Turkey & Leek pie

 

This pie is a must-have at Christmas in our house. Over the years we have developed a tradition whereby we have Christmas dinner No.1 which is the traditional turkey, ham, potatoes roasted in goose fat, stuffing, veg, pigs in blankets and gravy, on St Stephens Day we have Christmas dinner No. 2  which is more or less the same with freshly cooked roast potatoes and different veg  which I enjoy even more than dinner on Christmas Day! ) and then we have Christmas dinner No.3 which is the Turkey Pie. My adult children now insist that we stick to this routine and no matter what they have on they all manage to be here for these 3 dinners ! It is a nice way to extend Christmas to be honest and for us all to have dinner together. The pie in particular is a really nice change and a great way to use up leftover cooked meat – any mixture of turkey and / or ham can be used and of course this pie can be made anytime with cooked chicken. Happy Christmas to you all and happy cooking in 2018! x

 

Serves 4-6

Approx. 30 minutes prep & 45 minutes in the oven

Ingredients

50g butter plus extra for greasing
1 onion sliced
1 large leek, trimmed & sliced
250g button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon plain flour
250ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
900g cooked turkey cut into chunks(or mixture of ham, turkey or chicken)
200/225g ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg lightly beaten
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

How to make it!

  • Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5
  • Heat the butter in a sauté pan
  • Add the onion, garlic, leek and mushrooms and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously
  • Gradually pour the stock into the pan followed by the cream, stirring until smooth after each addition
  • Add the bay leaf, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally
  • Stir in the parsley, season to taste and set aside to cool.
  • Cover the sauce with a buttered circle of non-stick parchment paper to prevent a skin forming
  • Place the cooked turkey / meat in a 1.75L (3 pint) pie dish and ladle over the sauce
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 0.5cm/¼cm on a lightly floured surface to fit the top of the pie dish making sure that it is large enough to hang over the edges like a ‘blanket’.
  • Place the pastry lid on top of the pie, trimming it down to fit and brush around the edges with a little water to help it stick, then press down along the sides to seal.
  • Cut a small slit in the pastry lid to allow the steam to escape
  • Cut out a few decorative pastry leaves to put in the centre of the pastry lid.(optional)
  • Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is nicely puffed up and golden brown.

Serve with some creamy mashed potato and enjoy!

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Leek, potato & spinach soup with chorizo

This is what you and your family need right now on these cold, wintery days. Warm, nutritious and comforting and really easy to make. Adding spinach to the soup has two purposes – it adds nutrients and it also gives the soup a lovely green colour. The fried chorizo cubes lift this ordinary soup into something special –  I adore chorizo but you could also use fried bacon pieces or if you want to make it fully vegetarian or vegan just leave these out and use water or vegetable stock instead of the chicken stock.

Preparation: 15 minutes. Cooking Time: 30/40 minutes

Ingredients

4 large leeks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped small
50g butter
850ml chicken stock (or water for vegetarian / vegan option)
150ml milk
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach leaves (washed and trimmed of any tough stalks)
Chorizo – cut into cubes (or bacon pieces if you prefer – leave out for vegetarian / vegan option)

How to make it:

  • Trim off the tops and roots of the leeks, discarding the tough outer layer
  • Prepare the leeks by splitting them in half lengthways and slice them up quite finely, then rinse and drain them
  • In a large thick-based saucepan melt the butter on a low heat then add the leeks, potatoes and onion, stirring them with a wooden spoon so they get a nice coating of butter
  • Season with salt & pepper
  • Cover and let the vegetables sweat over a very low heat for about 10/15 minutes – key a very close eye on them so they don’t burn or stick to the bottom (this has happened to me in the past I have to admit!)
  • Add the stock and bring to a simmer, put the lid back on and simmer gently for approx. 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the milk and the spinach leaves and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Liquidise the soup using a blender.

To serve:

Heat the chorizo in a dry non-stick pan for 2/3 minutes (it won’t need any oil as it will release it’s own) until it is nice and crispy to serve. Enjoy!

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Casserole Roast Chicken

Roast chicken with roast potatoes, stuffing and gravy is without doubt one of the most popular dinners in our house. Cooking roast chicken used to freak me out a bit, I don’t know why but I always thought of it as a complicated dinner. Then I came across this simple and foolproof one-pot method which absolutely rocks. I discovered it when I was in Ballymaloe House (on a 2-day course which I was so lucky to win as a prize!) a few years ago. So no roasting tray, racks, cooking bags etc – it just cooks in the one pot in which all the juices collect and from which you can make your gravy.  So no need to fear cooking roast chicken any more – if you haven’t done it before give this a try and you won’t look back.   Continue reading

Halloumi salad with avocado salsa

This  isn’t technically a recipe as it really just a matter of combining the ingredients. No cooking skills required and no need to stick rigidly to the quantities specified as any combination of these ingredients will result in a delicious end result. How good is that! And, as if that wasn’t enough, it’s made in minutes, i.e. real ‘fast food’. Halloumi is unlike any other cheese as it holds its shape and doesn’t melt when heated. It has a delicious salty flavour and it makes for a very quick, healthy and filling snack or lunch  – it has a reasonable shelf life so it is great to have it on standby in the fridge for those days when you are starving or short of time or both (happens regularly to me). It goes very well also with fresh beetroot which you can get in vacuum packs and which is another great standby to have in the fridge as it lasts for weeks in the fridge.

