular sails!

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So how were these? They were great! The pastry is good, chive cream cheese is good and then I do like Edam so that bit is good too. Overall they were a lovely wee canapé!

Would I make these again? Yes, loved them

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Devils on Horseback

This was tonight’s starter/canapé. Although in the book it comes under a sub heading of after dinner savouries, I can’t imagine serving something like this after dinner..

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I opted to use the almonds, quite liked the idea of them inside the prunes. I don’t really think the prunes I had bought were quite right! I had regular dried prunes in the cupboard and assumed they were right, I thought a prune was a dried plum but I actually think you can get fresh prunes?? Anyway I was determined to make these today so carried on with dried prunes!!

I really liked the look and smell of the almonds after they had been fried an tossed in salt and cayenne pepper, I could quite happily eat them just like that..

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As my prunes weren’t very plump I opted to make enough for four each and stuffed 8 prunes with the almonds, I actually could also quite happily eat these just like this..

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Then they were wrapped in bacon..

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While they were grilling I got on with frying the bread, I just used a plain white loaf cut into small circles.

I forgot to get watercress so had to make do with spinach! I know they look really weird but I was actually really looking forward to these..

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These were quite delightful!! The salty bacon with the sweet prune is just great! Then you get the crunch from the almond with a little bit if heat from the cayenne. We both loved these and I think these would be perfect to serve with pre dinner drinks!

Would I make these again? Yes, loved them!

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