Perfect As Pie

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One of my biggest loves in life is making pies and if you know me you’ll know how much LOVE LOVE LOVE and appreciation I have for a good potato top or cottage pie. Something about them comforting and warm with perfect crunchy pastry topped with clouds of creamy mashed potato. So I took it upon myself today to create cottage pies family and individual size.

This recipe is made from scratch just for you all and it sure made me smile tucking into one straight from the oven this morning, It’s never too early for a pie in my book right?

Cottage Pie

Ingredients:
Pie Filling
1kg Beef mince
1 Onion, finely diced
1/2 Leek sliced
2tbsp Crushed garlic
4tbsp The Good Oil (or canola)
2tsp Dried rosemary
1 tin Diced tomatoes
3tbsp Tomato paste
250ml Worcester sauce
2tbsp Malt vinegar
1ltr Beef stock
2tbsp Soy sauce
1cup Frozen peas
1/2tsp Salt
1tsp Cracked black pepper
1/2cup Cornflour
1/4cup Cold water
Mash Potato
6-8 Large Agria potatoes, peeled
1tsp Salt
1/2tsp Cracked pepper
1tbsp Dried Parsley or fresh
1tbsp Wholegrain mustard
1cup Potato flakes
100gm Butter
150ml Cream

4x Sheets puff or savoury pastry (I used puff)
2tbsp Butter
2tbsp Plain flour
1/2cup Tastey cheese, grated

Method:

  1. Heat fry pan over medium to high heat, add 1tbsp the good oil followed by onion,leek and garlic cook until brown add to a heavy based large pot, over a low heat. Browning  the components develops the flavour of this pie.
  2.  Add 1/4 cup water to remove the caramilsation and add to the pot, dry pan with a paper towel.
  3. Heat fry pan over a high heat add 1 tbsp of oil and half of the mince in large chunks, do not break the mince up let the large pieces brown, this is where a huge part of the flavour is going to come from. Once it has been cooking around 2-3 minutes turn the chunks over and start to brake them up. Add to the pot.
  4. Repeat step 3 until all mince is browned add to pot.
  5. Place stock, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper and rosemary into the large pot, stirring well. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.  Making sure you are stiring occasionally to prevent burning.
  6. Taste and check the seasoning, add frozen peas and turn the heat up to high to get a rapid boil happening.
  7. Mix the cornflour and 1/4 cup  water to create a slurry, stir this into your boiling beef mixture. Cook out for 5 minutes, stirring as this can catch on the bottom once thickened.
  8. Spread your pie mix out on a lined deep roasting tray to cool down fast.
  9. Now to make the mashed potato.
  10. Boil potatoes until tender with 1tsp of salt.
  11. Drain and add salt, pepper, butter, cream, parsley and mustard. Mash well until smooth, stir in potato flakes. The potato flakes help give the mash structure on top of the pie.
  12. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  13. Time to assemble, once your pie mix is cool if using this hot it can make the pastry soggy and not achieve a crunchy finish.
  14. Butter and flour pie dishes I have used some small and a large Family size round dish as well. Bang the dish on the bench to remove excess flour. You can you muffin tins for mini versions perfect for the kids lunch box.
  15. When cutting your pastry you want to cut it slightly larger than the pie dish to avoid shrinkage, any off cuts keep for the edges on the larger pie.
  16. For the large pie I used one sheet of pastry on the base and the off cuts from the small pies around the edge. *see photos below
  17. Once you have lined your dishes with pastry, trim the edges the a knife resting it on the edge of the dish and cutting the overhanging pastry if there is any.
  18. Fill the dishes 3/4 of the way up with the pie filling, you want to make sure there is room for the potato.
  19. Top with potato mixture, for the smaller pies I placed a large spoonful in the center and worked the mash to the edge of the pastry making sure there was no gap left or the mince with boil out in the oven.
  20. For the large pie I placed spoonfuls of mash over the top and repeated this until it was cover. Smooth over the top making sure you get to the edges of the pastry just like the smaller pies to avoid the mince escaping.
  21. Top with grated tasty cheese and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.

I was left with about 1/4 of the pie mix left over, you can make more pies or freeze this down to use later on when you want the pie again.  It could also can be served hot over pasta or creamy mash for an easy mid-week dinner.

