Herb and fennel Scotch Eggs

I don’t know why but food just tastes better outside, even the word al fresco fills you with a little happiness. Picnics are something that the English do well, Londoners in Particular. Once that weather forcast has shown that there maybe a glimmer of sunlight at the weekend the rest of the week is spent daydreaming about where you are going to have your picnic, who you are going to invite and what you are going to eat. Picnics are a celebration – good weather, good food and drink, friends, games and relaxing. When it comes to bbqs Jamie Oliver is king – even just looking at his Instagram makes your mouth water, but picnics are less about marinades, burgers and spare ribs but more about foods you want to pop in your mouth, and pre made – which means some for thought. Otherwise you end up feeling desperate in the supermarket picking up crisps, dips and tasteless mini everything’s. We are both big fans of a homemade scotch egg and if you have the time they are really fun to make, and very satisfying when they work. When slightly hung over on a Saturday it feels us with joy when you see it on the nibbles section of the menu if you have headed down to the pub – The Sands End pub in Wandsworth does fantastic ones, and they also do a good bloody mary, something which is pretty hard to find and one of the greatest annoyances – why can nowhere do a good bloody mary!!! Almost had to walk out of a restaurant last weekend after being served a glass of thick luke warm tomato juice, almost like a glass of passata and when asked for the ingredients and that I would just make my own they didn’t even have them in the restaurant!! So how dare they call it a bloody mary and ruin my Saturday brunch. We have come up with a few scotch egg recipes in our time, one was very good using chorizo, but this is our fav and they are perfect for a picnic. The trick for a really good scotch egg is having a runny yolk, but this can be quite troublesome – be really careful when peeling the egg and wrapping it in the meat mixture so not to pop it, we would even cook a few extra eggs just to be on the safe side. Other fun ideas to have on a picnic – a cold soup can be made beforehand and is wonderful on a hot day, chipolata sausages in honey and wholegrain mustard, tortilla, homemade hummus or an exciting sauce and crudité, cheese board, grain based salad holds itself well, potato salad (Ottolenghi does a delicious pesto one), smoked salmon sandwiches with brown bread and the crusts off, olives and nuts and a jug of Pimms or bloody mary! (a tip is to take ice in a thermos to add to your chilled soup or drinks).


    8 x Best quality, free range eggs

    600g Best quality minced pork, fresh from the butchers

    handful of herbs.. chives, parsley, tarragon and sage chopped

    1clove finely grated garlic

    1 tsp english mustard

    1 tsp fennel seeds

    pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

    salt and pepper

    1 egg, whisked for coating

    plain flour for dusting

    panko bread crumbs

    vegetable / groundnut oil


1. First soft boil the eggs – add eggs to boiling water and cook for 5 mins then straight into cold water, peel and leave to the side. 2. Heat a pan over a medium heat and dry roast the fennel seeds – for about 2 mins until you can start to smell the aroma then take off heat and grind in a pestle and mortar 3. In a bowl mix together the mince, herbs, garlic, mustard, ground fennel seeds and nutmeg and season and divide into 8 balls. 4. Place three bowls in front of you, put the whisked egg in the first, flour in the second and the breadcrumbs in the third 5. Lay a piece of cling film on your work surface and dust with flour. Place one of the meat balls on the clingfilm and flour, then place a piece of clingfilm on top. Roll the meat till big enough to cover a whole egg then remove the cling 6. Place an egg in the middle of the rolled meat, wrap around the egg carfully using the clingfilm to help, remove and make sure egg is fully covered. Dip the egg first in the egg, then flour then bread crumbs. 7. Fill a large frying pan about a third full of oil and heat over a medium – hot heat then add the eggs so they sizzle. Cook for about 5 -7 mins, turning them so they are golden and crisp all over then drain on kitchen towel 8. Serve with homemade spicy ketchup