Puff pastry pot pies

This was easy as.

Just cooked up a diced lamb filling with onions, tomato, garlic, white wine, pepper, mushroom, peas, spinach and herbs …then lined the little buttered ceramic pots with frozen puff pastry, filled the pots, topped with a circle of pastry, brushed with egg and popped in the 230 degrees Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden.

Quick and easy, perfect with salad but still warm and comforting.

Reminded me of the recipe for Lamb Curry Pot Pies but simpler and …I like the puff pastry better.

Indian Spiced Fish Pie

This recipe is based on Rick Stein’s classic fish pie recipe but with an Indian twist. The addition of traditional Indian spices to the milk and cream mixture in which the seafood is lightly poached, and using “aloo bharta” or Indian style mashed potato for the topping bring the flavours of the sub-continent to this classic British dish. (A kind of reverse colonialism, I suppose.)

Prep time: 1hr 20 mins  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
3 flathead fillets (or any firm white, unsmoked fish)
1 medium size fillet of smoked cod or haddock
8-10 green prawns peeled

2 eggs
1 egg yolk (to brush top of mash)
300ml milk + 3 tablespoons for mash
150ml cream

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 finger length of ginger peeled
3 potatoes (fluffy potatoes like Desiree or King Edward)

6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin
handful of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves

100g butter
1/3 cup of plain flour

Method:

Hardboil 2 eggs (about 8 minutes) then cool and cut into quarters.

Cut fish and prawns into bite-size pieces.

cut the onion in half. Stud one half with the cloves.

Place seafood, and clove studded onion in with the milk, cream, the cardamom pods, 1/2 Teaspoon of the turmeric, chilli powder, cummin powder, garlic, ginger, white pepper and half the curry leaves into a pot and bring to a boil., then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drain the fish mixture, reserving the milk and cream. Put the fish pieces only, not the spices, into a shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the quarters of egg through the dish. Set aside.

Melt 50g of butter in a non-stick pan, add flour and mix through. Take off the heat and slowly add the milk/cream cooking liquid mixing to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly to cook out the flour and create a rich, smooth sauce.

Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to just cover, then cool in fridge for an hour.

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Whilst fish mixture is cooling….

Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing. Drain and set aside to “dry”.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Thinly slice the other half of the onion.

Finely chop the coriander.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add rest of curry leaves and mustard seeds until they begin to splutter.

Add sliced onion and cook gently until translucent and golden.

Mash potatoes adding 3 tablespoons milk to create a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add the onion mixture, including the melted butter to the mash.

Add the chopped coriander. Mix through the mash.

Add salt if necessary.

Remove the fish mixture from the fridge and spread the mash carefully over the top. Score the surface with a fork, then brush with beaten egg yolk.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until mixture is warmed through and top is golden and crispy. (I finish off using the grill to get a really golden crunchy top if necessary)

Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

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Serves 4

Baked Italian Sausages with red capsicum and onions

As the cooler days approach here in Sydney, this is a quintessential comfort food dish which will warm your heart and soul in true Italian style.

Preparation time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5 hours (including grilling capsicum)

Ingredients
6-8 Italian spicy sausages or merguez sausages
2 red capsciums
2 large onions cut into thickish slices
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
3 red chillies sliced lengthwise (optional)
Handful of fresh basil and parsley
Crusty bread

Method
Heat oven to 150 degrees celcius

Place whole red capsicums on roasting tray and place in oven for 35-45 minutes until skin is black and blistering, turn during cooking process to evenly blacken capsicum

Meanwhile slice onions, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and cook onions slowly until just golden

Remove capsicum from oven and place in plastic bag, tying up ends of bag. Allow capsicum to sweat inside plastic bag for 5 minutes which will loosen skin.

Increase oven heat to 180 degrees celcius.

Place sausages in a baking tray, add a little water to moisten and allow to roast for 25 minutes.

Whilst sausages are cooking remove one capsicum at a time and remove skin, cut through and remove seeds and core. Slice capsicum into thick slices and set aside, repeat for second capsicum.

Remove sausages from oven, add garlic, chillies if using, onions (with cooking oil) and capsicum, toss ingredients gently through and put back into the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked and nicely browned.

When done, add fresh basil leaves and parsley and allow to cool slightly before serving with crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of red.