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Party Food for Burns’ Night: Haggis Samosa’s

Haggis Samosa for Burns' Night

Party Food for Burns’ Night: Haggis Samosa’s

It’s here again, Burns’ night.  Roll out the haggis.

All over the world, Scots will be celebrating their national poet tonight with meals of haggis neeps ‘n’ tatties (haggis, turnip and potato).  His famous poems and songs will be sung and, for those of us Scots living outside the country a nostalgic tear or two will more than likely be shed.

As much as I like my haggis, and as much as I appreciate a Burns’ poem or even two, sometimes I don’t want the full on experience.  And, as a Scot living in the Netherlands, I notice that not all of my countrymen are overenthusiastic about eating a meal which consists predominantly of offal.  As much as I have tried to change the image of the haggis and the opinion of my non-Scots friends, ‘It’s really just a spicy sausage you know.’  They still regard my explanation and the poor little haggis with some suspicion.  So, sometimes you have to ease people into these things gently.  This is the thought process that led to my Burns’ night drinks with little Scottish inspired snacks.  My latest being the Haggis Samosa.  The classic dinner of Haggis encased in some crispy filo pastry.   A little bite sized Scottish experience for those who feel they can dip their toe in the water but are not quite ready to jump in.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Time to Build the Samosa’s : 30 to 45 minutes (depends how dexterous you are and how practiced you are)
Baking Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Ingredients for about 40 to 45 Samosa’s
For the Filling
250gr / 0.5 lb potatoes, cooked and mashed
300gr / 10 oz. sweet turnip, cooked and mashed
400gr / 14 oz. haggis, cooked
20gr / 0.7 oz. unsalted butter
6 x spring onions chopped finely
1 x tsp of coriander powder
¼ x tsp white pepper
¼ x tsp nutmeg
2 x tbsp Glayva whisky (or whisky and a little honey)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

For the Pastry
650gr / 1.4 lb. filo pastry cut into strips of about 9cm x 24cm / 3.5 in. x 9.5 in.
2 x eggs beaten

Haggis Samosa for Burns' Night

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Line a roasting tray (s) with baking paper.
  3. Heat the butter in a non-stick pan being careful not to burn it, add the onion and cook on a medium high heat for about a minute.
  4. Add the haggis and the spices and cook just to heat through and mix with the onion for about another minute.
  5. De-glaze with the Glayva, allow it to evaporate, then add the potato and turnip.
  6. Mix everything through evenly, check for seasoning, set aside.
  7. For the pastry, get everything ready and set up so that you can build the samosa’s. Place the baking tray(s) within reach, the filling mix, the pastry and the beaten egg. You will also need a knife and a pastry brush.
  8. I like to make about 3 or 4 samosas at a time, but this will depend on how much space you have to work. On a clean, dry work surface spread out as many of the strips as you like and brush them with egg.
  9. Place about a tbsp or so at the bottom end of one or your filo strips, slightly to the left corner.
  10. Taking the area where you have placed the filling, lift the left hand corner in a diagonal motion over to meet the right edge of your strip of filo pastry. This will give you a triangle shape. Now repeat on the opposite side by taking the point at the right side diagonally over to the left edge of your pastry. Repeat until you reach the end of your strip of filo.
  11. Place each samosa onto your baking tray.
  12. Repeat until you have used your mix, brush each samosa with some egg.
  13. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are nice and brown

Tips and Variations

  • Try using ready-made puff pastry to encase the haggis mix in a more pasty style.
  • This is a very forgiving recipe so you can adjust quantities and proportions to suit your taste and also your haggis.
  • A great party idea if you don’t fancy overloading on haggis on Burns’ night.
  • If you fancy something to dip, try a little mustard.
  • Great with a wee dram (glass of whisky)

Amsterdam Private Food Tours

If this has made you hungry for more, why not book one of my Private Amsterdam Food Tours?  Just you and your own party with some of the very best food the city has to offer.

