Tag Archives: pies

Dessert – Mrs Windsor's Apple Pie

I sat on this recipe for the longest time, then included it in my cookbook. This being apple season, it’s worth re-visiting. Use the largest crispiest apples you can find and don’t be too worried when they form a mini-mountain in the middle of the pie crust – they cook down to sweet perfection.

When I look at apple pie recipes, instructions invariably begin with a request to open a tin of apple pie filling and it’s all downhill from there. This being a simple recipe, it requires the very best components. A light and buttery pastry, with filling unadulterated with cinnamon or cloves or excess sugar. Continue reading Dessert – Mrs Windsor's Apple Pie

Day 14 – Moroccan Lamb Pies

With lamb prices at continuing high prices, I rarely plan a meal with it, if ever. When I do spy a great special, I buy it. Even if I’ve got nothing planned, I will freeze it and wait for an ideal time to break it out. A birthday dinner. Sunday lunch with friends. When Mum comes to visit.

There are many ways you can dress up this dinner, but at the heart of it is some spiced lamb wrapped in filo pastry. I bought diced lamb but you can make this with leg steaks, or even lamb mince for a great budget option.

Continue reading Day 14 – Moroccan Lamb Pies

Day 4 – Tarragon Chicken Parcels

Chicken and tarragon are a food pairing from heaven, the perfect synergy between two foods . With tarragon in season at the moment and readily available for about one dollar a bunch, I have had some in the fridge to use with that other great partner, mushrooms. In the end, the mushrooms didn’t get eaten earlier in the week, so I’m throwing them into a creamy sauce with the chicken and tarragon for one of the great stand-out dishes we’ve had in ages. And that’s saying something.

I made this with filo pastry but any prepackaged pastry will do, especially puff pastry. Instead of going to the trouble of wrapping each pie up in a bundle, you can make little pot pies instead, with just one sheet of puff pastry doing enough for four pies. It’s entirely up to you.

Unused filo pastry can be kept in the fridge for weeks. Simply roll unused pastry back up, put it back int he plastic bag it comes in, seal the bag with a twist top and put the roll back in the cardboard box it comes in. Use within one month.

Continue reading Day 4 – Tarragon Chicken Parcels

Day 5 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

Spinach and fetta rolls are a popular alternative to sausage rolls and very useful for taking advantage of cheap spinach I bought earlier in the week and some fetta that needed using up. You can have these warm or cold, for dinner with vegies or in a lunchbox the next day. They are perfect, portable and filling.

Makes 6 large rolls

Continue reading Day 5 – Spinach and Fetta Rolls

Day 9 – Empanadas

When I was pregnant I worked in Fairfield in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, a huge and dynamic multi-cultural area, and home to a large Chilean community. A local deli sold empanadas, made fresh each morning, still warm and bursting with succulent spiced meat. What began as a cure for chronic morning sickness continued as a full-blown pregnancy craving. I had one every day for six months.

Continue reading Day 9 – Empanadas

Day 4 – Steak and Kidney Pie

Brace yourselves. We are about to head into Offal Territory.

More misinformation has been spread about offal than practically any other food group. If we haven’t tasted offal, then we know someone who has and they don’t have a good word to say about it. If we have tasted offal it’s uniformly horrible, and we can’t wait to spread the bad news. We turn our noses up at the mere thought of liver or kidneys, vowing never to try it.

My mother, thank goodness, never baulked at offal and served it to us regularly. When my fiancé and I started living together, I cooked him kidneys for the first time in his life and he was blown away. When our children came along, it was a different matter. My kids would eat just about anything, but they couldn’t be persuaded to eat breaded kidneys, or pâté, or thinly sliced liver and onions. With the exception of home-made pâté, and this pie, if I want to eat offal these days, I must buy it in a restaurant. No wonder liver and onions is on the menu of every second pub bistro menu in the country. People love it, but it’s a guilty pleasure.

This pie is an exception to the universally accepted rule that British cuisine is horrible.  British cuisine is not horrible. British cuisine is fantastic. For too long, British cuisine has been made by timid cooks – that’s what has damaged the Brits’ culinary reputation.  The English, bless them, have a particularly bad rap as purveyors of hideous offal dishes and it’s true that much has been done to get in the way of great flavours and cook the bejeebus out of this unique food. Tripe and onions, anyone?

