Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs have always been a favourite in our family.


There is something very satisfying about making your own.
And mine are baked, not fried so they are a filling and guilt-free lunch or snack.


And what’s even more fabulous is that, because I use sausages (not sausage-meat),  you can make them more interesting by changing the sausages to your taste!

Ingredients (makes 4):

  • 4 eggs (size doesn’t matter)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • About 75g breadcrumbs. Any sort, but I prefer panko.
  • A small bunch of thyme (use the leaves, not the stalks)
  • A large handful of plain flour.
  • A pinch of mustard powder
  • 6 full-sized, good-quality sausages. None of your chipolatas here.
  • Oil (spray-oil is ideal)

To Make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (180° fan).
  2. Lay some foil on a baking tray and rub it over/spray with oil.
  3. Put the 4 eggs in a pan and cover in cold water. Pop the lid on and bring to the boil. When boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. This gives hard-boiled yolks – if you prefer them runnier, just reduce the cooking time.
  4. While the eggs are boiling, prepare 3 bowls: one with the flour and mustard powder, one with the whisked egg and one with the breadcrumbs and thyme.
  5. When the boiling eggs are done, drain and run cold water over the eggs to stop them cooking. Take the shells off and set them aside.
  6. I use disposable gloves to do this bit, but it’s up to you! Put a large rectangle of clingfilm on the work surface (about the size of a baking tray). Squash 1½ sausages into a ball and then flatten into a disc about 15cm diameter. Roll one of the eggs in the flour mix and then place in the middle of the sausage-meat.  Gather up the clingfilm so the sausagemeat wraps around the egg and twist the top so it’s like a ball. Undo and the egg will mostly be wrapped in the meat. Coax the edges of the meat over to fill the join.
  7. Repeat with the 3 other eggs.
  8. Dip each ball into the whisked egg and cover well. Then roll on the thyme-breadcrumbs, making sure the ball is covered.
  9. Pop onto the prepared tray, drizzle or spray with oil and bake for 25/30 minutes.
  10. Enjoy – as they are or with some tomato chutney.



Oeufs en Cocotte


This is a recipe I love having for brunch…it’s right up there with Eggs Benedict.  And you can easily make a vegetarian or meaty version.

You will need (to serve 4):

  • 4 ramekin dishes
  • 200g washed spinach
  • 50g butter
  • 4 slices of streaky bacon OR 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • truffle oil (optional)

To make:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.
  2. Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the spinach with a grind of salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is just wilted and use it to line the four ramekins.
  3. Using the buttery pan (I sometimes add a little more) fry the bacon or mushrooms, depending if you’re going veggie or not. Arrange on top of the spinach.
  4. Make a small well in the middle of each dish and crack in an egg.  Drizzle a tbsp of cream over the top of each, avoiding the yolk and a drizzle of truffle oil if you’re feeling decadent.  Season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Carefully put the dishes in a baking tray and fill with warm water so it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  6. Bake in the oven for 6-10 minutes until the white of the eggs are just set.
  7. Carefully remove from pan (I must admit, I use a chicken baster to get out most of the water then lift out the ramekins).
  8. Eat with thick toast, sourdough bread is lovely with this dish.


oeufs en cocotte

How do I make…..Eggs Benedict?

This is a classic recipe and perfect for brunch.  If you are vegetarian, there is Eggs Florentine which is just as delicious.

The two scary parts are poaching the eggs and making the hollandaise sauce.  But fear not, I am now a dab hand at this and can help you out!

Eggs Benedict is basically a toasted muffin with bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.  Now, there are many variables out there, but I am going to give you my basic recipe and leave it to you to spruce up as you see fit.

Eggs BenedictHow to do it

1. Toast your muffin and leave in toaster to reheat at the last moment.

2. Fry 3 strips of streaky bacon however you like it (I always err on the crispy side myself).  Then wrap them in foil and pop in a very low oven to keep warm.

3. Bring a small frying pan of water to the boil and add a tablespoon of vinegar.  Reduce to a healthy simmer.  Then, break an egg into a small glass or cup and gently ease into the simmering water but do so at the edge of the pan and with a wooden spoon to catch it.  What you are trying to do is form a pocket with the pan and spoon for the egg to slip into.  Keep the spoon there for about 5s then gently take it away.  This should stop the egg from spreading everywhere and give you a nice blobby egg.  Doesn’t always work and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but with practice this works 9 times out of 10 for me.  Simmer for exactly 2 minutes then carefully lift the egg with a slotted spoon and drain away the water.

4. I use the whisk on my kitchenaid to make the hollandaise, but if you don’t have one you can use any other whisky thing to do it.  Separate 2 large eggs and season the yolks with salt and pepper.  Discard the whites. Whisk the yolks for about 1 minute.  Heat 1 dsp lemon juice and 1 dsp vinegar (pref white wine vinegar) in a small pan and when starting to bubble (happens quickly, so keep an eye on it) add to the eggs yolks whilst whisking, then switch off.

