Champ and Chilli Pie

It can still get cold, so comfort food is still on the menu. This is a variation on a Shepherd’s pie, I started making this a couple of years ago to use up some leftovers.

If you’re one of those organised people who plans meals for the week then you can make the champ and the chilli for separate meals in advance and just assemble before you bake it

There’s a decent amount of vegetables in this chilli but you could also swap it for an entirely vegetarian chilli if you’re not a meat eater

Ingredients

For the champ

1kg Potatoes

250 ml Milk

5-6 Scallions/spring onions (finely chopped)

Salt

For the chilli

400 Grams Minced beef

1 Onion (chopped into 1cm chunks)

100 Grams Mushrooms (chopped chopped into 1cm chunks)

50 Grams Sweetcorn

2 Stalks of celery (chopped into 1 cm chunks)

1 Red Pepper (chopped into 1 cm chunks)

1 Tbsp Tomato puree

1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Chilli flakes (increase this if you like a hotter chilli)

400ml Passata

400 Gram Can of black beans or kidney beans

Coriander (optional, but I usually add a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped coriander)

75 Grams Grated Cheese (I used mature Cheddar)

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and chop into equal sized cubes before boiling in salted water until soft and then mash thoroughly
  2. While the potatoes are cooking add the milk and scallions/spring onions into a small pot and simmer over a very gentle heat
  3. Stir the milk and scallions into the mashed potatoes and mix well, check if it needs more salt.
  4. For the chilli, heat a large high sided frying pan and add the mince and allow to brown
  5. Add the tomato puree, spices and sliced vegetables and beans and cook for 5 minutes
  6. Add the passata and simmer for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the chilli has thickened
  7. Transfer the chilli to a large oven proof dish and then top with the champ mix
  8. Spread the champ across the chilli with a fork, so that the top has a rough texture (this will help give a lovely crunch once its baked). Sprinkle with grated cheese
  9. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees (Celsius) for 30 minutes

Blue Moo Pie

This is national pie week, so it inspired me to make my version of a steak and blue cheese pie. Yes, there is a bit of work involved but I guarantee it will taste 100 times better than anything you’ll buy in a supermarket.

Rich buttery pastry with really deep unctuous filling mmm.

Before you blue cheese haters turn your nose up at this. I have served this to people who detest blue cheese and they loved it (admittedly I didn’t tell them there was blue cheese in it until they had finished).  So be brave and give it a try, you can try a really mild blue cheese if you’re not sure.

Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking parchment. To make it easier to move to the baking tin.

If cheese just isn’t your thing, just leave it out, this recipe will still give you a really tasty steak pie.

Crumble the Stilton across the steak filling before adding the pastry lid.

I used homemade pastry but you can use shop bought short crust pastry if you’re short on time. I usually make the meat filling and pastry the day before (you can also freeze it if you’re organised enough to make a double batch) .

For the pastry

400 Grams Plain flour

200 Grams Butter (cut into cubes)

1 Tbsp Mustard powder (optional)

1 Egg

Plus 1 Egg yolk (for glazing the pastry before it goes in the oven)

For the filling

800 Grams Stewing steak (cut into 4-5cm chunks)

50 Grams Plain flour

1 Tsp Mustard powder (optional)

1 Onion (finely chopped)

2 Stalks of celery (finely chopped)

1 Tbsp Tomato puree

2-3 Tbsp Oil

100 Grams Stilton or other blue cheese

500-750 ml Beef stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

  1. To make the filling, add a pinch of salt and pepper to flour as well as the mustard power and mix. Coat the cubes of meat in the flour
  2. Add a tablespoon of oil to a large heavy bottomed pan, add the meat in small batches and seal on each side before removing and setting to one side. Continue doing this until all the meat has been sealed, add more oil to the pan if you need to
  3. When all the meat has been sealed add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and gently fry the onion, tomato puree and celery for 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pan and the beef stock. Cover and simmer gently for 60 minutes. Uncover and simmer for a further 30 minutes until the gravy has reduced by at least a third (it should be quite a thick gravy). When the meat is tender remove from the heat and allow to cool completely
  4. I use a food precessor to make pastry, but you can also use the traditional “rubbing in” method if you prefer. Add the butter, mustard powder and flour to the food processor and pulse until it looks like bread crumbs.
  5. Add an egg and pulse, gradually add small amounts of cold water while pulsing until the pastry starts to come together
  6. Turn out on a floured surface and form into a ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  7. While the pastry is chilling, grease a 9in x 9in loose bottom baking tin
  8. Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge. Cut one third of the pastry and set to one side.
  9. I like to roll out pastry between two sheets of baking parchment because I think it makes it easier to transfer to the tin, but you can simply roll it out on a floured surface if you prefer
  10. Roll the pastry out until its about half a centimeter thick and transfer to the prepared tin. Make sure to press it gently into the edges
  11. Spoon your cold meat filling into the pie case and spread evenly
  12. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese on top of the steak filling
  13. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry and top the pie, brush the edges with a little water and then press the edges of the pastry together to seal (you can crimp or press down with a fork)
  14. Brush with egg yolk and add 7-8 little cuts on the lid to allow steam to escape
  15. Bake in an oven preheated to 180 degrees (Celsius) for 45-50 minutes until deep golden brown

Key Lime Pie (with an Oreo crust)

Like everyone else I have been binge watching TV series during lockdown and had got back into Dexter, and an episode put Key Lime Pie back in my head.

The pie is usually made with a digestive biscuit (graham cracker) crumb base, but I’ve made mine with an Oreo crumb base mainly because I just like the contrast in colour (please don’t be tempted to add green food colouring the lime layer) . I’ve also added a whipped cream topping which you can leave out if you don’t like creamy desserts. A traditional pie apparently never had cream because it was difficult get and keep cream fresh in the Florida Keys where the pie originally came from. I also used supermarket own of Oreos which worked out to be much cheaper. Some places sell ready made Oreo pie cases, so if you’re short on time you could also use one of these.

Feel free to revert to the original pie, but I’ve only ever had thumbs up for this version. It’s really good as a dessert that you can make a head and take out of the fridge when you are ready to serve, or treat yourself and enjoy a slice with your afternoon coffee.

Ingredients

For the Crust

400 Grams Oreos

70 Grams Butter (melted)

For the Filling

1 x 397 Can of Condensed milk

3 x Egg yolks

4 x Limes (juice and zest)

300 ml Fresh Cream (whipped)

1 Tbsp Icing sugar

Extra Lime zest to decorate

Method

  1. Add the Oreos to a food processor and whizz until you have fine crumbs. I had to do this in 2 batches but it will depend on the size of your processor. Transfer the crumbs to large bowl and stir in the melted butter. Pre heat your oven 180 degrees (Celsius)
  2. Line the base of a 21-22 cm spring form cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides of the tin with butter.
  3. Pour the Oreo mix into the tin and with a glass or the back of a spoon press the crumbs up the sides of the tin, until there is a crust of around 4-5cm. Make sure the base is well covered too. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool
  4. Add 3 egg yolks to a bowl or mixer and whisk until the yolks lighten in colour and increase in volume
  5. Add the condensed milk, and lime juice and zest and whisk for 2-3 minutes
  6. Pour the filling into the cooled pie base and bake at 160 degrees (Celsius) for 15 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool
  7. When the pie is completely cool, whisk the cream and icing sugar together until it forms soft peaks. Spread over the top of the baked pie and add some finely grated lime zest for a finishing touch