cheat’s chicken & phyllo pie

With a little one year old running around the house, learning to walk and playing inquisitive games, time is sometimes of the essence. Meaning little time to cook something very amazing that generally takes more than an hour.
This is where my trustworthy pressure cooker comes into play. My INSTANT POT. Most likely one of the best purchases i have made since i started cooking.
Using the pressure cooker, meat cooking time is cut by less than half, and since the machine does all the work I have my hands free to focus on other little things as I pot around the kitchen or run after my daughter.
For this recipe I used chicken breast, which generally isn’t the most tender part of the chicken but the pot changes this reality completely and you are left with tender, pull apart chicken…perfect for this delicious one pan pie, topped with crispy phyllo pastry…

ingredients | easy | serves 6
4 chicken breasts
2C chicken stock
4 sprigs thyme
1/2t fine salt
3T olive oil
2T butter
1 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 extra thyme sprigs, leaves only
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced or halved
2 zucchini, sliced in half and chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2T all purpose flour
1.5 chicken stock
1/2C milk
1/4C cream
1/2t onion seeds
1/2t dried oregano
1/4t mustard seeds
1/2C frozen peas
1 roll phyllo pastry
1/2C butter, melted (you may need more depending on the size of your skillet)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the chicken breasts into the pressure cooker. Cover with the two cups chicken stock. Add the thyme & salt. Cover the pot with the lid, seal the vent and set the time to 35 minutes on high pressure. Let the machine do the rest.
In a large oven proof skillet, heat the olive oil & butter until melted. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, grated carrot, leeks & zucchini and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the flour and stir. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and stir well, while cooking on a low heat. Just bubbling. Leave to cook for about two minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the thyme and garlic and cook, while stirring for about two minutes.
Now add the spices and season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
Manually release the pressure of your cooker. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breast from the pressure cooker.
Place the chicken breasts on a plate and using two forks, pull the meat apart.
Bring the vegetable mixture to a gentle simmer and add the pulled chicken to the skillet. MIx. Pour the milk & cream into the skillet and stir to combine.
Add the peas and cook for about three minutes. Add more cream or milk if you desire. Flatten the top of the mixture by using a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool while preparing the phyllo pastry.

Roll the pastry out on a flat surface. Cut the pastry in blocks, about 10x10cm. Brush one sheet with the melted butter and place a second sheet on top. Brush the second sheet with butter. Fold the four sides together and place on top of the chicken mixture, like a flower. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and butter until you have covered the top of the chicken mixture.

Place the skillet into the oven and bake until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp. About 20 minutes.

Serve the pie with basmati rice and a salad of your choice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Osso Buco

Traditionally, veal shanks, braised with vegetables, white wine & broth. A speciality of Lombard cuisine.
To save time I used my pressure cooker!
This recipe is so budget friendly and simple. I use beef shank, which is a cheaper cut of meat and the veggies are not all that extravagant. The flavour and taste, however, is just amazing!
I served the osso buco with a creamy garlicky mash although, traditionally, it is served with polenta or risotto and topped with gremolata.

Ingredients | Serves 6
6 beef shanks (bone-in)
all purpose flour for dusting
Good glug of olive oil to brown shin
3 tbs olive oil for veggies
1 tbs butter
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and cut into blocks
3 celery stalks, washed, cut into blocks
3 tbs tomato paste“
1 can crushed tomato
1 c white wine
2 c chicken stock
2 rosemary stalks, leaves only
handful thyme, leaves only
2 bay leaves
3 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
grind of black pepper
pinch chilli flakes
3 tsp corn flour
zest of 2 lemons
2 handfuls fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Turn the INSTANT POT setting to saute (medium) and add a good glug of olive oil. Dust & season shanks. Once oil is hot, brown shin, one or two at a time, about 3 minutes each side. Set aside.
Heat 3 tbs olive oil and add the onion & garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the carrots, celery and tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes.
Deglaze the pot with the white wine and reduce by almost half. Add the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, chilli flakes, sugar, crushed tomato and chicken stock.
Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Nestle the shanks back into the pot.
Turn the setting to “pressure cook” (high) and sealing mode.
Cover and cook for for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gremolata (for garnish) by mixing the lemon zest, chopped parsley & garlic.
Carefully remove the shanks from the pot into a serving dish and turn the INSTANT POT to saute mode. Add 3 tsp water to the corn flour and mix until smooth. Add this to the pot, stir through, and gently simmer until thickened. Drizzle the sauce over the shanks and serve with your favourite side of starch or veggies or both!

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Multi-Cooker Oxtail

What a time saver when I use my multi cooker! Easy and simplified. The upside of the multi cooker is that I can do everything in one pot and then have dinner on the table in almost no time at all! Oxtail is one meat that loves low and slow and thus can take ages to reach ‘melt in your mouth’ stage.
I always made oxtail in the oven until I invested in a multi-cooker. I have no regrets!!
A fantastically flavourful dish, perfect for a cold winter’s evening, paired with a beautiful red wine. Any leftovers are chilled overnight, deboned the following day and used as ragu, served with pappardelle pasta, more parsley and parmesan shavings. Y U M!!!
Rice is a firm starch favourite of mine but bulgur wheat is also a great option as is mashed potato or jacket potatoes. A nice dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche and a good sprinkling of fresh parsley…JUST AMAZING!!