Superb Chocolate Caramel Slice

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Everyone loves a chocolatey caramel sweet treat every once and a while. Most of us also have some stray Weet-bix lying around. This recipe uses Weet-bix in the base and is super delicious with the gooey baked caramel topped with simple chocolate icing. Why not give this one a go this week or even better get in there with the kids and have a family baking day with some other tasty treats.

I’ve used EquaGold Premium Dutch Cocoa in this recipe and it just takes it from average to amazing with such a deep chocolate flavour!  You can purchased here.

Weet-Bix Chocolate Caramel Slice

Ingredients

Base
180g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup weet-bix, crumbled
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp equagold dutch cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coconut, shaved/thread or desiccated
Caramel
1 395g tin condense milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla eseence
80g butter, cubed
Icing
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp equagold dutch cocoa
3 tbsp water

2 tbsp coconut to garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Line square 20cmx20cm cake tin with baking paper base and sides. (help you to pull out once cooked.)
  3. Combine all base ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Press into the lined cake tin.
  4. In small saucepan combine condense milk, brown sugar, vanilla and butter over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly. Once thickened pour over base and bake for 30 minutes, until caramel is golden brown and bubbling.
  5. Allow to cool, once cold remove from tin.
  6. Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into bowl stir in water, add more if necessary. (needs to be a thin icing)
  7. Pour over cooled slice and smooth out evenly, top with coconut once set cut into 12 squares.

Squares: 12

Perfect with a hot cup of tea!

 

Tender Venison Necks

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Everyone who knows me knows I absolutely love a good bargain! One of my favorite things to do is get the reduced to clear meat goes very cheap and usually still has 2 days good before it must be frozen. However these were not reduced to clear they were full price $3.86 for 5 venison necks, $5.99kg now that is awesome isn’t it?

Venison is one of my favorite meats its super high in iron and very lean! Today I was in a relaxed mood as it was my day off so i decided to put the slow cooker on. I love the thing I must say switch it on in the morning by dinner time all you have to do is thicken and make some mash. Love a simple dinner and here is a beauty one im sharing with you all!

Venison necks are a nice cheap cut of meat and they have a surprising amount of meat on them to so its a great value for money meat. You can find them at most supermarkets i picked these up from pak n save however i used to get them at countdown and sometimes new world as well. The ones here are from Canterbury from a farm called the Merchant of Venison.  If your lucky enough to have wild venison or know a hunter who could get you some give it a go with that it has a more gamer flavour and is also delicious.

Slow Braised Venison Necks with Cranberry and Pumpkin
on
Swede and Agria Mash

Ingredients

5-6 venison necks
1 tsp paprika
1 onion, fine dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, fine dice
2 carrots
1/2 small crown pumpkin, peeled and 3-4cm dice
1 tin diced tomatoes
400ml water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tbsp cornflour + water for slurry
Swede and Agria Mash
1/4 swede, peeled and small 2cm dice
3 medium agria potatoes, peeled and 4cm dice
1 spring onion, finely sliced
50gm butter
1/8 cup milk
salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Turn slow cooker onto low.
  2. Season venison generously with salt, pepper and the paprika on both sides.
  3. Heat medium fry pan over a medium to high heat, add 1 tbsp oil followed by onion, celery and garlic. Saute until opaque add to slow cooker.
  4. Brown venison necks both sides add to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients, apart from the cornflour.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours, combine cornflour and small amount of water to make a slurry stir into venison and cook for further 10 minutes.
  6. Bring swede and potato to the boil and cook until tender. ( it is important to cut the swede smaller as it takes longer to cook than potato.)
  7. Drain, mash and stir in butter, milk, spring onion, salt and pepper. Stir well.
  8. Serve venison necks on bed of swede and agria mash with sprinkle of crumbled feta and chopped celery leaves.

Serves: 2-4

Summer is Here

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As sit here enjoying the last days of my summer holiday before I head back to work. I thought why not do some preserving, I had gifted Rhubarb and Vanilla Bean Compote to family for Christmas and was thinking I better do some savory stuff instead. I absolutely love chutney’s and relishes they can just finish a simple dish of perfectly!

This chunky smokey sweet chutney is great for using up any over ripe tomatoes. Hints of basil and fresh oregano team heavenly with smokey deep flavour from the peppers.

