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Category Archives: Starters

Cedges Sushi – Crab Uramaki

For the first part of my series of Sushi recipes, I am starting with the biggest hit from my feast last year – Crab Uramaki. This is basically an inside out sushi roll with a tasty sweet chili and crab mix at its literal heart.

You could cook and pick a fresh crab for this – the recipe is about equal to one regular sized crab but the pots of mixed crab meat or a ready dressed crab are a very realistic option and the one I have used.

There are a few items of equipment that are helpful to have. This first is a sushi rolling mat like this one which are available in the major supermarkets and are no more than a quid or two.  The second is clingfilm. The third is a really good sharp knife. I have recently bought a knife steel and it has changed my knife game, I can’t recommend picking one up enough.

Makes 16 Pieces (2 bites each)

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Ingredients:

2 Cups of Cooked Sushi Rice
3 Spring Onions
100g Mixed Brown and White Crab Meat
3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 Sheet Toasted Nori (Seaweed)
4 tbsp Mixed Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Shichimi Spice Mix (or Chili Powder)


Start by ensuring that your 2 Cups of Cooked Sushi Rice are totally cooled.

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Trim and very finely slice  3 Spring Onions and mix until evenly combined with 100g Mixed Brown and White Crab Meat, 3 tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce and 1 tsp Ginger Paste.  

Using a sharp knife, halve 1 Sheet Nori and set aside one half. Lay the other half on your bamboo rolling mat and spoon half of the crab mixture evenly along one edge leaving a small border.

Wet the visible nori with a tiny bit of cold water using your finger. Using the bamboo mat to assist, roll the crab mix in the nori and ensure that the loose edge is sealed well. Try to make it as tight as possible without the crab mix spurting out the ends of the roll!

Set aside and repeat with the other half of the nori sheet and crab mix.

Cover the rolling mat in a generous sheet of cling film, trying to make sure that there are no big creases.

Take half of the cooked sushi rice and spread it evenly over about half of the rolling mat. Use the crab/nori roll to establish how wide it needs to be. I used the side of my large knife to neaten the edges and had several gentle test rolls to make sure my rice was the right size to roll all the way around in an even layer with no gap or overlap. I’m not the biggest advocate of precision in cooking but this is the time to relax and take your time – the finished look will be worth it. ‘Oh that’ll do’ won’t really end well!

Tip – Liberally wet your fingers before handling the rice. It will be stickier than any other substance you have touched in your life otherwise. 

Wrap the rice roll in the cling film and twist the ends to ‘burrito roll’ and tighten it. Set aside for a moment.

On a board or ideally, a lipped tray to contain the seeds, sprinkle 4 tbsp Mixed Sesame Seeds and 1 tsp Shichimi Spice Mix.  You can do this half at a time.

Carefully release the rice roll from its clingfilm and roll it in the seed and spice until evenly covered. I roll it every-which-way to ensure no gaps. Burrito roll it back up in its clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 60 minutes or in the freezer for only 15 minutes. Repeat with the second roll.

I like to take the rolls out and slice them about half an hour before serving. Sushi obviously isn’t something to serve warm but when it is fridge cold, the flavours tend to be dulled.  It is however easier to slice when very cold and firmed up.  I also like to slice the rolls while they are still in their cling film and unwrap each piece – it does just slip off.

Start but cutting  a little off of each end – don’t waste the trimmings – just eat them! Then cut the roll in half, each of those halves in half and then each of the quarters in half to make 8 pieces. Repeat with the second roll.

Serve with soy sauce to dip in.

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Cedges Classics – The Scotch Egg

The scotch egg is technically the domain of my dad – he is the undisputed King of The Scotch Egg. I say undisputed….I am mounting some serious competition. I think I might be a contender if I’m honest. Sorry!

