26 Mar 2015

My haggis, leek and potato pasties

I've been riding a high speed emotional roller coaster for two months now. 
I feel like a pregnant lady who has no idea when her due date is going to be.
I keep on signing very important documents that I only vaguely understand.
I think "Christ, things would be so much easier in France" at least once a day. 
I've started spending time on furniture and design websites, when I've always hated everything remotely related to interior design. I even have an opinion about such things now!
I have become an expert in random topics like American fridges, heating systems, burglar alarms, Japanese knotweed,...
I'm buying a house in the UK, get me out of here!

My Haggis Pasties
(Haggis is not just for Burns Night!)

As you probably already know, I absolutely love haggis. I kept on wishing I could eat haggis all year long rather than just on Burns Night, when I realised that I could! And nothing prevents me either from enjoying haggis with something else than neeps and tatties.

When the lovely people at Macsween offered me samples of wild boar haggis and veggie haggis, I was thrilled and didn't miss a beat before experimenting with them.
The results are superb! I'm still to test more recipes, but apparently one can use haggis like mince meat, so I guess the possibilities are endless. Yummy!


For the flaky pastry 
450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
200g unsalted butter
Aprox 200ml ice-cold water
1 tsp turmeric powder

For the filling
2 leeks, finely chopped
100g potato, peeled, chopped in small cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small haggis (I used Macsween wild boar haggis), uncooked
3tbsp plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the pastry:  
1/ Put the butter and water in the freezer for 15 min beforehand.

2/ In a big bowl, sift the flour, turmeric and salt. Grate the almost frozen butter into the flour. Wash your hands with very cold water so that they are as cold as possible. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it ressembles fine crumbs. Try not to work it too much so the butter doesn't melt or become soft

3/ Add gradually the cold water and knead the dough very briefly until it forms a rough ball. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 min (this is important to respect this time as it will enable the gluten to developp and prevent the pastry from shrinking when cooking of being greasy)

Make the filling:
1/ Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

2/ Cut the potato, leek, onion finely. On one side, mix the vegetables together and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, open the haggis and rub it into the flour, season only with pepper. Gather everything in the same bowl and mix well.

3/ Roll the chilled pastry out onto a clean, floured work surface to a thickness of approx 5mm. Cut a large disc from the pastry using a small plate as a template. 

4/ Place the vegetables and haggis mixture in a line down the middle of the pastry disc.

5/ Brush the edge of the pastry disc with some of the beaten egg. Draw the edges of the pastry together and crimp them with your fingers to seal (it's important that the pastry is well sealed all around as this will allow the vegetables to steam in the pastry case). Brush all over with the remaining beaten egg.

6/ Start over with the pastry and filling left over until all used up.

7/ Place the pasties onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. Eat warm or cold, with a salad. 

haggis pasties recipe
 recipe with haggis

Recipe adapted from a Hairy Bikers's Cornish Pasty recipe.
I was offered free samples of Macsween haggis but wasn't asked or paid to review them. I do it because I like their products!

17 Mar 2015

Sticky flapjack recipe

Decorating a house as a couple is not so much about making compromise than knowing which battles you are unlikely to ever win and putting your energy into battles that are not completely hopeless.

After having tried for months to get The Man to agree in buying a red sofa for our future house (I may have an obsessive passion for the colour red), I've finally understood that it's never going to happen and that I might get luckier in working him on us adopting a kitten. 
If that doesn't work, I even have a secret weapon; getting his dream beast of smoker-barbecue that costs almost as much as a car (I'm serious, the thing exists and is called a Big Green Egg)

Actually, thinking about it, if I play it well, the crazy barbecue might actually get me a kitten sharpening his claws on a beautiful red sofa...!

Florence's Sticky Golden Syrup Flapjacks

Forget about healthy oat bars, these flapjacks are sticky, naughty, and that's the reason why I like them so much. 
There are crunchier than your usual flapjacks. 
This simple, foolproof recipe was given to me by Florence, my Marmelade boss (who takes her nickname from the fact that she makes the meanest orange marmelade and taught me how to make it myself). 
Make a big batch, they keep well, and there are so good they won't last long anyway!


110g Rolled Oats
150g muesli or granola
A small handful of any dried fruit and or nuts that you like, roughly chopped (I used 100% natural French glacé cherries, raisins, almonds and peanuts)
2 tbsp golden syrup
225g light muscovado or demerara sugar
225g butter

Method for the sticky flapjacks

Preheat the oven at 185deg C

1/ In a saucepan, melt the sugar, butter and golden syrup and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. 

2/ Add the oats, granola and nuts and fruits and mix well until fully coated in sugar and butter syrup. Turn off the heat.

3/ Transfer to a buttered brownie or metal pie dish, press firmly onto the base and cook in the centre of the oven for about 35 min until golden on top and on the edges. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container or cookie jar/box in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

6 Mar 2015

Dulce de leche and peanut cookies

Patience has never been one of my virtues and that's an understatement. 
To give you an example, the day I decided I wanted to start cycling to work, I just had to buy a bicycle on that same day. 
When it actually took me two weeks to find the right bicycle, I felt like every day separating me from my goal was sheer torture. And that was just a bike.

So you can imagine that buying a house has been a long journey of initiation into the heart of patience and that The Man has had to put up with a few meltdowns from me. 

From finding the place, to doing surveys, researches and negotiating every single detail, buying a house is a long marathon that requires patience and detachment, which I seriously lack. As I was losing it with frustration every other day, The Man was handling both the paperwork and me, his crazy girlfriend, with his usual British phlegm. Yes, he's a saint.

But, may the house god (and Southwark council) be with us, we should get there soon. Stay tuned, you'll know everything about it, I promise!

chewy dulce de leche cookies recipe

Dulce de leche and peanut Cookies

Close your eyes, and picture yourself biting into a warm chewy cookie with a melt in the mouth dulce de leche centre...
Smile, you are a recipe away from making that dream come true!


makes approx 15 large cookies 
225g packed brown sugar
120g granulated sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
300g flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
270g old-fashioned rolled oats
75g blanched peanuts, unsalted and very roughly chopped
2 heaped tbsp dulce de leche + a teaspoon per cookie for the centre 


1/ Pre heat oven to 190c

2/ Cream the sugars and butter, and then add the vanilla extract and the dulce de leche

3/ Beat in the eggs, one at a time

4/ Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder and gently add to the mix. Do not over mix

5/ Stir in the oats and peanuts

6/ Line a baking tray with baking parchment

7/ Divide mix into thick disks between 40 and 80g depending on size preference, place a spoon full of dulce de leche in the middle of each disk and fold them so the dulce gets hidden in the centre of each cooke. Space out the cookies on a prepared tray leaving 2 cm between each one, pressing down slightly 

8/ Bake for about 15 mins until golden around the edge. Leave to cool for 10 mins before transferring to cooling wire and leave to cool completely before storing in a cookie jar.

Why weighing each cookie individually before baking? to ensure they all are the same size and will therefor cook at the same speed. This will ensure consistent cookies!
Why waiting for the cookies to cool completely before storing them in a jar? Because otherwise they will release steam in the jar and become soft.

Different sizes for different cookies: the bigger the cookies, the more soft in the middle. Small cookies might be crunchy all way through.  

Recipe adapted from the French Glacé Cherry and pecan cookies recipe by Anthony Kindred