Cookery Classes, Cooking, Food, Kitchen Organization, Recipes

More Organizing and a Veggie Pie

One week into my ‘Organized Plan’ and already I need to up my game! I’m still armed with my label maker but the pantry is only half organized.

I have to stop getting distracted …oh look what’s that shiny thing over there 🤣

Another of my winter projects is to file and write up recipes that I have tried and open another file with recipes I want to try – and cookbooks I need to read – so when I do get back to work I’ll have lots of new ideas (and yes I am still working on online classes…)
I’ve been revisiting some old recipes for my Friday Facebook Cookalong and last night I cooked one of my favourite vegetarian dishes – Sweet Potato & Spinach Pie. It’s a delicious warming dish flavoured with Moroccan spices (from my beautifully organised spicce cupboard!). Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sweet Potato & Spinach Pie

Oven: 200 C

What you need:

  • Rapeseed oil
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, washed
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • Bag of baby spinach leaves, rinsed
  • Good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 packet feta cheese
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • Black pepper and nutmeg
  • 1 packet filo pastry
  • Butter, melted  
  • Nigella seeds

What you do:

  • Bake the sweet potato for approx. 45 mins until cooked. Set aside to cool.  Then scoop out the flesh.
  • Heat a glug of oil in a pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add in the ras el hanout and cook for another minute until the onion is coated with the spices.
  • Add the cooked onion to the sweet potato in a large bowl.
  • Using the same pan, wilt the spinach leaves and season with nutmeg
  • Stir in the wilted spinach leaves into the bowl with sweet potato. Then crumble in the feta. Season with pepper (the feta will add salt to the mix). Stir in chickpeas. Check for seasoning
  • Line the base of your 20cm springform tin with baking parchment and rub the sides with butter.
  • Unfold your filo pastry and place under a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Line your tin with 3 or 4 sheets, making sure to brush each sheet with melted butter. Allow the extra filo to hang over the sides.
  • Spoon your potato filling into the centre of the tin and then fold in the side pieces of pastry to form the top of your pie. Brush with butter and sprinkle with nigella seeds.
  • Bake your pie in a hot oven for 20-25 mins until golden and crispy.
sweet potato pie on serving dish

Cutting into the crispy pastry you’ll see the layers of goodness inside 🤗

cut potato pie

And I even made a baby pie – these are very handy to have in your freezer for the days when you don’t feel like cooking.

Mini sweet potato pie

Stay Safe and Happy Cooking!

PS if anyone has any hints or tips on how to stay focused and get organized please let me know 😉


Chef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Flash Food – Laura Santtini

There was great excitement in Hey Pesto! this week when thanks to  Irish Food Bloggers Association I receieved a review copy of Laura Santtini ‘s new book Flash Cooking  from Quadrille Publishing.

This book is about ‘fast, healthful, easy-to-prepare, nutritious, flavour-packed meals, that look great, taste extraordinary and promote well- being’ ; in fact I would almost describe it as a lifestyle book rather than a cook book!

I loved the introduction and the definition of the concepts involved , for example ‘Flash Cooking (3) – show one’s culinary genius in public’!

What appealed to me most were the flavour tables for seasonings, glazes, rubinades, pastes, finishing bits, dressings etc. – they’ve opened up a whole new world of experimentation for my kitchen. And I’m delighted to say that, with a few exceptions, they’re all store cupboard ingredients.

Laura’s alchemist’s approach was definitely a ‘hook’ for me (once an engineer…) but don’t let this put you off !   The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow and most importantly, in the case of the ones I tried – they work!  Oh and the taste sensations – WOW!

The photography is stunning – my favourites are the antique cutlery shots. But I have to mention my pet peeve – there isn’t a picture of every dish 😦

My verdict – this book is NOT leaving my kitchen and I foresee lots more flavour experimentation in my future! 🙂

My advice – put it on your Christmas list! *****

There are so many recipes I want to try, including:

  • Tea-steamed Sea Bass with Vanilla Star Anise Olive Oil
  • Duck Breasts with Black Magic Elixir
  • The Dog’s Bolognese
  • Curried Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

but this one caught my eye straightaway:

Flash Glazed Cauliflower Cheese Steaks

What you need:

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for frying)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • 75g Feta Cheese
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette to serve

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C/160 C Fan/ Gas 4
  • Cut 2 thick slices of cauliflower from the centre, from top down through to the stalk, to give two ‘flower steaks’
  • Mix the harissa paste with the olive oil and brush over the ‘steaks’ on both sides

Brush the steak with the harissa paste & oil mix

  • Heat some oil in frying pan and add the steaks – fry until golden on both sides

Fry until golden

  • Then brush the steaks with any remaining glaze and  transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Crumble feta cheese over the steaks and return to the oven until cheese becomes golden and starts to melt.

Laura suggests serving this with the Pomegranate vinaigrette and being delighted to find a use for the bottle in my cupboard I was happy to oblige!

  • To make the vinaigrette
  • mix 1 tsp of pomegranate molasses, pinch of freshly ground cumin, juice of half a lemon and lots of fresh mint.

When I tasted the vinaigrette on its own I found it rather sweet but this excess sweetness disappeared once it was mixed with the cauliflower steak and the feta.

The flavour combinations made my mouth zing!

Spot the difference!

This great recipe has already earned its place in my book of favourites! Thanks Laura!

I think the Lemon Halloumi recipe will be the next one to try……………

PS

  1. Delighted to see The Tasty Tart  mentioned in the credits – well done Tara!  
  2. Thanks to Mark from Quadrille Publishing for sending me the book!
Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Books, Books and more Cook Books!

I love books – I grew up in a house full of them – and one of my best childhood memories is going with my Dad to the bookshop to buy a new one as a weekly treat (and the row that ensued one week when I refused to pick ‘Robinson Crusoe’!)

I still consider buying books a present to myself and there are some that I’ve had for years that I could never get rid off.  And then there’s my cookbook collection…………

Those of you who know me on Twitter will know that I suffer from a ‘slight’ cookbook addiction and that cookbooks have a tendency to follow me home from shops!

Surely a girl can never have too many shoes or cookbooks?

I have approximately 200 cookbooks (well 188 to be more precise!). I know this because due to recent house-painting they all had to be removed from the shelves so allow the painters near the walls and I took the opportunity to count them!

The true number probably exceeds 200 as I found a few more today which had obviously been mis-filed! And then of course there’s the collection of booklets, food magazines, recipe files; not to mention the five lever arch folders from my time at Ballymaloe ( cookingisfun.ie)!

As I was re-filing them I noticed that while some were much thumbed and much-loved there were others had barely been opened but were sitting there like trophies (yes Gordon I’m talking about you!)

So then I had an idea – why not use my cookbook collection as the basis for my blog (with a few other bits & bobs thrown in of course!) . All those books that are sitting there looking pretty will now have to pay their way! I’m challenging myself to work through them and try a  recipe a week and give my tuppence worth on the book!

Now I need to examine my collection carefully and select the first star………………Any requests?