British food

Paggis – pork haggis

Posted on February 18, 2021 at 8:02 pm

Shh, don’t tell anyone in Scotland but… I made haggis from pork instead of lamb. I know, it’s probably sacrilege, but pork is a fraction of the price of lamb, and simple economics dictate that if I want delicious haggisness, it needs to be in a reasonable price bracket. So… paggis! (And thank you to kiddo for naming it – good job, kiddo)

The strangest thing about making this was that as soon as I added the spices to the oats, I knew it was haggis. Some dishes are defined by their spice mix, and haggis is definitely one of them.

  • 2 lb / 900 g coarse ground pork
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped however you prefer
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb / 225 g oats
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp mustard powder
  • Cook the onion in the butter until it is softened and slightly translucent. Add the spices, seasonings, and oats. Add a little water to wet the oats very slightly, a couple of tablespoons or so, then set to one side to cool.

    Grind the pork coarsely. Add the oats and spices mix and blend with your hands until it comes together into a sticky mess.

    Place the sticky mess into a zip top bag, or seal into a sous vide vacuum bag. If you aren’t going to cook it immediately, place it in your fridge until you’re ready to cook.

    Set your sous vide to 180F / 82C, or set a large pan on medium-low heat. Cook for 3 hours. Let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes while you get the side dishes sorted. Traditional haggis is served with neeps and tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes), but this is paggis. I served it with mixed veg and braised cabbage, but you should serve whatever side dishes you prefer!

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    Figgy Pudding Cheesecake

    Posted on December 23, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    So, you want a plum pudding cheesecake. I have you covered. Yes, the title says figgy pudding…. this has both figs and plums in it, so I still have you covered!

    This is a crustless cheesecake. You are welcome to add one if you wish.

  • 3 packs cream cheese (8oz / 225g each)
  • 1 cup white sugar or equivalent (7oz / 200g)
  • 1 cup sour cream (240g)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (230g)
  • 3 tbsp flour of choice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 oz (60g) each dried figs, plums, and 2 other dried fruits of choice, cut into roughly equal sized pieces, for a total weight of 8.5oz / 240g
  • Preheat oven to 350f / 180c. Boil kettle.

    Put sugar in bottom of mixer bowl. Put the 3 packets of cream cheese on top. Mix on medium speed until completely combined. Blend in the sour cream, heavy cream, and then the eggs one at a time, making sure each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Blend in the vanilla and flour.

    Remove bowl from mixer. Fold in the chopped dried fruit. Split between two 9 inch / 23cm pie pans. Place pie pans in deep baking dish and pour boiling water into the baking dish until it comes half way up the pie pan.

    Bake for 60 minutes, or until the centre of the cheesecake is mostly set – you’re looking for a slight wobble.

    Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Serve cold with mulled wine, a Wassail cup, or a nice cuppa tea.

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    Baked custard

    Posted on November 11, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Baked custard is another classic British pudding. It’s simple, cheap, and feels way more gluttonous and indulgent than the ingredients would suggest. It’s also inherently gluten free!

  • 600ml / 18 US fl oz heavy whipping cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50g / 2oz caster (fine table) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (or to taste)
  • 1/4tsp ground nutmeg, or to taste
  • optional: dried fruit, chopped to roughly equal size
  • Preheat your oven to 325F / 170C. Boil your kettle, or set a pot of water to boil on your stove top.

    Butter an ovenproof dish, about 1 quart / 1 litre capacity. If adding dried fruit, scatter it evenly around the bottom of the dish.

    Scald the cream and vanilla (heat until the cream is just beginning to lightly steam and small bubbles appear around the edge). Do not boil the cream.

    Whisk the eggs, nutmeg, and sugar together. Pour a thin stream of the hot cream into the eggs and sugar, whisking constantly, until all of the hot cream has been incorporated into the eggs.

    Place a large baking pan into the preheated oven. Put the ovenproof dish into the large baking pan. Pour the custard into the baking dish. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until the hot water comes about half way up the side of the ovenproof dish.

    Bake for 1 hour. Serve hot or cold. Once cold, the custard will be set with a fairly firm consistency, firmer than creme brulee.

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    Spotted Dick Mug Cake

    Posted on September 23, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    This is the instant version of my full Spotted Dick recipe. See there for my comments on the name! This version is gluten free, sugar free, and can be easily tweaked to be keto friendly. Enjoy!