This recipe is, as the title suggests, the classic – its using plain pork sausage meat, plain breadcrumbs, there are no strong additional flavours, onion or herbs, nothing is wrapped in bacon (first for everything on this blog!). That isn’t to say that this isn’t a recipe ripe for pimping, because it is. Think of this as the base – modify it how you will – use a fancy sausage meat, add herbs, add caremelised onions, wrap the egg in parma ham before the sausage meat, use Quorn to veggify it, add mustard powder to the breadcrumbs, mix chorizo or black pudding into the sausage – just use chorizo or black pudding, make mini ones with quail eggs, make a massive one with an ostrich egg. OK, I may have gone to far but you get the gist!

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A quick word about the ingredients – you can use any fresh or dried breadcrumbs but avoid the powdery golden kind that come in a tub. Ideally you’ll use Panko which are super crispy Japanese breadcrumbs. Each crumb is made individually rather than being a larger loaf that is then crumbed and dried. They’re available in all of the supermarkets but are cheaper from oriental shops. For frying, I prefer a vegetable oil. My Spanish housemate likes to deep fry in olive oil which has a very low smoking point and feels too dangerous (and too flavourful) for me.  I’m not one for spending excessive money on eggs but this is the occasion to splash out on a box of good free range or organic ones – the lovely orange yolks look and taste much better than the cheaper, paler yellow kind.

Makes 4

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Ingredients:

6 Large Eggs
450g Sausage Meat
2 tbsp Plain Flour
100g Panko Breadcrumbs
Sea Salt Flakes
Vegetable Oil for frying


Start by boiling 4 Large Eggs. My method is to boil the kettle, half fill a medium saucepan with the boiling water and put on a high heat, add the eggs, top up the water so the eggs are covered and set a timer for 7 minutes. This will give an egg with a set white and still runny yolk. When the timer rings, take the pan off the heat and run it under the cold tap for a minute until the water in the pan is as cold as it can be – set the pan aside with the eggs in cold water for 15 minutes or so until the eggs are cooled.

Meanwhile, skin 450g Pork Sausages, discard the skins and mix the meat together to combine. Divide it equally into 4, roll each quarter into a ball then flatten into a disc. At this point, I put the meat into the fridge until the eggs are cooled and peeled.

While the eggs are cooling, you can prepare the coatings. In a small bowl, add 2 tbsp Plain Flour.  Whisk 2 Large Eggs in another small bowl and spread 100g Panko Breadcrumbs in a medium shallow dish. You can add a pinch of Sea Salt Flakes to the breadcrumbs.

When the eggs are cool, peel them and place an egg in the middle of each of the meat patties. Wrap the meat around the egg and mold it using your hands until the meat is evenly distributed around the egg. You don’t really want it to be very thick on one side and thin on the other as it will not cook evenly. Repeat with the other 3 eggs. Pop in the fridge to firm up a little while the oil heats.

At this point, the way you fry the eggs is going to depend on what equipment you have. I used a small fat fryer in which I was able to fry two eggs at a time in 1l Vegetable Oil. With a large fat fryer, you can likely fry 4 at a time. If you have no such equipment, then a saucepan on the hob will suffice, it will just require a little more guesswork regarding the frying temp and time, unless you have an hot-oil-proof thermometer. For the pan method, I would recommend using a smaller pan which you can fill a little higher with oil and cook the eggs in 2 or 4 batches rather than filling a huge pan with a shallower layer of oil. Either way make sure it is a deep pan and that you have a damp teatowel handy in case anything goes wrong – for the love of god, don’t throw water on an oil fire and don’t leave the pan unattended.

The ideal frying temperature is 160c – roughly when a test breadcrumb takes about 10 seconds to brown in the oil.

When the oil is at temperature, add an egg/meat ball into the bowl of plain flour and gently move it around until it is fully coated, Shake off any excess. Next coat the ball in the beaten egg then roll it around in the breadcrumbs. Coat it in another layer of egg then another layer of breadcrumbs.  This double layer will ensure a good crunchy outer.

Repeat for as many eggs as you will be able to fry in the first batch and carefully lower each egg into the oil and fry gently for 8 minutes. I had to turn my eggs halfway as they were poking out of the oil a little.

Coat the remaining eggs whilst the first batch are cooking.

