That thing you do …..


So yeah… I have this recipe that isn’t really a recipe and the other day my significant other came home with bags full of ‘stuff’ from the latest foray into the realms of “couponing” …. that’s another story , though.

The bags were unpacked to the strains of  ” I wanted you to make the Leek and Mushroom pie you do… ” Awww! It’s so nice to be needed and appreciated !

Seeing as the recipe isn’t a recipe I’ll race through the ingredients and cut to the porn asap.

The pastry is a butter pie dough… pretty easy to do by hand and even easier in the food processor :

1 part flour

⅔ part salted butter

cold water

Crumb the flour and butter either by hand or in the processor.

Add a couple of teaspoons cold water at a time and gently bring together into a ball .. don’t knead it or it will become tough. Flatten slightly onto cling film or parchment and chill for 20 mins.


The filling is easy too….

3 large leeks … they are sandy so I slice them lengthways , then cut them into slices . BTW I use ALL the leek , the white and that amazing dark healthy antioxidanty green part.

Throw the pieces into a large bowl , cover with lots of cold water and agitate by pushing the leeks down and letting them float back to the surface. The leek floats, the sand doesn’t. Scoop it out into a colander and drain well ( of course no one is dumb enough to tip the bowl into the strainer with all the sand and then have to re-do the whole thing … right?! )

In a pan heat some olive oil and add a couple of large cloves of garlic… chopped.

Get it sizzling then add a pound of mixed mushrooms…. I use all types : White , Brown Caps, Oysters, Chanterelle, Portobello…. sliced. I wouldn’t recommend Shi-take as the rest of the ingredients are pretty western/mediterranean and I don’t really appreciate the combination.


Brown the mushrooms well in the oil and garlic before throwing in all the leek , a ton of cracked black pepper and a good pinch of sea salt . When the leeks are thoroughly hot and hustled , throw in a ” good measure ” of fresh young chopped thyme leaves , some crumbled feta cheese ( or good goats cheese) and combine.

Transfer into a pie dish and remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to ¼ inch / ½cm thickness.


Lay the pastry on top of the leeky mushroomy chaos and tuck the edges down and against the sides of the dish .


Like this…. if you can grasp my imagery !

ImageThat’s what I meant by DOWN and AGAINST the sides .

Cut the away the excess pastry and decorate if necessary with the scraps . I brushed it with a little beaten egg and baked it at 375f/190c for about half an hour.

Remove from the oven and take pictures of this wondrous work of Art for all your Facebook friends and Tweet to Rachel Ray as it cools.


This is basically a complete meal as is, being vegetables, some cheese and the pastry  the ‘carb’ but there’s no reason why you can’t serve a side of potatoes , a salad or, as I did, steamed broccoli with a vegetable gravy.


It was well received any and leftovers nowhere to be seen ……….



This Vegetable Pot Pie is warming and comforting on a cold winter’s night but can equally be inverted… lining a tart pan/ring with the pastry , adding more goat cheese and a dash of cream to the filling and baking “open” then cooling as a summer lunch or supper enjoyed outside with a glass of Pinot Gris.  Holy crap I’m serfistercated !

See you out on the patio!


Chocolate and spice and all things nice

Brown Sugared and Cinnamoned and Cocoa-ed 70% Cacao Chocolate

Brown Sugared and Cinnamoned and Cocoa-ed 70% Cacao Chocolate


Trying out new things is part of my job. It’s also my exercise it’s my ” me time ” and my free time . I love flexing my creative muscles and giving myself a culinary work-out .

I recently received a couple of pounds of chocolate from a local supplier and couldn’t really think what to do with so I just blindly threw myself at the pantry and came up with some unexpected treats .

The combination of cinnamon and chocolate is no big surprise these days … but “kick-assed up” with pure cocoa powder and raw cane brown sugar ? well , let’s just say that they disappeared PDQ .


When I was done making a mess in the kitchen realized I still had melted chocolate left in the bowl so I rummaged through the spices and threw some ground coriander and a pinch of cayenne pepper in … WOW ! The fruity spice of coriander just latches on to the bitterness of the 70% and calms it down without it losing any definition and the warm melty finish gets the best of exclamat!on marks from that hint of cayenne.


I love doing what I do when I’m not doing what I do … it’s so damn satisfying . Now…. where did I leave that bowl of chocolate ….



DIY Hot Sauce-a-Go-Go


So one day you open the fridge and look in the veg drawer at the bottom; you know , the one filled with onion brown-paper-skins and that empty red netting that the garlic bulbs come in, and you are reminded of that carrier bag of hot peppers you enthusiastically picked from your Mother-in-law’s garden a couple of weeks ago.

Hmmm, what to do? There are only so many spicy fajitas and red curries you can do in a short period of time and it’s a shame to throw them away .

I took the chaos of odd shaped , sized and coloured peppers ; Spanish Reds, Jalapeños, Banana peppers and Green chilis and chopped them all finely, threw them into a small pan and covered them with sugar and some teaspoon of salt. I doused the lot in malt vinegar and put it on a low heat to simmer a while .


After I returned from the bathroom , my eyes still red and streaming after having forgotten to wash my hands before rubbing that itch, I added 4 cloves of garlic, crushed, and continued simmering (covered) over a low heat ….. in total it was about an hour and the aroma and texture was A …. Ma…. Zing.


After it had cooled slightly I tasted this sexy, red chutney ; rich, sweet and tangy ……. and  OMG-SPICY !

The appearance of the pieces and the seeds was interesting but not really what I had in mind when I envisioned a sauce so I threw everything into the blender and pureed it until smooth.

A night in the fridge firmed up this puree into a thick, smooth, syrupy sauce; dark red coloured and dark red flavoured. In short: an absolute winner in it’s own randomly thrown together way. A touch of this on a smoked turkey sandwich ? Hell Yeah!