The days are growing colder and darker, and it’s the time to break out some comfort food. It maybe wholesome, but it doesn’t need to be bland!
Curries are super versatile and go well with most types of carbs, but I decided to try potatoes, with toasted onion seeds.
I usually make this at the weekend, but you can make a double batch of the curry and freeze it if you want rustle this up for a quick mid week dinner. It’s also a great way to use left over boiled potatoes.
For the curry
500 Grams Chicken (I used breast meat because it’s what I had, but thighs also work), cut into bite sized pieces)
5-6cm Piece of ginger
4 Cloves of garlic
100 Grams Mushrooms (cut into thick slices)
150 Grams Green beans (I used frozen and they were fine)
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Tumeric
1 Tsp Ground coriander
250ml Chicken stock (it’s fine to use a stock cube)
1 Tbsp Oil
For the topping
1Kg Potatoes (a floury variety is best), cut into cubes
50 Grams Butter
2 Tsps Onion (Nigella) seeds
Heat a large dry frying pan, and toast the onion seeds. When you start to hear them crackle and pop remove from the pan and set to one side
Add the peeled and roughly chopped onion, garlic and ginger to a food processor as well as the chillies. Blitz the ingredients until broken down to a pulp
Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the rest of the ingredients for the curry to pan and simmer for 25-30 mins, or little longer if needed. This should be quite a thick curry
While your curry is cooking boil your potatoes until soft (I like to leave the skin on, but peel them if you prefer)
Once cooked, drain your potatoes, roughly crush with a fork or potato masher. You aren’t making mashed potatoes, you just need to break them up
Add the butter and toasted onion seeds and mix well
Top the curry with the potatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees for 30 mins or until the topping is golden brown and crunchy
I first had this as a teenager when a school friend’s Mum made this one night when I was at their house. It was a taste revelation to me. Up until then I had only had corned beef (chipped beef in the US) in sandwiches.
I had the idea to make this when looking in a cupboard I found the strange shaped tin with the stupid little key and strange opening mechanism. Honestly, after all these years, why does corned beef have to be stored in these weird shaped tins. And don’t even start me about the stupid key thing you need to open it, that you cut yourself on every single time. I mean it, if anyone knows why this still happens please tell me.
Anyway, rant over. You can make this with ready made pasty if you want this to be super quick. I have included details for anyone who prefers to make their own pastry. It’s a good way to use up left over potatoes, and makes an easy inexpensive meal.
For the pastry
225 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter (cut into cubes)
For the filling
300 Grams Potatoes (cooked)
1 Onion (finely sliced)
340 Gram Tin of corned beef
Salt and pepper
My hand are always really warm, so I’m not best suited to make pastry, this is part of the reason I add the flour and butter to a food processor and pulse until I get a mix that looks like bread crumbs (you can also use the traditional rubbing in method, but generally I’m too lazy for this).
When your mix looks like breadcrumbs, start by adding a little cold water at a time until the mix comes together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins. If you’re stuck for time or just can’t be bothered, it’s totally fine to use shop bought pastry
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and put a baking sheet in the oven to heat. Grease a 9 inch loose base cake/pie tin and set to one side, ready for your pastry
Remove your pastry from the fridge and let it sit for 5-10 minutes so it isn’t too stiff to roll out. While you wait on this, chop your onion finely, and cube your cooked potatoes (which should be cold), after you have wrestled your corned beef out of the tin and tried really hard not to scream f*ck at it, you should cube this as well
Mix the potatoes, corned beef, and onion together and season with salt and pepper
Put the pastry on a floured surface and cut approx 1/3 off and set to one side (this will be the lid for your pie)
Roll the remaining pastry out as thinly as possible, and make sure it’s big enough to fit your pie tin. Line the tin with the pastry, making sure that you have pushed into the edges
Put your corned beef mix into the lined pie dish, and then roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid. brush the edges of the pastry lining the tin with beaten egg and then place the lid on top. I press down the edged with a fork to make sure it’s sealed
Brush the pie with some more beaten egg (it will help it look pretty when it’s cooked) and add a couple holes to allow steam to escape. Place the completed pie on top of the baking sheet that has been heating in the oven (this help ensure the base if cooked).
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is a deep golden brown
In my quest to stop food hoarding I’m trying to work through stuff hiding in my freezer. I found a pack of sausage meat that had been been hanging about the freezer since Christmas.
I don’t usually buy sausage meat but the addition of caramelised onions and sweet apples make a scrumptious combination. I’ve included details of home made pastry, but you can use ready made short crust pastry if you prefer.
255 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter (cut into small cubes)
1 Egg (beaten)
For the filling
450 Grams Sausage meat
2 Apples (cores removed, and cut into small chunks)
2 Onions (finely sliced)
1Tsp Dried thyme
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt and pepper
Add the flour and butter to a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs (you can use the po”rubbing in method”, but a food processor is quicker
Gradually add cold water to the mix until it comes together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
Add oil to a frying pan, add the onions and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes until browned. Allow to cool
Add the fried onions, thyme, chopped apples, salt, pepper and sausage meat to a bowl. Combine the mix with you hands until all the ingredients are evenly distributed
Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut approximately a third off and set to one side. On a floured surface, roll out the remaining two thirds.
Grease a loose base pie tin, and then line the tin with the rolled out pastry
Add the filling, and then roll out the remain third of the pastry to form a lid
Brush the edges of the pastry lining the dish with the beaten egg. Lay the pastry lid on top and trim any pastry hanging over the edge of the tin with knife. Crimp the edges of the pie with a fork
Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg, and cut some slices in the lid to allow steam to escape
Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees, and add a baking sheet to heat as well. Put the pie dish into the baking sheet and bake the pie for 50 minutes.
