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Archive for the ‘Pastry’ Category

couldn't find my camera so these are rubbish phone photos

Last weekend’s roast was lamb, and on Monday we had quite a bit of leftover cooked meat. Seeing as the weather has been on the colder side, no-one was keen on the salad and cold meat way of using it up. I wanted something a bit different to your average shepherds pie and decided pasties filled with a middle-eastern blend of ingredients would be just right. I think this filling would taste great in fatayer parcels too. If you wanted to use raw mince, then I would suggest pre-cooking it in a little olive oil with the garlic and onions before making the mixture.

The mushrooms in the recipe were to bulk out the meat, so if you have more meat, reduce the mushrooms and vice versa.

leftover lamb and mint pasties

makes roughly 12 medium size pasties

  • 300g cooked lamb, de-boned
  • 200g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tbsps pine nuts
  • 1 1/2tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 500g savoury shortcrust pastry (either the pre-made ready to roll stuff or using this recipe)
  • egg and some milk for brushing

Pre-heat the oven to 200C

Put the lamb into a food processor and gently pulse until it reaches a consistency like cooked mince (be careful not to whizz for too long…I’ve definitely made meat-dust before by accident. Not appetising…) Alternatively chop finely. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl (apart from the pastry!) and leave to stand while you make the pastry…or just get it out of the fridge.

Roll the pastry until it is about 1/2 a centimetre thick and cut into circles roughly 15cm in diameter (I used a medium sized plate to cut round). Fill the circles with a couple of spoons of the mixture. Brush the edges with a mixture of beaten egg and milk and press the edges together. Put slits on the top with a knife. Transfer onto a baking tray with a thin brushing of olive oil on. Brush the tops of the pasties with milk and egg and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20minutes until golden brown. Serve with steamed vegetables.

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Oh Bing... How I love you.

I know I always talk about how much I love everything I post (aubergines, my friends, butternut squash, soup, rice etc.) but Christmas takes on a whole category of it’s own, I mean I REALLY love Christmas. This might have something to do with my birthday being on boxing day, which means I have to make the most of the festive season as that is all I get for a whole year, or it might just be that Christmas is awesome because it’s about God coming to earth as an actual human being…Now I’m normally a fan of everything Christmassy, even the terrible tat holds a place in my heart, but along came the first of December and I was feeling decidedly un-christmassy, one might even say I was feeling quite scroogey and grumpy towards the whole consumer driven machine that Christmas has become, but cynicism doesn’t suit me so I decided to resolve this quick sharp and get my festive on. These pasty shaped pies came about in a kitchen in Germany, where there were no little pie dishes to be had for love nor money (or none that I was willing to pay out) and so these are mince pies for the equipmentally challenged. All you need is a glass or mug to cut the cirlces, about the diameter of a pint glass. This experimentation in shape has turned out to be more than a one-time emergency plan, I personally think the ratio of pastry to mincemeat is just right, and they are much better for entertaining than the traditional shape as there is none of that lid-falling-off malarkey, just little parcels ideal for eating with fingers. Despite my liberalness with the shape do be warned, I have strong opinions on mince pies . Never try to give me a shop-bought mince pie with it’s sickly, soggy pastry. Only the simplest, unsweetened home-made shortcrust pastry will do, anything else and I’ll pass, thanks.

...and some water

All you need to make pastry

Here is your guide to making yourself feel (more) Christmassy. 1. Go to the shops with this list Lard, Butter, Plain Flour, 1x410g jar Mincemeat, Gluehwein/Mulled Wine/Spiced Apple Juice 2. Get back and shut yourself in the kitchen with your laptop. Get the Christmas tunes on,  my preferences are: Sufjan Steven’s “Songs for Christmas”, anything by Bing Crosby (wonderfully these are both on Spotify) and this playlist compiled by my friend Sophie last year, but if you prefer your Christmas cheer in a cheesier variety then put some of that on. 3. Get a small pan on and heat your spiced drink of choice until it is steaming. Pour into a Christmas themed mug. 4. Start making your mince pies, you will need:

  • 1 small jar Mincemeat (400g)
  • 75g Lard
  • 75g Butter
  • 300g Plain flour
  • your cutting glass (about 6-8cm diameter)
  • Splash of cold water
  • A pinch of salt if the butter is unsalted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Baking tray and baking paper
  • A fork
  • Icing sugar for dusting, or white caster sugar sprinkled is just as good

Cut the lard and butter in to 1cm cubes and put into a bowl with the flour and salt. Rub in the fat and flour using your finger tips, until the mixture takes on a bread-crumb like consistency- this can take a while, especially if the fat is cold, but keep going! Bring the mixture together with just enough cold water to form a soft dough. Put the lump of dough in a sandwich bag and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile… 5. Put the oven on to 200C. Ensure your drink is topped up and then start browsing for those Christmas gifts on-line (so much nicer than the crowds on the high street). 6. After the 30 minutes chilling time, continue to assemble the mince pies. Roll out your pastry dough on a floured surface until it is about 0.5cm thick. Use your implement of choice to cut as many circles as possible, and then fill with just under a teaspoon of mincemeat. Brush beaten egg all the way round and then fold the circles in half, pressing down at the edges with a fork. Prick the tops to let out steam and then line up on a baking tray lined with paper. Once all the pastry and mincemeat is used, brush the mince pies with the remaining egg wash and put into the hot oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before sprinkling with icing sugar or caster sugar.

un-dusted mince pies fresh from the oven

6. Sit down with the remainder of your spiced drink, or just a cup of tea and some mince pies to watch your favourite Christmas film. Might I suggest “White Christmas”? For another Christmassy weekend suggestion see Sophie’s 2011 Christmas blog post on “style and then some” here, which includes how to make cranberry sauce!

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