Monday, 29 December 2014

After Christmas

Many apologies to my few followers that I've not been around for a while. I've lacked inspiration, so I've not be able to inspire you. However, the festive season always gets my creative juices running. There's so much food around, and I hate to see things go to waste!

So here's a leftovers pie - but it's a bit posher than usual. First off let me say that this isn't exactly my own idea. I stole it from fellow blogger Lee at Kitchen Connection. I didn't follow it exactly though. Her recipe is for small triangular parcels. I went for something a bit bigger.

This is my cheese, onion and potato filo pie. 

Don't waste your time trying to make filo. Even TV chefs say you should buy it ready made.  I bought a pack 'because it's Christmas' but I had no idea what I was going to do with it until I read Lee's post.  I've always avoided filo in the past because I was a bit scared of it, to be honest, but there's no need to be.

This pie took three sheets (and they come in packs of six, so I've frozen the other three). I cut them all into halves.

I began by greasing a pie dish with melted butter. Then I laid three half-sheets into the dish, with melted butter between each layer.

Then I put leftover cooked potatoes and some fried onions in. Between the lumps I dotted bits of cheese. I used what we had left over - some brie, a bit of goat's cheese, and cheddar.  I wish I'd used more cheddar.  I also seasoned it, but it would have benefited from a bit extra pepper, or maybe a little mustard.  It could also probably have benefited from a rasher or two of bacon. 

Once the filling was in I folded over the edges to make a rough side to the pie, then I topped off the hole in the middle by ripping strips off the remaining half-sheets and crumpling them up (like in the photo).  The whole thing was then brushed with more melted butter and popped into the oven at 190C for 20 minutes.

It browned nicely, but the bottom was still slightly soft. I think next time I'll use a metal pie dish, not a ceramic one.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Don't waste your money on this kind of stuff
Do you spend a fortune on breakfast cereals?  Well stop it. Here's a way to make a cheap, tasty and healthy version of muesli.

Serves 4

In a large bowl, place -
8 tablespoons dried porridge oats
Any 4 of the following:
     handful of raisins or sultanas
     6 dried dates, chopped
     4-6 dried apricots, chopped
     6 glace cherries, chopped
     a grated apple
     tablespoon of any dried fruit
A sprinkling of chopped nuts
A couple of teaspoons of seeds
A good glug of fruit juice

Stir it all together then add enough cold water to make it look like wet porridge. Cover and leave overnight.  By morning it will have slightly solidified because the  dried fruit and oats will have absorbed the water.
Serve with milk or yoghurt.  Each portion contains one of your five a day.   And there's no added salt or sugar!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cocktail hour

It's a bank holiday weekend in the UK and the weather promises to be warm and sunny, so what better time to enjoy a cocktail or two?

You can pay around £8-10 a time for cocktails in a bar, but you can mix up several at home for the price of a round in your local pub.

For cocktails you don't need the best brands of spirit. Supermarkets will sell you their own label, and by the time you've mixed them up you won't notice the difference.

So pop a couple of ice trays in the freezer and hop off down to your local supermarket while they solidify. Pick up a half bottle of sweet vermouth, a half of bourbon, a half of white rum, a couple of oranges, a couple of limes and some fresh mint. And you're made. You should also have change out of £25 if you shop wisely.

You don't need posh glasses. You don't need a proper shaker. You can use any old wine glasses, a jug and a long spoon.

Don't have a spirit measure? I bet you have some measuring spoons. Measure equal amounts of vermouth and bourbon into a jug, Add ice cubes and give it a good stir. Meanwhile remove a sizeable slice of peel off one of the oranges, wipe the orange side around the rim of a wine glass and drop it into the glass. Your cocktail should be cold by now. Strain it into the glass (a tea strainer is fine!) settle into the garden or anywhere comfortable, and enjoy.!

Whizz up some ice cubes in a food processor or grinder and put into a jug. Add a measure of white rum. (A standard pub measure is 25ml, or five teaspoons.) Squeeze half a lime into it. Add half a teaspoon of sugar. Crease up a few mint leaves and mush it all up together. Then tip it onto your glass. You can decorate the edge of the glass with a lime slice if you like. Bottoms up!