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon (or so) of currants, raisins, or as you prefer
  • 1 tbsp of brown liquor or water
  • mix these together and microwave for 30 seconds. From here you proceed like the cinnamon roll recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon monkfruit/erithrytol blend, or similar
  • optional – pinch of salt
  • Melt the butter on top of the fruit mixture, then add the rest of the ingredients on top. Stir thoroughly to combine and microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. The top of the pudding should be just set and no more.

    Turn out on a plate and serve with a nice cuppa tea.

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    Gluten free Lorne sausage

    Posted on June 23, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Lorne sausage is Scotland’s own sausage. Made well, with good ingredients, it is delightfully different. Sadly all too many are made without care and with iffy ingredients, so they are merely “tasty” instead of “delightful”. Here’s a gluten free version for those who have to avoid wheat and other gluten bearing grains.

  • 1 cup rice, cooked in 2 cups lightly salted water, cooled in fridge overnight
  • 4lbs ground meat
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 3 tsp salt
  • Weigh the cooked rice. Add water to make 800g / 1lb 12oz. Add in all the ground spices and salt. Grind up to a rough paste in your food processor or with mortar and pestle – you don’t want it totally smooth, but you want to avoid too many intact grains. Basically, don’t sweat it as this is going to make a “rustic” sausage.

    Mix the ground rice and spice blend into the ground meat. You’ll notice I didn’t specify which meat to use, this is because you can use whatever you have to hand. Beef, pork, chicken, or any combination you wish, just be sure to not use really lean cuts – you want the sausagemeat to be fairly fatty otherwise it’ll dry out when you cook it.

    Take your thoroughly blended sausagemeat and place it into a loaf pan. Cool thoroughly in the loaf pan then turn it out and cut into slices – a serrated blade works better if you have one.

    Fry in a little butter or over a grill or under a broiler until it’s cooked – I’m not giving you a cook time because I cut them thick and you might cut them thinly. You’ll want to see a good dose of Golden Brown And Delicious appearing there. Don’t forget to let it rest a couple of minutes before eating it.

    And there you have it – Scotland’s rustic sausage, Lorne. No casings needed.

    OPTIONAL INGREDIENT – add 1/4 tsp pink salt / Prague Powder #1 to the spice blend. This will keep the meat the pink colour I associate with Lorne, but don’t use it if you don’t have it. Concentrate on Golden Brown and Delicious!

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    Queen of Puddings

    Posted on May 10, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    For Mother’s Day, I asked my wife to choose a pudding we’d never had before. To be extra mean I handed her a book with over 140 classic British Pudding recipes – how horrible I am!

    She chose Queen of Puddings. I have had this once before in my whole life. It’s one I felt nervous about making, because… well, I’m not sure why. I just was.

    Thankfully the nerves were unnecessary. It’s actually quite easy to make, as pudding should be. And as a bonus, it’s easy to make gluten free!

  • 180g / 6.5oz breadcrumbs OR an equal mix of corn flakes and oats
  • 150g/5oz caster sugar (take granulated sugar and pulse in food processor till fine but not powder)
  • 600ml / 20oz / 2.5 cups milk
  • 60g / 2oz unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 100g / 3.5oz berry jam
  • Optional: zest of 1 lemon
  • Stir the breadcrumbs (or GF option) to mix with the zest and 30g/1oz of the sugar.

    Combine the milk, butter, and vanilla in a pan and heat gently until the butter is just melted. The mix should be slightly more than blood warm. Whisk the egg yolks into the warm milk then stir into the crumbs. Leave the mix to stand and soak for 10 minutes while you heat the oven to 180c/350f. Make sure they soak for at least 10 minutes.

    Pour the mixture into a buttered pie pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until it is cooked through and set – although it’s technically a custard, you want it to set fully.

    Warm the jam in a small pan or in the microwave until it’s liquid. Spread the jam over the baked base – it should make a generous coating.

    Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold the sugar in to make the meringue. Pile over the jam, spreading to the edge of the pie dish.

    Bake the meringue for 10 minutes or so until it’s lightly golden brown and slightly crunchy. Let the pudding cool down until it’s room temperature.

    Serve at room temperature or cold. Be prepared for some slight cognitive dissonance – it looks like pie, but it eats like pudding!

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    Stuart’s Gluten Free Simnel pudding

    Posted on April 20, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Simnel Cake is a British Easter tradition. I decided to take the cake recipe and convert it to make a Simnel Pudding, because everyone needs some pudding in their life!

    Makes 1 large pudding. You can double the quantities to make 2.

