leftover chicken & veg packed pocket pies

It is hard cooking for two (and a little 1 year old) and not have any leftovers. Especially with dishes like roasts. In our industry we waste nothing and so i recycled the chicken meat for these lovely, tasty puff pies. They are so easy to make and are a great way to sneak vegetables in for the kids.
These pocket pies freeze really well so i usually make a whole batch, freeze them, and then bag them for later use. Simply pop them into a hot oven straight from the freezer and you have a great lunch or light dinner when time is of the essence. The size of the pies depends on yourself. I used a fairly small tea saucer to cut out my rounds but you can use a side plate or any other round mould.
Grated cheese is another ingredient that works well in these pies although i did not add it this time.

ingredients | makes about 10 – 12 | easy
2C chicken, deboned and roughly chopped
2T olive oil
2T butter, & extra if needed
1 onion, chopped
1t crushed garlic
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2C mushrooms, sliced
1C frozen peas & corn mix
2T flour
1C chicken stock
1/4C cream
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
salt to taste
black pepper
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
flour for dusting

how to do it
In a large skillet, heat olive oil & butter and sauté the onion until it has a nice gloss and is almost tender. Add the sliced mushrooms the pan & an extra tablespoon of butter. Cook for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, while stirring.
Add the grated carrot & zucchini and cook for about two minutes. Stir the flour through the mixture, cook for one minute and pour the stock into the skillet.
Allow the mixture to simmer for about five minutes until reduced and thickened. Add the chopped chicken and fresh thyme, stir it through and cook for a further five minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and add the pea & corn mix. Stir and cook for five minutes more. Season with salt & pepper.

You don’t want a very wet mixture so ensure you cook and simmer the mixture enough to allow the juices to evaporate.

Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the first batch of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry out, extending it by about 2 – 3cm on each side. Using a small plate, cut out circles and place it onto a floured baking tray.
Repeat this until you have used all of the pastry.
Now spoon the mixture onto the centre of each pastry round, taking care not to overfill the pastry. Lightly brush the egg around the edges and press one side down on the other side.
Press a fork into flour and gently press around the edges of the pastry to seal the pocket.
Using a sharp knife, make little incisions in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape while it bakes.
Brush the pocket pies with the beaten egg and place the tray into the freezer. Freeze overnight. You can bag the pies and mark it with the date and ingredients.
Once ready to use the pies, heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pies into the hot oven on a baking tray and bake until the pastry is beautifully crispy and browned.
Serve the pies with a garden salad and homemade mayonnaise.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


nutella croissants

Puff pastry is one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer. The store bought kind is perfect and fairly inexpensive. This buttery, flaky pastry is perfect for almost any sweet or savoury dish, from pies to galettes, pinwheels and tarts, there are so many options!
Breakfast is an important part of my day and I like to keep it interesting. These little croissants are so simple to make and can be made the night before and simply popped into the oven the next morning.
This may not be the healthiest of breakfast options but it sure is tasty and the kids will love it!! Everything in moderation, of course.

Ingredients | serves 4 | easy
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
Nutella spread (almost 1 cup)
1 Egg, beaten
1T milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a baking tray with cooking spray.
Lightly flour the work surface and spread out the pastry. Roll the pastry out to ensure it is flat, smooth & even.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into three large rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into two long triangles. Each pastry sheet should give you 6 triangles.
Place a spoonful of Nutella on the widest end of the triangle and then spread it along the pastry, leaving a small border untouched.
Beginning at the wide end of the triangle, gently roll the pastry into a croissant shape,
Carefully place the croissants onto the baking tray and lightly tuck in the edges, forming the shape of a “U”.

Repeat this with the second sheet of pastry.
Beat the egg and milk together and lightly brush the top of the croissants.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp.
Serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



chocolate & banana french toast

I do love a good breakfast and some days i like to over indulge. My affair with bread is ever so passionate and my liking for dark chocolate ongoing.
When i have a little extra time in the morning i like to whip up this combination of bread and chocolate to sink my teeth into and I enjoy every bite. I savour each bite. And I don’t feel guilty.
An easy recipe and the custard can be prepared the night before, saving you time in the morning to focus on other important tasks before running out the door.
Similar to traditional French toast, with the addition of cocoa & dark chocolate, this breakfast will have you return for more. And the kids will certainly love it too!
I love topping the toast with banana for some natural sweetness. And really – who doesn’t like the combination of chocolate & banana…?