1.5kg Oxtail
1/2 C Flour
4 Tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, sliced
4 Garlic cloves, sliced
2 Carrots, peeled & cut into blocks
2 Celery stalks, sliced
2 Tbs Tomato paste
3 Bay leaves
2 Rosemary sprigs, leaves only
4 Thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 Tbs Brown sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 C Red wine
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
500ml Beef broth
1 Can chopped tomato
1 Tsp Salt
Black pepper
2 Tsp Corn flour (optional)
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Sour cream (optional)
Rice to serve (cooked according to package instructions)

How to do it
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Dredge oxtail with flour, salt & pepper. Place into the hot oven to brown. About 15 minutes. Set aside.
Turn the multi cooker to sauté mode and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion & garlic until translucent. Add the tomato paste & brown sugar and sauté for a minute. Add the carrots & celery and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pot.
Gently add the oxtails to the pot and stir to coat with the tomato, wine & veggies. Gently pour in the beef broth to coat the oxtails and veggies.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, chopped tomato, seasoning, herbs & red pepper flakes. Bring to a light simmer. Turn sauté mode off.
Place the lid on top. Turn to sealing function and pressure cook on high pressure for 55 minutes. Manually release the pressure.
Spoon the oxtails into a separate dish. If necessary, mix the corn flour with 2 teaspoons cold water to make a slurry.
Add the slurry to the sauce, stir through and bring to a gentle simmer to thicken. Once thickened, place the oxtails back into the pot and simmer on normal heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, prepare the starch of your choice.
To serve, plate your starch, topped with the oxtails and a good helping of the sauce. Top with a fair dollop of sour cream and garnish with fresh parsley.

Bon appetit!

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Beef short ribs

As winter is almost upon us, I am brushing up on some old time favourites and beef short rib is certainly one. Quite honestly – I don’t only make short rib in winter. I find it to be an all year round, rich, winey, hearty, meaty dish that can be served with various different sides.
Short rib does take a long time but the results are amazing and any leftovers can be used for a next meal like ragu or a pie, making it even more worth your while. And
if you have only sauce leftover, use it in a meaty pasta dish like a fillet & mushroom pasta or a twist on the traditional spaghetti Bolognese.
I again used my INSTANT POT for this dish. It’s a no brainer really as the cooking time is so much less than what it would be in the oven or on the stove. Saving time and money!! This recipe is based on my INSTANT POT recipe. However, to make this dish in the oven, please note that the method stays the same although the cooking time will increase to about 3 hours in an oven proof dish, covered with tin foil. (165 degrees C).
I made a side dish of roasted root vegetables but can also suggest a cheesy polenta, creamy mash, rice, cauliflower rice or even pappardelle pasta.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 Tbs Olive oil
1.5kg Beef short rib (bone in)
1 Onion, sliced
4 Garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbs Tomato paste
2 Tbs Paprika
3 Tbs Brown sugar
4 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
600ml Red wine
4 Sprigs rosemary, chopped
500ml Beef stock
1 Can chopped tomato
1/5 Tsp Salt
Black pepper
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

How to do it
Turn the pot to sauté method and pour in the olive oil. Once hot, brown the short ribs on all sides and set aside. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes before adding the garlic & tomato paste. Stir through and sauté for 2 minutes. Now add the rosemary, paprika, sugar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper and stir through.

Add about 1/3 cup of the red wine and deglaze the pot for 2 minutes. Add the remaining wine, beef stock & canned tomato and bring to the boil. Nestle the ribs in the sauce.
Close the valve and turn the INSTANT POT function to pressure cook for 50 minutes. Once completed, manually release the pressure.
Carefully remove the ribs and set aside. Spoon off any excess oil and discard.
Switch to sauté mode (low) and reduce the sauce by a quarter. Make a slurry with 2 teaspoons corn flour and 2 teaspoons water. Add the slurry to the sauce, stir and continue to simmer until thickened. Return the meat to the pot and simmer for a further 8 minutes.

Serve with your choice of side / starch and garnish with the chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Beef & barley soup

Hearty. Rich. Tasty. Healthy.
All of the wonderful foodie things combined in one bowl. I love it!!
I used my Instant Pot for this dish, which, of course, simplifies things and naturally speeds up the process, leaving you with the same great end result. However, stove top is just as good. It just takes a little more time, patience and stirring.
This recipe’s method is based on the pressure cooker. For stove top the method remains the same. It is really just the cooking time that will increase to an hour or until the pearl barley is thoroughly cooked.

I served the soup with home made flatbread filled with cheese & garlic, toasted in a sandwich toaster. It was the perfect side and left me smiling.

Ingredients (serves 8)
3 Tbs Olive oil
450g Beef shin
1/2 C Red wine
6 C Beef broth
1 C Pearl barley
1 Onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tsp dried rosemary
2 Carrots, cut into blocks
2 Celery stalks, sliced
2 Tbs Tomato paste
1 Can chopped tomato
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1/4 Tsp Cayenne pepper
2 Bay leaf
Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
Black pepper

How to do it
Turn the pot on saute mode, add olive oil to the pot and brown the meat on both sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
Heat olive oil in the pot again. Add the onion and saute for a minute. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary & tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pearl barley and stir through until well coated. Pour the stock, wine & canned tomato into the pot together with the brown sugar, bay leaf, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, chilli flakes, salt & pepper. Nestle the meat in the middle. Place the lid on top, seal the vent and turn on pressure cooking mode for 30 minutes.
Manually release the pressure. Remove the meat and flake it by using two forks. Return the meat to the pot. Check the seasoning and add more salt if desired.

Served topped with a dollop of sour cream, parmesan shavings and sliced avocado and a lovely crusty bread on the side.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x