Perfect Picnic Food introducing The Sound Flat Ham Pie I am so excited to introduce you to your new go to picnic food recipe. Thick sliced ham and creamy Boursin cheese, sandwiched between two layer of puff pastry. Incredibly simple, yet unbelievably good. The sort […]
‘Beet’ the Winter Blues with this Gorgeous Golden Beet, Blood Orange and Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Dressing
We are now in prime citrus season. February can be a little bleak, so after months of hearty soups and stews, may I suggest you add some color (and vitamin C) into your life with this seasonal salad which has become one my favorite winter dishes. I created this recipe a couple of […]
The Big New Trend!
Since I have returned from Copenhagen, I have been having a lot of fun with a new trend in cheeseboards. Let me introduce you to The Grazing Table.
My catering partner in crime, Charlotte, introduced me to the concept. The idea, which originated in Australia, takes all the elements of cheese, charcuterie and crudities platters and artfully arranges them directly on a board or tray. Seasonal fruit, herbs and flowers are added to create an edible work of art.
The tray in the first picture came from Costco, and Home Goods also have a great selection of fun serving pieces. Line the tray with parchment paper and let’s get started!
Begin with cheese!
When putting together a grazing platter, I always select an assortment of cheeses with different textures, flavors and shapes. The following cheeses are my favorites for the holiday season, all from the fabulous Darien Cheese Shop. Paired with champagne, wine and port, a grazing board is a great way to start any holiday party.
My Favorite Cheeses!
Creme de Lyon, a cow’s milk double crème. is a Brie like cheese with a smooth creamy texture and fabulous rich taste. Pair it with fig jam and my favorite crackers from Urban Oven (Palmers/Wholefoods). Add strawberries, grapes and fresh figs. Drink Champagne!
Ewephoria, a hard sheep’s cheese, is a Dutch caramelized Gouda, which has been specially created for the American market and is slightly sweet and nutty. Great with chutney, plums and the sourdough flatbreads from the Rustic Bakery (Cheese Shop). Other options are Old Amsterdam, a classic Dutch gouda or a cheddar from the Isle of Mull. Great with Sauvignon Blanc.
Stilton is an English creamy blue cheese, made with cow’s milk, with a mellow flavor and is traditionally served at Christmas with port. Pair with pears, apples, walnuts and Bath Oval Biscuits (Cheese shop). Also works well with big reds.
I always include a goat cheese to balance out the cheeseboard, generally based upon appearance. I like the ones rolled in ash. My current goto, however, is Le Tur, a blend of goat, sheep and cow’s milk. Serve with local honey, my new obsession, and Rainforest Crisps (Palmers and Wholefoods, sorry). Fresh and dried figs and dates compliment these types of cheeses!
Trader Joe Cheese
You can a couple of really fun cheeses to use on your board. One of my favs is Unexpected Cheddar, a mild crumbly cheddar with an amazing flavor. You can also find a slicing brie, which looks great on a board, and some purple cheeses a gouda and a cranberry goat which also slice well. Pro tip, freeze the goat cheese for twenty minutes and it will slice much more easily.
My favorite breads to use are the nut and fruit breads, such as pecan and cranberry. Add a selection of salamis to your cheeses. The perceived wisdom seems to run a salami ‘river’ through the board. Trader Joes do a nice selection, which is reasonably priced.
Add Crudities and Fresh Fruit
I like to incorporate some vegetables, such as carrots (great tricolor ones are on sale at Trader Joes), cucumber, mini peppers and endive, arranged around a hummus or ranch dip. Up your game and make (or buy) guacamole. I sometimes add a little coronation chicken with some bread if I have any left over from a lunch. Flank the cheeses and meats with seasonal fruits such as pears, plums and pomegranates cut length ways. Squeeze in some olives, cornichons and then scatter some chips and nuts to fill in any spaces. (love the multicolor Terra Chips.) Add some fresh greens or herbs and Voilá!
Preamble I started writing this blog about my new favorite way to roast chicken months ago, before all the fires in California and when none of us really understood how travel would seem like a distant memory. The recipe comes from the week when everything […]
Oh joy, I have just found a fully written up post from a few years ago about how to make authentic Swedish Cinnamon Buns. and need to share it with you now! I think I wrote it originally for my excellent friend Erin, who has […]
Fabulous, and easy, Summer Peach and Ricotta Tart
I want to share my new favorite recipe for a fabulous and super easy Peach and Ricotta Tart. I also want to do a shoutout to Stoneledge Farm, who have been providing me with gorgeous organic produce through their community supported agriculture program (CSA)
We are in the fabulous stage of summer when all the stone fruit, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums are piled high in the produce section. For a glorious two or three weeks, we can feast on beautifully ripe, locally grown fruit. We can simply eat the fruit, or we can add it to salads with combinations such as nectarines, prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella or we can make fruit crumbles or we can make my new favorite, fabulous and super easy fruit tart!
I have become slightly obsessed with this recipe. It is so adaptable, and did I mention easy? oh, and super impressive. I have used the same method to make a savory version. Switching out the sliced peaches in the tart above for thinly sliced zucchini (or courgettes, as we say in old Blighty).
I may write up the savory version separately, but the method is exactly the same. This recipe really can be used for anything that can be sliced or layered.
I have even made another video to show you exactly how easy the tart is to make.