Remove the eggs from the oil and leave to drain on a plate covered in several layers of kitchen roll. Repeat in batches until all of the eggs are cooked.

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I like to eat my Scotch Eggs warm sprinkled with a little sea salt on the interior. They can be eaten cold without issue or reheated in the microwave for a minute or 2.

FYI – Scotch Eggs are perfectly acceptable for breakfast.

 

Cheese, Leek and Thyme Risotto with Bacon Topper

As I said in my last post, this recipe was first published on the Women’s Institute MyWI page as the starter for the ‘Menu of the Month January 2018‘.

We’ve all found ourselves having overly enthusiastically bought cheese for a festive cheese board and ended up with all manner of cheese odds and sods languishing in the fridge in January. This risotto is an excellent way to use up almost any hard or soft cheese.

Some notes regarding the cheese – I would recommend removing any cheese rinds and I would probably avoid anything too unusually flavoured; apricot or cranberry studded or whiskey flavoured cheeses are probably best avoided.  The quantities can be easily amended to taste too; maybe use a little less of a very strong hard cheese or a little more of a very mild one.  I would perhaps omit the garlic if using a very garlicy soft cheese such as roule.

I’ve used dried thyme in the recipe, this could be substituted for any favourite dried or fresh herb; sage, oregano or rosemary would work, as would a mixture.

The dish can be made vegetarian by substituting the chicken stock for veg stock and omitting the bacon – you could use ‘fake-on’ or mushrooms instead. Don’t forget that not all cheese is veggie so do check which you are using.

The bacon could also be substituted for any leftover charcuterie; parma/serrano ham or salami will just need 20 seconds to crisp in a hot oil free pan.

Whilst you could easily serve this as a main course by doubling or more likely; tripling the recipe, it is extremely rich and I’d recommend upping the veggie content and using a little less cheese or only quite mild cheeses.

Serves 4

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Ingredients:

700ml Chicken Stock (I used boiling water and 1 tbsp Liquid Chicken Bouillon)
15g Butter
1 tbsp Olive Oil
½ Leek, cut into thin half moons (about 60g prepared)
Small pinch of Sea Salt Flakes
1 tsp Minced Garlic
2 tbsp White Wine or Sherry
1 tbsp English Mustard Powder or any other mustard
1 tbsp Dried Thyme or other herb
100g Risotto Rice such as Arborio or Carnoroli
125g Cheese, cut into small cubes or grated
2 tbsp Cream Cheese such as Ricotta, Mascarpone, Roule or Philly
100g Bacon or Pancetta, cut into small strips or cubes


Start by boiling the kettle for or warming 700ml Chicken Stock in a pan until nearly boiling. Set aside.

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Add 15g Butter, 1 tbsp Olive Oil and ½ Leek into a medium saucepan along with a Small pinch of Sea Salt Flakes. Stir over a medium heat until the leek has started to soften – about 3 minutes.

Add 1tsp Minced Garlic and 2 tbsp White Wine or Sherry to the pan and stir over the medium heat until most of the liquid has disappeared.

Add 1 tbsp English Mustard Powder, 1 tbsp Dried Thyme and 100g Risotto Rice to the pan and stir until all of the grains of rice are covered in the butter/oil and are glistening.

Start adding the stock, about 3 tbsp at a time to start with and continue to stir, making sure the stock is fully absorbed by the rice before adding the next lot. As the rice starts to cook, you can add increasing larger quantities of the rice. Keep adding the stock until it is all absorbed and the rice is cooked to taste. You may need a little more or a little less stock than prescribed. This should take around 15 minutes.

Add 125g Cheese and continue to stir until all melted and combined then add 2 tbsp Cream Cheese. Check the seasoning and add more Sea Salt Flakes and any desired pepper to taste. Cover and set the risotto aside off the heat to rest for a moment.

Fry 100g Bacon over a high heat until golden brown and crispy – this should only take a minute or two.

Serve the risotto in the centre of 4 shallow bowls and top each with a quarter of the crispy bacon.

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