Leek and potato pie with suet pastry


Everyday I go to work through Edinburgh Waverly station I pass by the Cornish Pasty shop. I love their vegetable pasty. It’s the same one I used to get in Maidenhead when I worked there, and at London Bridge on the way to see the then boyfriend-now-Mr-Plummy-Mummy.

So I wanted to have a go and ended up mashing (probably in inappropriate term in this context….synergizing?) two recipes – the pastry from Louise Pickfords Mediterranean Suet Parcels from her Vegetarian Cookbook and the filling from a good food recipe.


For the pastry

  • 500g Self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 175g shredded vegetable suet
  • 150ml yoghurt
  • 200ml milk

For the filling

  • 2 leeks (500g)
  • 2 potatoes (500g) – used Greenvales potatoes. They are just gorgeous for everything.
  • Knob of butter (about 10g)
  • Pinch of dried thyme or rosemary
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 150g cathedral city mature cheddar
  • Salt and pepper
  • I small egg for the glaze


For the pastry

  • Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl
  • Stir in the suet (I found the consistency a bit odd as the bits were like little pellets)
  • Mix the milk and yoghurt together and then slowly pour into flour a little at a time. Form in to a dough and kneed lightly until smooth. I had a little trouble at this stage due the consistency of the suet. I wasn’t sure how much to knead it as short pastry shouldn’t be worked too much.
  • I kneaded until it was somewhat smooth then covered the bowl with cling film to rest whilst I made the filling

For the filling

  • Turn the oven on to 200 degrees (400f, gas mark 6)
  • Wash the ginger, potatoes and leeks thoroughly
  • Chop the leeks into small pieces – I did this by quartering the leeks along their length then slicing these finely. A serrated edge knife makes this a doddle. For good measure, I always rinse leeks again to get out dirt that is caught between layers
  • Peel the potatoes then slice in thick slices.
  • Peel the ginger then grate it finely
  • Heat the butter in a large frying pan then add the sliced leeks, herbs and ginger and cook over a low heat until very soft
  • Meanwhile, place the potatoe in a pan with cold water and bring to the boil. Then simmer for a few minutes until the potatotes are slightly softened (i.e. parboil them). I wish I had cooked mine a little longer as they stayed quite firm in the pie.
  • Once the leeks are cooked, drain off the potatoes and stir in. Let the mixture cool
  • Cut the cheese into small 1cm cubes and stir into the mixture
  • Season with salt and pepper

The construction and cooking

  • Get a baking sheet ready. Dust it with a bit of flour.
  • Roll out the pastry until it forms a 14inc wide square. That’s what the recipe says. What it doesn’t mention is how hard that dough is to roll. My arms were aching. But after a bit of stubbornness, I got a sort of square (ok it was a rectangle but hey ho)
  • Place the cooled mixture in the middle.
  • Then, I was meant to water the edges of the pastry and bring up the corners up to form a parcel. Things did not go to plan!  I think I had too much filling and the edges would not stick together. I should have rolled the pastry out a little larger or just done what the good food recipe said and made two circles. Anyhoooo, I got very frustrated so kind of rolled it into a cylinder shape, picked it up and plonked it onto a floured baking tray. The pie had a bit of leakage – in future, I will add one teaspoon of flour to the mixture to thicken it up
  • Glaze it with egg wash (I used a silicon brush, think you could also glaze with milk if you prefer to keep the thing egg free)
  • Put into the oven and cook for 30 minutes until lovely and golden
  • Take out and let it cool for 10 minutes. Marvel in the glory of a home baked pie. Slice it up and marvel again as the wonderful feeling oozes out a bit
  • Serve with greens, salad or as we did GRAVY



The review

Not bad for my first pie. But I think in future I will use shortcrust as I prefer the crust. I’m going to try to make a pie with traditional samosa filling made out of carrots, peas and potatoes…bound to be healthier than the fried version right?

BTW check out my new bin from the council – it collects food waste. How wonderful!


Fizzy stain glass biscuits

Well we are into week 3 of our summer holidays and it was time for a bit of baking. A few months ago I picked up the DK Kid’s First Cook Book from TKMaxx (also available on ebay for 99p). It’s a fun book for kids because it’s big and the photographs are lifesize.


We used the spiced biscuits recipe to make some simple stain glass biscuits. As it’s summer, I omitted the cinnamon from the biscuit recipe. We used some boiled fruit sweets with sherbert centres which gave us a wonderful bubbly window…and were still fizzy after being baked. I was particularly pleased with the star-fish and with the dinosaur footprint (used a flame cutter so maybe will reuse for Diwali)

All in all, a fun project for a thundery, rainy afternoon 🙂


IMG_0791 IMG_0793 IMG_0794 IMG_0795 IMG_0797

Easy as pie mixed fruit tea loaf


Mixed fruit tea loaf whole

You only need the ability to mix to make this very easy mixed fruit tea loaf. It only took an hour to cook too so after a quick cooling we were able to tuck into a slice for afternoon tea. Hubby had his with coffee but he’s forgiven – it doesn’t really have a strong tea taste so if you don’t like tea, you need not worry.

It’s nice on it’s on and is fat free. However, if you are like me, you will have yours with a lovely hot cuppa and a thick smearing of butter. Yummmmy!

