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Christmas Brunch or Brekkie: Oven-baked Scotch Eggs & Tea-smoked Fish

by on December 14, 2009
 

Yellow rose

I am a collector of recipes….some of which, I literally wait years to make, and other which become regulars and firm faves.

Take this no-fry Scotch eggs, for a start – 5 years since I first saw the recipe and this year,….I finally made it. My tea-smoked fish on the other hand has featured twice in recent times!

So, without further ado, I present two recipes to you: both for your enjoyment and perfect for a stress-free Christmas brekkie…or brunch!

Easy to make ahead….what are you waiting for?

Recipe #1: Oven baked Scotch eggs

Adapted from Delicious, September 2004

The fact that making these Scotch eggs took so  little and yet the results were incredibly fragrant, tasty not to mention healthy. No crumbing, flouring and importantly….deep frying! Easy peasy.

Four quick facts about Scotch Eggs

  1. They are not Scottish!!!!!!!! Fortnum & Mason created them in either 1738 or 1851 for picnic hampers! Whatever year there were made, they are delish!
  2. I grew up eating and making the deep-fried version at home in Nigeria. They are a very popular snack, along with egg rolls (eggs wrapped in doughy pastry and also deep fried)
  3. People consider them to be the preserve of gas (service) stations but…no longer
  4. This no-fry recipe ROCKS!

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Ingredients (for 3 Scotch eggs)

4 medium eggs, at room temperature
2 slices of (wholemeal) bread, crusts removed
100ml milk
400g good-quality (beef) sausage meat
1 teaspoon chopped lemon thyme (or other herbs)
3 slices of veal bacon (desalted, if you wish)

How to

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade (375 degrees Fahrenheit)

Put 3 of the 4 eggs in a saucepan of hot water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes from the moment the water starts to bubble, then drain and run under cold water to prevent further cooking and grey-ringed yolks!!!!  Obviously, I didn’t follow this step 🙂

When cool, peel eggs carefully as they may be a bit soft.

Soak the bread in the milk for a minute and then drain and squeeze it dry.

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Put the bread and sausage meat in a large bowl along with the remaining egg, lemon thyme (recipe calls for parsley but I heart the citrusy flavours of lemon thyme) and nutmeg. I added a sprinkling of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

IMG_1047Line a muffin mould ( I used my colourful silicone ones) with a rasher of (desalted) bacon and press some meat mixture into the base. Add a boiled egg to each mould, pointy end up and pack the meat mixture around and over the eggs until completely covered.

IMG_1052 IMG_1055IMG_1057 IMG_1059IMG_1061 IMG_1062IMG_1066Bake for half an hour, or until nicely browned. I found that a lot of the fat from the sausage meat and bacon baked and drained away.

IMG_1095Slice in half and serve warm,….or cold. Mine was part of a huge cook – up I made for Scottish High Tea and it was a sumptuous affair! Though my yolks were tinged and rimmed with silvery ash….I thoroughly enjoyed the rolls, as did hubby.

Cutlery and napkins

Recipe #2: Tea-smoke Mackarel with Mini Pancakes, Creme Fraiche and Chilli

The beauty of this recipe is you can smoke the fish days ahead and leave it nicely wrapped up in some foil in the refigerator then bring it out when needed. You can also season it anyhow you desire – an extra sprinkling of coarsely ground black peppercorns, some cumin and coriander seeds….you are only limited by what you can conceive. In this case, I left mine plain :-).

I love the convenience of having smoked fish when ever I want plus the fact that there are not many ways I like my mackerel. Smoked is one of them! Think of all the Omega-3 and 6 too!

Four quick facts about Tea-smoking before we begin

  1. It is a Chinese Technique, also known as wok-smoking
  2. You don’t need a BBQ…you can do it perfectly on the stove-top
  3. Traditionally, the ’smoke’ is created by mixing raw rice, sugar, Jasmine tea leaves and Star Anise and heating it up till smoking
  4. It could result in a very smoky kitchen so ensure all windows are wide open and your extractor is on!

Ingredients

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Whole, cleaned fish or fillets (or poultry), seasoned
175g Raw Rice
175g Brown (Demerara) sugar
175g tea leaves or teabags
Additional flavourings: Star Anise, Cinnamon, Woody herb sticks, vanilla pods…..anything
 
 
 
To serve
Poffertjes or Pancakes
Creme Fraiche
Chilli, chopped (optional)

How to Tea smoke

Ensure the cooking area is well-ventilated. I had all my doors and windows open just in case it got too smoky but it was fine  (admittedly, the weather hadn’t taken on this fine chill!)

Mix the rice, sugar and tea leaves together in a bowl.  Line a wok with triple-folded (heavy-duty) kitchen foil and pour the mixture on top. If using any flavourings, add them now.

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Put the wok on the stove pot and cover tightly. Let heat up for 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat till it begins to smoke. The heat is important as you want the food to taste smoked and not charred so watch it.

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As soon as it starts smoking, remove the cover and place an oiled trivet/metal steaming basket above the smoking mixture.

If you don’t have any of these, cover the smoking mixture with a double layer of foil onto which you’ve drizzled some oil.

Place the fish on it.

Replace the lid of the wok and leave to smoke for about 5-7 minutes (for fillets) and 12 – 15 minutes (for whole fish).

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Take off the heat and set aside till ready to serve. Dispose of very burnt rice mixture!

Leave fish to cool down and flake into litle bits.

Perfect served atop mini pancakes, with a dollop of creme fraiche and some chilli. Though also delish with bread….think kippers but not. And all done in the comfort of your home!

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So, what do you think about tea-smoking? I find it fascinating…..Do you?

Butterfly