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
8 slices bread (i prefer white)
2T butter
3 eggs
1C milk
1t vanilla essence / paste
3T cocoa powder, sifted
1T castor sugar
pinch of salt
50g dark chocolate, grated / finely chopped
4 ripe bananas, sliced diagonally
1/2C nuts, toasted
maple syrup
icing sugar, for dusting
plain yogurt, optional

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
In a large, shallow dish, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla essence, cocoa, sugar & salt. Whisk until well combined.
Place the bread into the chocolate custard and soak for about two minutes.
Spoon the grated / chopped chocolate onto four of the slices.
Carefully sandwich the slices together making four sandwiches.
Heat the butter in a large ovenproof skillet and carefully lower the bread into the skillet. Toast the bread for about three to four minutes a side.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Top each sandwich with the sliced banana and bake in the oven for about five minutes.
Drizzle the maple syrup over the toast as soon as it comes out of the oven and top with the toasted nuts. Dust with icing sugar.
Top with plain yogurt if desired and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x







banana, chocolate & walnut tarte tatin

i quite often have a sweet tooth and i love making dessert. i especially love great tasting, easy desserts that can be ready in almost no time at all. pastry desserts rank high on my favourites list and combining it with banana and chocolate is practically a no brainer.
as tarte tatins’ go, puff pastry is your best option. this flaky, rich pastry consists of layers of dough and fat, giving it a light, crispy texture upon baking. perfect for almost any tart or pie!
the kids and your guests will love this one!!

1 roll puff pastry, thawed
flour for dusting
100g brown sugar
80g butter
3-4 firm bananas
1/3c chopped walnuts, plus extra for garnish
100ml cream, whipped or vanilla ice cream

for the sauce
50g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml cream


how to do it
preheat the oven to 185 degrees C.
roll out the pastry and, using the pan to measure, cut our a circle 1cm bigger than your pan. place the pastry in the fridge.
place butter and sugar in an ovenproof pan on medium heat. once the sugar has melted, turn up the heat and allow the caramel to get a golden dark colour and thicken, while occasionally tilting the pan.
remove the caramel from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. press the banana slices into the caramel and top it with the chopped walnuts.
lay the pastry on top and gently lift and tuck the sides in using a spoon.
make a 2cm slit in the top of the pastry in the centre, to allow the steam to escape.
bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before placing a plate on top of the pan and turning the tart out.

for the chocolate sauce
heat the cream in a small saucepan. pour the cream over the chocolate, leave for 3 minutes and then stir until melted.

to assemble
garnish the tart with the remaining chopped walnuts.
serve slices of the tart topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x





linguine Bolognese

food for thought –
there are more than 600 different shapes of pasta produced throughout the world

my favourite, go-to meal is pasta! on its own with only good quality olive oil, black pepper & shavings of parmesan. or fancied up into a bolognese. pasta is versatile and something so simple that can be turned into something absolutely amazing. in very little time. what will take time is the bolognese sauce. and there are many reasons for this. the most important one being flavour! food is all about flavour…the wait is definitely worth it.
i used linguine as i ran out of spaghetti.

ingredients | serves 4-6
2tbs olive oil
2tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
500g beef mince
2tbs tomato paste
1/2tsp ground cumin
1tsp oregano
3tbs brown sugar
1/4tsp chilli flakes
3 bay leaves
1tsp chopped rosemary (fresh)
salt to taste
black pepper
1 can chopped tomato
1/2c red wine
250ml beef stock
fresh chopped parsley (garnish)
parmesan cheese
spaghetti or linguine pasta, cooked according to package instructions

heat butter and olive oil in a large pot. sauté the onion & garlic for about 3 minutes. turn the heat up and brown the mince.
add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. pour the red wine over the mixture and reduce for a few minutes. add the carrot, cumin, oregano, sugar, chilli flakes, bay leaves, rosemary, salt & pepper and stir to coat. bring the heat down and cook for two minutes.
add the chopped tomato & beef stock. bring the mixture to a gentle simmer (bubbling) and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(add more water if desired)
check the seasoning and add more salt if desired.
serve on freshly cooked pasta and garnish with parmesan shavings & parsley.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x