Tag Archives: corn flour

Christmas Pie

Christmas is tradtionally a time of leftovers.  We’ve got just about all of the sandwich suitable turkey off it now so now it is time to think of other things to make with the bits and pieces left over.  There are lots of options available but few I’d actually enjoy.  Pie seemed the way to go.  Not only can you use the turkey but there’s nothing stopping you from using up some stuffing or leftover vegetables or even a few dollops of cranberry sauce.  Got a ham? Pop it in too!  Whatever is left or takes your fancy, within reason, then in it goes!  I usually keep things simple.  I might do turkey, stuffing and cranberry but I’d leave out the vegetables.  Ham, turkey and vegetables go well together too.  If you’ve got a lot of mash then why not skip the pastry and use that?  It really does depend entirely upon what you have and what you like.  If you’ve only got turkey to play with then a simple turkey and mushroom pie is great too. 

Makes 1 average pie dish serving 4 people. 

For the pastry:
225g plain flour
pinch of salt
50g butter, chilled and diced
50g Trex (white vegetable fat), chilled and diced
3-4 tbsp chilled water

– Mix together the flour and salt.
– Add the butter and Trex and rub into the flour with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. 
– Add 3 -4 tbsp cold water by sprinkling it evenly over the surface fo the mixture.  (I used 3 tbsp and a bit.)
– Using a flat bladed knife mix it together until it forms a dough. 
– Gather it together with your hands and lightly knead for a few seconds to bring it together. 
– Form the dough into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm.  Place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

For the filling:
1 onion, chopped
Turkey/ham/vegetables/stuffing/etc.
a good splash of olive oil
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 pint chicken stock

– First saute your onion with a pinch of salt in a little oil in a frying pan.  Add whatever leftovers you’re using and stir gently to combine. 
– In a separate small pan add a good splash of oil, at least enough to cover the base of the pan. 
– Gently heat this until it just starts to shimmer a bit then add the corn flour.  Whisk rapidly to combine. 
– Pour in your chicken stock, still whisking and keep stiring until it is a smooth sauce. 
– Pour this sauce into the other pan and stir well to mix. 

To make pie:

– Lightly flour the worksurface and the rolling pin, not the pastry. 
– Turn out the chilled dough onto the worksurface and roll it out in one direction, turning it as you go until it reaches about 3 mm thick. 
– Place your pie dish upsidedown on top of the pastry and cut a line around the dish about 1 cm out to leave room for shrinkage. 
– Cut a second line around this about 1.5 cm thick.
– Fill the pie dish with the filling.
– Moisten the edge of your dish with a finger dipped in water then press the 1.5 cm thick strip round the outside of the dish trimming the length to fit.   
– Moisten this pastry with water again then lay the rest of the pastry over the top using the rolling pin to help lift it across. 
– I fluted the edges of this pie.  It’s very simple.  You basically place the thumb and index finger of one hand on the ‘inside’ of the pie and with the index finger of the other hand press the edge of the crust inwards between the two fingers of the other hand.  Move round the pie and keep going until the whole edge is fluted. 

– With any spare pastry I like to make decorations for the top of the pie.*  I went for a Christmassy snowman and Christmas trees.  Again just dampen any pastry you’re pressing together to make it stick. 
– Once you’re done brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cook in an oven preheated to gas mark 7 for 40 minutes until the pastry is a golden brown and the contents heated through.  If it starts to look too brown then cover with foil or butter papers** for the remaining cooking time. 

* And any spare spare pastry I stamp out shapes with cutters, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with grated parmesan to make cheesy biscuits. 

** I keep the butter papers when I’ve used a block for covering things like this.  It saves on foil and is a great little recycling tip!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Hiyashi Chuka

I make Japanese style lunch boxes, bento, for my mum when she’s at work.  A lot of the time they’re just leftovers dressed up prettily or made in minature.  I use a lot of western foods too.  Since bento means lunch in a box it all works.  Sometimes I get the urge to go very Japanese and I’m in that phase right now so expect a few Japanese recipes from me in the next week.  Tomorrow’s lunch contains hiyashi chuka, which is a sort of noodle salad.  It makes a great light lunch and is a little bit different, although not for the Japanese who would probably regard it as a tuna mayo sandwich type of lunch, ie. normal and boring!

Hiyashi Chuka Bento

For the egg sheet:
1 egg
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dashi powder if you have it
1 tsp corn flour
a splash of cold water. 

1 nest of egg noodles per person
1 slice of ham per person
about 1″ of cucumber per person
Dipping Sauce (I use TsuYu, which I get in a big bottle from the Oriental Supermarket.  You can find a recipe to make a good dipping sauce here.) 

– Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions.  Set aside to cool when done.
– Mix all of the ingredients for the egg sheet together well and heat a frying pan with a little oil. 
– Pour the egg mixture into the pan and swirl around so it is evenly covering the pan like a pancake. 
– Cook until the egg is solid then peel up off the pan and roll the egg sheet up swiss roll style. 
– Thinly slice the egg sheet, ham and cucumber. 
– Place the noodles on the bottom of each plate or bowl, then arrange the ham, egg and cucumber on the top. 
– Pour over the dipping sauce and eat!

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Filed under Easy, Japanese, Mains

Vegetables

What is a roast without vegetables?  I love vegetables!

I usually steam most of my veg.  If you don’t have a steamer I very much recommend getting one.  I use mine a lot for both veg and especially for Japanese foods.  I even have a microwave steamer, technically for doing rice and pasta, that I use for making individual portions although the timings are very different for that.  If, however, you don’t have one then you can improvise with a sieve and a pan. 

Vegetables!

These are guidelines more than anything, if you cut your veg bigger than I do or choose larger potatoes then they’ll take longer to cook.  Test before serving by poking with a sharp knife.  The knife should slip easily through the vegetable if it’s cooked. 

New Potatoes – 25 minutes
Brussel Sprouts – 20 minutes
Carrot slices – 20 minutes
Corn on the cob – 10 minutes
Asparagus – 10 minutes
Brocolli – 7 minutes
Edamame in pods – 5 minutes

I like to stirfry courgette slices in a little butter or olive oil, they take about 10 minutes on a low to medium heat.  They’re cooked when they start to go soft and a bit see through. 

Sweetcorn from a tin is best done in the microwave.  Drain, tip into a dish with a small knob of butter, cover and microwave for 2 minutes. 

Leeks in Creamy Sauce

2 leeks
a knob of butter
3 tbsp corn flour
1 pint milk

– Clean, if necessary, and horizontally slice your leeks. 
– Put them in a microwaveable dish with a good splash of water (about 5mm in the base is good) and a pinch of salt. 
– Cover and microwave for 7 minutes. 
– In the meantime make a white sauce by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed pan and whisking in the cornflour to make a paste. 
– Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk and a pinch of salt. 
– Place the pan back on the heat and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens.
– Drain any remaining water from the leeks and then pour the white sauce over the leeks. 
– Place in the oven to keep warm until serving. 

Braised Cabbage

Cabbage, any colour.  I prefer white.
a knob of butter
a splash of water

– Chop or tear the cabbage into small pieces. 
– Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cabbage and sprinkle with salt. 
– Stir until the cabbage is nicely coated with butter and starts to ‘pop’. 
– Add the water, cover and keep on a medium heat until the water is absorbed and the cabbage tender.  When it is cooked it will have become ever so slightly transparent.

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Filed under Easy, Sides