Fabulous, and super easy, Summer Peach and Ricotta Tart
- One sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted ( I use Pepperidge farm)
- 2 large, beautifully ripe peaches, thinly sliced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
- apricot jam to glaze, optional but highly recommended
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C
- place defrosted pastry sheet on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper
- with a sharp knife, score a 1/2 inch border all the way round the pastry
- Prick the inside of the square with a fork.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the outside borders of the pastry square with the beaten egg
- cook in the preheated oven for ten minutes until the pastry is golden and has puffed up
- release the air from the central square using a fork, and press down to form a base for the filling
- add the ricotta cheese to the remaining beaten egg and stir to combine
- pour the cheese mixture over the inside of the pastry, and spread to cover the inside square
- arrange the sliced peaches in rows to completely cover the filling
- return to the oven and bake until the filling is set, around 25-30 minutes
- dilute a tablespoon of the apricot jam with a little boiling water
- remove the tart from oven, and, whilst still hot, lightly brush with the apricot jam
- serve warm or room temperature with cream, ice cream or on its own!
I love these parchment sheets. They make cooking and baking so easy, no more searching for scissors and finding you have cut the paper too small! If you click on the link I do earn a tiny fraction from the transaction, but there is no extra cost to you!
Plum or Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble or Apple and Berry Crumble (really whatever you have lying around)
Crumble update I am starting to go back to my old recipes and update them, and what better place to start than with a crumble, or crisp as they would say in America? the stores are now full of stone fruit, plums, nectarines and peaches. […]
Plum Cake! I have been making a version of plum cake or Plum Torte ever since I found the reference to the famous New York Times recipe of 1983. The recipe for Plum Torte, written by Marian Burros, was printed in the cooking section of the Times every […]
I am growing zucchini in my Victory Garden, which reminded that I wanted to share this recipe for Zucchini Fritters with you last year, then ran out of summer months.
As I write this, the sun is shining and I am sitting in my garden enjoying the slight breeze. Can I confess that I have been very content over the last few months? My flower beds have never looked better, I started a small Victory Garden and I am now the proud mother of six chickens. Who constantly try and see what our ‘coop’ looks like!
Summertime and the living is easy!
I am a member of the DCA Greenhouse. We are all enthusiastic gardeners and, most years, spend the summers visiting each others gardens. We drink wine, but are home before dark. It is very civilized. A few years ago, the lovely Eve served up these Zucchini Fritters. I am embarrassed to think of how many I ate, and was so glad when she shared the recipe with me. I think this method would work with other vegetables, say sweetcorn. Great as an appetizer, or as a side.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
This year, I have signed up for a share of an CSA through Stoneledge Farm. I pay up front, at the beginning of the season, and every week I take delivery of a gorgeous box of fresh organic produce.
I recently did a webinar at Hayvn called Cooking with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and gave a demonstration of this recipe. So, if you want to see me making the fritters, click on the link below!
Zucchini Fritters with a Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Fritters (makes around twenty-four)
2 pounds (about 4 medium) zucchini
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus an extra 1/2 teaspoon
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten, or three/some extra milk if the mixture looks a bit dry
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (around 5.3 ounces or 150g) – or gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Chives, parsley or fennel fronds for garnish ( I use the fronds in my Beet, Orange and Goat Cheese salad)
For the dipping sauce mix
Sour cream or Crème Fraîche or yogurt with some freshly squeezed lemon juice plus some zest
Top and tail the zucchini, then grate them. Use a food processor, a mandolin, or a handheld grater.
Put the grated zucchini in a colander then sprinkle with 2tsp salt. Leave for ten minutes. You need to get as much of the water out of the zucchini. The best way is to tip them into a clean tea towel and squeeze!
In a large bowl, mix the zucchini, herbs, lemon zest, ½ tsp salt, pepper and eggs. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl, then add to the zucchini batter.
Pre- heat the oven to 300f/150c to keep the fritters hot once cooked.
Add some olive oil to a cast iron skillet and place over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, drop teaspoons of the mixture into the pan, and flatted with the back of a spoon. The size is really up to you, I like mini fritters, as they are easier to handle. Do not overcrowd the pan!
When the fritters are nicely browned on one side, turn them over and cook the other side. Once cooked, drain them on some paper towel and keep warm in the oven. Continue until all the mixture has been used. Serve with dipping sauce.
Fritters will also reheat beautifully. Use as an appetizer, side or top with an egg for a rather fabulous brunch!
My Favorite Things
In the video I share some of my favorite kitchen utensils. I am giving you details of my recommendations (I may receive a small reward if you buy buy through the links but there is no difference in the price charged to you)
Repost of the recipe for my favorite cake. I have been saving this repost. I know we are by no means out the woods. Life is still strange and traveling overseas to visit family and friends is in the future. But life feels a little […]
Updated post with video! This post was originally written when I was living in Copenhagen. Seems like a long time ago! As I have made another dodgy video of me cooking in my kitchen, I thought I would repost. Lockdown Dessert During our lockdown Spring, […]
Happy Memorial Day or Bank Holiday, depending on where you are! I hope you are able to celebrate with family and enjoy the holiday.
I have just done a live cooking webinar for Hayvn Halftime, and wanted to share the link with you.
Check out some the other videos too, so much good stuff being offered for free by Hayvn.
Salads as a main course!
Have you noticed that salads have moved up in the world? No longer relegated to the side of your plate, salads are taking center stage. A dish in their own right. The recipe I am sharing today is one of those types of salads. It contains everything you need for a perfect lunch or dinner. It is gluten free. If you serve the protein separately, it works for vegans. Add the goat cheese back for vegetarians and lactose free. Add it back for me, because it looks so pretty!
This is an accidental quinoa salad.
My fabulous friend, Felicia, has a co-working space in Darien. She is just about to reopen, and is offering private offices for anyone you know who wants to get out of their home, but is not quite ready to return to NYC.
Check out www.Hayvn.com
Over the past year, I have been catering a series of events, lots of working lunches. I wanted to create something tailored to what we really want to eat. A salad with a bit of protein. Something more than lettuce with cucumber, tomato and a side of dressing. The sort of thing I would eat every day if I wasn’t too lazy to make it for myself. I sort of stumbled on this salad, as I wanted an alternative gluten free option to serve alongside a platter of sandwiches. This is the quinoa salad I created, named
The Hayvn Signature Salad
in honor of my friend Felicia.
