Friday, 15 May 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pie

If you're making this for a vegetarian meal then make sure to use a vegetarian hard cheese instead of the Parmesan and use instead of lard use a pure vegetable fat (you should be able to find an 80% white block of vegetable fat in most large supermarkets).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 150 fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 125g soft goats cheese
  • Hot water pastry made with 175g flour, 60g lard and 70ml water
  • 25g grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  2. Place the butternut squash into a roasting dish and roast for 45 minutes.
  3. Put the onion in a large saucepan with the olive oil and fry over a medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Add the spinach to the saucepan, turn the heat down and then cover with a lid.
  5. Leave the spinach to slowly reduce down, stirring every 5 minutes or so. It'll probably take 20 minutes to reduce down to a green mush.
  6. Remove from the heat and start to make the pastry.
  7. While the pastry is resting, mix the onion and spinach with the butternut squash, cumin and goats cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Line a pie dish with the pastry.
  9. Bake the pastry on it's own in the oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Put the filling into the half-baked pastry and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top of the pie and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  12. Optionally, 10 minutes from the end, you can brush the exposed crust with some milk to bring out a better colour in it.
  13. Leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Makes enough to fill a 23cm low pie/flan dish, serving about 5 people.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Chicken and Ham Pie

These pies can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge after they've cooled: ideal for a picnic lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 125g bacon lardons
  • 250g minced pork
  • 200g chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • a generous pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of dried sage
  • Hot water pastry made with 400g flour, 140g lard and 155ml water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Put the water on for the pastry.
  3. Fry the lardons over a medium heat until they just start to brown, stirring every minute or so to ensure even cooking.
  4. Tip the lardons into a mixing bowl and add the minced pork, chicken and spices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Line the pie dish(es) with the three quarters of the pastry.
  7. Fill the pastry with the filling and then use the remaining pastry to make a lid.
  8. Puncture holes in the lid after attaching it to the base with a bit of pressure between your fingers.
  9. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
  10. 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time you can optionally brush some milk onto the top of the pie to give it a good brown colour.
  11. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes enough filling for two 10cm pie tins or a single 14cm tin, serving about 5 people.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Hot Water Pastry

Hot water pastry is really easy to make and, as long as you leave it to rest for the right length of time, very easy to work with.

Ingredients:

  • 200g lard
  • 225ml water
  • 575g plain flour

Method:

  1. Put the lard and water into a sauce pan and heat over a medium heat until fully melted.
  2. Put the flour into a large heat proof bowl.
  3. Pour the liquid lard and water onto the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it starts to lump together.
  4. Carefully (as it'll still be hot) use your hands to kneed the dough. You want to form a consistent ball of dough, which shouldn't take more than about a minute.
  5. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Split the dough into a 3:1 split, using the smaller bit for the lid of a pie.
  7. Roll the dough out into roughly the shape of your pie dish (you won't need flour on the rolling surface) and then use your fingers to spread the dough into the pie dish.
  8. Stuff with your filling of choice.
  9. Roll out the remaining pastry for the lid and use your fingers to seal it to the base.
  10. Bake in an oven at 160 degrees Celsius for an hour and a half to two hours, depending on your filling.
  11. Leave for 10 minutes before serving after removing from the oven for the pastry and filling to rest.

Makes enough pastry for a 20cm wide pie that will be about 6 or 7 cms deep. Which is large enough for 8 people or so.