Green Pepper and Tomato Chutney

Ingredients

500g green peppers, core, seeded and sliced thinly
1 brown onion, diced
1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, rough chop
400g diced tomatoes
2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, rough chop
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 cup malt vinegar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
pinch chilli flakes (more if you like spice)
1/8 tsp liquid smoke*

Method:

  1. In a heavy based large pot heat oil over medium heat add peppers and onion. Cook out for 15 minutes.
  2. Once sweated add all following ingredients , bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 1-1/2 hours until reduced and thick. Stir often to prevent chutney from burning.
  3. Pour into a sterile jar, seal.

Yeild: 500/800g chutney

*Liquid Smoke can be found at gourmet food store or online. This is not essential but adds a beautiful smokey flavour for the chutney.

Icing Sugar Pavlova

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With an abundance of eggs coming from our girls everyday I really needed to use them up. I got the idea in my head that Pavlova was on the cards. I was so excited I had not made a pav since Christmas. Sadly my sugar jar was empty! I nearly cried! Only type of sugar I had was icing sugar or confectioners sugar so it was either going to work or fail drastically. Here’s how the icing sugar pav turned out.

The Icing Sugar Pavlova

With a crisp and crunchy outer shell and a marshmallow center topped with vanilla cream and slightly tart boysenberries this pav went down a treat.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

Boysenberry Compote

  • 1 cup frozen boysenberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Whipped cream to serve

Method:

  1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, add the first 5 ingredients and whisk for 12 minutes until glossy, light and hard peaks are reached, see picture below.
  3. Line baking tray with baking paper and, scrap out egg mix trying to keep it all in the center piled up this makes it easier to shape into a circle.
  4. Using a rubber scraper or pallet knife move it side to side pushing the meringue out evenly in a circle shape, to shape the sides drag your pallet knife up from base to top, like in the picture below.
  5. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop 100 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. In medium size pot add boysenberries, water and icing sugar, bring to the boil and then simmer until thicken slightly.
  7. Turn oven off and leave meringue to cool inside, once cooler open the oven door slightly. Allow to cool and set aside.
  8. Once cool top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Slices: 8-10

Add first 5 ingredients, whisk for 6 minutes add boiling water and continue to whisk for further 6 minutes.

Add first 5 ingredients, whisk for 6 minutes add boiling water and continue to whisk for further 6 minutes.

Meringue should be glossy, light, fluffy and hold stiff peaks.

Meringue should be glossy, light, fluffy and hold stiff peaks.

Place heaped meringue onto lined baking tray and shape.

Place heaped meringue onto lined baking tray and shape.

Using pallet knife draw if from the base to the top to add a nice design and structure to the pav.

Using pallet knife draw if from the base to the top to add a nice design and structure to the pav.

Ready for the oven, bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop to 100 degress for a further 1 /12 hours.

Ready for the oven, bake at 200 degrees for 2 minutes then drop to 100 degrees for a further 1 /12 hours.

My finished pavlova has a few cracks on the top but i can hide that with cream all and all not bad.

My finished pavlova has a few cracks on the top but i can hide that with cream all and all not bad.

Side view slight crack but I like that you know its home made perfect in-perfection.

Side view slight crack but I like that you know its home made perfect in-perfection.

Top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Top with whipped cream and boysenberry compote.

Crisp outside and marsh marsh-mellow center the perfect homemade meringue.

Crisp outside and marsh marshmallow center the perfect homemade meringue.

Cinnamon Pear Upside Down Cake

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I must admit it has been along time since I’ve done a post on here. Life gets away with you sometimes. Anyway back to food! With having 3 days of which is very rear I cleaned the kitchen and set to creating something new for you all. Here is a great recipe to use up left over pears. I got a bag of 8 pears for $1.34 I absolutely love getting bargins!

Cinnamon Pear Upside Down Cake

Lightly spiced caramelized pears baked into a vanilla cake perfect served warm with a spoonful of plain yogurt or fresh cream.

 

Ingredients

6 pears peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 lemon zest and juice
3 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup melted butter
3 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp white vinegar
Coconut vanilla glaze
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup long thread coconut
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
To serve:
Dusting of icing sugar and yogurt or cream

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degress.
  2. Line spring form cake tin with baking paper on the sides and base.
  3. Peel, core and thinly slice pears add to bowl with brown sugar, lemon zest and juice and cinnamon. Stir and pour into the bottom of the lined cake tin.
  4. In stand mixer whisk eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Whisk in melted butter, vanilla and vinegar.
  5. Sift flour, baking soda into egg mix and fold through, pour ontop of the pears and bake for 35-40 minutes until tested with a knife come out clean.
  6. Mix together icing sugar, vanilla, coconut and boiling water, stir until thin icing has formed, drizzle over the cake. Dust with icing sugar.
  7. Serve warm with yogurt or cream.