Really uses what you have in your fridge
I am now using a commercial kitchen in Darien, and I had a two-hour window to cook whatever I had at hand, all sorts of odds and ends, plus an organic chicken! This is the result. The salad was such a hit, and I promised everyone I would write it up and share the recipe. But I didn’t do it straight away. Ahem. So,’ this week, when I went to replicate it, I realized I had kind of forgotten exactly what I had done. This weeks salad was okay, but it definitely was not as well received as the one from the previous week. Then, I discovered that not all was lost as it seems I had taken a photo, which showed all the components. Yeah!
Ingredients for Quinoa Salad
- half cup of quinoa, I used white
- salad greens of your choice, at least one bag. I often mix several bags so I have some crunch with my leaves, but not all crunch!
- handful of green beans, chopped into bite sized pieces (or asparagus or, my new favorite, sugar snaps)
- kernels from one sweetcorn
- pack of edamame
- one or two peppers, roasted
- half a large red onion, roasted
- a few radishes, thinly sliced
- a little thinly sliced fennel (optional, I mean who normally has fennel lying around?)
- handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- cucumber, sliced
- carrots, shaved with a potato peeler
- avocado, cut into cubes
- herbed goat cheese
- sliced cooked chicken
- any fresh herbs you have like basil, mint or parsley
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin olive oil
- little French mustard
- salt and pepper
All the components of the salad can be made ahead. I often cook enough to make more than one salad, things will generally keep for five days in the fridge. Generally I look in the fridge and see what I have lying around, left over barbecued sweetcorn, ends of bags of green beans. My father would be proud of me, using things up! Aim for a variety of textures, soft, chewy and crunchy.
Rinse the quinoa, then cook in one cup of water with a little salt added. Once the the water comes to a boil, cover the pan and simmer until all the water has been absorbed, around ten to fifteen minutes, and the quinoa has those little distinctive halos around it. Allow to cool.
For the green vegetables, bring a pot of salted water to the boil then add the vegetables. Green beans take the longest, around three to four minutes. Test them. You are looking for al dente, where they still have a bite to them, as the salad dressing will ‘cook’ them further. With sugar snaps, simply drop into the boiling water and drain immediately. Run the vegetables under cold water, or drop the colander into an ice bath. I never have enough ice, so generally keep the water running until the vegetables are cold. This stops them from continuing to cook, and lets them retain their crunch.
I roast the zucchini, peppers and onions in a hot 400f oven. Cut them into bite sized pieces, and place in a roasting tin lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. This should take around twenty-twenty five minutes. If you remember, turn them half way through. You are looking for them be slightly caramelized, but not burnt! The taste from roasted vegetables is well worth the effort. A Maillard reaction occurs creating bursts of incredible flavor, meaning you can add layers of complexity to your salad with resorting to a heavy use of salt.
To make the salad dressing, add all the ingredients to a clean jam jar and shake! You may not need all the dressing, and any extra will keeps for days in the fridge.
To assemble the salad, I use a large flat bowl or serving dish. I often toss the greens in a separate bowl, which keeps the edges of my presentation dish clean. Add a little of the dressing and mix through, hands are best for this part. You want to lightly dress the salad, so add the dressing slowly until all the leaves are just coated! Mix in the cooled quinoa and green beans. I add my dressed leaves to my presentation bowl at this point.
Then layer the other ingredients. First the roasted vegetables, then the edamame and corn. Finish with the crunch salad vegetables, avocado and top with the creamy white goat cheese and chicken. Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs.
Bring to the table with a flourish, take a picture, tag me in Instagram @carolynsfabfoods and the just wait for the applause!
Check out my other salads!
Orange, beets and goat cheese with salad greens and Marconi Almonds
I hope this finds you well. I think we are around week five of lockdown, and it looks like we have another five weeks to go. Like many, I have been enjoying quiet family time. I do understand how privileged I am, to have everyone […]
I hope this finds you well in these strange times. I count myself very blessed. My husband can work from home, and I have two of my three children living with me. When I had my catering business, I thought that cooking for large groups […]
April 13th 2020
I am reposting one of my old recipes, Granda Crying’s Carrot Soup, as I have just added another dodgy video to the original post. It is a perfect day for making soup. It is blowing a gale outside, and we have now two reasons to stay safe and warm inside. This recipe uses simple ingredients, and can be made in a matter of minutes. Once a week, I serve ‘soup and pudding’ for dinner. Pudding can be anything from fruit crumble or bread pudding the ultimate Sticky Toffee Pudding! Tonight is Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble.
Going back to my roots!
After a summer of traveling I feel it is time to get back to my roots and share one of my favorite soup recipes, Carrot Soup. (Roots, carrots, joke?) My father in law (Granda Crying) taught me how to make this and my children have always loved it.
It is super easy and can be made in under an hour with the aid of bought stock. It is extra delicious with home made chicken stock, click on the link for the recipe, but when the weather is still great outside who wants to stuck in the kitchen all day long? I make this soup extra quickly by buying the bags of little carrots that do not need to be peeled, but don’t tell anyone. The potatoes thicken the soup without the need for flour. Delicious served with crusty bread and cheese. Alan Sr always served it with melba toast, so I have included the recipe for that too.
Feel I should also share where the name Granda Crying comes from. When the children were little, Alan, my father in law ( and yes that is also my husbands name, and incidentally my brother’s although his is with two lls, that’s because in Scotland we are too poor to have many names) would pretend to cry whenever the children left or were being naughty in some way. The name stuck and twenty odd years later he is still Granda Crying.
