As we head in to the festive season, I find that I need to balance out the indulgences of this time of year, with home cooked, healthy (at least semi-healthy) meals.
Packed full of goodness, and also gluten-free (for any of you who are gluten intolerant), this baked quinoa “pie” with spinach and feta is as comforting as it looks. Hot from the oven, the quinoa are almost pillowed amongst the ingredients, adding a lightness that you wouldn’t get if I omitted them. I only need to cook for two, so I made enough for four, split the mixture in to two small pie tins, and will freeze the other portion for a time when I need something easy, quick and delicious. All I have to do is warm up and eat.
This recipe is really versatile – adding in ham or bacon would work too.
Ingredients (for one large pie to feed four or two smaller pies)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
- 200g feta (you can also substitute ricotta or even cottage cheese)
- 4 large eggs
- Splash of milk
- 1 cup of grated parmesan, divided in to two portion
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
- Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until tender and the germ is visible
- Stir in the spinach leaves as you fluff the quinoa – the residual heat will wilt the leaves
- Crumble the feta in and mix
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and one portion of the parmesan
- Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper – don’t over-salt as the cheeses will already add some savouriness to the dish
- Loosely spoon the quinoa mixture into your pie dish, pour over the egg mixture and combine the two in the dish
- Flatten the top and sprinkle the second portion of parmesan over the top
- Bake for 30-35 mins until the top is golden
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy hot !
All I wanted to do was to change the name of my blog, including the URL. It seemed simple enough at the time but WordPress won’t let me delete the old one, so until I figure it all, out I’m duplicating my posts on both URLs, so apologies if you are receiving notifications twice – I promise I’m looking in to it !
Back to food though, it rained most of yesterday in Singapore – very odd, as usually the tropical storms here are torrential, but last, at most, 30 minutes, then the clouds seem to magically disappear, exposing the warm blue sky again. I’ve been here for five years now yet I’m still surprised that it can be grey and wet outside and still 30C/86F. But while I am cool and dry in my apartment, it makes me feel like it’s winter, and I feel the need to eat some warm comfort food.
So I decided to make a salmon and brown rice pie. Feel free to substitute with tuna, white rice, even pasta – this is a very versatile recipe.
Ingredients makes enough to feed six hungry people
- 3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
- 1/4 cup quinoea, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 450g tinned salmon (I had red but you could also use pink)
- 1 tbs grain mustard
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus another 1/2 cup for topping
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Cook the rice first. Add the water to the brown rice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 25 minutes
- Add the quinoea, give a quick stir, and cook for a further 20 minutes
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Mix the cooked rice with the the rest of the ingredients except the cheese for topping and breadcrumbs
- Line a deep, 11″ pie dish with the salmon/rice mix and press down lightly
- Mix the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs together and scatter over the salmon/rice mix
- Add a couple of blobs of butter on top to help it all brown
- Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown
- Let cool slightly before slicing up into wedges and serve warm with a fresh green salad
- It’s filling, but don’t despair – you can eat it the next day – it’s still yummy cold from the fridge
I really do like pies. There’s something special about being able to peek under the edge of a crisp pastry lid to let the aroma of the flavours that have been cooking away in there, escape in wispy tendrils to your nose.
I found some gorgeous leeks in the supermarket so decided to make chicken and leek pie (my supermarket also had fresh thyme – bonus! It always seems that the herb I want is always the one herb they didn’t stock that day).
Ingredients makes one large pie
- 4 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
- 1 double chicken breast, skin removed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 large or 2 small leeks, washed and sliced
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1 tbls flour
- 1 cup hot chicken stock
- fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sheet short crust pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Fry the bacon in a large pan until crispy, remove from pan and set aside – keep the bacon fat in the pan
- Brown the chicken pieces in the bacon fat, remove from pan and set aside
- Lower the heat and gently sweat the leeks until soft
- Turn up the heat, add the chicken and bacon and sprinkle the flour over, coating all the ingredients and cook for about 3 minutes
- Add the white wine and bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring out any lumps of flour
- Add enough stock to just cover everything and add the thyme (you can just put the whole sticks in and then remove them later, or pick off the leaves, which I prefer)
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes – the stock should have reduced and become a nice gravy
- Pour the mix into pie dish and cover with the sheet of short crust pastry, pressing down the edges with a fork
- Slash a few cuts into the pastry to help the steam escape while it’s cooking and to prevent the pastry from going soggy
- Brush beaten egg over the top
- Put into preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
- Serve hot
It’s been a while since I’ve cooked beef – and a recent trip to Sydney made me crave a good meat pie (I managed to squeeze in a Pie Face meat pie at the airport before I flew out teehee). My supermarket had some lovely looking chuck steak, so it’s beef and Guinness pie for dinner tonight.
This dish is really very easy, but you need to make sure you have ample time to slowly braise the beef in the Guinness so that a) all the meat fibres break down, giving you you meltingly tender beef and b) so the flavour of the Guinness can really get into the meat. From start to finish, you probably need 2 1/2 – 3 hours.
Ingredients (for two)
- 250g chuck steak – cut into 1 inch cubes
- handful mushrooms – cut into 1 inch cubes
- 6 shallot onions – whole
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 cup tomato sauce (or just a good squeeze to taste)
- 1 can Guinness
- Puff pastry sheets
- Mix the flour, salt and pepper together
- Lightly coat the cubes of beef in the seasoned flour and fry in batches with the oil over high head in a heavy-based pot. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the pan – you want to seal and brown the meat, not boil it.
- Once all the beef has been browned, set aside, and using the same pot, gently sweat the onions over low heat for about 5 minutes. Scrape all the yummy bits left in the bottom of the pot from the beef. They will add flavour and colour to the stew.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Add the beef, bay leaves and tomato sauce and pour in enough Guinness so that it just covers the meat.
- Cover and bring to the boil then lower the temperature so it’s barely simmering, and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Peek in halfway through and taste it for seasoning. Add to taste if you fancy, but remember the flour was already seasoned.
- Once the beef stew has cooked it should have reduced down to a nice thick gravy and you can either simply put one sheet of pastry over the pot or portion out the beef stew into single portion oven-safe bowls eg ramekins or Corningware and then cover each individually with puff pastry.
- Brush the edges of whatever dish you are baking in with beaten egg yolk and seal the edges of the pastry with a fork. Brush the top with the rest of the egg.
- Slash a few cuts into the pastry lid to allow the steam to escape or you might end up with soggy pastry
- Pop into a preheated oven at 200C for 10 – 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown
- Serve with buttered peas and corn