Slices: 10-12

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Sinful Chocolate Boysenberry Cheesecake

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Sinful Chocolate Boysenberry Cheesecake

I received a goodie parcel from Equagold a few days ago and as today is my day off a “Saturday to most”. So I decided that it was time to hit the kitchen and get the creative hat on. I was thinking cheesecake however I didn’t want to make the classic biscuit crumb so i opted for my moist chocolate velvet cake.

The end result is bloody delicious if I may say so myself. WOW sums up my reaction when my fork hit the chocolate boysenberry cheesecake!!! Words basically cannot describe this dessert it was basically like being in heaven! Creamy velvet chocolate cheesecake with a moist velvet cake finished with slightly sweet boysenberry gel! No need to buy chocolate and melt it into this cheesecake, Ive used Equagolds Premium Dutch Cocoa Powder it is just divine, you cant tell that its cocoa not melted chocolate.

Equagold is creating outstanding products if you would like to get your hands on Equagolds Dutch Cocoa Powder I have used in this recipe please click this link : Equagold Online Store

If you want to impress someone or treat yourself this is the recipe for you!!

Ingredients:
Velvet Cake Base
1 1/4 cup white flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 Equagold Premium Dutch Cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
250ml water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp white vinegar
Chocolate Cheesecake Filling
250gm cream cheese, room temp
2 heaped tbsp Equagold Premium Dutch Cocoa, sifted
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp Equagold vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp gelatine
1 tbsp boiling water
Boysenberry Gel
1 1/2 cup frozen boysenberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp gelatine
1 tbsp boiling water

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
2. In large mixing bowl sift all dry ingredients for the velvet cake, once sifted whisk the dry ingredients to aerate and evenly mix together.
3. In a separate bowl combine all liquids for the velvet cake, pour into the center of the dry ingredients and mix through to combine. (Do not over mix)
4. Pour into a lined spring form cake tin and bake for 25-30minutes until when tested with a skewer it comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and turn put onto a cooling rack, once cold using a bread or serrated knife cut the top of the cake off. *see the picture
6. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer attach the whisk attachment, in the mixing bowl combine, cream cheese, sifted icing sugar and cocoa and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth.
7. Scrap down the sides and be sure to get the bottom of the bowl, add cream and whisk to combine.
8. in a small bowl sprinkle gelatine over boiling water and microwave for 15 seconds, stir well and whisk into cheesecake filling.
9. Using the same cake tin as you baked the cake, reline and this time line the sides, a little cooking spray before you put the baking paper around will make it stay in place.
10. Place the trimmed cake base in the bottom of the lined cake tin, followed by the cheesecake filling. Smooth over and place in the fridge.
11. Now onto the final stage, take a small saucepan combine boysenberry’s, sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until sugar is dissolved around 4 minutes, add squeeze of lemon. Bloom the gelatine the same as for the cheesecake filling step and add to the boysenberry mix.
12. Allow to cool and pour over the cheesecake filling, place in fridge for 1-2 hours. 13. Serve with whipped cream or yoghurt.

Serves:8-12

Sift all dry ingredients for the velvet cake.

Sift all dry ingredients for the velvet cake.

Whisk together wet cake ingredients and add to dry.

Whisk together wet cake ingredients and add to dry.

Stir to combine and pour into a lined medium sized spring form cake tin.

Stir to combine and pour into a lined medium sized spring form cake tin.

Bake at 180 degrees for 25-30minutes.

Bake at 180 degrees for 25-30minutes.

Once cooked and cooled, remove the lump over the cake to make it flat. ( you can eat the off cuts :)

Once cooked and cooled, remove the lump over the cake to make it flat. ( you can eat the off cuts 🙂

Leveled cake.

Leveled cake.

Whisk in 1/2 cup cream, scrape down the sides.

Whisk in 1/2 cup cream, scrape down the sides.

In stand mixer bowl combine cream cheese, sifted icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

In stand mixer bowl combine cream cheese, sifted icing sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Add dissolved gelatin mixture, mix well to combine.

Add dissolved gelatin mixture, mix well to combine.

Line cake tin bottom and sides.

Line cake tin bottom and sides.

Add trimmed cake followed by cheesecake filling.