Granda Crying also has another name – ‘The Legend’. He is famous for commenting on my son’s Facebook account. All Andrew’s friends think he is brilliant. We were so pleased when ‘The Legend’ joined us in California for Andrew’s graduation. At the Graduation party he was treated like a hero!
Scroll down for bonus classic track by Odyssey ‘Going back to my Roots’
Granda Crying's Carrot soup
By: Carolyn Eddie
- splash of oil
- knob of butter
- small onion or half a large onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium sized old potatoes, cubed
- 11/2 pounds/750g carrots, peeled. topped and tailed and sliced
- approximately a quart of chicken stock, buy maybe a little more depending on how thick you like your soup ( you may also use vegetable)
- heavy or double cream to finish
- Step 1 In a large pan melt the butter and add the oil, heat gently
- Step 2 Throw in all the vegetables and saute for 5-10 minutes, taking care not to allow them to colour.
- Step 3 Add the stock, taking care to fully cover the vegetables.
- Step 4 Simmer until the carrots and potatoes are fully cooked.
- Step 5 Puree with an immersion blender until smooth, adding a little more stock if it seems too thick.
- Step 6 Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 7 Pour hot soup into a bowl and finish with a swirl of cream.
- Step 8 Serve with some crusty bread.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- 4 slices of white bread
- Step 1 Toast the bread lightly
- Step 2 Cut off the crusts, then cut the toast through the doughy part.
- Step 3 Cut each side into 4 triangles.
- Step 4 Toast the uncooked side under a preheated grill until brown.
- Step 5 Serve with butter!
Updated Post with new video! I hope this finds you well! This is one of my original posts, a perfect dish to have in the fridge for the never ending snacks and meals required when everyone is staying at home. I have just added a […]
I know the chance of finding flour, sugar and most of all marzipan at short notice is pretty slim (Wholefoods had nothing left in the baking aisle this week), but just in case you have access to the supplies and some spare time, thought I […]
I hope this finds you well. We are now in week three of staying at home, with the prospect of four more weeks ahead of us. I realize how fortunate I am having (most) of my family with me. The highlight of our day has become walking our dog to the end of the street.
Like many, I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking, always my go to activities in time of stress. I have also started trying to make videos of some of my favorite recipes. Scroll down to see my latest one (can’t figure out how to show a picture, my technical skills are limited).
Food of my youth.
These are my trademark offering, loved by everyone. When I was growing up in Scotland, I spent a lot of time making Chocolate Caramel Squares The recipe I used then, was from the classic ‘All Diary Cookbook’, which used to sold by the local milkman. I know the new trendy name is Millionaire’s Shortbread, but I grew up calling them Chocolate Caramel Squares. You can obviously call them anything you like.
These are now somewhat ubiquitous in the U.K. and available in every store, but the home made version is still something special. I have amended the traditional US shortbread proportions of 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup flour and have reduced the sugar as the filling is very sweet. I like to take the shortbread base to the edge and allow it to turn a lovely dark colour. Not burnt, I hasten to add but crispy to contrast with the soft filling. A slightly less well baked version will work perfectly well too, so do not stress.
I find the caramel is still tricky and occasionally separates just as it has reached the required color. If this happens take the mixture of the heat and beat for a few minutes and it should return to a smooth caramel. I sometime use an electric hand held whisk, although recently an immersion blender also worked. be careful as caramel can become very hot.
If all the different stages seem too much, slice the job. Make the shortbread base one day, caramel the next and then finish with the chocolate nearer when you plan to eat them. Good Luck!
Fabulous Scones, sweet, savory and gluten free options! I hope this finds you safe and well. I have just created a video showing how to make these scones, together with suggestions for variations. This is one my original recipes which I have updated. I have […]
St Patrick’s Day March 17th March 17th is normally a day for celebrating, finding an Irish pub, eating Irish food and drinking Guinness. But we are not living in normal times. We are all being asked to do our part, limit social contact and avoid […]
Happy Pie Day!
To my lovely readers, I hope this email finds you well and in a good place. In the last few weeks, we have seen our world change so rapidly and its looks like we are all going to be spending a lot more time at home, at least for the foreseeable future. So what are we going to do with all our time, and how do stop going stir crazy?
I think, for me, much of that time will be spend cooking, baking and trying out new recipes. (The rest of the time might be out in the garden, as we seem to be having an early Spring, and figuring out online bridge.)
I do not foresee fresh food really becoming an issue, but I have been seeing lots of ideas for store cupboard food and hope to share some of them with you. Todays tip was using evaporated milk in place of cream in recipes.
This post is a collection of previously posted recipes, gathered together as I suddenly realize that today is Pie Day!
An explanation for none Americans, pie day exists because in the USA they write the month first so today is 3.14. Which of course is the first few numbers of pii, that wonder irrational number that links the radius of a circle to its circumference, area and gives the sphere volume. Extra prizes to anyone who can remember the formula I will give you the first one…2(PII)R is the circumference. A little bit of calculus will take you to the next two!
It also means today is a great excuse to eat pie! But which type of pie?
I am going to give you a choice. As we are nearing spring I instantly think of Keylime pie, a super easy dessert using just a few ingredients. I make it with ginger snaps (thanks Trader Joes), a little bit different and normal limes, as I suspect most people do. I have tried with key limes but they are so tiny, it takes forever to get any juice out of them. It was always a favourite with the woman’s group at the Darien Community Association, which is where the photograph below comes from. You can make it extra green by grating lime zest over the top or adding food dye.
Fancy a savory, but can’t be bothered with pastry, then try a fabulous Fish Pie. A pie with a lovely topping of mashed potatoes (have I mentioned my potato obsession?) There is something very comforting about fish in a lovely cheese sauce topped with creamy mash or even sliced cooked potatoes.