Use the same pan to melt 110g butter over a very gentle heat.  When foaming, remove from heat, turn on the whisk again and gently pour the butter into the egg mixture.  The slower you add it the better.  Hey presto!  Hollandaise sauce!  (This makes enough for four people)

5. Now, the timing to get all this ready at the same time is tricky and little bit stressful!  I put the poached eggs water on to boil then start the hollandaise.  Then, before I add the butter to the sauce, I put the eggs into poach.  This allows the sauce and eggs to finish at roughly the same time so you can pop the muffins down to reheat, get the prepared bacon from the oven then construct your Eggs Benedict – muffin, bacon, egg, sauce and a grind of pepper on the top.  Absolutely delicious and don’t bother thinking about the calorific value, it’s just too depressing.  Eat and enjoy!


To make Eggs Florentine you replace the bacon with wilted spinach.  Equally scrumptious.

This does take a little practice with timings etc, and the hollandaise is not done in the conventional way BUT it works and really is quite simple to do.  Just prepare first – get everything ready and do the toasting/frying ahead of time as you will be rushing around like the proverbial blue-a**ed fly at the end.  But those you feed will love you forever.

Eggs in Purgatory

Nigella Lawson, you are truly wonderful.  Having seen you make Eggs in Purgatory on ep.1 of Nigellissima I then laughed so much at your preamble in the book, I had to read it out to my OH.  Then, this morning, I made it (and I don’t even have a hangover).


If Greg Wallace likes his chilli kick, then this is the dish for him.  It was heavenly (literally).  And I almost want to get a bit drunk tonight just so I can eat it again tomorrow and try out its hangover curing possibilities*.

For those of you who have NO idea what I am going on about, Eggs in Purgatory is (in my opinion) a kind of mix between bloody mary and raw egg hangover cure, but very delicious as a dish on its own.  My OH screwed his nose up when I told him what was in it, but looks can be very deceptive….

And all you need can be found in the cupboard! Garlic, chilli flakes and a tin of chopped tomatoes!

Eggs in PurgatoryDrop in an egg and grate about 3 teaspoons of parmesan over the top.  Cover and cook for about 5 mins.

Sprinkle over a little more parmesan and serve with toast/crusty bread.  I served it straight from the pan (Philistine) and so I could just dig in with the bread. Well, nobody was looking….

The eggs might be in purgatory but they are definitely in a place that is divine.


* I did


Savoury Tart (or cheat’s pizza!)

The other night I opened the fridge door with a heavy heart, wondering what I could rustle up for the old man’s supper….There were the left overs from making the kids’ pizza and half a sheet of jus-rol puff pastry.  So I went for Cheat’s Pizza or as I sold it to Husband ‘Savoury Tart’.

savoury tart cheats pizza

Take a sheet (whatever size!) of puff pastry and score the edges about 1cm in.  Spread passata over the middle section then scatter grated mozzarella over the top.  Adorn with whichever topping you please – I chose black olives and fresh basil leaves (oil them first so they don’t burn).  Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and pop onto a preheated baking sheet and into a hot oven for about 20 mins.

It is basically pizza on puff pastry but tastes lighter and just as yummy.  If you pimp it up with a little salad it makes a nice supper or make little circles of it as a starter/kids’ food!  Best thing is you can eat it cold too!

Cheesy Marmite Whirls

If you don’t like marmite, then shame on you and go no further…

cheesy marmite whirls

These are completely stolen from a recipe by my best friend’s Auntie Jean and I take no credit at all in their yumminess, but feel they should be shared with the world!  As indeed they were at said friend’s wedding recently.  I think my daughter and I ate the lion’s share….

If you like Marmite, cheese and carbs then these are the babies for you!  Utterly Moorish and not a calorie in them*

You will need:  A sheet of jus-rol puff pastry slathered liberally in Marmite.  Then cover with grated mature cheddar cheese and roll up lengthways.  I tend to use the plastic wrap to get it going and (not wanting to sound too Mary Berry Chocolate Roulade) you need a tight roll! *giggles*

Then, take my advice and stick it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.  Makes it SO much easier to cut up and gives you ample opportunity to pour a glass of wine or two and convince yourself that the carbs are now needed to soak up the alcohol.

cooking with marmite

Cut into slices (about the width of your little finger) and lay on a baking sheet.  Or if, like me, you got persuaded that your kitchen is not complete without a pampered chef pizza stone, then that will do just fine!  Preheated of course.  You don’t want a soggy bottom!

Anyway, bake for about 12 mins at 200ºC and let them cool slightly before setting a few aside in a secret place then offering them around to the hungry hordes.

I bet you eat the lot in one go!  And it’s worth cooking them for the smell of marmite wafting around the house while they cook….

*This might not actually be true.  At all. 


Poached Eggs #2

Yesterday was my birthday and I got a fabulous Imperia pasta machine and also the Julia Child cookery Bible ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.  It was to this I turned for poached egg advice.  Ah, Julia!  She came up trumps!  Following her instructions to the tbsp my results were much improved, in fact Husband said his egg was perfect!

Looked better ‘in the flesh’.  Honestly…

Julia Child’s recipe is:

  • Pour 2 inches of water into a 8/10″ frying pan and bring to a simmer.  For every pint of water used add a tbsp of vinegar.
  • Break a fresh egg into a saucer and as close to the water as possible, let it fall in.  Immediately and gently push the white over the yolk with a wooden spoon for 3 secs.  Maintain the water at simmering point and repeat with any other eggs.
  • After 4 minutes remove egg with slotted spoon and test with finger – the white should be set and yolk soft to touch.
  • Place egg in cold water.  This washes off the vinegar and stops the egg cooking.
Hope this is useful!