Butter Chicken & Pea Pies #tastypies

This recipe combines 3 delicious things, my version of lite butter chicken curry, peas and puff pastry. My theory goes that skipping cream in the chicken filling recipe makes up for the butter in the puff pastry!

Lovely with just salad on the side and also great picnic food.

Prep time: 40 minutes Cooling: 20 minutes Baking: 20 minutes

Ingredients for 4 pies

  • 400g chicken thigh fillets cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cummin seeds
  • 1/2 piece of cinammon bark or quill
  • 1 teaspooon nigella seeds
  • Handful of curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cummin powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • I cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 3 sheets store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten for brushing pastry

Method:

A. Begin by turning on oven to preheat to 220 degrees Celsius and take out 3 sheets of puff pastry to allow to thaw.

B Make filling and pies

1. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy based pot over medium heat.

2. Add cummin, seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves if using and stir until fragrant. Ensure cummin seeds don’t burn.

3. Add onions and cook gently until transparent and soft. Add ginger and garlic paste and mix through the onions.

4. Add cummin powder, turmeric and chilli powder and stir though onion mixture until just heated through. Take care not to burn the spices.

5. Add chicken, salt, nigella seeds. Stir fry until chicken is sealed, then add water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Nigella seeds add an earthy sweetness.

6. While chicken is cooking line pie tins with baking paper, then cut out circles of puff pastry to fit into bottom of pie tins, prick bottom of pastry with a fork. Line with another layer of baking paper, add pie weights or dried beans and blind bake in oven for 10 minutes until pastry is cooked and just turning golden. remove from oven and set aside.

Blind bake bottom layer of puff pastry to form cases for pies.

6. Add yoghurt and butter to the chicken curry mixture and bring back to a simmer, then add peas and cook for further 5 minutes until peas are just tender. The chicken should be cooked by now and the sauce reduced to create a moist filling without too much extra sauce left.

7. Sprinkle generously with chopped coriander and set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes.

8. When chicken mixture has cooled to lukewarm, remove pie weights/beans and top layer of baking paper from pastry cases but leave them in the pie tins.

9. Heap chicken mixture into pie cases to form small mounds, don’t forget to remove the cinammon stick.

10. Cover tops of pies with a larger circle of puff pastry crimping edge of uncooked pastry onto the pastry cases, prick top or make a small cut in top to allow steam to escape, use the back of a fork to Mark the edges, then brush with egg yolk and place in oven for 10-15 minutes or until tops are golden and puffed. Don’t worry if they are a bit untidy, they look nice and rustic when done.

11. Allow to cool/rest for 5 minutes or so and serve with salad. If packing for a picnic best to allow to cool for at least half an hour before packing.

Beef Wellington #easyaspie

Beef Wellington is one of those dishes that looks really impressive but is easy as pie to make.

This recipe can be prepared in just over an hour including making veggies on the side.

You can choose to also put a layer of pate between the beef and mushroom mixture but I don’t always include it as it does make it much richer.

Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 500g piece of good quality beef fillet , tied at intervals with string
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 10 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 6 large mushrooms diced very finely
  • 1 small onion diced very finely
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed to a paste
  • handful of thyme leaves stripped from the stem
  • 2 tablespoons butter and a dash of olive oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry defrosted
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and chopped into quarters
  • Broccoli florets or green beans

1. Defrost puff pastry. Heat non-stick frying pan until hot. Sear beef for 2-3 minutes to brown and seal all sides.

2. Place beef on plate and put in the freezer for 15 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

3. While beef is cooling, Place peeled and chopped potatoes rubbed with olive oil on a baking tray and place on lower shelf of oven.

4. Then the mushroom mixture. Heat pan again and add olive oil and butter to melt, then add onion and cook until transparent, add garlic paste and thyme leaves and mix through, then add chopped mushrooms, season with black pepper until just cooked through and moisture evaporates. Mixture should be dry. Put on a flat plate and place in the freezer to cool for 5 minutes.