  • 250g/8oz mixed dried fruit
  • 25g/1oz stem ginger (finely chopped or grated)
  • 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1/2 orange (zest and juice)
  • 50g/1.75oz ground almonds
  • 50g/1.75oz buckwheat flour
  • 50g/1.75oz white rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tbsp mixed spice such as pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 125g / 4oz / 1 stick soft butter
  • 125g / 4oz brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 portion marzipan
  • 2 tbsp dark rum or bourbon (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp marmalade or apricot jam
  • Butter up your pudding basin.

    Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix or sift to combine. In a small bowl add all the fruit, ginger, zest and juices and stir to combine.

    Cream the butter and sugar. Blend in the flour and eggs in roughly 3 additions. Stir in the fruit and juices.

    Split the marzipan into 2 roughly equal portions. Pour half of the batter into the pudding basin. Form a rough disk with half of the marzipan and press gently onto the batter. Pour the rest of the batter on top of the marzipan disk. Steam for 2 hours.

    Pull the pudding out of your steamer. Pour the rum or bourbon on top, if using. Allow the pudding to cool for 20 to 30 minutes then turn out and brush with the marmalade or jam.

    Roll out the remaining marzipan to drape over the narrow top of the pudding. Use your hands to gently form the marzipan into a covering over the pudding.

    If you want to add a finishing touch, put the marzipan covered pudding under the broiler just until the top starts to brown, then serve.

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    Substitute for Ready Brek

    Posted on March 17, 2020 at 8:11 am

    As a child I liked the sickly sweet sugar laden breakfast cereals, like every other kid. I also liked Ready Brek, laden with honey or treacle.

    Ready Brek wasn’t so easy to find in the USA when I looked a while back, so I set out to make it myself. I saw the recipes and didn’t believe they were so easy.

    Well. It genuinely is that easy. Ready?

    Take

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • pinch of salt
  • Blend them in your food processor into a flour, as fine or as coarse as you prefer. Place into a small saucepan with

  • 1 cup milk
  • and cook to your desired level of thickness.

    That’s it. I told you it was easy!

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    Haggis

    Posted on January 24, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Now that I have made you recoil in terror, here is how to make Scotland’s national sausage with ingredients available in the US.

    Yes, I called it a sausage, because that’s what it is!

    SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • meat grinder
  • vacuum sealer
  • vacuum bag
  • sous vide setup OR large lidded pot
  • INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2lb steel cut (pinhead) oats
  • 1 cup broth or stock (chicken or veg)
  • 1lb lard or suet
  • 3lb lamb, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1.25 to 2.5 tbsp salt *to taste
  • 1 tsbp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • Cook the onion in the butter over medium-low heat till soft and the sharp onion smell has dissipated. Add in the oats, stir the oats into the butter and cook briefly. Add the stock, bring back to a boil. Add the lard or suet, heat just till melted. Add the salt and the spices and stir to combine. Set this to one side to cool while you move on to the grinding.

    Grind the lamb on coarse grind into a large bowl. Once all the lamb is ground, add the ground beef into the bowl. Pour the mixed oats, stock, and spices into the same bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands until it all comes together in a sticky mess.

    Transfer the sticky mess to a vacuum sealer bag. Vacuum seal according to instructions.

    Set your sous vide to 180F / 82C. Cook on sous vide for 3 hours. If you don’t have sous vide, use a large pot on the stove, bring the water to a simmer (180F to 190F, 82C / 87C). Simmer for 3 hours, topping up the water as needed.

    Allow the haggis to sit at room temperature for the duration of the Ode To A Haggis and serve with mashed potatoes and neeps (mashed, boiled turnips, or if you prefer, roast parsnips instead if you don’t like turnips).

    If you would like to add some of the offal flavour you can substitute 1lb calf’s liver for the ground beef. You should be aware that some people might prefer to not know about this addition…!

    Don’t forget the whisky!

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    Carrot pudding

    Posted on October 6, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Here’s a recipe from Mrs Beeton from 1859 or so. It’s delicious.

  • 1/2 lb. of bread crumbs (gluten free alt: mix of oats and corn flakes)
  • 4 oz. of suet (or butter)
  • 3/4 lb. carrot
  • 1/4 lb. raisins
  • 1/4 lb. currants
  • 3 oz. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • milk
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Boil the carrots in milk until tender enough to mash to a pulp; add the remaining ingredients. If needed, add more milk to make the pudding of the consistency of thick batter.

    If you want to steam the pudding, put the mixture into a buttered basin, tie it down with a cloth, and steam for 2-1/2 hours: if to be baked, put it into a pie-dish, and bake for about an hour; turn it out of the dish, sift sugar over it, and serve with custard or heavy cream.

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