Finally a slight more traditional offering Chicken Pot Pie . Take some cooked chicken and add it to a creamy chicken stock based sauce with peas and carrots, top with pastry (I use store bought puff pastry) and serve with some baby potatoes.
Sending good thoughts, and wishing you a very happy Pie Day!!
Upside down Orange and Polenta Cake – Gluten free flour works too! February 2020- I am resending this recipe as I have recently discovered that replacing the all-purpose flour with gluten free flour works and produces a really lovely cake. I am also suggesting you […]
Robert Burns Robert Burns, the great lyrical poet (1759-1796) was born in Scotland on the 25th January and as that date approaches, I must warn you, I become very Scottish. Burns was a nationally recognized poet, even in his own lifetime. His poems were brilliant […]
Christmas Update 2020
Sausage rolls are an essential part of our holiday tradition. It’s a British thing!
However, I upped my game recently, and made a sausage roll wreath. It made me really happy. Hoping it might make you happy too! I had made it before, but until Instagram very kindly reminded me with their “this time last year” I had totally forgotten about it. Hoping if I post it on my blog, it will become a staple of my Holiday repertoire. Updated recipe below.
If you try this at home, take a photo and tag me on instagram! @carolynsfabfoods
Although you can buy sausage rolls everywhere in the UK, I have memories of my dad making them from scratch. Homemade ones just taste so much better.
Sausage rolls have a season. They are not summer food! They generally make an appearance as the nights start to get a little colder. By Guy Fawkes night (Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot!) they are expected. In America, we have made them an essential part of our Thanksgiving celebrations. No Christmas gathering would be complete without them, and it would be unthinkable to spend Christmas Eve without eating at least one.
I also have a tradition of making a batch for our pastor, or more correctly for our pastor’s wife. Every Christmas Eve, the wonderful Judy Livingston sings ‘Oh Holy Night’ as part of the family service and every year I try not to cry. I have promised that as long as she sings I will deliver a tray of uncooked sausage rolls to the Manse after the service. (Back again in Darien, so normal service will resume. Think she might be getting a wreath this year!))
Where to buy the ingredients
As you can see from the picture below, the ingredients for Sausage Rolls, a British version of Pigs in Blankets, are not complicated. In Darien, I find Jones sausage meat in the freezers of Stop and Shop and Palmers. Stop and Shop also had non frozen packs, cannot remember the brand, in the meat counter before Thanksgiving. The fresh packs are 16oz so you need to adjust the quantities below..
Pepperidge farm puff pastry is sold in those shops too, and Trader Joes has its own brand in their freezers. (TJs is seasonal so will only be there for the holidays). You could use your favorite sausages too, just remove them from the casings.
In the U.K., we are obviously spoilt for choice (land of the banger!) In Denmark, see below.
I take two packs of frozen puff pastry.( Now those who know me know I am a purist and tend to make everything from scratch, but I love frozen puff pastry) Add three packs of frozen sausage meat each pack is 12 ounces or 330g. Now you could add things to the sausagemeat. Minced onion, grated cheese, herbs, breadcrumbs, eggs, but I do not and they seem to taste just fine.
Once everything is fully defrosted, unfold each sheet of pastry and divide into two equal rectangles. Divide the three packs of sausage meat, into eight equal parts and make a long sausage down the middle of each pastry rectangle. With a knife cut each sheet int two to give eight rectangles. Fold one side of the pastry over the sausage meat and then fold the other side on top using water or beaten egg to bind. Repeat with each pasty sheet until you have eight rolls. Turn each one over so it is seam side down. Using a pair of scissors cut air vents along the top of each roll.
Now, at this stage, you can wrap each roll in cling film and store in the refrigerator, until you plan to cook them, for up to two days.
To cook, preheat oven to 400F/200C
Brush sausage rolls with beaten egg. Divide each roll into around nine and bake for around 30 mins until golden and the sausage is fully cooked.
Serve hot with either tomato or HP sauce, although I love them cold the next day.
Three uncut sausage rolls, as above, plus some extra puff pastry to decorate.
One egg, mixed with a little milk or water to wash the pastry.
Cranberries and fun greens such as watercress to serve
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I have started using the pre-cut ones from amazon, so easy!
Pre-heat the oven to 375F/180C
Take three of the uncut rolls and join them together using a little water to bind them, don’t worry about the joins, you can cover with the decorations.
Cut out holly leaves or other Christmas shapes and stick onto the wreath using water. Cut a few holes for the steam to escape.
Brush the wreath with the egg mixture, and cook in the oven until golden, approximately thirty to forty minutes. Let it rest out of the oven for five minutes.
Slide the parchment paper onto your serving plate and remove. (I tear the sheet and pull it out bit by bit).
Decorate with the greens and cranberries for a fun, festive appetizer!
I will confess to having a little difficulty in finding sausagemeat that works in Denmark. But for more on that painful subject see my post on Sausages,a cautionary tale.
I am going to introduce you to my version of a Provençal Summer Vegetable Tian. Super easy, healthy, seasonal and incredibly impressive! So, if you are suspecting there might be something FRENCH in the name, you would be absolutely correct. But what exactly is a […]
Where is the Love? By Carolyn Eddie | May 15, 2017 Update This post is for a Heart Shaped Chocolate Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberries – see recipe below. It was written a few years ago, after the terrible bombing at a concert […]
In this post, I am going to give you ideas about how to use seasonal summer produce to make four fabulous side salads. In July, peaches and nectarine are at their best, watermelons are plentiful and strawberries are in peak season. And for a few short weeks, you can find fresh figs. Paired with cheese, and in some cases, salty cured meats, these salads are a fun was to use fresh produce.
General notes re salads.
Salad dressings can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for days. Make more than you need, and then use to make a quick salad. So much better than anything you can buy ready made! The olive oil may solidify in the fridge, so allow it to come to room temperature before using.
