Mrs M’s Best Ever Sausage Rolls!

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Today I thought I’d share one of my favourite Christmas recipes. Okay, it’s not strictly a Christmas recipe but I ONLY make these at Christmas so that means they get filled in my ‘festive’ section!

I really love a sausage roll and I think they’re perfect fodder over the Christmas period. What’s better than a plate of leftover turkey, some cheese, chutney, a few pickled onions and a delicious sausage roll on the side while you catch up on some Christmas TV specials?

This is a pretty simple recipe but oh-so-tasty. Just delicious. The smell of them cooking in the oven? To die for. They are pretty damn perfect straight out of the oven but even when I open the tin the next day to snaffle a cold old, they smell divine.

The best thing about these is that they can be made in advance and frozen – which is what I will be doing. I used to make them on Christmas Eve but well, haven’t we all got enough to be doing that day? So now I make them a couple of weeks ahead so they all ready for cooking on Boxing Day.

The recipe makes around 16 decent sized sausage rolls – about twice the size of the small party ones you get at the supermarket but you can cut them to whatever size you like.

Enjoy – you won’t be disappointed!

Mrs M’s Best Ever Sausage Rolls!

Ingredients

8 large Cumberland sausages, skins removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
3-4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
500g fresh puff pastry
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
25g Parmesan, finely grated

Method

Place the sausage meat in a bowl with the onion, sun-dried tomatoes, sage, parsley, a pinch of salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Mix together with a wooden spoon, or with your hands, until well combined.

Cut the pastry in half and roll out 1 piece to make a long oblong shape, measuring about 40cm x 17cm x 3mm thick. Form half the filling into a long log shape which runs the length of the pastry. Place the sausage log about 5mm in from the edge of the pastry. Brush the edge with the beaten egg, then fold the pastry over the sausage filling and press to seal the edges. Crimp the pastry either with your fingers or by pressing down with a fork. Cut into 8 rolls. Prepare a second batch using the remaining pastry and filling.

If you are freezing them, do this now – pop them on a baking tray and cover with cling film until solid, than transfer to a freezerproof container for up to three months. When ready to eat, defrost thoroughly and continue with the recipe. 

Brush the tops of each sausage roll with beaten egg and sprinkle with the cheese. Place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden, risen and flaky. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a wire rack.

You can of course make your own pastry if you prefer but honestly, I don’t have the hands for pastry making, I just end up in a gloopy mess and to be fair Jus-Rol do it better than I do! Also, another hint from me – buy decent quality sausages or sausage meat – it makes all the difference – just not too organic (and by that I mean ‘lumpy’), the texture feels all wrong!

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Review: Jamie Oliver Super Food Family Classics

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You know I love a cookbook, and I am also a bit of a Jamie Oliver fan so it’s stands to reason that I own each and every one of his books. I actually have an entire shelf dedicated to him in the kitchen.  I enjoy cooking his recipes so I was every excited to get my hands on a copy of one of his latest books.

Super Food Family Classics is the healthy-eating companion book to the hugely popular series “Jamie’s Super Food” which was shown on Channel 4 back in the summer. In this new book Jamie shows you how to freshen up your family favourites and expand your recipe repertoire to make your weekly menu something to shout about. There are ways to sneak in extra veg and ideas for no-arguments and no-fuss family dinners as well as some freezer-friendly ideas.

Every recipe is tried and tested, has clear and easy-to-understand nutritional information on the page, including the number of veg and fruit portions in each dish, plus there’s a bumper back-section packed with valuable advice on everything from cooking with kids and tackling fussy eaters, to good gut health, the importance of fibre, budgeting and of course, getting more of the good stuff into your family’s diet.

The book is split into several sections including Breakfast, Quick Fixes, Healthy Classics, Salads, Curries & Stews, Traybakes, Pasta & Risotto, Soups and Kitchen Hacks. As always, I like to settle down for a read through and make a list of things I want to try and for your viewing pleasure here it is.