Here is the original recipe with my amendments in italics


  • 300g mixed fruit (I used 90g apricots chopped up, 110g sultanas and 100g raisins)
  • 175g raw cane sugar (I used Asda’s dark brown sugar which labels says is raw cane sugar)
  • 300ml strained cold tea
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 200g self-raising wholemeal flour (I used half wholemeal, and half plain so that it wouldn’t be too heavy)
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • oil and margarine for greasing the tin


  1. Start by preparing the fruit the night before. Put the mixed fruit and sugar in a bowl and pour over the strained cold tea and stir well. Then cover and leave overnight, this will make the loaf moist.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
  3. Add the beaten egg, flour and mixed spice to the fruit and tea mixture and beat well, until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Carefully pour the cake mix to a lightly greased and floured loaf tin, and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 hours 15 minutes. Test the loaf is cooked by inserting a knife and it should come out clean.
  5. Let the loaf cool in the tin for 5 to 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finishing cooling.

Mixed fruit tea loaf

Bread and butter

Well the summer hols are finally over. And I have packed kiddo off to primary which gives me more time for cooking. This week I joined an Introduction to Breadmaking course. The first lesson was fun – the teacher was informative and the mix of people in the class was a good so we were getting lots of different information.

Unfortunately, we did so much chatting that we got to the baking part late. This meant I went home with a bag of wet dough to put into my fridge to prove (bread fermentation/rising). We did however, make some gorgeous fruit scones – hubby and I scoffed some when I got home.

Tuesday morning I opened the fridge to find the bread dough had risen rather well. Feeling chuffed I got it out, cut it up into 7 segments and squished out some balls. At this stage I was squishing out the air. Then the condensed (?) balls were put on a tray and left in the warm conservatory to prove/rise again.

After baking and then waiting half an hour, I greedily scoffed one. And you know what….it was SALTY! Argh after all that effort, I must have put in too much salt. Gutting. Hubby who loves salt happily ate one at dinner but I think I’m going to bin this batch and maybe try again. Or maybe I’ll just go down to the supermarket…it’s bleeding hard work making bread innit!

Scones, banana cake and shak

Today kiddo and I went into the kitchen to make scones. Unfortunately I didn’t have any baking soda so most of the google’d recipes were of no use. I also found most of the recipes in my Scots Kitchen book were a bit complicated for a 4 year old (and her 45 year old mother). However, my thoughtful brother in law gave me a Matalan 2012 Recipe Calendar which has a different bake recipe for each month. And you guessed it, July is Summer Scones. The recipe was simple,  egg and baking powder free and really easy to do with the kiddo. The first batch had rather burnt bottoms (accursed oven) and the second batch were slightly underdone (to avoid bottom burn). But both tasted lovely smeared in butter and homemade lemon curd then gobbled up.

Before the hubby came home for lunch, I quickly mixed up a banana cake using the Allrecipe’s site for inspiration. This really was the most Easy Banana Cake. I only had one banana so chucked in a handful of raisins. It’s so easy…I really urge you to try it.

Lastly, I used the some more veg from my recent trip to Amma spice to make a gorgeous valor, ringan and bateta shak …which is hyacinth bean, aubergine and potato curry.

Now I’m very full but very satisfied. It’s a good feeling. Something that’s been missing lately from my craft side as I’ve become overwhelmed by the talent that is out there. That’s the way with online surfing…sometimes it inspires me and sometimes it fills me with a depressed feeling that I’m never going to be as good. Luckily, a quick nibble on something delicious perks me right up.

Oven roasted Sicilian aubergine with tomato and feta

As mentioned in my last post, we have had a bit of a revolution in our local Morrisons which now sports a funky new veg section. Including one with a lot of different aubergines – there was Dutch, smaller rounder Indian, purple and white aubergines and a Sicilian aubergine. The latter is just gorgeous looking – check out the vibrant purple and the lovely round shape. I’ve never seen one before and though it cost me £1.69 which is expensive for an aubergine, I couldn’t resist.

According to the Think Sicilysite, the Romans were suspicious when first shown the purple black fruit by Moroccans and dubbed it the “apple of insanity”. Ilove that! That site has some great recipes but as I didn’t have the ingredients, I did my own thing. And my goodness, it was DELICIOUS so have a go. Ingredients:

  • 1 Sicilian aubergine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4/5 spring onions,
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 6-7 sunstream tomatoes (or any full flavoured vine ripened tomato). Was about 120g
  • 1/2 chili flakes
  • A small amount of salt to season
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 5/6 fresh basil leaves



  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade (180 for fan)
  • Wash the aubergine, cut off the stem then slice into 1cm discs
  • Arrange the discs into an oven proof dish and coat with generous amounts of olive oil (I used at least 3 tablespoons)
  • Roast in oven for about 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, top and tail the spring onions, peel outer layer if manky and slice up green and white parts finely
  • Remove outer layer of garlic and slice finely
  • Wash and chop tomatoes into quarters
  • In a heavy based pan, add 2 tbs olive oil and fry the onions and garlic
  • When they start to caramelise, add the tomatoes, chili flakes and season slightly. As feta is quite salty, you can leave out salt if you wish
  • Remove the aubergine from the oven and pour the onion/tomato mix over the top. Then crumble up the feta and place back into the oven.
  • Roast for a further 15 minutes, then tear up the  basil  and chuck it on on top. Place back in the oven for about 15 /20 minutes until aubergine has cooked through (check every now and again to ensure it’s not sticking to the bottom or burning on top).
  • Serve with warm bread, with pasta, on toasted slices of bread as bruschetta or just on it’s own. Delicious!