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a starter

Time to prepare: approx. 10/15 mins.

Ingredients

Avocado Salsa

1 ripe avocado
2/3 tomatoes
1 fresh lime
Fresh coriander leaves chopped

Halloumi Cheese (1 packet)

To serve: Salad leaves & dressing

How to make it:

  • Cut the tomatoes* into halves and then into quarters. Remove the seeds and chop the flesh into small pieces. *If you have time remove the skin by placing the tomatoes into boiling water for approx. 30 secs at which stage the skin will just peel off.
  • Cut the avocado in half, remove the skin and the stone and cut the flesh into cubes.
  • Place the tomato, avocado and coriander in a small bowl, add a good squeeze of lime and toss gently.
  • Cut the halloumi into slices and heat a non-stick pan (no oil needed).
  • Place the cheese slices onto the hot pan and fry until a nice golden colour on each side.
  • Put the salad together by placing some dressed salad leaves on a plate.
  • Place the avocado salsa in the centre and arrange the warm cheese slices around it.
  • Bon appétit!

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‘Good for You’ Chocolate Mousse

Ok guys, no excuses not to make this easy-peasy dessert with just 3 ingredients – chocolate, cream and eggs and a measly 207 calories per portion!  Not only is it simple but it makes it into my ‘healthy eating’ category because there is no added sugar. If the fact that it is super delicious, easy to make and low in calories isn’t enough to convince you to make it then the fact that dark chocolate is also good for your heart, circulation and brain should be the deal clincher! The other bonus is that this is ready after just 2 hours in the fridge.

The only sugar in this recipe is whatever is contained in the dark chocolate itself. I  used chocolate with 74% cocoa solids (from Lidl).

The recipe is adapted from a recipe contained in Rachel Allen’s book Rachel’s Favourite Foods.

Makes 6 small (50ml) glasses

Ingredients

120g (4½ oz) dark chocolate (min. 70% cocoa solids)
120ml (4fl oz) cream
2 eggs, separated

How to make it

  • Break up the chocolate into small pieces.
  • In a saucepan, bring the cream up to the boil then turn off the heat.
  • Add the chocolate to the cream and stir until the chocolate is melted.
  • In a separate large clean & dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff
  • Stir a quarter of the egg white into the chocolate mixture
  • Gently fold in the rest of the egg white, being careful not to knock all the air out.
  • Spoon into little glasses or cups
  • Leave for an hour or two in the fridge to set
  • Decorate / serve as you like, with a raspberry on the top, blob of whipped cream or a little gold dust.

My advice then is to hide and keep it all for yourself!

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No fuss Strawberry Ice Cream

 

Bit of a delay since my last post due to wi-fi connectivity issues which I won’t go into as it was a traumatic time! If you haven’t experienced it believe me, in a house with 2 adult children, bar the entire house going on fire, having no wi-fi is guaranteed to cause a few epic melt-downs and stress levels to go sky-high. We still had food, electricity, a roof over our head, even a TV,  but no wi-fi ….you get my drift! Anyway if you are feeling a bit sad to see Summer come to an end and stressed having to get organised again with meals / school lunches / uniforms etc cheer yourself up with this week’s recipe for the most fabulous strawberry ice cream. No need for any fancy ice cream machine here to make this delicious ice cream with a wonderful fresh strawberry flavour. Serve it on a cone or with some fresh strawberries. Yum!

(This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s book Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends.)

Makes approx. 2 litres. (Serves approx. 12 people)

Ingredients

250g (9oz)fresh strawberries
Juice of 1 lemon
250g (9oz) caster sugar
200ml(7floz) water
4 large egg whites (roughly 100g or 4oz of egg whites)
a pinch of cream of tartar (Bextartar)
300ml (10 ½ fl oz cream, whipped which should come to about 500ml or 17 ½ fl oz whipped cream)

 

How to make it!

  • Purée the strawberries with the lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
  • Push the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds.
  • Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Boil fiercely for 5 minutes, until it thickens and the last drops off a spoon dipped into it form a kind of thread.
  • Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff.
  • Still whisking, gradually pour in the hot syrup in a thin stream and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool, glossy and stiff (about 4/5 minutes).
  • Fold in the strawberry purée and the whipped cream, though not completely so as to give it a nice marbled effect.
  • Freeze overnight.
  • The ice cream can be scooped / served straight from the freezer.

 

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Rhubarb Fumble!

The star of this recipe is the crumble which is so so easy to make – perfect for kids to make as it is completely foolproof. The recipe makes a full jar of the delicious crumble just like the one in the photo. Since I made this last weekend I have had to hide the jar as fistfuls were disappearing overnight! Think of crumbled home-baked cookies and you get the idea. The crumble will go on anything ………ice cream, fruit, custard for example and is delicious cold. This recipe has 3 parts to it, all very useful on their own i.e. poached rhubarb, custard and crumble. If you don’t make the rhubarb or the custard please give the crumble a go – eat it on its own or serve it with some fruit e.g. strawberries and ice cream or natural yogurt.  I have rhubarb growing in my garden so I am always looking for recipes to use it up as I hate wasting it. It is the easiest plant in the world to grow, needs absolutely no care or attention so if you have any space at all buy a couple of plants and you will have a supply year after year.  Continue reading