Posts Tagged ‘Pies’

Laughably easy fish pie

February 3, 2011

My sister Fiona has been going on and on about her spectacular fish pie for as long as I can remember. It’s a winter meal apparently so it wasn’t on the cards until winter kicked in. Well Missy it’s February now and still no fish pie…..what’s going on! On my recent quest for Freezer Friendly meals I decided to live on the edge and make my very own fish pies. It can’t be that hard to make! So with a little bit of online research I got the general idea and gave it a bash. The pie has now been sampled and given the big thumbs up from Eilidh (the recipient of all the freezer meals). She actually admitted to having a Harry Met Sally style “moaning” session in her flat while sampling the first one. Go Eilidh!! What will the neighbors thinks….

Ingredients (makes 8 individual pies or one huge one)

2 leeks
200 grams Butter
Salt and Pepper
1 ltr Whole Milk
100 ml cream (optional for mash)
100 gram fresh parmesan finely grated
2 tbsp plain flour
Dijon mustard
Dill
Parsley
300 grams undyed smoked haddock fillet (or similar white fish)
300 grams haddock fillet
300 grams salmon fillet (or trout)
2 kg potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
150 grams of baby frozen peas

Method

Peel and boil potatoes.

Finely slice the leeks and rinse to remove any grit. Saute in a heavy based pan on a low heat with a large knob of butter (50g). Saute until soft and sweet – this is called a fondue.

Make white sauce buy melting 60 grams of butter in a pan. Mix in the flour and slowly add the milk until sauce thickens and all milk has been incorporated. Make sure you stir constantly and honestly add the milk little by little if you don’t you are going to end up with a really lump sauce. Add a heaped spoon of Dijon mustard and finely grated parmesan. Stir in the leeks, frozen peas and some finely chopped parsley and dill (approx small bunch of parsley and 1/2 small bunch of dill). Season well with Salt and Pepper (make sure you taste it). Leave to the side to cool.

Cut the fish into bite size pieces 2 cm cubes, stir through the cooled sauce.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain well and mash. Stir in the rest of the butter and if the potatoes are floury and a bit dry you can add some milk or cream. Season well with salt and pepper – again make sure you taste it.

I used individual single serve foil containers for freezing but you could use ceramic or pyrex dishes. Put the fish and sauce mix in the bottom and top with mash.

And that is it!

To cook the individual portions pop in the oven at 180 degrees (or 170 in a fan assisted oven) for 35 – 40 minutes – until cooked through. You will need to cook it for a little longer if it is one “mega” pie.

If you do freeze the pie make sure it is fully defrosted before you bake it in the oven – I don’t recommend that you microwave it to defrost.

So Fiona I don’t need you to make me a pie anymore – I can make it myself!! Tee Hee.

The “real” Greek Spanakopita

July 13, 2010

Spanakopita

Ok I know I have already written about Spanakopita (spinach pie) but I cheated last time and used puff pastry. This is proper spinach pie with filo and no pumpkin!! The other one is good too but this is better!

My friend Rebecca is the inspiration for this little beauty, she made Adam and I a cracking spinach pie for dinner up in sunny Brisbane (or more commonly know as Bris-vegas). It was fan-bloody-tastic and definitely would give the Greeks a run for their money!!

I made it for dinner last night and it was a raging success – the parents loved it! We had left overs for lunch today and may I say with a little bit of an oven reheat it was better that the fresh pie the day before.

Ingredients (serves 6)

750 grams of spinach (you can use silverbeet just remove the white stems)
1 medium white or brown onion
1 spring onions (shallots in Oz)
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup of fresh mint
Small bunch of beetroot leaves
1 packet of filo pastry (thawed in fridge if frozen)
120 grams of unsalted butter
200 grams of feta (ideally Greek)
100 grams of finely grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Olive oil

Method

Wash and remove any tough long stalks from the spinach leaves and dry in a salad spinner if you have one. If not drain well and pat dry with clean tea towels.

Slice finely and set aside.

Sauted onion and spring onion

Finely dice the onion and finely slice the spring onions and add to a large heavy based pan with approx a tablespoon or two of oil.

Fry on a low to medium heat until soft.

Add spinach, finely chopped mint and parsley and cook on a medium heat until all leaves have wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated. You may need to add the spinach in batches as it might not all fit in the pot at once.

Onions, spring onions and spinach

Once the spinach is at this stage stain the rest of the liquid out by placing in a colander over a heat proof bowl. Press as much of the moisture out as you can – this will help prevent the pastry from going soggy.

Straining spinach through colander

Leave spinach to cool.

In another bowl crumble feta and add finely grated parmesan.

