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


creamy paprika & tomato chicken thighs

For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking .
Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully.
I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans.
If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
3T olive oil
1T butter
deboned, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
2t paprika
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
dried mixed herbs
dried oregano
2 medium carrots, grated
200ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 can chopped tomato
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2t salt
black pepper

Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.

Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



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
salt
pepper
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




south african ‘frikkadel’ in a creamy tomato broth

This dish brings back very fond childhood memories. The smell of the ‘frikkadel’ lingering through the house as it was baked in the oven sits firm in my memory bank. They always tasted the same, never different, which now tells me that it was obviously a recipe that was passed down many generations to my mother who never felt the desire to change or alter it. And rightly so, as the ‘frikkadel’ recipe i so well remember was delightfully delicious and completely moreish.
Frikkadel is a traditional AFrikaner dish, consisting of minced meat, onion, bread, eggs, vinegar & spices and then baked or sometimes deep-fried.
There are so many amazing sides to this dish although it was served with rice in our family home thus making rice the traditional side for me.
This recipe is not that of my mother as I think some things are meant to be kept secret.
I used the base of the original recipe with a few tweaks here and there and then turned it up a notch to boost it to the 21st century.
Frikkadels can be made ahead of time and freeze really well so i suggest doubling the recipe to give you extra for the freezer. Perfect for lazy days or days when you really just don’t have much time to spend behind the stove.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
500g minced beef (or pork of a mixture of the two)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1T crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes, centre removed and cut into small blocks
1 egg
2T chopped parsley
1.5T worcester sauce
1/2C breadcrumbs
2T chutney (i used Mrs Balls)
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
3T olive oil, for frying

For the tomato broth
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomato
1T brown sugar
1t salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2t dried oregano
1/2t dried basil
1/2t dried parsley
1/2t chilli flakes (optional)
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2C cream
Bunch fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs except the breadcrumbs & egg together. Break the egg into the mixture, add the breadcrumbs and using your hands, mix until well combined.
Form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, using the palms of your hands.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and brown the frikkadels on all sides. Transfer the frikkadels to an ovenproof dish and bake for about ten minutes. Lift the frikkadels out of the skillet, pour the juices out of the skillet and set aside. (Do not clean the skillet)

Heat the olive oil & butter for the tomato broth in the same skillet of the frikkadels. (This will add more flavour to your broth)
Saute the onion until glossy. Add the oregano, basil, dried parsley & chilli flakes and cook for about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, salt & pepper and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the juices from the baked frikkadles into the broth and stir well.
Add the cream to the tomato broth and stir through.

Place the frikkadels into the tomato sauce, cover with a lid and cook for about five minutes until heated through.

Dish the frikkadels into bowl and pour the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with basmati rice or mashed potato.


zucchini & goat’s cheese galette

This puff tart makes a great side to almost any main, is perfect on its own as a snack or served as a light meal, with a zesty salad. The creamy goat’s cheese and zucchini are the perfect match and set atop a flaky, buttery pastry is my idea of a perfect taste sensation.
Shop bought pastry is perfect and saves a lot of time. If you prefer making your own, I salute you!
Puff pastry is one ingredient I always have readily available as it really simplifies things. The thawing and cooking time is quick and it works really well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
I absolutely love sinking my teeth into thick pastry, topped with great flavours…

ingredients | serves 4 – 6 | easy
1 roll puff pastry, thawed
3-4 zucchini’s, peeled
100g soft goat’s cheese, broken into pieces
1 round crotin cheese, sliced
4T creme fraiche, at room temperature
3T cream cheese, at room temperature
zest of 1lemon
1t crushed garlic
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 egg, whisked
black pepper
a few pinches of salt
fresh rocket, garnish

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface and evenly roll it out, extending the pastry by about 1cm on each side. Gently lift the pastry onto a greased, ovenproof tray.
Using a sharp knife, cut along the pastry, about 1cm from the edge, not cutting all the way through. So as to create a border.
Lightly the border of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Mix the cream cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest & crushed garlic and spread it across the centre of the pastry.
Top the cream cheese mixture with the peeled zucchini strips followed by the spring onion and goat’s cheese. Top with the crotin rounds & thyme and season with salt & black pepper.
Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the tray from the oven and garnish the galette with fresh rocket.
Slice the galette with a pizza cutter and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x