Add trimmed cake followed by cheesecake filling.

Smooth over and refrigerate.

Smooth over and refrigerate.

Combine 1 1/2 cup boysenberries in medium pot with sugar and water. Simmer for 4 minutes add gelatine mixture, cool.

Combine 1 1/2 cup boysenberries in medium pot with sugar and water. Simmer for 4 minutes add gelatine mixture, cool.

Pour over cheesecake filling and refrigerate for 1-2 hours if possible over night.

Pour over cheesecake filling and refrigerate for 1-2 hours if possible over night.

Remove baking paper. Using a hot knife cut a medium size wedge.

Remove baking paper. Using a hot knife cut a medium size wedge.

Serve with whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar and cocoa.

Serve with whipped cream and a dusting of icing sugar and cocoa.

Enjoy

Enjoy

Bubble and Squeak Quiche Bites

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My partner has just started studying and I wanted to make some wee snacks for him to take. We had a roast yesterday and there is heaps of roast vegetables and steamed cabbage left over. Cabbage and roast veges ,that’s a perfect combo for bubble and squeak then I thought why not make individual quiche bites. So here is the end result , I hope you enjoy! you can make the filling what ever you like.

Bubble and Squeak Quiche Bites

Ingredients:

1 cup left over roast root vegetables, small dice (I used swede, potato, pumpkin)

1 cup steamed sliced cabbage

6 eggs, beaten

200gm shaved ham, rough chop

1 clove garlic, finely diced

Pinch salt and pepper

1/4c grated cheese

6x muffin cases

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Line 6 hole texas muffin tin with muffin cases.
  3. In large bowl combine all ingredients apart from the cheese, stir well to combine.
  4. Fill each muffin case with about 1/4 cup mixture, any left over divide evenly between the cases.
  5. Top with cheese and bake for 16-17 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Do not over cook as they will go soggy.

Makes : 6 medium individual quiches

Sharing the SlowCooker Love

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I love it when I here back from followers about how their cooking ventures have turned out! I just received a recipe and pictures from one of my follower Dani in Tokoroa. She has sent me through a super tasty afternoon snack/ lunch box filler. Perfect for when the kids get home from school or a tasty weekend treat for the family and they are so affordable to make!!!

This recipe is super versatile the base dough can be made 1 of  3 ways  with milk, cream or yoghurt and the topping could be anything you like! Dani used the milk version of this recipe and topped it like a pizza with cheese, ham, bbq sauce and tomato sauce! Yum wish I was there to try those tasty scrolls. Next she says she’s going to try an apple and cinnamon. Yum that sounds divine!!

Slow Cooker Scrolls

Ingredients

Dough

Cream version:

2 cups s.r flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cup cream

Milk version:

2 cups s.r flour
1/2 tsp. salt
75 g butter
1/2-1 cup milk

Yoghurt version:

2 cups s.r flour
1 cup greek yoghurt

Toppings
Savoury
Pizza
grated cheese
ham
onion
bbq sauce
tomato sauce
Sweet
stewed apple
cinnamon
sultanas

Method:

  1. Turn slow cooker onto high to pre-heat. Lay  a piece of baking paper to cover the bottom of the cooker.
  2. Add dry ingredients to a bowl fooled by wet mix together until dough forms kneed until smooth and elastic.
  3. Roll dough into a 20 x 30cm rectangle.
  4. Fill with your desired toppings and roll up dough.
  5. Cut into 2.5cm circles and flatten slightly with hand.
  6. Place cut circles close together in your pre-lined slow cooker.
  7. Place a tea towel underneath the slow cooker lid as seen below.
  8. Cook on high for 2 hours until tasty and cooked.

The flavour combinations is endless so get thinking!!

Here is Dani’s Before and After Photos!!

Befor

Before

Place tea towel underneath lid. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Place tea towel underneath lid. Cook on high for 2 hours.

After

After

Almond Orange and Rosemary Cake

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Almond Orange and Rosemary Cake

Orange, rosemary caramel with delicious lemon and orange scented almond cake these are flavours that pair perfectly against each other!!
It turned out simply divine, served it just warm with mascarpone and rereduced orange vanilla bean syrup and a cup of Earl Grey this was the perfect sunday baking treat! Yum

Would you like to try this recipe out?
Comment below for the recipe.

P.S Did I tell out this beauty is Gluten and Dairy Free!!!