This fits in both the midweek meals and baking camps really, but definitely qualifies as a midweek meal as it took no longer than 30 minutes from fridge to plate!
I’m going to offer an ingredients list, but you could put anything you want in this pie. I used ONLY thing that I had hanging around and needed to use up. We’re quite bad at utilising leftovers at home, but with half a roast chicken left after Sunday, it would be an absolute crime to see that go to waste so I set about this ‘leftovers pie’. We’d made a chicken and ham tangle pie from the Hairy Dieters first cookbook so I used the vague memory of that as inspiration and used filo pastry instead of puff, but again this is down to choice.
Half a leftover roast chicken – bones stripped
4 rashers of streaky smoked bacon
A mug full of frozen petit pois
2 large spoonfuls of crème fraiche
1 chicken stock cube
1 glass white wine (plus 1 for drinking)
Ready rolled filo pastry (unless you are completely insane and want to make your own)
1 large garlic clove
And here is what I did: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cut the bacon into chunks and dry fry. Streaky bacon is so fatty you really don’t need any oil, it’ll be frying in its own fat in no time. When the bacon is nicely crisped, add in our already cooked chicken and toss it about in the pan with the bacon for a couple of minutes to add flavour. Remove all of this from the pan and lay in your oven proof pie dish.
Now in the bacony pan, crush one garlic clove and add chopped leeks. Add a little bit of butter and fry gently until the leeks soften. Layer over the meat in the pie dish with the addition of your frozen petit pois.
Again in your bacony, buttery, leeky pan, pour a glass of white wine and heat until it bubbles. Pour all of this into a small saucepan making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to get any remnants for extra flavour. Using a saucepan at this stage just make it easier to get the right consistency. Once your white wine is bubbling again in the pan, add a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and a couple of ladles of chicken stock. Some fresh thyme would also work well here if you have some to hand. Now melt in your 2 large spoonful’s of crème fraiche and bring the mixture to a simmer. You’ll need to add some kind of agent here to give your sauce the lovely creamy consistency you expect from a pie so option 1 would be to make a roux using butter and flour as a thickening agent, but on this occasion I used option 2 which is a dusting of cornflour. Sprinkle this in a whisk over a low heat until you get your desired thickness. You want it to cling to the back of a spoon but you don’t want your spoon to stand up! Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Pour your sauce over the pie dish contents and cut long strips of filo pasty. Screw the strips up into rosettes and line up over the pie contents until it’s completely covered. You can give it an egg wash if you can be bothered or just brush some oil over the top. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the top is golden and crispy.
I served mine with green beans and root vegetable mash. Yum yum.
I got back to baking basics this weekend with a sure fire crowd pleaser from my baking repertoire. We were visiting my grandparents’ house on Sunday for my Nanny’s birthday so I set my alarm to get up extra early and bake them a fresh raspberry sponge. I’ve made this cake a few times before and it always turns out deliciously moist and fluffy so I thought it would be a good way to get back on the horse after a couple of bake-free weeks.
I got the recipe originally from the GBBO Everyday book but have since adapted it for raspberries and it’s sometimes difficult to find good quality British blackberries in the supermarket and raspberries have a similar effect.
150g fresh blackberries/raspberries
125g softened butter
175g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium eggs (free range of course!)
200g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
Preheat to 180 degrees.
If you’re always ill prepared like me, you’ll almost always have a big rock of butter straight from the fridge which is less than ideal when a recipe asks from softened… but if you cut off chunks to your desired weight and place them in a little bowl, microwave for 10 seconds (absolutely not a second more!) and then give a stir, then pop in for another 10 seconds and stir again. This should give perfect ‘softened butter’ consistency without melting it down to an oil slick.
Scrape this into a big mixing bowl (preferably with a silicone spatula if you have one – if you don’t have one you should buy one! Mine is from Cath Kidston, pic below) and using an electric hand mixer, combine with the caster sugar for a couple of minutes until fluffy. If you don’t have an electric mixer do not fear, just beat using brute strength!
Beat your eggs in a mugs or a bowl and add half to the mixture along with your vanilla extract. Again use your mixer to combine before adding the other half. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl down before each addition.
Now put away your electric mixer – you’ll be folding from here on in. Add a rough third of buttermilk and fold – the mixture my appear curdled and split but this isn’t a problem, just roll with it. Not add a third of the flour and fold in too. Continue until all the buttermilk and flour is combined with the rest of the mixture. Now you’ll notice it no longer looks curdle and split but lovely and creamy and delicious and ready to bake!
