Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Pigs in Blankets

 

Hot dog sausages wrapped in puff pastry. Literally the easiest recipe in the world, yet I still need to share it with you as they are so bloody good. I made these as part of a Bake Off themed charity event at work, thinking that something savoury would go down a treat amongst all the cakes and biscuits. I was right, my work buds loved them.

Nigella serves hers with a mustard dipping sauce, which I did too, but this had mixed reviews. It was very hot and sharp from the mustard, some people loved it, myself included, others hated it. You can make up your own minds.

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Grab yourself a packet of 8 hot dogs and a ready rolled sheet of puff pastry. Lay the pastry sheet out flat and cut it into quarters, then cut each quarter into half horizontally, to give you a total of 8 strips. See diagram below:

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Beat an egg in a small bowl, then using a pastry brush, brush the egg all over the pastry. Sit a hot dog on the long edge of each pastry strip, then roll up so that each sausage is encased in the pastry. Cut each pastry covered sausage into 4 bitesized pieces then lay them on a baking tray, the sealed edge at the bottom. Brush the tops of each one with the beaten egg then bake in a 220°c oven for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden.

To make the mustard dipping sauce, mix together 50g of wholegrain mustard with 50g of Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of soured cream.

Dip, eat, enjoy.

My 100th Post!!!

Bonjour!

I am back in The Gammon Kitchen. I took a few weeks off blogging to enjoy a holiday to France (more on that to follow!) and to give myself a break. Blogging can be hard work! I’m not ever going to be one of those people who make a living from blogging and whatnot, I just don’t have the time to commit to posting that regularly, but I’m glad to be back and am looking forward to sharing some more recipes and stories with you.

This back to blogging post also just so happens to be my 100th blog post! Milestone alert! As I sit here in my jumper (like, when did it get so cold?) I’m reminiscing about some of the previous posts I have shared with you and thought this would be a great opportunity to recap on some of my favourites before I share some new content with you, starting with what I did on my holiday.

My Favourite Ever Post

My Thoughts On Dieting from January 2016

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I remember writing this post in the early hours of the morning as I couldn’t sleep and needed to vent about my feelings towards diets and the current craze of clean eating. I got some really great feedback on this post and still very much stand by my thoughts!

My Favourite Recipes

Fully Loaded Sweet Potato Fries from February 2016

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Even just looking at the picture makes me dribble. Yum!

Chocolate and Pecan Banana Bread from March 2016

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This is one of my most used recipes from my blog and one I always turn to when I want to bake, or have some manky bananas in the fruit bowl, which is every single week.

Chickpea, Spinach and Potato Curry from June 2016

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I developed this recipe during my vegan trial week and even though my time as a vegan didn’t last, this is still one of the nicest curries I have ever made and is a favourite in my house.

Masterchef Style Smoked Haddock from July 2016

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I was so proud of this recipe, I even considered applying for Masterchef!

My Most Viewed Post

Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Pavlova from January 2016

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Thanks to a Twitter comment from the Queen herself, I have enjoyed many views on this post, many now coming from Google searches. I love this photo too, I could dive into that pav face first right now.

It’s been nice to look back on some of my favourite posts from this year and I’m feeling ready and inspired to go on and create another 100 posts. See you all soon! PicMonkey Collage.jpg

My Cookbook Collection

Last year we had to move twice in the space of 6 months. You know what my partner’s biggest grumble was? Not the extortionate fees we had to pay for a removal company. Not the stress of the upheaval and all the work involved. No. None of these things. He did, though, spend a good month or so after each move moaning about having to transport my cookbook collection. I get it, they’re heavy, I’m protective about them getting damaged. But I mean all girls have their vices right? Sure, it might be easier if I were addicted to buying fountain pens or stamps. But I’m not. I’m a cookbook addict, and proud. For the next move, as my collection has grown further since, I may just need to sweeten him up with a new PS4 game or something.

To date my cookbook collection stands at 170. I had lost count and actually thought I was on more than that so it came as a disappointment when I did a stock take and tidied my shelves up. They sit in my dining room which is open plan with my kitchen so works well for recipe raiding. I am soon going to need to invest in another bookcase as you can see these are now pretty well stocked and I will also need to upgrade them, look at the bowing on those shelves! Dad, if you’re reading, I can hear you giving me a telling off already.

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On top of my left bookshelf sits a fake flower arrangement with some copper fairy lights in which looks ever so pretty in the dark, a huge Zara candle and a photo frame containing snaps of mine and Tyler’s trip to the Lake District last year. On the other side is a cactus which I only remembered to water when doing this post, a stone heart ornament which is actually meant for the garden, two kitchen themed plaques that my mum bought for me and my radio which I never use as I never get signal. I thought that was the whole point of DAB no?

So allow me to introduce you to my ever growing, much loved collection of cookbooks.

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The top left hand shelf starts with my Jamie Oliver books. I’m yet to purchase them all but am still working on it! He has another book due this summer which I’m already very excited about. I particularly love Ministry of Food and 15 Minute Meals. Jamie’s Italy is the one I use the least.

The row then moves on to Gordon Ramsay which are Tyler’s favourites for recipes, a couple of Rick Stein’s which I’ve only just purchased, the two gorgeous books from Sabrina Ghayour, Persiana and Sirocco which are absolutely stunning, a couple from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, three from Gino D’acampo (Gino’s Pasta is a must buy!) and then two Sainsbury’s cookbooks which are surprisingly good. This is one of the most used shelves in my collection.

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Beneath that sit some huge hefty bible style books, my favourite of those being the USA cookbook. It has some great sounding recipes in there but unfortunately no pictures. Next to the bibles are a few random books including Posh Toast, which as the title suggests contains recipes for things on toast, and The Pooh Cook Book which is utterly charming and smells of an old house. I think I bought that from a boot fair. At the other end of the shelf is a pile of everyday, simple cookbooks which I very rarely use.