Breakfast –
Pineapple pancake mess with yoghurt, coconut, cashews and lime
English breakfast frittata with bacon, mushrooms, spuds and tomatoes

Quick Fixes –
Sri Lankan prawn curry with tamarind, baby corn and pineapple rice
Creamy chopped salad with grapes, tarragon, chicken and croutons
Sesame butterflied chicken with peanut sauce, asian slaw and rice noodles

Healthy Classics –
Smoky veggie chilli with sweet gem and cheesy jacket spuds
Sweet potato fishcakes with chopped salad, feta and red pepper salsa

Salads –
Tandoori chicken salad with minty yoghurt dressing and poppadoms

Curries and Stews –
Baked tarka daal with cauliflower, split peas and chapatti
Balinese chicken curry with purple kale rice, chilli and lemongrass

Traybakes – 
Mango teriyaki salmon with brown rice and chilli cucumber pickle

Pasta and Risotto – 
Scruffy winter lasagne, savoy cabbage and creamy chicken stew
Garlic mushroom pasta, creamy thyme and truffle sauce
Sausage pasta, broccoli, chilli and sweet tomatoes

Soups –
Super leek and potato soup, herb parmesan and almond toasts

Kitchen Hacks –
Batch mince meat ragu, loadsa veg, beans and sun dried tomatoes

There are lots of lovely things to make in this book though not a lot that my fussy 9 year old will eat, even though it’s a family cookbook. I find that cookbooks don’t often cater to the fact that some children have food issues. Lots of nice ideas, but not always practical for many families. I’ll definitely be trying a few of the things listed though for the other 3/4 of the household!

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Review: Nostalgic Delights by William Curley

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I was recently sent a copy of a book called Nostalgic Delights: Classic Confections and Timeless Treats which is written by William Curley.

In this book William Curley, who is an award-winning chocolatier, aims to recreate childhood memories and times gone, taking classic recipes and modernising them with his own, unique creations.  The idea was to produce a book where the reader can create classics at home and evoke their own nostalgic memories.  William’s ethos centres around using the best ingredients and techniques available, while making his recipes accessible to home cooks – some of the recipes are very simple to make with minimal ingredients.

I don’t often make sweets and desserts but I do love eating them and I am game to give anything a try so was interested to have a flick through this book and see what I might like to make. I’m also very nostalgic about food and I love retro recipes and cooking so it sounded right up my street.

This is a lovely book, jam packed with over 256 pages of recipes complete with stunning photos – step by step photos where necessary which is really helpful.  It’s safe to say this isn’t really a book aimed at complete novices – there are quite a few skills and challenging techniques to master but it’s all part of the fun!

The book is split into several sections as follows: Chocolate Confectionery, Bakery Favourites, Patisserie Modern Classics, Ice Cream and Gateau, Afternoon Treats, Frivolities. Lets take a look at things I might like to attempt (ignoring the fact that some might be way out of my capability!)

Chocolate Confectionery –
Cartwheel
Cinder Toffee
Marzipan Orange Bar

Bakery Favourites –
Fruits of the Forest Tart
Chocolate Cherry Bakewells
Bee Sting

Patisserie Modern Classics – 
Black Forest Gateau
Charlotte Royale
Strawberry Shortcake

Ice Cream and Gateau –
Bounty Ice Cream Bar

Afternoon Treats – 
Rout Biscuits
Viennese Whirls
Arlette Biscuits

Frivolities – 
Cherry Drops

We should probably be straight up here – there’s no chance of me making a Charlotte Royale. I saw them do it on Great British Bake Off a few years ago. It looked way too fiddly, but lets just pretend. I’d like to eat it at the very least!

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My Top 5 Strictly dances ever!

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I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it on this here blog, but I am a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan, like massive. I watch it religiously every week – if I should have to miss the Saturday night show (because, I do have a social life) I look forward to a lovely Sunday on the sofa catching up before the results show in the evening.

I love the celebs, I love the pros. Heck, I am even loving Ed Balls! Yes, I know, better dancers are being sent home but at the end of the day, it’s an entertainment show and nobody can deny, he’s entertaining. I suspect his time is running out but well done him. He’s given it a good go, even though he knew that he would be the comedy act. I think he’s done himself proud and I think it’s done his public persona a world of good!