Easy Apple and Cinnamon Danish Pastries

Easy Apple and Cinnamon Danish Pastries

Easy Apple and Cinnamon Danish Pastries

These pastries are great to make for brunch.  So, I’m often found putting them together around the holiday season whether it’s Christmas, New Year or Easter – or just a lazy Sunday, they work at any time.  Don’t worry, this is a very easy recipe, using shop bought pastry (why not?) and a simple filling.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes +15 minutes if you need to make the apple compote.
Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Cooling, Glazing and Icing: 15 minutes

Makes 8 Pastries
For the Pastry
8 x shop bought puff pastry squares measuring 12cm
1 x egg, beaten

For the Apple Filling
300gr / 10.5 oz. Apple Compote (recipe follows)
2 x tsp honey
1 x tsp cinnamon
75gr / 2.5 oz. raisins

For the Icing
10 x tbsp icing sugar
4 or 5 tsp water
For the Glaze
1 x tbsp apricot jam
1 x tsp water

Easy Apple and Cinnamon Danish Pastries

Method

  1. Put the oven on to heat it to 200°C/400°F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the apple compote with the honey, cinnamon and raisins and set aside.
  3. Line a baking tray(s) with greaseproof baking paper.
  4. Straight from the fridge, lay out the chilled slices of pastry on the lined baking trays. Leave some space in between each pastry square – about 2 cm / 1 in. Brush each slice with the beaten egg.
  5. Along the middle of each slice, diagonally, spread about 2 x tbsp of the apple mixture. Don’t spread right to the corners, but leave a couple of centimeters (1 x in.).
  6. Take both of the ‘free’ corners (the opposite corners to which you have spread the apple mix) of pastry and fold them over the middle. Squeeze them together gently but firmly to create a seal.
  7. Brush each pastry with egg.
  8. Place in the oven and bake until they are brown and crispy. This should take somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.
  9. Whilst the pastries are baking, you can make the icing and the glaze. For the icing, add the water gradually until you get the consistency you wish. To make the glaze, put the jam and water in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and let the jam melt.
  10. Once your pastries are ready, allow them to cool before adding the glaze then let the glaze set before applying the icing in thin stripes over your pastry.

Tips and Variations

  • These pastries work really well with all sorts of stewed fruit fillings like pears, peaches, plums or berries. You can even use jam – but be careful to use a good quality jam, otherwise it can get too sweet.
  • This recipe is based on a Danish pastry. It is not completely authentic because the real thing has a creamy base under the fruit, but I prefer this simpler way.
  • If your glaze sets in the pan before your pastries are cooled, heat it a little to melt it again.

To make the Apple Compote

Ingredients
150 ml / 5 fl. oz. water
4 x medium apples peeled, cored and roughly diced

Method

  1. Place the apples, water and cinnamon in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil, then allow to simmer until the apples are soft.
  2. Mash with a fork for a rougher texture or liquidize it with a hand mixer for a smooth result
  3. Serve with pork or roast chicken. 

Tips and Variations 

  • The amount of water can depend on the apples, so if you feel it is getting to dry while cooking, just add a little water. Or , if you feel there is too much water, just turn the heat up and let it evaporate as steam.
  • This sauce keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or you can freeze it.

Amsterdam Private Food Tours

If this has made you hungry for more, why not book one of my Private Amsterdam Food Tours?  Just you and your own party with some of the very best food the city has to offer.

My new butcher friends at the Albert Cuyp market!

Quick Canapé Recipe: Parmesan Crisps

ParmesanCrisps

I normally have some parmesan cheese lurking somewhere in the fridge, so this is a bit of a go to canapé for me.  It’s so easy to make and you will look like a domestic goddess when you whip this up for your guests.  The crispy, salty flavour is a great way to start any party.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes
Baking Time: 3 to5 minutes
Makes: 25 to 30 crisps

Ingredients
100gr / 3.5 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese
2 x tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Some freshly ground black pepper

 Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  2. Line a baking tray(s) with some greaseproof paper.
  3. Spoon out the grated parmesan into little piles, each about 1 x tbsp. Leave enough room in between each so that when they melt they don’t stick together. About 2.5 cm / 1 x in. should do it. Of course this will depend a little on how big you make your crisps.
  4. Sprinkle some thyme over each crisp and grind a little black pepper over them too.
  5. Place them in the oven for up to about 5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes. The crisps are ready when they have melted and are bubbling flat on the tray. If you leave them too long, they will take on colour and become bitter.
  6. Remove and cool before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • These crisps are great with drinks, I love them especially with something bubbly like prosseco or cava, and of course champagne.
  • It’s best not to wait too long before you serve them as they can lose their crispiness and get a bit chewy.