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The bottom shelf of the left hand bookcase is home to my much prized Nigella Lawson collection. I have every book she has released but annoyingly not all from the same editions so they are all of different sizes and styles. Nevertheless, I love them and treasure them. How to be a Domestic Goddess was one of the very first cookbooks I purchased and is my go-to whenever I’m in the mood to bake. I adore Kitchen, the recipe in there for Chocolate Bread Pudding always comes to mind, and Nigella Express introduced me to Rocky Roads. It’s also not Christmas until Nigella Christmas moves from bookshelf to coffee table, as is the case every year, normally in October. Yes, I love Christmas.

Next to Nigella is Nigel Slater. I have 5 of his books, plus two more in the paperback collection next-door. Tender Volume 1 is a vegetable bible and Tender Volume 2 is the same but for fruit. I adore these books, and Nigel’s writing style in general. He can write about something I’m not particularly even fond of but once I’ve finished reading it all I want to eat is whatever he has been writing about. Maybe Nigel could start a campaign telling kids to eat their vegetables, it worked for me with aubergines!

The books at the end of the shelf are ones I purchased in packs and don’t get used all that much.

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Onto the top shelf on the right hand side, this is my healthy and vegetarian section. This shelf also gets used quite a lot. My favourite books here are the two Leon books (I really need to get more of the collection!), Lorraine Pascal’s Eating Well Made Easy, Davina’s 5 Weeks to Sugar Free and both of the Deliciously Ella books. All of these are my go-to options when I want guilt free snacks. I love the muffin recipes from Lorraine Pascal, and Ella’s Raw Brownies are one of my favourite things ever. The Hemsley Hemsley cookbook was such a disappointment but as other people rave over it so profusely I’m going to give it another look soon and see if I can change my mind.

The books at the other end of the shelf are more diet books, mostly from my days of Weight Watchers and Slimming World. The Slimming World Fakeaways book is brilliant whether you’re following the plan or not. The Weight Watcher’s ones are less so. There’s two cocktail books on this shelf are I had no-where else to put them. I do love a good cocktail.

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The second shelf down on this side is split into two categories. On the left are some random cookbooks featuring global cuisine. There’s one from Crete in there that I picked up on holiday and an authentic book about Parisian cooking, the rest are mostly Italian. On the right are a plethora of baking books. The Couture Chocolate book is a dream to look at, the Cadbury Chocolate Cooking book is a delight to cook from.

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The very last shelf holds a random assortment of cookbooks, mostly from Celebrity chefs. I like this shelf a lot. Baking Made Easy from Lorraine Pascal has the best brownie recipe ever, Cravings by Chrissy Teigan makes for a jolly good read, Levi Roots’ books bring a touch of much needed sunshine on even the gloomiest days and my latest purchase, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite looks promising from an initial flick through.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my collection of cookbooks and that it was worth the hour it took me to tidy up! I would love to know what your favourite books are and what’s missing from my collection. Really, just leave me a comment and give me an excuse to go book shopping!

Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Nursery Fish Pie

Disclaimer: I don’t really like fish. I like sea bass and prawns and calamari but the rest of it, as far as I’m concerned, can stay in the water and off of my plate. But, I’m a very good girlfriend you see and when the man indoors wants a fish pie for dinner, I deliver. What I’m trying to say is that this recipe is great if you don’t really like fish but for whatever strange reason you kinda have to eat it.

We all know how much of a Nigella fan I am and she is my go to woman when in need of a recipe. This fish pie was featured in Feast, otherwise known in my house as the ‘Every Occasion Bible’. I used to rent this from the library almost constantly before I got my own copy, it’s such a great book. The recipe is also on Nigella’s site, which you can find here.

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I had no need to cook for 8 people so I halved the recipe and made a few changes so the instructions below are inclusive of my amendments.

First things first, peel and chop enough potatoes to make the mash. I didn’t weigh my potatoes, but used about 5 regular sized ones. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are really soft then mash them with a splash of milk and a big chunk of butter.  At the same time, hard boil two eggs (Delia says 7 minutes, and Delia knows her eggs so trust in Delia) and boil about 80g of peas for a minute or two.

In a large pan, lay roughly 250g each of cod and smoked haddock, top with a couple of bay leaves, a tablespoon of peppercorns and half an onion then pour over 250ml of milk. Bring this to the boil then reduce to a simmer and gently cook the fish for about 5 minutes until it starts to flake. Remove the fish to a plate and drain the milky liquid into a jug.

Now to make the sauce. Melt 40g of butter in a saucepan and stir in the same amount of plain flour. Cook down for a minute or so, then remove from the heat and whisk in the fishy milk. Yes, that’s right, fishy milk. Lovely. Put the pan back on the heat, add a pinch of grated nutmeg and heat through until thickened. Remove from the heat again and stir through about 100g of grated cheddar cheese.

To assemble, flake the fish into the bottom of an ovenproof dish, keeping it quite chunky. Next, add 150g of cooked king prawns, then pour over the cheesy sauce. Use a spatula to spread out the sauce and ensure even distribution. Sprinkle the peas onto the sauce and fish layer then lay slices of hard boiled eggs on top. Add a bit of chopped parsley. Dollop your mashed potato on top then use a fork to rough it up, before adding a good handful of grated cheddar cheese. Pop the fish pie into the oven for 30 minutes on about 190°c. It should come out bubbling and creamy.

I must admit, this was rather lovely, even as a non-fish fan. Good old Nigella delivers again. But, I do have two issues. One: There is an absolute f**kload of washing up. That’s even more than a shitload. Two: My kitchen smelt of fish.

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