Today, I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite dances of seasons past.  These are in no particular order…

Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice dancing the Charleston to Hot Honey Rag from Chicago. I adore a good Charleston. If I could learn to dance any routine it would be to a Charleston. And I also love Chicago. WIN WIN. This was a truly awesome routine, which I saw performed live last year on the tour. That lift was breathtaking. This is possibly my all-time favourite dance of Strictly so far…

When Abbey Clancy joined Strictly a few years ago, I fully expected the hate her. I just thought she was another dull footballers wife. How wrong was I? She came across a lovely person, a fantastic dancer and she’s just damn beautiful too. I fell in love with her. Saturday Night Fever is one of my favourite films so I loved this disco-inspired Salsa. Amazing!

We won’t talk about how Kevin always gets the good dancers and how much of a favourite of the show he seems to be…I’ve never been a fan of a nice boy, but I flipping love Wicked, so this touched the spot with me! A great Tango to Defying Gravity.

I didn’t start off loving Jay, though I’ve always liked Aliona but this Jive? WOW. Was so impressive and so fast when I saw it performed on the tour, incredible. Deserved winners if you ask me! Jay always seemed so quiet and shy but this dance showed off his ability. They had such chemistry. Could watch this over and over again.

Last but not least, I’m sticking in another Charleston, this time from Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev This was my favourite ever Charleston right up until last year when Georgia did hers but this is still a good’un.

Before I go, I also want to give a special mention to my favourite of the current series so far. I absolutely love this one. I won’t profess to know much about Danny Mac other than he’s in Hollyoaks (which I used to love back in the day but you know, I’m OLD now…) but wow, that boy can dance, and it doesn’t do any harm that he’s rather easy on the eye. This dance just took my breath away. I think Oti is beautiful too and such a talented dancer, fast becoming my favourite Pro.

What do you think?

Are you a Strictly fan? Any of your favourites here? Leave me a comment below and let me know what would make your list!

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Things to keep in mind while going camping

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Tent:

Its not a problem until you find out that there is a leakage in your tent or the tent is just not the perfect one for you. That’s when your whole camping idea goes for a toss.

It is important to select a right tent for yourself. Before purchasing or reusing them make a through check of the tent and that it should meets all your needs. You can use foam floor tiles for a softer, more comfortable tent floors.

Baggage:

You can never be sure of the things you might be needing when you go for camping. But that does not mean you carry anything and everything thinking just in case you might need them. Don’t waste too much room with unnecessary gadgets, clothes and gear. Bringing too much stuff can be a problem.

Make a list of all the important things you might be needing. If you’re traveling with your family, make a rule:everyone can bring one bag, and it has to fit comfortably in their corner of the tent.

Food:

When it comes to food, most of you forget that you are going for camping and not on a mars mission and those who know it go wrong in packing the food. Carrying unnecessary food items can only add on to the problems.

Make sure you only take those items that is liked by everyone and that can be easily cooked in an environment like that. Choosing single-single items for each one of them is definitely not a good idea. Vacuum seal your food before leaving. Tic-tac boxes are great for storing spices and other ingredients. Do not forget popcorn.

Safety:

This is something that should not be neglected at any cost. Despite being very careful, sometimes we may miss out to look into some of the safety measures.

But not to worry, use these ideas in emergencies or otherwise: For emergency first aid, you can wrap a sprained or broken arm in toilet paper and duct tape until you can seek professional medical attention. For lighting, point a head lamp into a jug of water for an instant lantern or paint the inside of a jar with non-toxic glow-in-the-dark paint to make it fancy.

Games:

Gaming is a crucial part of any camping. And carrying a wrong game along can be a pain in the a**, especially when you’re going with your kids and they find out about it.

Carry only one or two and light weighted games like UNO cards, Scrabble or chess. Along with these, carry all the necessary items that you will need for camp games. Keep the kids busy with a scavenger hunt. Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost. Bring some paint markers and let them paint rocks they find on the trip. And while you’re kids are busy with their games, you can use the spare time to play online bingo here on GameVillage site.

Keep these little but important things in mind and enjoy camping.

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