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.
Over the Christmas period I was staying a my boyfriend’s Mum’s house (Mummo) down in Brighton. After 3 days of solidly eating nothing but turkey we all needed a bit of a rest, so one evening she cooked us up a really quite and easy Stroganoff. I always though stroganoffs were something you had to leave to cook slowly and would therefore only be a weekend option, but I was wrong. Last week I found this excellent Delia recipe online that we tried on Sunday evening and it was ready in 20minutes so it definitely qualifies as a midweek meal as well as a winter warmer!
The recipe: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cuisine/european/english/pork-stroganoff-with-three-mustards.html
Now I know 3 mustards sounds excessive, but it is imperative in my opinion that you use them all. We get through mustard like it’s going out of fashion n my house so we always have a big stock of it in the fridge and some standby jars in the cupboard, but if you don’t keep a full stock of mustard at home, I urge you to buy all three if you want to try this dish out. You will not regret it.
We used pork loin medallions cut into thin strips – it was 300g as opposed to the 350g that Delia suggests but this was more than enough, and we bulked it out with some extra mushrooms. Here you’ll see in this ‘big man portion’ we accompanied it with garlic and rosemary roasted baby new potatoes (super simple to do – I’ll add a mini recipe below) and a rocket salad, but I imagine it would go equally well with mash, rice or even a jacket if you wanted to whip this up super quick midweek.
If you want to try with our potatoes (best for the weekend as they can take about an hour) buy a bag of salad potatoes – any kind will do. I like the tinier the better as you get more crispy skin but an Anya (the little knobbly ones) work really well too cut into rounds. Cut them into halves and boil for 15mins or so in well salted water. In the meantime, heat a roasting tray with about 2 tablespoons of sun/olive oil in a hot oven (about 200degrees). Drain your potatoes and drop carefully into the hot oil, throw in a few crushed whole garlic cloves in their skins and a handful of freshly picked rosemary. Crunch sea salt flakes all over and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper and toss it all together before returning to the oven. You can leave them in for as long as you like – I find that about 25 minutes is best to give them a lovely crispy outside.
On Tuesday, (since I was still feeling under the weather) for the second time in two days my boyfriend cooked me dinner. My only specification was that I wanted something warming and made with love (but really I wanted was something that would include sausages, as naughty and unfriendly to my diet as they are).
I crept into the kitchen to watch him unload the shopping bags and low and behold – there was a pack of 6 Duchy Organic sausages! My prayers had been answered. What followed was this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/great_sausage_casserole_73010
I’ve never much been a fan of the Hairy Bikers TV shows, but every one of their recipes I’ve tried has been a delight, this one included. We cooked only half of the recipe and that made 3 generous portions so I’ve got some left over for lunch today too – lucky girl! For a casserole, it was remarkably quick to make so can be included in the Midweek Meal category as well as a Weekend Warmer.
I cannot recommend their Hairy Dieters cook books highly enough either – they have great ‘Fakeaway’ sections where you rustle up low fat alternatives to your favourite Chinese and Indian dishes. They have great calorie breakdowns in the and you won’t believe that what you’re eating can fit in with a diet but somehow it does!
I was feeling a bit sorry for myself on Monday night – I’d spent most of day feeling full of lethargy and nausea so when I got home from work I changed into my pink bunny rabbit PJs and my big flowery dressing gown and sat down to a jigsaw puzzle (pyjamas and jigsaw puzzle are a great combination when you’re not feeling all that by the way).
Lucky for me, my lovely boyfriend was on hand to rustle me up some feel good food. He said we were having pasta with spinach and mushrooms which didn’t inspire me at all if I’m honest. In fact I was a bit disappointed. What I wanted was proper comfort food like bangers and mash or a pasta bake. How wrong could I be!
His yummy pasta concoction consisted simply of pancetta, mushrooms and wilted spinach, all mixed together with a generous spoonful of red pesto and crème fraiche. It was an absolute delight and so easy and quick to make! Highly recommended to anyone feeling a little under the weather (along with PJs and jigsaw puzzles of course). Not too unhealthy comfort food to warm the cockles of an ailing hearts.
So far all I’ve bleated on about is one of my resolutions – to bake and cook more yumminess than ever before, but my second resolution – to lose weight, seems to have already been put to the back burner two days into the new year… well not completely. Yesterday I ate a Greek yoghurt for breakfast, had a small pack of sushi for lunch and then made my way home to cook a delicious and healthy dinner.
Now I live with a man with traditional manly values like ‘man must eat meat’ and I’ve found myself saying goodbye to the veggie fajitas, falafel and cauliflower cheese of yesterday. So he was a little taken back when I told him that this year we would be eating more adventurous and nutritious meals, some of which might be meat free *gasp*. Once he had gotten over the initial shock he seemed to warm to the idea until I reminded him a couple of days later and he seemed equally dismayed. So to ease him in to our healthier eating regime, what better way than with fish! I definitely want to increase my fish intake this year so any ideas for quick fishy feasts would be gratefully received!
We don’t get a huge amount of time in the evening once we’re in from work so it’s important for us that we have a reliable repertoire of mid-week meals that can be rustled up in minutes; as such I am always keeping my eyes peeled for swift concoctions in magazines, on TV and online. Waitrose magazine is just fab (if you ignore the ridiculous interludes from the likes of Pippa Middleton and Philip Schofield) and I have folders full of clippings that I’ve never attempted, but 2014 is a time for all that to change! I spotted a simple Kedgeree recipe using really quick ingredients like Waitrose’s already prepared lemon pilau rice that you can just ping in the microwave before adding to the pan. The only other things I needed were eggs, green beans and smoked haddock as all the spices were already in my bulging store cupboard. I did buy a little pot of single cream though which was off piste but I thought it would add a bit of luxury.
And it’s as simple as this: poach your haddock with a couple of bay leaves and boil a couple of eggs and some green beans (you can even let them share a pan to save on the washing). Stick the rice in the microwave and once it pings, fry gently in a wok with some garlic, butter and a bit of curry powder. Then flake in your fish and add the green beans and stir together. Turn off the heat before adding a dash of single cream and stir through. Quarter the boiled eggs and lay them on top of each portion with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or coriander if you have any spare (there’s a constant supply of parsley in our house as it’s Ted’s favourite). Voila! Dinner’s ready in 20 minutes and you only need to wash a frying pan, a sauce pan and your plates. Kedgeree is one of those dishes where you can bring it alive according to you taste – don’t be afraid to go wild with the spices if you feel like something really fragrant or maybe gently fry a some chilli flakes in the pan before adding the rice for a bit of kick. It’s also a great breakfast/brunch food, cheap to make, and easy to prepare a huge amount if you’re cooking for a large group. As a breakfast you could you kippers instead of haddock or if you’re feeling really indulgent, do a posh version with some hot smoked salmon; I’m salivating at the very thought!