Most salad dressings use a ratio of one part vinegar and three parts olive oil. Any size of measuring spoon or cup can be used, just keep the ratio. With the lemon dressing, I have changed the ratio slightly, because that is what Jamie Oliver told me to do!
Save old jam jars and use for salad dressing. The lid makes it easy to shake all the ingredients together.
Salad leaves should be just covered with salad dressing. Add the dressing slowly, and use only as much as you need. Use salad tongs by all means, but salads are best tossed by hand.
I use a separate bowl to toss my salad leaves. Once tossed, I transfer them to my presentation dish or platter and top with the remaining ingredients.
I know we think of serving salads in bowls, but I find salads look great on flat platters or shallow bowls. Experiment!
Strawberry, Pistachio and Salami Salad
My first salad is one of those happy accidents. I have been making lunches at my friend’s new co-working space since it opened in late May. Over the first few weeks, there were a lot of events, and I had a chance to try out some new recipes along with my more tried and tested salads. However, this combination of strawberry, pistachio and salami came about because it was what was left in the fridge at the end of the week. I threw a quick salad together for the members, rather than throw out the leftovers, then went home. The mix of strawberries, salami and leftover cheese was a big hit. Obviously, I cannot quite remember exactly what was in the salad, but I think it was something like this…. oh, I forgot about the salami when I was demoing the salad, and had to add it at the end. It should be the first thing you layer, before the strawberries and cheese!
- Strawberries, hulled and sliced
- Small handful of shelled pistachios (or candied pecans)
- A few slices of salami
- Ripe avocado, sliced (the original salad did not have avocado, I think it is a good, but not essential addition)
- Good brie type cheese, such as Dauphinoise from the Darien Cheese shop
- A few good handfuls of spinach salad leaves
- Pomegranate seeds would look lovely
- 2 TBS aged balsamic vinegar
- 6 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in an old jam jar and shake well.
Dress the leaves by hand until they are just coated. You may not need all the dressing, and any extra will keep in the fridge for a few days. Layer the strawberries, salami, cheese and nuts. Top with avocado and pomegranate seeds, if using.
Nectarine, Buffalo Mozzarella and Parma Ham (feeds six ish)
I have a ‘go to’ menu which I often make for special lunches, and my usual salad is one with oranges and golden beets. However, I am currently obsessed with the next salad as nectarines are fabulous just now. I use buffalo mozzarella as it pulls apart so beautifully, but if that is too hard to find, a burrata would work well too. Lastly, using proper Parma ham, with its super thin slices, is the perfect balance for the fruit and soft cheese. The salad is inspired by Jamie Olivers. ( I modified the dressing, used nectarines not peaches and added the pomegranates, because why wouldn’t you?)
- 2/3 Ripe peaches or nectarines, sliced
- 2 balls Buffalo Mozzarella, torn in small pieces
- 6-8 slices of Parma ham, torn into strips
- 3/4 large handfuls of salad greens
- A little fresh mint to finish, chopped or torn by hand
- Pomegranate seeds (optional, but very pretty)
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Little ground mustard powder or made up Colemans mustard
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in an old jam jar and shake well.
Dress the leaves by hand until they are just coated. Top with the nectarines, mozzarella, and Parma ham. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and mint.
Feta, Watermelon and Rocket with Balsamic Glaze
I learnt how to make this super easy salad at a rowing regatta. My daughter rowed all through high school. I had so much fun helping out in the food tent, our outdoor kitchen, feeding 40 plus athletes and the parents who traveled all over New England to see them.
We needed fresh, easy to prepare, fun food. This salad was a favorite, with its combination of peppery arugula, salty cheese and sweet balsamic glaze. With so few ingredients, it is essential to use the best quality feta. Judy, who created the salad, was Greek and would only use feta from a speciality Greek shop in Norwalk. I like the one in the blue box from Trader Joes! Look for a feta in a block, preferably in brine, and cut it into squares yourself. Do not be tempted by the already crumbled packs, they have a completely different taste and texture.
- Watermelon cut into cubes
- Good quality feta cheese, cut into cubes (I like Trader Joes)
- A few handfuls of rocket/arugula
- Balsamic glaze (available in most stores next to the vinegars)
Scatter salad leaves on a platter, top with watermelon and feta, then drizzle with the balsamic glaze. Super easy!!!
Fresh Figs, Goat Cheese and Honey with Salad Leaves
Sadly, no photo!
My last seasonal salad is a bit of a revelation! You see, I am not a huge fan of goat cheese, and I do not like honey (and yes, I can hear you gasp, who doesn’t like honey?). However, I have discovered that I love the combination of the two together. So, I added honey to the lemon dressing above and threw some goat cheese in with some fresh figs and salad leaves. And then, for good measure I drizzled a little extra honey on the salad. Delicious result and I felt very cosmopolitan for having invented a new salad! (yes, I know mixing goat cheese, honey and figs is hardly revolutionary, ancient greeks and romans etc, but it was a first for me)
- a few fresh figs, quartered
- some goat cheese
- baby salad greens
- honey to drizzle
- maybe even some pomegranate seeds!
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 5 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Little ground mustard powder or made up Colemans mustard
- TBS honey (because I love honey now)
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
Toss the Salad leaves with just enough dressing to lightly cover them. Add figs and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with a little more honey. Serve with some warm crusty bread!
Comfort food! I recently visited Noma, which was a phenomenal experience you can read about here. However, by the end of the meal I was craving some comfort food. The next day, I was trying to think about my favourite restaurant meal, and what kept […]
Pulled Pork Revisited I am beginning to realize that what I call pulled pork might not meet the rigorous standards of barbecue aficionados. But it works for me and is super easy. This recipe was offered by my wonderful neighbor, Mary McGee, although the original […]
Cocktail Hour – the best bit!