5. Remove beef from freezer, remove string, rub all over with mustard.

6. Lie prosciutto slices flat on a sheet of plastic wrap, overlapping the prosciutto to form a base to wrap the beef in. Place beef at one edge of the sheet of prosciutto and roll over using the plastic wrap to help create a neat parcel.

7. Place on piece of the puff pastry sheets with a slight overlap, sealing the two pieces together to create one large base sheet. Place beef on the pastry to encase it and seal the ends using a fork. Use excess pastry to create strips and pastry leaves to decorate the parcel. Brush with beaten egg.

8. Place parcel carefully on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake in oven for 30 minutes until puff pastry is puffed and golden. Check potatoes and turn. While beef is cooking, microwave broccoli or green beans pieces until just cooked.

9. Rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing in thickish and serving with roast potatoes and broccoli. Dinner for 4.

Pink in the middle….

Individual #Fish and #prawn #pies with #puff pastry

These fish pies are great if you are on a low carb diet like we are at the moment. There are lots of different versions online including a weight watchers version but most of them have potatoes in them or potato mash as the topping.

My version combines the best of both worlds and I think it is as tasty as you can get without the potatoes but keeps the cream and milk to make a lovely roux and resulting sauce.

Preparation time: 30 minutes cooking time: 20 minute

Ingredients:

  • 400g monkfish or other firm white fish chopped into chunks
  • 6 green prawns peeled and chopped into 3 or 4 pieces each
  • 100g hot smoked salmon or trout or smoked haddock
  • 200ml of milk
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 50ml cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 stalks of dill with friends removed and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of parsley, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced leek
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 sheet of bought puff pastry
  • Beaten egg to brush pastry
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard400g blue eye cod or other firm white fish

Method:

Remove a sheet of puff pastry from the freezer to defrost.

Place the monkfish and prawns (not the hot smoked fish) in a small pot and cover with milk, add bay leaves and bring to a light rolling boil, then reduce heat and allow fish and prawns to poach in milk for 2 minutes. Remove fish and prawns from the milk with a slotted spoon and place into a seperate bowl.

Strain the milk through a sieve and reserve.

In a seperate non-stick pan, melt the butter and add leek and cook slowly until well softened.

Add the flour gradually and stir constantly to form a roux, and cook for a minute until flour is “cooked out”.

Add milk and wine to the roux gradually and whisk to form a smooth sauce.

Add mustard, salt and pepper to taste and mix through sauce.

Then add the cream and mix through.

Add fish, prawns and hot smoked salmon and allow the mixture to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius

Put cooled fish mixture, focus on getting as much of the fish and prawns rather than all the sauce, into 3 small ramekins and then cover the ramekins with round of puff pastry cut to slightly larger rounds than the tops of the ramekins. (You might end up with a bit extra sauce leftover) Decorate with some of the leftover pastry and make a small hole in the middle of each to allow steam to escape.

Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg and place in the oven on a foil lined baking tray for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden and puffed.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with a green salad on the side.

Easy Homemade Sausage rolls

At this time of the year with friends and family popping over, having some of these homemade sausage rolls in the freezer is a great option for quick and easy but very yummy snacks.

They taste so much better than bought options, especially if you get your favourite sausages from the butcher. I like to use lamb merguez sausages with a bit of spice in them to make mine but you can use any sausage you like.

Ingredients:

3 sheets bought puff pastry

12 sausages cooked and cut into 3 pieces each (36 pieces)

1 egg beaten for wash

Method:

Cook sausages in a pan and cool completely

Cut sausages in thirds to make 36 pieces

Cut pasty sheet into thirds vertically and half across to make 12 bases from each sheet

Place cooled sausage on pastry and roll pasty over, seal with a fork, pressing down the tines to create a decorative edge

Freeze using plastic sheets from pastry to seperate the sausage rolls or,

Brush pastries with egg wash

Heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius fan forced

Bake for 10 minutes or so until pastry is puffed and golden.

