Starters and Canapes

Quail scotch eggs

9 quail eggs

500g pork sausagemeat

2 tablespoons of plain flour

1 egg beaten

8 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Boil the quail eggs for 2 and a half minutes to 3 minutes. Drain the eggs and run under cold water. Then remove the shells.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C or gas mark 6.

Divide the sauagemeat into 9 pieces and roll into balls.

Make an indent in the sausagemeat ball and put the quail egg inside and then pinch the sausagemeat together and roll into a ball shape. Repeat for each egg.

Roll the sausagemeat ball in the flour, then dip in the beaten egg and finally roll the ball in the breadcrumbs. Repeat for each ball.

Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Can be served hot or cold. They will keep in the fridge for 2 days. Ideal for picnics and packed lunches, or serve them with a salad or mash potatoes and beans.

      Liptauer cheese
      This is purely self indulgent. We used to be able to get this from Safeway in the Kings Road, Chelsea when I lived there way back when!! This is Nigella’s recipe and I will be getting the ingredients when I shop next – or maybe I need to get them right now!
    • 18 ounces cream cheese
    • 2-1/4 cups cottage cheese
    • 4-5 tablespoons capers
    • 8 cornichons, chopped
    • 3 teaspoons paprika
    • Pinch of salt
    • Good grating of black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
    • 2 teaspoons French mustard
    • 1-quart mold or bowl

    For drizzling over:

    • 1-2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil
    • Fat pinch of paprika

    Beat the two cheeses together until they are smooth, and then add all the other ingredients. Mix everything together well, and then turn into a small bowl with a capacity of approximately 2 pints, lined with plastic wrap for easier unmolding later. Smooth the top with a spatula and cover with the overhanging plastic wrap. 


    When it has become cold enough to turn out—a few hours should do it—unwrap the folded-over plastic wrap on top, place a plate over the now uncovered bowl, turn it the other way out and unmold. Pull the plastic wrap off and drizzle over a rust-red ooze, made by mixing the oil with a pinch of paprika.

    Serve this with bread or poppy-seed-sprinkled bagels, gherkins, and, if you like, some chopped red onions.

    Cheese sables

    I found a recipe by Delia Smith and tried it out then changed it a bit to suit our taste. We found using Pecorino instead of her Parmesan was nicer. These little biscuits are so light and crisp I think they may become a favourite. They are also so easy to make

    Take equal quantities of butter (unsalted), strong flour (bread making flour) and finely grated pecorino cheese, out them all in a food processor with a pinch of either cayenne or 2 pinches of smoked paprika. Whiz till like fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a processor it is easy to do with your fingers.

    Tip the ‘crumbs’ into a bowl and knead gently till it all comes together, knead a bit more then form into a sausage, wrap in cling film and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes. This bit is essential as you can’t do the next bit otherwise. Preheat the oven to 200C

    So take the chilled dough out of the freezer and slice into little rounds, about 1/2 cm thick. Place them on a baking sheet, I have silicon sheets that I put ton them but a light greasing will work as well. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just turning brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack where they will crisp up.



    Vegetable soup

    This is so easy to make, and so versatile.

    you will need

    Bacon bits. I can get really chunky ones in our supermarket and I prefer the smoked ones for flavour.

    1 Onion or leek
    1 tin tomatoes - chopped
    2 tbsp tomato puree
    root veggies of your choice, I always have carrots and parsnips then add whatever else I can find. e.g swede, celeriac. I rarely add potatoes but they can be added.

    Chop the bacon into bite sized pieces and, if there is fat on the bacon fry it off in the large pan you will use for the soup. This will draw the fat and add to the flavour. Chop the onion (or leek) and add once the bacon bits have browned a bit. Stir every now and then while you peel and chop the root veggies into bit size pieces. Throw them in the pan, add the tomatoes and the puree and enough water to almost cover it all. Season and bring to the boil then simmer until the bacon is tender, can take about an hour but the testing is fun - you get to eat a bit of the bacon!

    For a change you can add some small pasta bits and turn it into a rustic minestrone. Other additions can be kidney beans, chick peas, (I use canned in both cases) or een baked beans.

    I sometimes serve with chunks of bread or dumplings.

    Cheese whirls

    These come courtesy of my Mother who was a great cook. Really easy to make it is easy to change the filling and make lots of different flavours.

    The original ones - normally made up to a week in advance to be kept in an airtight container or up to a month if you want to freeze them.

    Turn on the oven and set to hot

    Melt some butter in a pan, I start with about 4 oz and top up if necessary.
    Take a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry (no don't make it, too much like hard work), spread out and brush all over with the butter then, when the butter has started to set, spread Marmite or Vegemite thinly over the top.

    Roll the pastry up into a long sausage then cut across into slices about 1/4 inch thick and place them onto a non stick baking sheet and leave room between each for them to expand.

    Pop in the oven and cook for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.

    Cool on a rack and then put in the container and store until you want them. To warm them through they need about 5 minutes in a hot oven if they are not frozen and 8 if they are.

    WARNING : They go so fast, make about twice as many as you think you need!

    Variations - I have tried all sorts of things instead of the Vegemite but the following are the ones that have been the ones that have done the best.

    Stilton - crumbled all over
    Grated Cheese - all over, with chopped chive as another option
    Tomato ketchup - went down a storm last year
    Ham - using wafer thin cut ham and sometimes a bit of sweet chutney as well

    This year I am going to try some sweet ones with mincemeat. I am going to dredge them with icing sugar once they are warmed up and probably serve them with some whipped cream.


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