Personally, I love the drinks and appetizers part of the evening. The bit before dinner, when everyone is arriving and mingling. In our house, cocktail hour tends to be a relaxed, drawn out affair, leaving some guests a little anxious that dinner will never be served. I also encourage guests to be fashionably late, to not stress about arriving on time, a British concept that works well with a long cocktail hour. I am discovering however, that for Danish guests, being on time is part of their essential make up. Suggest a starting time of 7.30, and they will be ringing the doorbell at 7.29!
Of course, for some, a drinks party is only appetizers. Personally, I always have a bit of ballast reserved for the later part of the evening, something more substantial when guests get a little peckish. And of course dessert of some description. However, in this post I am going to offer suggestions for quick and easy appetizers, suitable for the early part of the evening, ones which require no last-minute cooking and are served cold or at room temperature.
Appetizers for everyone!
When putting together appetizers, try to have something for everyone. Consider the vegan, gluten-free and lactose intolerant as opportunities to be creative. But also remember the meat loving ones too. If I am throwing a party and ‘real’ food is being served later, I generally have four different appetizers. When I was catering, and I was serving only appetizers, I would offer at least seven or eight different ones. I think it is more fun to have a smaller number of each appetizer and once they are gone, they are gone!
Play with Presentation
The old adage, that we eat with our eyes first, applies equally well to pick up food. I like to serve appetizers on selection of pretty boards and plates. I also love to decorate the plate with something seasonal. In summer, I will use a small bunch of flowers or herbs tied with cooking string or raffia. In winter, it its great to use evergreens from the garden, I love a sprig of red berried holly for Christmas!
I like using fun cocktail sticks and find amazon have a great range. I also sometime put fillings in piping bags. It makes it so much faster to put the appetisers together.
In America, cheese is served at the beginning of the evening. Something I found very strange to begin with, then totally loved as time went on. In Great Britain, cheese comes at the end of a meal, whilst in Europe it tends to appear between the main course and dessert. To be honest there is no wrong time for cheese as far as I am concerned. In Darien I only ever really bought cheese from the Darien Cheese Shop. One of the joys of catering, was having a chance to visit Ken, Tori and the rest of the gang on a regular basis.
For the perfect cheese board suggestion click here. Whenever you serve it, decorate the board with fresh fruit such as grapes, figs, pears and strawberries, a good choice of crackers and some jams or chutney. Remember to give each cheese its own knife!
Figs with goat cheese and prosciutto
A perfect combination of sweet figs and salty goat cheese wrapped in parma ham. Surprisingly delicious!
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Dried figs, I like the black mission figs
- Goat cheese, the soft, spreadable kind
- Parma ham slices, cut into quarters
- Step 1 Trim the fig and cut into two
- Step 2 Spread a little goat cheese, around 1/2 tsp, on the cut side of the fig
- Step 3 Wrap the fig and goat cheese with the parma ham.
Feta. watermelon and rocket with balsamic glaze
When I was catering in Darien I sometime worked with 'real' chefs and loved learning new ideas and recipes from them. This recipe comes from my friend Liz, who also worked at Trader Joes. I think this appetizer was one of the ideas used at their demo counter. Visually pleasing summer appetizer, again playing on the sweet and salty theme. This time totally vegetarian, gluten-free and, if made with sheep's milk feta cheese, suitable for lactose intolerant guests. Balsamic glaze is usually found next to the vinegar. I know Trader Joe's stocks it.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Feta cheese, cut into cubes
- Watermelon, seedless is best, cut into cubes
- Balsamic glaze
- Cocktail sticks
- Step 1 Thread each cocktail stick with a cube of watermelon, a piece pf rocket/arugula and a cube of feta cheese
- Step 2 just before serving, drizzle with a little balsamic glaze
A fabulous retro appetizer, which is still as popular today as it was in the seventies. Turns out the recipe for deviled eggs dates back to Roman times (thanks Wikipedia). Who knew? Eggs are hard-boiled, the yolks are scooped out and mixed with mayonnaise and mustard, then the resultant mixture is piped back into the hollowed egg whites and dusted with paprika. My fondest memory of deviled eggs is bringing them to a party when we first arrived in Darien. The gorgeous Kate, ex Air Hostess, swooped in and took the plate and started passing the eggs around at the party. It was the start of a wonderful friendship based on, among other things, a love of food and a built and desire to serve! Suitable for vegetarians, gluten and lactose intolerant.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- 12 large eggs
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise, maybe more
- 1–2 tsp English mustard
- salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp paprika, plus extra for dusting
- few drops Tabasco, optional
- Step 1 Cook the eggs by placing them in a pan and covering them with water.
- Step 2 Bring the water to a simmer, then boil the eggs for around six to seven minutes. Run the pan under cold water until the eggs are cold. Shell them immediately, and cut each egg into half.
- Step 3 Scoop out the yolks and, once cool, add them to a bowl with the mayonnaise, 1 tsp of mustard, paprika, salt, pepper and some tabasco.
- Step 4 Mix to a smooth paste, adding more mayonnaise if need be. Adjust seasoning, adding a little more mustard if desired.
- Step 5 You can either just scoop teaspoons of the mixture back into the egg whites or pipe them using a piping bag and star-shaped nozzle.
- Step 6 Arrange the half eggs on a plate and dust with paprika. Old Bay seasoning would work too.
Blue Tortilla Chips, Guacamole and Corn Salsa
This is a total cheat appetizer that I love. I am not sure how easy it is to find the ingredients in the U.K. or Denmark, but in Darien, Trader Joe's (I miss you) stock all you need. This would work with regular corn chips and some chopped tomatoes instead of the corn salsa. Vegan and great for gluten-free. Check the chips are gluten-free if that is an issue.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Blue Tortilla Chips
- Guacamole, ready-made
- Corn Salsa
- Step 1 I put my guacamole in a piping bag which allows me to make these chips very quickly. Scooping with a teaspoon would work too.