Hopefully, you will try this, taste the bold flavours, rejoice in the honesty and robustness of the meal and re-acquaint yourself with this great winter stand-by. Don’t let it go the way of tripe and onions oblivion.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

750g chuck steak and 4 lamb kidneys OR 850g  steak and kidney; 2 tbsp plain flour; 1 tbsp oil; 1 onion, diced; 30g butter; 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce; 1 tblsp tomato paste; 1/2 cup red wine (optional); 1 cup beef stock; 125g button mushrooms, sliced; 1/2 tsp dried thyme; 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley; 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed; 1 egg, lightly beaten

METHOD

Trim the meat of any excess fat and sinew and cut into 2cm cubes. Very carefully, slice the sinew from the kidneys. Quarter them and trim away any white fat. Cut into smaller chunks if you want, but no smaller than 2cm pieces. Place the flour in a plastic bag with the meat and kidneys and toss gently.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the butter to the pan, brown the meat and kidneys in batches and then return all the meat, kidneys and onion to the pan.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, wine, stock, mushrooms, thyme and parsley to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Season to taste, and allow to cool. Spoon into a large pie dish (I use a pyrex pie dish, which holds enough for 6 hefty serves).

Preheat the oven to 210C.

Cut two or three 1 cm strips from the edge of the pastry and press onto the rim of the dish, sealing the joins with a bit of the beaten egg. Place the pastry on the pie, trim the edges and cut two steam holes in the pastry. Decorate the pie with leftover pastry if desired and brush the top with egg.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

COST

$10.00 for 4 to 6 large serves

Day 11 – Vegetable Pie

This is another great leftovers dish, especially for vegetables. I have given suggestions here for suitable veggies and quantities, but feel free to make use of anything that you have – corn, leeks, chinese cabbage, zucchini, celery, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas, parsnips, swede and jerusalem artichokes could all be used. Continue reading Day 11 – Vegetable Pie

Day 5 – Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pies

Pot pies are individual pies served in ramekins and by using a sheet of frozen pastry, they are a marvellous and quick way to provide a substantial family meal without the fuss of making your own pastry or a larger pie. They are also very tidy receptacles for whatever vegetables you want to finish up. I have given you the recipe I always start from, using mushrooms and leeks. If you don’t have these, try any combination including onions, carrots, diced potatoes, sweet potato, peas, beans, corn and even some lentils for bulk. A cup or two of mixed vegetables is all you need.

Makes 4 individual pies

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp oil; 1 clove garlic, crushed; 2 -3 chicken thigh fillets (about 300g), diced; 15g butter; 1 leek, washed and sliced, white part only; 2 rashers bacon, snipped to 1cm pieces OR 1/2 cup bacon pieces; 1 cup sliced mushrooms – use any mushrooms you have, button, or flat or field; 1 1/2 cups well-made chicken stock; 2 tsp cornflower; salt and pepper to taste; sprig thyme; 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry; 1 egg OR 4 tbsp milk

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200 C. Thaw the pastry sheet on the bench top.

Heat oil in a large frypan and add chicken and garlic, sauté until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add butter to pan and toss in leek and bacon. Saute until bacon is crisp and leek is wilted and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are brown and slightly crisp, another 3 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan, and the stock. Bring to the boil and scrape up all the meaty bits of the bottom of the pan. Adjust seasoning and add the thyme leaves.

In a small cup, stir the cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water and dissolve completely. Add the cornflour slurry to the pan and stir well until the sauce thickens.

Carefully cut the pastry sheet into four quarters, squares of about 15cm by 15cm.

Spoon the chicken and vegetables into the ramekins. The filling should come to about 1 cm from the top. Dip your fingers into some cold water and run them around the outside edge of the ramekins. Place a quarter of pastry over the top and fold the pastry down over the wet edge of the ramekins, pressing down firmly. Repeat with other pies.

Using a sharp knife, cut a cross into the centre of each pie, about 2cm long. Carefully fold back the cut pastry, creating a little hole that steam can escape from. Brush the pastry tops with egg or milk and place ramekins on a baking tray.

Bake for 20 mins or until pastry is golden and crunchy. Be careful transferring the ramekins to plates – they will be very hot to the touch.  Serve with some vegies and creamy mash on the side.

COST

$5.30 for four individual pies