Quick Mince Pie Puffs

MincePiePuff1

Last year at Christmas time I went a bit crazy and made so much from absolute scratch.  It was great, don’t get me wrong, but this year I’m trying to go a bit easier on myself.  My recipes are just as tasty, but a bit quicker and less involved.  This version of my classic mince pie is absolute tribute to that.  So, if you find yourself craving those Christmas treats and the smells that just HAVE to fill the house, check out the website over the next few days for some easy ideas.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Makes: 18 to 20 puffs

Ingredients
300gr / 10.5 oz. mince meat (ready made or your own recipe)
225gr / 8.oz. puff pastry rolled out thinly and cut into squares of 8cm (I like to keep it easy for these mince pie puffs, so I use ready made)
1 egg, beaten
A little flour to make rolling the pastry easier
A little icing sugar for dusting

 Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°F
  2. When you have rolled and cut the pastry, place about two teaspoons of the mincemeat into one diagonal half of the pastry. Make sure you leave enough room (about 1cm / 0.5 in.) around the edge so that you can seal them.
  3. Dab your finger into the egg and run it around the edge of your pastry.
  4. Fold one corner over to another to cover your mincemeat and make a triangle shape. Press down around the edge firmly to seal. If you find when doing this that you have put too much mince meat in your puff, you can always rearrange them.
  5. Place each puff on a baking sheet which has been lined with greaseproof baking paper. You may find it easier to fill your puffs on the lined tray.
  6. Take a fork and make depressions with the prongs all the way around each puff where the seal is, this will make it more effective.
  7. Brush the puffs with the rest of the beaten egg and with a sharp knife make a hole in the thickest part of the puff to let steam out.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes (to be safe, check after 15 minutes) or until they are golden brown and crispy.
  9. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • Serve warm for nicest results. You can serve them with some double cream or a little clotted cream for real luxury.
  • I like to have these with a glass of port, but of course they go great with a glass of mulled wine.
  • This recipe is an easy and quicker alternative to making mince pies from scratch.

MincePastryPuff3

Essential Sinterklaas: Speculaas Cookies

Specuulaas2

You know, the word ‘cookie’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘koekje’ (little biscuit).  Just a bit of trivia for you before we get started.

It’s a good thing that these cookies are not available all year round, otherwise I’d have even more of a struggle to keep my weight under control than I already do!  There’s something about the crunch and the spice mix that makes it almost impossible for me to stop eating them once I’ve started.

My video from the vaults to get you started……

Preparation Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour chilling
Baking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for about 16 Cookies
250gr / 9 oz. self raising flour
150gr / 5 oz. dark muscavado sugar
2 x heaped tbsp speculaas spices
Pinch of salt
100gr / 3.5 oz. cold butter from the fridge
3 x tbsp butter milk or regular milk
Optional: Peeled almonds to decorate

Method

  1. Place the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the butter and crumb this together by running the mix through your fingers from your pinkies to index finger until it becomes like breadcrumbs.
  3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the butter milk.
  4. Using your hand like a whisk bring the mix together until it is in one ball. If it really doesn’t come together, try adding another drop of butter milk.
  5. Dust down a cool surface with a little flour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently for a minute until it becomes one equal mass.
  6. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with cling film and place back in the fridge for an hour.
  7. After the hour, pre-heat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  8. Place baking parchment onto your baking tray. Remove the dough from the fridge, dust your cool surface and your rolling pin with flour and roll the mix out until it is about 1cm thick.
  9. Roll the dough over your rolling pin and transfer it carefully on to your baking tray.
  10. If you wish to add almonds, this is the point at which to do this. Press them about halfway into the dough, roughly spaced on each side by about 5cm.
  11. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, check after 15. Bake until the cookie darkens, the edges are crispy and there is hardly any ‘give’ in the middle.
  12. Allow to cool and break into rough pieces to serve.

Tips And Variations

  • The spices for speculaas are available in the Netherlands from good supermarkets and bakers. This is a very seasonal product so normally you will only find the spice mix available from late October to early December.
  • If you are unable to buy a speculaas spice mix, here is my recipe:
      • 2 x tbsp cinnamon
      • 1 x tsp cloves
      • 1 x tsp nutmeg
      • ½ tsp white pepper
      • ½ tsp ginger powder
      • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • I sometimes like to add a little more cinnamon to the spice mix I buy, or a small extra pinch of powdered ginger for more heat in the spice!
  • You can try adding the zest of an orange to the dry ingredients, gives a nice extra element.
  • This is basically like a short crust pastry – you can also make it in the food processor (up to the crumb stage, after step 2, it will have to come out) – I don’t because I use any excuse to get my hands into my baking! And, my hands are generally quite cold, which is important for this as you don’t want to melt the butter.
  • Try decorating with small pieces of candied ginger instead of almonds.
  • For a more decorative result, instead of baking in one large piece, use a cookie cutter and make individual biscuits. I prefer this method as I find it easier. With one big cookie it can be a bit difficult to get an even bake, I often find that the middle stays a little soft.