Beef and Vegetable Pie

I love going home-cooked food – my mother makes a really yummy pie which is incredibly easy to make, plus all the winter weather made me crave it more, so I had a go myself. Again there’s not ‘strict’ recipe but I’ve sort of put together one if you want to follow it.

Beef and Vegetable Pie, serves 1-2

YUMmo dinner!

-Some chunky diced beef (you can buy this pre-pared easily), about a few hundred grams (or you can just judge by eye how much you need)

-Puff pastry (I used Jus-roll ready made kind) thinly rolled out and enough to cover your chosen ovenproof dish

-Onions

-A selection of vegetables such as carrots, celery etc.

-Salt and pepper to season

-Liquid stock (Chicken/beef/vegetable)

-Cornflower (or plain flour)

1. First season the beef with salt and pepper and let it marinate for a little while if you have time.

2. Seal the beef in a well-oiled hot pan until brown on all sides. This should only take a few minutes. Leave aside to rest.

Sealing the beef

3. Use the same pan (with all the beefy juices) and gently toss in some chopped onion.

Onions

4. Gradually add in your other chosen ingredients – I didn’t have many vegetables left as it is the end of term so it was slim pickings! Once the onions have started to caramelise, add in a good mug or two of liquid stock. Let it simmer gently for 20 minutes or so. You can also put your meat back in now along with any juices escaped.

Pie filling

5. When you are satisfied with the taste, turn off the heat and stir in some cornflour (I wasn’t going to buy it just for this so I settled for plain flour that was already in my cupboard). Add it in slowly stirring continuously so that the filling does not become lumpy.

6. Roll our your puff pastry to the thickness of about a pound coin and prep your ovenproof dish – spoon in a good amount of filling and ensure it is all covered by the pastry. Bake at about 200 degrees Celsius until the pastry is golden brown (I was a little impatient after half an hour so mine doesn’t have as good a crisp as I would like, but I was hungry…)

YUMmo dinner!

I ate mine with a little bulgur wheat (cooked in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes). Enjoy!

> I would love to hear about your favourite pie combinations below in the comments so feel free to type away!

Roast Chicken

A little while ago I bought a chicken and decided to cut it up into the individual parts so that I could cook them separately when I wanted to, otherwise they were stored in the freezer. However since my knife proved it wasn’t up to the job, I thought this time I would roast the chicken whole and them portion it off afterwards. Doing this saves a lot of money if you buy a lot of pre-packed chicken meals and means you always have something in the freezer for back up! I like to buy the free-range chicken and if you can get it discounted, even better (I bought mine £1.50 off per kilo) – so you end up paying just over £5 for a whole chicken basically. Anyhoo, this is what I did to marinate the chicken:

1. Season with salt and pepper and some dried herbs. Pat into chicken and leave in the fridge for as long as you have (overnight is ideal).

2. I popped a few cloves of fresh garlic inside the chicken too just to give it some extra flavour. Drizzle some oil over the chicken and place on an ovenproof dish. You could also add some onions and other vegetables in the dish if you wanted and other seasonings. I cooked it for about an hour at 200-220 degrees Celsius. To check when your chicken is done, insert a sharp knife into the body and see whether the juices run clear (yep done) or red (it needs a little more cooking).

Roast Chicken

3. After cooking you can then start shredding it and taking of the meat – I ended up getting about 8 individual portions from it (with the help of recycled pasta bags for storage in the freezer)!

Shredded Chicken Chicken portions

4. Make sure you save the residue from the oven dish as you can just run a little water onto it and scrape of the remainder into a large pot for stock (keep the bones and any leftover bits of meat too as they really enhance the flavour).

Chicken stock

Wraps for lunch!

IMG_7743

So I have been loving these Warburton’s Rectangle (although they are called ‘square’ ish on the packaging) Wraps. I have taken a photo of the serving suggestions as you can see above and I find the shape much more versatile than round tortilla wraps that I normally use. So far I have only tried them out with salad-like fillings on the inside but you can also place filling on the top and turn them into ‘pizzas’ of some sort by just popping them in the oven. I only wish they had a part wholemeal or healthier option as I don’t normally buy white loaves, apart from that I think they’re great.

I tend to use my ‘normal’ salad ingredients but for today, just used whatever I could find in the fridge – large lettuce leaves, chopped red pepper, thinly sliced tomatoes and some chopped up sundried tomatoes too. Normally in salad I like to use mixed salad leaves (pre-packed) and add in some cucumber, sweetcorn and par-boiled carrots too and drizzle with some sundried tomato flavoured oil from the jar, but of course you can add anything you like. The other day I had one with cheese and ham (almost like an ordinary sandwich) but you could also add meat like chicken to beef it up (I tend to make up for this by eating two or three…).

Wrap filling prepped

Whilst I’m prepping the vegetables, I like to just put them flat into the oven to warm up slightly but you could just warm them up in a hot pan too on a low heat.

Wraps warming in the oven

Finally assemble your filling with your wrap in whichever way you please and guzzle down for a lovely lunch!

Lunch time!

I would love to hear you ideas for favourite wrap fillings too so feel free to comment below!