Enjoy with your favourite sauce.

Eggplant, anchovy and capsicum #pizza with #basil #veggies

Haven’t made pizza for ages but was inspired by my visit to the Entertainment Quarter markets in Centennial Park in Sydney this morning.

Brought home a beautiful haul of fresh, organic vegetables and thought an (almost) vegetarian pizza as a unique take for football finals food would be a nice addition to the usual sausage rolls and meat pies served at this time of the year at parties around the country. Still pizza though so figure it fits into the genre!

My basket of goodies from the markets this morning.

I started with the pizza dough for the base so it could “prove” for an hour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

Pizza is fun to make and is so good when you make it all from scratch.

Prep time: 1 hour cooking time: 15 minutes

Pizza base

Ingredients:

2 and 2/3 cups of plain flour

1 cup lukewarm water

7g (1 sachet) dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1.5 tsps salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to froth.

Mix flour and salt and place in a mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour, add frothy yeast mixture, and oil and mix using a cutting motion using a round edge knife or metal spatula.

When mixture starts to come together, quickly knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes. Should be a lovely smooth blob with a slight elasticity to it.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough in it, cover with glad wrap/cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour to “prove” and double in size.

Sauce for base

ingredients

2 small ripe tomatoes finely diced

1/2 onion diced finely

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tsp mixed herbs

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

2 tablespoons tomato sauce (I used an equal mix of tomato and sriracha sauce)

1 cup water

1/4 cup white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add garlic and sauté until just fragrant, add onions and cook gently until transparent, then add mixed herbs, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, chilli flakes and white wine and simmer about 5 minutes until wine evaporates, then add water and simmer about 20 minutes until sauce is thickened and tomatoes have softened and created a nice sauce, add more water if necessary to cook more for tomatoes to break up. set aside to cool.

Topping

Ingredients

1 medium eggplant

1 whole red capsicum

4 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion sliced very thinly

8-10 small marinated green olives

Grated mozzarella

Cherry size bocconcini balls

Preparation

Capsicum

Turn on your grill/oven to 250 degrees Celsius on the grill setting. Line a small baking tray with baking paper, prick the capsicum with a fork in a few spots to allow air to escape, place on baking tray and roast in oven until skin is totally blackened…about 25 minutes or so. Remove from oven and immediately place in a plastic bag and knot the top. Set aside to cool, the skin will easily peel off when you are ready. Peel off skin, remove core and seeds, slice into thin strips and set aside.

Eggplant

Slice eggplant thinly and cover with salt and rest for 30 minutes or so, this will remove he moisture and stop the eggplant form discolouring. After minutes, drain away liquid, pat dry and pan fry with olive oil until golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to drain off excess oil and set aside.

Olives

Slice into smaller pieces, removing pits if necessary.

Onion

Slice thinly and set aside.

Bocconcini

Slice 6 cherry bocconcini balls into 4 rounds and set aside

TURN ON OVEN TO PRE-HEAT GRILL to 250 degrees Celsius

ASSEMBLY:

Roll out half the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to your desired size and thickness. Remember the dough will rise a bit in the oven. Lightly flour your pizza pan or baking tray and place your pizza base on that. (You can freeze the other half to use another time)

Spread your cooled tomato sauce over the base.

Sprinkle a layer of grated mozzarella sparsely or not so sparsely (up to you) over the tomato sauce, then place eggplant slices evenly around the base, add s shreds of the anchovy fillets, capsicum, raw sliced onion, olives and bocconcini over the base. Add another very light sprinkle of mozzarella.

Cook under 250 degree grill, lowering heat slightly if top looks like burning, lightly cover with foil if necessary to low base to cook and crisp up.

Remove from oven after 15 minutes, scatter with fresh basil leaves and allow to sit for a few minutes. Ready for devouring!

Oh Baby! #babyshower

Went to a fabulous baby shower today for my niece …wish I had taken more photos of the fabulous feast and the beautiful tea-cups…but here’s a taste!