Crumbled feta and finely grated parmesan

Once spinach is cooled add to the cheeses and mix through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little finely grated fresh nutmeg.

Spinach feta and parmesan filling for spanakopita

Now it is time to make the pie. Filo pastry dries out very quickly so it is best to leave the packet unopened until the very last minute. Melt the butter in a small pot on the stove, get your pastry brush out, a ceramic, glass or metal pie tin and have the filling ready to go.

Ideally the pie dish would be approx the same size as 1/2 a sheet of filo.

Open the packet of filo and start by cutting the sheets in half.

Brush the dish with melted butter and lay one sheet at the bottom, brush with butter and lay on top. Continue to do this until you have used 1/2 of the sheets (this usually will be between 7 and 10 of the 1/2 sheets). Dollop the filling over the top and spread into an evenish layer.

Spanakopita - spinach filling added

Now layer the sheets on top making sure you brush each sheet with butter before you lay the next sheet on top. Once you have laid the last sheet brush the top with butter and cut diagonally across the top layers of pastry to create portions. Do not cut all the way through just the top part.

Cut portions sizes in diamond shapes

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown. If browning too quickly turn the oven down a little bit.

Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before serving to give the pie time to rest.

Spanakopita portion

Serve with a leafy green salad or a Greek salad if you wish.

It was so good I feel like making again tonight – yummy!!! Or maybe I will try and do a mushroom, ricotta and parsley one……will keep you posted.

Kefalonian spinach and feta pie (with roast pumpkin thrown in)

May 24, 2010

Spinach Pumpkin and feta pie

How can you go wrong with puff pastry? It’s just great, obviously not the best diet food but everything in moderation.

I am a huge fan of Greek food – good Greek food that is. Stuffed veggies, slow roast lemon potatoes, Tzatziki, Greek salad and my absolute favorite Spanakopita.

While I was at Art College I managed to wangle a job in a bar on the Greek island of Kefalonia for the summers. I had an absolute ball, at the time I was in my late teens early twenties and I really can’t think of anything I would have enjoyed more!

After work my friends and I would head off to get something to eat. It was usually about 5am and the place was always buzzing, our options were to head down to the square for Souvlaki, the beach for a toasted sandwich or to the bakery for fresh out of the oven Spanakopita.

My first choice every time was the bakery. Gorgeous flakey puff pastry filled with spinach and feta. Yummy!

So I decided to make my own version tonight but with a little difference I added some roast butternut pumpkin because I had some in the fridge, and pumpkin, spinach and feta goes really well together.

Ingredients

1 block of puff pasty or sheets
200 grams of English spinach
1 red onion
1 large lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon of fresh mint finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan (Padano or Reggiano)
150 grams of feta crumbled
1 1/2 cups of 1 cm diced butternut pumpkin
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 egg
Sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Finely diced onion

Finely dice onion and add to large bowl.

Finely sliced spinach

Wash dry and finely slice spinach and add to the onions.

Onion spinach and lemon with pinch of salt

Add a pinch of salt to the bowl and the juice of one lemon give a good mix through.

Diced pumpkin

Pop pumpkin pieces into a roasting dish and add a pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Add a glug of olive oil and toss so that the pumpkin in coated.

Put pumpkin into the oven for approx 20 – 30 mins until the pumpkin is cooked and slightly golden in colour. Make sure you regularly stir the pumpkin to ensure that it does not stick and roasts evenly.

Squeezing out the liquid from the spinach

After the spinach has been sitting for about 20 – 30 mins it should have released a lot of liquid. Empty the spinach mixture into a colander or sieve and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can.

Spinach feta parmesan thyme mint

Pop the spinach into a clean dry bowl and add the thyme leaves, finely chopped mint, crumbled feta and grated Parmesan. Season with pepper and a little salt (if you need it). Stir through thoroughly.

Spinach mixture

Once the pumpkin is cooked add to the spinach and cheese mix.

Add pumpkin to the spinach mix

Increase the oven temperature to 220 degrees.

Rolled out puff pastry cut into 15 cm squares

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface and cut into 15 cm squares.

Spinach mixture onto pastry

Add a large spoonful of the spinach mixture to the center of the pastry squares.

Press edges together with fork

Brush the edges of the pastry with lightly beaten egg and fold over to make triangles. Press the edges together and either mark with a fork or fold over on its self to create a sealed edge.

Pies on a baking sheet ready to go in oven

Brush the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place on a floured baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown – make sure you check the underside of the pies – this should also be golden brown. If not put back into the oven and back for a few more minutes until the underside is golden brown.

Pies cooked

Serve with a leafy salad.

Spinach feta and pumpkin pie with salad

You could make smaller versions of these for finger food or picnics.

Delish! And also good cold.