When thinking about black pudding, most Irish people see it as part of a full Irish breakfast. Yes it plays a very important role in the fry up but black pudding is a very versatile and underused ingredient. I wanted to try something new with this traditional ingredient and came up with this gem of a recipe. If you typically find the flavour of black pudding too strong, I have lightened it here with apple. Give it a go…. I know you will be pleasantly surprised.

Serves 8
8 eggs
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons finely chopped eating apples
400g pork sausage meat
200g black pudding, casing removed and crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cream
50g seasoned flour
100g dried breadcrumbs, preferably Panko
sunflower oil, for deep-frying
fresh watercress sprigs, to garnish
beetroot relish, to serve, see below

Beetroot relish
Makes about 2 jars
450g beetroot, peeled and grated
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 onion, finely chopped
50g light muscovado sugar
225ml white wine vinegar

Place the beetroot in a heavy-based pan with the apple, onion, sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes until the beetroot and apple are completely tender and the preserve is nicely reduced. Leave to cool a little, then pack into hot sterilised jars Seal and cool. Leave for at least 1 week or up to 3 months is best. Spoon into a bowl and use as required.

To prepare the soft-boiled eggs, put the eggs in a pan of water and bring to a simmer, then cook for 5 1/2 minutes for soft-boiled. Put into a bowl of iced water to prevent them cooking any further, then peel off the shells. Set aside until needed. To make the filling, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and sautΓ© the onion until softened but not coloured. Stir in the apple and cook for another minute or two. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then mix in the sausage meat. Fold in the black pudding trying not to break it up too much and season to taste. Beat the eggs in a shallow dish with the cream.

Take a couple of tablespoons of the black pudding and sausage mixture and use to shape around the egg, then dust in the seasoned flour. Dip in the egg mixture and then roll in the dried breadcrumbs. Arrange on a tray, then cover loosely with clingfilm and chill until needed. When ready to serve, heat the sunflower oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C and cook the scotch eggs for 4-5 minutes or heated through, crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then cut each one in half and arrange on warmed plates with spoonfuls of the piccalilli and beetroot relish to serve.