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


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




easy roast chicken & rice one pot meal

Very similar to my chicken & orzo dish, this meal is a great, easy go-to that can be enjoyed any night of the week. In my home, it was the perfect end to all of the Easter celebrations.
I love one pot meals for its simplicity and no mess, no fuss kind of attitude really. And honestly, after cooking up another wonderful meal, i don’t want to spend hours doing a clean up.
I roasted a whole chicken and portioned it while the rice was cooking in al of its delectable juices. You can, however, use chicken pieces if you prefer, which will reduce the cooking time.
Basmati is my preferred grain and adds beautiful aromatic flavour here. And since it cooks so quickly i can have my meal on the table sooner rather than later.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1 whole chicken
3T olive oil
2T butter + 3T extra
3 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
3 carrots, peeled & sliced diagonally
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
zest of 1 lemon & lemon quartered
1.5C dry white wine
1.5C chicken stock
bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
1tsp fine salt
1tsp black pepper
bunch parsley, chopped
bunch chives, chopped
1C basmati rice

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius. 145 degrees with a fan.
Heat the oil & 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet with tight fitting lid.
Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the carrots & celery and cook for five minutes. Place the chicken in the skillet, breast side down, and brown for five minutes. Remove the chicken and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook the wine until reduced by half. Add the garlic, lemon zest & thyme and stir through. Put the quartered lemon into the cavity of the chicken and place the chicken back into the skillet, breast side up (browned side facing upwards). Pour the stock into the skillet and bring it to the boil.
Turn the heat down and place the skillet into the oven, without the lid. Cook the chicken for two hours.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Pour the rice into the vegetable mixture, add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 12 minutes until the rice is just cooked.
The rice will soak up most of the juices.
While the rice cooks, portion the chicken.
Place the chicken pieces on top of the cooked rice, cover with a lid and gently cook for four more minutes, so as to heat the chicken and finish cooking the rice.
Garnish with the chopped parsley & chives and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x






traditional south-african ‘bobotie’

Traditionally South-African and undoubtedly a favourite in just about any home in South-Africa, bobotie consists of curried / spiced minced meat, topped with an egg custard and baked.
Some bobotie recipes have been passed down many generations and are kept secret in most families.
There are so many recipe variations of which most contain raisins or sultanas. I, however, prefer it with grated apple or pear. (Dried peaches or apricots are also used as an alternative.)
Most bobotie recipes use milk soaked bread to add extra moisture to the dish and is traditionally served with yellow rice, which is rice cooked with turmeric.
This dish is not particularly spicy and incorporates a variety of flavours thus adding complexity.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1kg minced meat
3T olive oil
2T butter
2 medium onions, sliced
1T crushed garlic
1/2C dried bread crumbs
1/2C beef broth
1/5T mild curry powder
1t turmeric
1t ground cumin
1t ground coriander
1.5t dried thyme & oregano mix
2 red apples, cored & grated
1/4C chutney (Mrs. Balls)
3T apricot jam
2T worcester sauce
2 medium carrots, grated
zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2C flaked almonds
1t fine salt
1t black pepper

for the egg custard
3 large eggs
5 bay leaves
1/2c (125ml) cream
1/2c (125ml) milk
1/3c flaked almonds

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Sauté the onion until glossy. Add the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, thyme & oregano to the skillet and cook for about one minute until fragrant. Add the minced meat to the pan and cook until browned. Add the carrots & grated apple and cook for 5 minutes.
Mix the chutney, Worcester sauce, lemon juice & zest and apricot jam together and add it to the mince mixture. Stir to combine, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes, on a gentle simmer.
Remove the lid.
Pour the half cup of beef broth into the mixture, stir and then add the bread crumbs. Stir to combine and cook for two minutes. Remove from the heat.
Season with salt & black pepper and stir.
Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture down to even it out.
Make the egg custard by whisking the eggs, milk & cream together. Gently pour the custard onto the mince mixture, over the back of a spoon. Place the bay leaves in the centre or where you prefer and add the flaked almonds.
Gently place the skillet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden and the custard have set.
Remove from the oven, rest for five minutes and serve with yellow rice.

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