Bresaola, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

In a ‘gotta try something new’ state of mind I was browsing the virtual shelves of our online supermarket when I stumbled across something called bresaola. What a find!

If you haven’t done so yet, you should try it (make this recipe). ¬†If you have…damn you for keeping it a secret from me! ūüėČ

BresaolaHow would I describe it? ¬†Well, it’s air dried, salt beef, served sliced very, veeerry thinly and usually quite simply dressed. ¬†At the risk of bringing the wrath of real foodies upon my head for my failure to note all the subtleties, I’d say it’s kinda like a delicious beef version of Parma ham.

Isn’t that colour something special?

PearsThese beautifully ripe, russet skinned Taylor’s Gold pears seemed like a perfect partner for the cured beef.

GorgonzolaAnd to top things off, runny, ripe Gorgonzola providing a delicious, tangy contrast to the sweet pears and the salty beef.

Bresaola, gorgonzola and pear saladPour over a honey mustard & lemon dressing and it all comes together beautifully ūüôā

10-12 slices bresaola
2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced (skin on)
100-150g gorgonzola (or other blue cheese), cut into chunks/crumbled
1 lemon, juice only
A glug of olive oil
A small knob of butter
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Watercress or other edible greenery
A handful of mixed cherry tomatoes

Toss pear slices in a tablespoon or so of the lemon juice.

Cooked pearsHeat oil and butter in a frying pan and cook pear over a medium to high heat, until edges are turning brown.  Remove from pan and set to one side.

Dressing ingredientsMake dressing by mixing together remaining lemon juice, mustard and honey until well combined.  Season to taste.

Bresaola, pear and gorgonzola saladArrange watercress, tomatoes and bresaola on plate, scatter over cheese, top with pears and drizzle over dressing.


Honey Mustard Glazed Sausage Pinwheels

The original point of messing around with sausages was to try out a gluten free sausage I’d not had before, and to come up with some ideas for Mum’s birthday BBQ/hog roast menu.

Gluten free sausagesThe trying out of the sausages went very well Рthey were delicious, good quality pork with well balanced seasoning.  Highly recommended if you live in the UK and can get hold of them.

I can’t say for certain whether it was the brand¬†or the¬†cooking method, but the mouth-feel of these sausages was much better than the coarsely ground meat texture I’ve come to associate with g/f sausages; I’d need to try them simply grilled to make a fairer¬†comparison with others I’ve sampled.

Regardless, they were perfect for this dish.

Cider, honey and mustardThe glaze, made of cider, mustard and honey, couldn’t really fail to be amazing…let’s face it, that’s some kind of holy trinity of flavours there, isn’t it?! ¬†The sticky goodness was the perfect foil for the pork sausage – truly delicious.

However, in terms of whether it’s suitable for Mum’s BBQ, I’m not sure. ¬†Without doubt, she and her guests would love these sausages, but I’m not sure how to pull it together without a frying pan and stove. ¬†Any suggestions or guidance would be welcomed and gratefully received ūüôā

Assuming you’re going to cook these using indoor facilities, I can confidently show you how:

To serve two

10-12 ¬†linked gluten free chipolata sausages, divided into 2 ‘chains’ (or gluten containing ones, as suits you)
A little olive oil
Approx. 250ml dry cider
3-4 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
4-5 dessert spoons runny honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Humming happily?  Hands clean?  Excellent!

Whisked cider, honey and mustardWhisk the cider, mustard, honey and seasoning together until the honey has completely blended with the cider.  Set to one side.

Sausages - linkedIf you don’t fancy messing around making pinwheels, just cut your sausage links into individuals and skip on to the frying pan stage.

sausage - untwistedStill with me? ¬†Want pretty sausage spirals? ¬†Fab! ¬†Let’s do it…

First, gently untwist the sausage casing all along each link.

Sausage - twisted endNow¬†you need to seal up the cut ends of the sausage links, otherwise you’ll be losing your filling at the next step. ¬†Simply pinch about 2cm of sausage meat out of the¬†ends of each¬†link and twist the casing¬†tightly.

Sausage - starting to mergeNow start gently¬†smooshing and smoothing¬†the sausage meat along the casing. ¬†You can be firm, but not rough – you don’t want to tear the casing. ¬†You might feel a little pervy doing this part ūüėÄ

Sausage - giantKeep pressing and rolling until you have one gigantic, skinny sausage.

Ignore the fact that when laid out like this it looks¬†like someone’s innards. ¬†I said¬†ignore¬†that!

Sausage - curled and pinnedWrap each sausage into a spiral and secure with wooden toothpicks or skewers.

Sausage - brownedHeat a tiny amount of oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat.  Cook sausages for 14-18 minutes, flipping occasionally to ensure both sides are lovely and brown.

TIP: ¬†make sure your pinwheels are flat before skewering them, otherwise it’s really hard to get them evenly coloured. ūüėČ

Sausage - in cider, honey, mustard liquidTurn up heat a little and pour cider mix over the sausages.

Sausage - in cider, honey, mustard reducedSimmer for 10-15 minutes, regularly basting and flipping sausages, until liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze.

Honey Mustard Glazed Sausage PinwheelsShown here served with triple baked potatoes, green salad and grilled cherry tomatoes.  It would be equally good with a zingy, yoghurt dressed, crunchy coleslaw and potato wedges.

Do you fancy a BBQ now? ūüėČ

Sunday Brunch – Hot Roast Beef, Onion and Stilton Sandwiches

A beastly week in the day job culminated in me needing¬†to work this Sunday. ¬†Less than impressed, I coaxed myself out of bed at insane-o’clock-in-the-morning with the promise of something √ľber¬†delicious for brunch. ¬†By the time I was heading home again, at well past midday, I was also vowing that brunch would be spectacularly quick and easy to make.sandwiches and ciderA quick whizz through the local supermarket yielded some freshly baked ciabatta¬†style¬†rolls and a bottle of my (current) favourite cider, but still no real plan.

After a rummage through the fridge at home we finally decided to make hot roast beef sandwiches. ¬†It turned out to be an extremely good and satisfying choice ūüôā

I feel it’s a bit of a stretch, calling this a ‘recipe’ – after all, it’s a sandwich!¬†¬†Perhaps calling it a ‘how to’ would be¬†more appropriate…?!

1 ciabatta roll per person 
4 slices roast beef per person
1 small onion, sliced, per person
Small knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
Music Рan essential ingredient to all Sunday brunch recipes.

Of course, your choice of music is entirely your own – as long as you enjoy it, it will work well with the recipe.

Heating the beef over onionsHeat the oil and butter, add sliced onions and sauté.  When they begin to soften, but are not quite cooked, lay the slices of roast beef over the top to heat.  Turn the roast beef frequently to prevent the upper side from drying out.

horseradish mustard and stiltonCut rolls in half, lightly toast then spread one side lavishly¬†with mustard. ¬†I’m currently in the throes of a love affair with this horseradish mustard, which is utterly perfect with beef, but wholegrain or English are¬†just as good

my sandwichPile cooked onions onto the rolls and add folded slices of beef (make sure beef is piping hot).  Top with slices of Stilton and pop under a hot grill for a few minutes to melt.  Slap on the top half of the roll and consume enthusiastically.

Barn's sandwichYou may notice that I¬†accidentally made Barn’s sandwich upside down – this appears to have had no adverse effect on the flavour ūüėČMelonMelon slices afterwards…because it’s always nice to have something sweet, don’t you think?