Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Vegetarian Pot Pies

I like a pie in any shape or form, and teemed with countless vegetables and topped with puff pastry, makes my heart sing. Its a beaut (good old Australian word) thing to eat with creamy mashed potato and some steamed broccoli.

Cooking doesn't have to be Masterchef quality every night; too many ingredients, too little food on the plate.  Good, wholesome, flavoursome food which is simply prepared is fine. And I want to be fed; to push my empty plate away and say "delicious", I feel like I have eaten.

Making a few short cuts when you are cooking is OK too. Yes, making your own puff pastry is truly fun, but there are moments when you are so pushed for time that having some ready made in the fridge is a perfectly acceptable option. (Actually, I must admit it's a life saver) So use it and don't feel at all guilty. 

Try these little gems (made with bought puff pastry) and tell me how good they taste.

Recipe makes enough for 8

Vegetables of your choice - this is what I used

1 zucchini diced
2 carrots diced
1 leek chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot (French) chopped
2 small potatoes diced
4 mushrooms diced
handful of baby spinach
handful frozen or fresh corn
600ml stock
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
few sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley
2 tablespoons Creme Fraiche
few sheets defrosted puff pastry

Add olive oil and butter to a large pan. Add leek, garlic and shallot and cook until it starts to soften. 

Add zucchini, carrot, potato, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables start to soft. Keep stirring to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, a few sprigs of thyme and parsley and the mushrooms.

Add stock or water with a vegetable stock cube.

As the vegetables soften you can throw in a handful of baby spinach and frozen or fresh sweet corn (or any other vegetables you like). Allow this to just cook together for a few minutes and then check the seasoning. 

Spoon in some creme fraiche and turn off the heat, allowing the mixture to cool.

Place your cooled mixture into ramekins and start preparing your puff pastry.

Cut a circle of pastry large enough to go on top of your ramekins. Now cut out some strips of pastry which will go directly onto the ramekins and act as a collar. You can join pieces if you need to, moistened with a little water.

Using a pastry brush, lightly wet the edges of the pastry collar with water and press down the pastry topping. Give a tweek with thumb and finger to adhere the pastry together. 

Lastly, cut a small V with the point of a sharp knife in the centre of the pastry, to allow steam to escape. You can brush the top with milk if you wish, but usually I don't bother.

Bake in a preheated oven 200/400FÂș for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep a check on them so the pastry does not burn. Remove when the pastry is golden brown. Happy eating!

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