By Georghina Hayes
Life is so hectic that you hardly ever seem to stop and spend some quality time together. On a very rare occasion my daughter (who is 15 years old already!) and I had the house to ourselves and some free time, so we decided to have a leisurely Sunday Brunch.
One of her favourite things to eat is ‘devils on horseback’. An unusual treat, but so very scrummy! They are soaked prunes wrapped in bacon and then cooked in the oven. We normally make them in the morning on Christmas Day. As presents need to be opened before breakfast, these are a great warm, sweet, salty, Christmassy, yummy treat to nibble on. They can also be added to buffets or as nibbles with drinks before dinner. I think they would also go wonderfully well as an accompaniment to pheasant.
However, for a brunch we wanted to do something slightly different. Taking a leaf out of the good old cookbook that is the USA, we decided to serve them on scotch pancakes with maple syrup. WOW! What a flavour combination they were absolutely delicious!
We love this pancake pan by Nordic Ware visit www.nordicware.com which we actually found in Costco but you can buy online at many places. It is such fun and will bring out the child in everyone at the table regardless of age!
We are lucky enough to have an amazing butcher near our home they are called Quintessential Meats and are based in Berkshire see www.quintessentialmeats.co.uk and you can order on their website and they deliver. It is so good to find somewhere that provides beautiful meats from happy animals and their sirloin steak is some of the best we have tasted in this Country. The smoked streaky bacon they sell is wonderful and absolutely perfect for this recipe.
Something else we use in this recipe which you may not have come across before is Colgin Liquid Smoke see www.colgin.com
This is a brilliant thing to have in your store cupboard and gives an amazing smokey flavour – it can be quite strong so add to suit your own tastes a little at a time. I use it for marinades and BBQ’s and it is especially good on steak. You can buy it online or in some specialist stores and it really does add that something extra to many dishes – even a bolognaise or a chilli con carne!
250g bag of jumbo prunes (or as many as you need depending on how many you are serving)
1 star anise
6 whole cloves
A dash of liquid smoke (see above)
½-1 tsp smoked chopped red chillies (add to your own taste)
1 tsp mixed spice
1 earl grey tea bag
100ml boiling water (or more/less depending on how many prunes)
Streaky bacon – we use one slice per two prunes
Optional : A few table spoons of your favourite tipple – we use Port as we love it, but you can use Cognac, Armagnac, Whisky, Brandy, Dark Rum whatever you like and whatever you have open
You will also need some cocktail sticks
The night before you want to have the devils on horseback you will need to pop the prunes in to soak. In a bowl place the tea bag and add the boiling water. Whilst this is brewing add the mixed spice, cloves, star anise, liquid smoke and smoked chillies.
After about 3 minutes remove the tea bag. Then add your alcohol if you are using it and the prunes.
Once cool, pop in the fridge over night. It is best left over night, but you can just marinade the prunes for at least 3 hours and then use them if you forget.
Once drained, slice each rasher of bacon in half and remove any bone. Then take one prune and roll it in the streaky bacon and secure with a cocktail stick and place on a very lightly greased baking sheet.
Pop in an oven pre-heated to 200oC for about 20 minutes, until the bacon is crispy and cooked through.
Eat straight off the cocktail sticks or add as a topping to scotch pancakes and drizzle with maple syrup.
Enjoy your Brunch!