- Step 2 Arrange chips on a platter.
- Step 3 Top with a dollop of guacamole and a little corn salsa
Seafood Salad with Caviar on Endive
I used to make these little appetizers with mini lobster tails that could be found in the freezer section of Trader Joe's or fresh at Costco. If I could not find the mini lobster tails, then shrimp or prawns worked too. The endive give a lovely crisp texture and also makes this gluten-free. The caviar is a nice touch but not necessary. I bought a relatively inexpensive jar, we are talking caviar, as I loved the pop of color. Perfect for a special occasion.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Lobster tails, shrimp or prawns. Cut into half-inch pieces if large
- The sauce is a classic Rose Marie Sauce using
- 3 TBS mayonnaise
- 1 TBS tomato ketchup
- Large squeeze of Lemon Juice
- Few drops Tabasco
- Dash of Worcester Sauce
- To serve
- Step 1 Defrost seafood if frozen and remove as much moisture as possible using paper towels (kitchen roll).
- Step 2 The amount of sauce required will depend on the amount of seafood, so adjust quantities so that the sauce just covers the seafood.
- Step 3 To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients and then adjust for lemony flavor and kick.
- Step 4 Mix enough sauce with the seafood to just cover.
- Step 5 Trim endive leaves and arrange on a platter.
- Step 6 Spoon a little of the seafood mixture onto the stem part of the leave.
- Step 7 Decorate with a little caviar if using and a sprig of dill.
Peach with Prosciutto
Super easy summer appetizer using seasonal peaches or nectarines wrapped in prosciutto
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Perfectly ripe peaches or nectarines
- Parma ham, cut into strips
- Cocktail sticks
- Step 1 Slice peaches or nectarines
- Step 2 Wrap with prosciutto
- Step 3 Secure with cocktail stick
This is a slightly more substantial 'appetizer', or first course, possibly easier to eat if there are seats. Serve with lots of crusty white bread and maybe a little dipping oil. Can be made ahead and assembled at the last-minute. Perfect for an Italian themed evening.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Red and yellow pepper
- Baby Tomatoes
- Parma ham or some other Italian cured meats
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Step 1 Wash and slice the Courgettes/Zucchini and Eggplant/Aubergine on the diagonal.
- Step 2 Cut the peppers into large pieces after taking out the core.
- Step 3 Trim the asparagus.
- Step 4 I use a ziplock bag or a large container and marinate the sliced vegetables and asparagus in some olive oil, salt and pepper and oregano.
- Step 5 Outdoor grilling is the best way to cook the vegetables, or if you have a ribbed pan you can use that. Both methods will give you those lovely stripes.
- Step 6 If you have neither, then you can roast them in a hot oven 200C/400F until they are slightly charred. Turn them half way through. The asparagus will cook faster than the other vegetables so test them after about 8-10 minutes depending on how thick they are,.
- Step 7 Assemble just before serving, slicing the mozzarella to make it easier to eat.
Smoked Salmon on Potato Chips
Ignore the photo, it is as close as I could get. I discovered Smoked Salmon worked just as well served on potato chip, and was easier than making mini potato pancakes. With a spot of Crème fraîche and a drizzle of dill mustard, these are easy, gluten-free and delicious!
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Potato chips, I like the kettle chips as they are slightly more substantial
- Crème fraîche ( I put mine in a piping bag as it makes it easier to handle)
- Dill mustard
- Smoked Salmon (if you can get to a Costco they have brilliant packs of gravlax which even comes with a sachet of dill mustard.
- Dill to finish, or chopped chives
- Step 1 Spread out good-sized chips on a serving platter.
- Step 2 Put about half a teaspoon of Crème fraîche on each chip.
- Step 3 Put a small slice of smoked salmon on top.
- Step 4 Drizzle a little dill mustard over the smoked salmon.
- Step 5 Decorate with dill or chopped chives.
Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Tomato
These little toasts are a little bit of summer on a plate. Use the best tomatoes, drizzled with a little good quality olive oil. Leave out the cheese and these turn from Vegetarian into vegan treats. I think this photo comes from Kat's rowing. We produced dozens of these healthy treats for the CBC girls and parents in our 'outdoor kitchen' Happy days!
By: Carolyn Eddie
- French bread stick
- Olive oil
- Good quality tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Basil Leaves
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 200C/400F
- Step 2 Slice the french bread into 1/4 inch slices.
- Step 3 Arrange bread slices on a baking tray and brush each side with olive oil.
- Step 4 Toast in oven until the bread is crisp. Turn after 5 mins and check after 10 mins.
- Step 5 Once cooled these toasts can be kept in a sealed container for at least five days.
- Step 6 Cut the tomatoes into small cubes, being sure to take out the hard center.
- Step 7 Arrange enough tomatoes on each toast to cover the surface, and drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Step 8 Add salt and pepper
- Step 9 Cut the mozzarella into small cubes and drop onto the tomatoes.
- Step 10 Garnish with torn basil leaves.
Once you have made the large ‘toasts’ you can top them with all manner of things. For more inspiration check out my post on afternoon tea sandwich fillings
You can also just use freshly baked French Bread cut into thin slices
or offer toppings on lettuce leaves for the gluten free guests
Crudités with hummus
Crudités can either served on a large platter or in little containers as in the photo. If going for the platter then add broccoli florets which have been blanched quickly.
By: Carolyn Eddie
- Step 1 Cut carrots, cucumber, celery and peppers into equal strip.
- Step 2 Place a small amount of hummus in the base of the container.
- Step 3 Add a selection of vegetables to each individual container.
If you prefer serve as a large Platter