Line a 20cm tin (spring-form or loose bottomed at the very least) spoon in your mixture and spread evenly with the back of your dampened spatula. Stud with fresh raspberries or blackberries or both by pressing them down to that they just peep out of the surface. Now sprinkle on the golden caster sugar evenly.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 35 minutes and check with a skewer. If it comes out wet and coated in sticky mixture, return to the oven and continue to check at 5 minute intervals until the skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven, slide a palette knife around the edge of your sponge and release from your tin onto a wire cooling rack. DONE!
I haven’t baked in ages and I’m really missing it but have been poorly with the flu for a week now. Luckily I’ve been looked after and nursed back to health so I’m ready and raring to get back on the baking wagon this weekend!
Am doing dinner for 5 on Saturday so sounds like a great excuse for a cake if you ask me!
I adore barley. It has a yummy comforting stodginess that I always crave in these cold winter months. But it’s underrated and mostly used to simply bulk out soups. It’s not a particularly fashionable staple and I suppose it’s a kind of old fashioned poor man’s food. I remember having it in soups and stews at my grandparents’ house as child with big suety dumplings – heaven! Something people probably don’t associate with barley is how good it is for you – it can actually lower cholesterol and is a great source of fibre at the same time as giving you that glutinous pasta feeling – the perfect comfort food!
So here’s my chance to put barley on the map. I am sort of using it as a bulker in this recipe, but it’s going to steal the show on a newish twist to the ancient highland recipe of Cockaleekie soup. Instead of just using chicken stock, I’m going to change it up to a casserole with whole jerk chicken thighs. If you’re not a fan of really hot and spicy food, you could marinate your chicken in a milder spice mix or just some pepper and paprika, but for me, I love a bit of Dunn’s River jerk seasoning (careful though as it can pack a real punch!) I’d advise coating chicken thighs the night before in the seasoning so the flavours can really penetrate. I’ve suggested this as a weekend warmer as I for one wouldn’t have the time or the desire to carry out the preparation required for this as a mid-week meal but of course that’s up to you.
Take your seasoned chicken thighs (skin on is best but feel free to remove skin if you’d rather. You could also use thigh fillets if you’re not keen on bones, but they add even more flavour in a dish like this) and fry in a little oil in the bottom of a casserole dish. Once the chicken is browned nicely all over (doesn’t matter if it’s not cooked through yet) add chunky chopped leeks and carrots to soften slightly. Pour over a good quality chicken stock to just about cover the chicken, add your barley and cover. Best to follow the instructions on your barley packet – you’ll probably need to have soaked it before hand for a while, or at least rinsed it, but you can buy vacuum sealed packs of barley in the way that you can buy lentils and rice, that only need to be warmed though. Since we’ve put a Caribbean twist, serve with a little dollop of creamy mashed sweet potato but you don’t really need anything to accompany it as it’s a meal in itself.
Delia describes this tart as a ‘first cousin’ to the Bakewell, and that is exactly what it is. It’s also a perfect opportunity for me to us some more of my homemade lemon curd!
As a child, I used to go camping every year to the Peak District. We’d spend the days gambolling up and down dales and wandering about picturesque villages. One of these villages was Buxton, famous for its beautiful spring water and I’d take a little bottle to fill and drink it straight from the ground. Another was Bakewell, renowned for its tarts and a childhood favourite of mine. I remember the day so clearly that we went to the bakery that supposedly made the first ever Bakewell tart; I waited with baited breath while my mum approached with a huge slab of some brown coloured thing on a plate. It didn’t look like Mr Kipling’s… I took a big bite and… OH THE DISAPPOINTMENT! I can almost feel it now. it was nothing like what I’d been used to having at my grandparents’ house, spilling with jam and covered in sweet fondant icing. This was simply an almond sponge in a pasty case. But as I’ve grown older and wiser I’ve actually come to prefer the traditional subtler Bakewell tart, but am still to make my own.
Let this Lancaster Lemon Tart be practise for when I finally pluck up the courage to take on the real deal.
Here is Delia’s recipe: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/desserts/tart/lancaster-lemon-tart.html
This wasn’t in ‘Delia’s Cakes’ but I decided to throw it in as an adhoc bake as I had so much curd to use up before March and I don’t often make pastry based dishes so it would present a welcome change. I did make a last minute decision to buy ready-made pastry which I know is a bit of a cop out, but making my own and the resting and chilling required is for people who have more time than me!
This is such a delicious bake – we had a sneaky slice hot from the oven and another cold after dinner!