Allow to cool on the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin
I made this sort of by accident. I meant to buy condensed milk for another dessert I was planning to make. The short story is that I was distracted in the supermarket and bought evaporated milk instead.
Rather then waste it, I remembered a recipe using evaporated milk I had seen in an old recipe book I bought in a charity shop. I still have no idea how it got its name. But I do know its delicious, incredibly tasty and very sweet. This is a pretty straight forward recipe, you could even buy a premade pastry case if you’re short on time. The filling has only two ingredients, but once baked this turns into fudgy, caramely deliciousness. We had custard with this, but ice cream would also work.
Serves 8 – 10
For the pastry
200 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter
1 Tbsp Caster sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk
3 Tbsp cold water
For the filling
280 Grams Muscavado Sugar
410 ml Tin of Evaporated milk
In a food processor add the flour, butter, salt, sugar and egg yolk and whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs. (You can use the “rubbing in” method of you prefer, but I think it’s easier and quicker to use a food processor)
Add cold water to the crumb mix until it starts to come together, and you can form a ball.
Wrap in cling film and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take the pastry out of the fridge and preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Brush a a loose base 9 inch pie tin with melted butter
Roll the pastry out as thinly as possible on a floured surface and line your pie tin with it.
Place a large square of baking parchment (larger than the inside of the pie tin) on top of the pastry and cover the base with baking beans (I keep old dried rice in a jar to use when I need to blind bake pastry) bake for 15 minutes
After 15 minutes remove from the oven, and carefully lift the baking parchment by the corners taking care not to spill the rice/baking beans on the pastry. Pierce the bottom of the pie base all over with a fork and return to the oven for another 10 minutes
Put the muscavado sugar and evaporated milk in a bowl. Mix with an electric whisk for 5-10 until with sugar and milk are no longer grainy, and becomes lighter in colour and looks frothy.
Remove the pie base from the oven. Fill the pie base with the sugar and milk mixture and return to the oven
Bake for a further 25 minutes. The filling may puff up in the oven, but don’t panic, it deflate as it cools.
I know what you’re thinking, big woo chicken pie, but trust me this is delicious. Yes, there is a lot of wine and cream, but it also has a lot of vegetables (in my mind that sort of balances it out).
This is a pie to make when you have plenty of people to feed, and it is really satisfying. Serve it with salad in the Summer, or if you’re making it in colder weather it’s fantastic with buttery mashed potatoes and greens. I used shop bought pastry (there I’ve said it, and I’m not even sorry, sometimes life is just too short)
1 Sheet ready made short crust pastry (you can also use puff pastry if you prefer_
500 Grams Butternut squash
2 Tbsps Vegetable oil
500 Grams Chicken thighs (bones and skins removed)
2 Red peppers
1 Green pepper
2 Sticks of celery
150 Grams Green beans
150 Grams Sweet Corn
Half bottle of white wine ( this was the amount of wine I had hanging around the kitchen, you can reduce this, or remove it and add 250 ml of chicken stock if you would rather not use wine)
2 Tsps Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds (optional)
Salt and Pepper
Chop the butternut squash into 3-4cm chunks add to a baking tray and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil before baking for 20 mins in an oven preheated to 200 degree
While the butternut squash is roasting, chop your chicken, peppers, celery, and onion into 3-4 cm pieces (I like the filing fairly chunky)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan, and on a high heat cook your chicken until its sealed. Remove the chicken from the pan, reduce the heat and add the onions, peppers and celery and cook for 5 minutes
Add the green beans, corn, butternut squash and chicken to the pan and add the white wine
Cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the alcohol has burned of the wine (you can tell this by having a could sniff of the pan, and if it doesn’t make your nose tingle the alcohol has burned off)
Now add the cream and mustard and stir well, it will seem like there is a lot of liquid, but trust me if you continue to cook over a medium heat for another 15 minutes it will thicken into a really delicious sauce
Once the sauce has thickened check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Transfer the contents of the pan into a large baking dish, and allow to cool
When the pie filling is cool, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and drape your sheet of pastry over the filling. Brush with a beaten egg to get a nice glaze. I also sprinkled mine with sesame seeds because I love them, but don’t stress if you don’t have them, the pie will still be delicious. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is a deep golden brown
I love Summer, and get a bit carried away buying soft fruits when they’re in season.
To use up the mountain of fruit I bought I decided to come up with this take on a recipe that featured in the Great British Bake Off. This pie usually doesn’t hang around long after it comes out of the oven because it smells so good, but it’s best eaten the day it’s made. It’s also handy that you don’t have to faff around with flan tins.
200 Grams Plain flour
100 Grams Butter
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
3 Tbsp Cold water
150 Grams Blueberries
59 Grams Caster
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornflour
29 Grams Melted butter for brushing
Sift the flour and salt together, and along with sugar and the butter (cut into cubes) add to a food processor and whizz until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs
Add the cold water gradually, until the mixture starts to form ball
Form into a ball and wrap in cling, put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes
While the pastry is chilling, slice the peaches into quarters and put in a bowl with the blueberries. Sprinkle the cornflour and sugar over the fruit making sure the fruit is well coated
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, and roll out your pastry into a thin flat disc. My kitchen was really hot the day I made this, so I found it easier to roll the pastry out between two sheets of grease proof paper, before transferring to a baking sheet
Pile the fruit into the centre of the pastry, leaving a 4 or 5cm gap around the edge of the pastry
Start folding in the edges of the pastry in pleats, and then brush with the melted butter
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. You can dust the pie with some icing sugar if you want to be fancy, this is delicious with vanilla ice cream