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!


Sharkarkand nu shak – sweet potato curry

Sweet potato curry

I made this last Friday but haven’t had time to post it up….too busy gobbling. It is defo on my list of fave dishes. Friday in our house is Pizza night for Mr Plummy. For a while, I’ve been indulging in pizza too but I cannot eat the same thing every week for weeks on end. Too boring.

The colour of this curry is gorgeous, like sun on a plate. I’m sure it’s super good for you (Vit c, vit A, betacarotene) and extremely easy to make. I keep a very light hand on the spices as the vegetable has a delicate taste that is greatly enhanced with the kalonji seeds. Normally in Asian stores the red skinned white flesh sweep potato is available. But in your high street supermarket, you will also be able to get the orange fleshed brown version. I find the latter has the better taste.

For those not familiar kalonji seeds, they are small black seeds taken from the nigella plant. If you have had naan bread, they are the black seeds that give naan flavour. They are NOT the seeds of an onion though they are often labelled black onion seeds. If in doubt, get them from an Asian grocer.


  • 2 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kalonji
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 small fresh green chilli finely sliced
  • 8 or so black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 450g sweet potato (this is the cleaned, peeled and diced weight)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cumin coriander powder
  • 250 g tomatoes finely diced
  • 8 or so curry leaves
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Coriander to garnish


  • Wash the sweet potato thoroughly. Cut the ends off. It’s purely a matter of taste whether you leave the skin on or not. It’s healthier if you leave skin on – in which case give it a good scrub with a brush and just cut out any roots.
  • If you want to peel the skin, just take a very thin layer off. You will soon come to the flesh
  • Dice in 2 cm pieces



  • Heat oil over a medium flame in a large saucepan
  • Add the kalonji and as soon as it starts to sizzle, add the onion
  • Fry onions until they are caramelised. This can take some time.
  • Add the ginger, peppercorns, cloves and chilli. Stir for about 10 seconds
  • Add the sweet potato and spices. Mix so that the spices coat the pieces thoroughly
  • Turn down the heat slight, cover the pan and let it cook. Funnily, the white flesh version takes longer to cook than the orange. It’s a dry curry so don’t add water but give it a stir frequently to stop it sticking to the pan.
  • When you can put a knife through the potato easily (but before it’s become mush!) add the tomatoes and curry leaves. Add lemon juice to taste. I usually just give it a little squeeze of lemon – about 2 tsp
  • Cook for about 5 minutes more until the tomatoes are cooked through.
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with freshly cooked basmati rice. Goes very well with a kingfisher or cobra beer!

Stuffed mini peppers

A bit of a variation this as I’ve made stuffed peppers before. However, the slight change in the recipe has elevated these to a new level as far as hubby was concerned since he polished them off quickly and kept mentioning them all evening. The major changes are to use curry leaves and mini peppers. The mini peppers are so so cute!

I swear I took pictures of the finished article but I cannot find them in my phone or camera. So again, you will have to imagine what it looked like. I absolutely hate when recipes don’t show you what the results are supposed to look like so I apologise…next time I’ll take lots of photos and update here. The filling is cooked before hand in a saucepan, then the filled peppers are roasted in the oven.


  • 6-7 mini peppers
  • 200g potatoes – This is the washed and peeled weight.
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 medium onion (dhungri) – peeled, diced very finely
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (adu) – washed, peeled and grated
  • 7-8 curry leaves (limda), central stalk of each leaf removed and then all chopped finely
  • 1 fresh green chili (lilly murchu)
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (lal murcha)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 2/3 tbs olive oil


  • Wash the peppers, then slice off the stalk end and scoop out the innards
  • When I cooked them, I found the filling was oozing out of all the peppers except the one I had slit down the side by mistake. So slit each on down one side


  • Have the  roasting dish ready with the olive oil smeared over the bottom
  • Dice the potatoes and them boil to the point a knife goes through them easily but they aren’t too watery. Mash in a bowl and set aside to cool.


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan oven)
  • In a heavy based pan, heat oil. Once warm add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle
  • Add onions and cook until they are golden brown (about 5 minutes on med heat, stir often)
  • Add the curry leaves, ginger and chopped chili to the mix and cook for a minute or so
  • Add the spices, cook for another minute or two stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  • Take off the heat and mix into the mash. At this point taste the mixture to check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary
  • Fill each pepper with 2/3 tsp of the mix and lay flat in the roasting dish. I had a few spoons left over so just rolled them into small balls and put into the roasting dish too
  • Place in oven to cook. I cooked until the peppers skin starting to char but not so they were too soft (about 20 minutes in my oven). Turn each pepper half way through cooking so that both sides get charred slightly.
  • Serve with rice or a salad.


Parsnip and potato parathas

Today is pizza night in our household. I don’t always fancy a cheesy hit so use the night to eat food that hubby isn’t into. So I cooked up my aubergine and potato shak. I usually eat that with rotlis or rice but today fancied a go at making parathas. Mum used to make a gorgeous potato stuffed one – damn I wish I had paid more attention to her cooking when she was around.

All my cookbooks are hidden in a moving box at the mo so I resorted to googling a recipe and settled on this simple Potato Paratha one. I substituted part of the potato quantity with parsnip mash as I love the creamy sweet combination of potatoes and parsnip. 150g of parsnips and 150g of maris piper potatoes (this is the washed and peeled weight). I also used a little less coriander. I found them really difficult to roll out as the stuffing kept squeezing out so in the end did it mum’s way but rolling out two rotlis, spreading out 2 tbs of stuffing, sealing the edges and cooking on the tawa.

The result was nice but didn’t really go with the shak. Whilst I was cooking them, I nibbled on the first one that I cooked. It is better without shak so I’m looking forward to tucking into a warmed up one with a sweet cup of tea for Saturday breakfast.  I wonder what other vegetables would go well?

Leek and potato soup

Just made this for lunch and as hubby said it’s probably my best soup ever, thought I’d post it up. Unfortunately, didn’t take pictures of the soup before it was all gobbled up :0)


  • 10 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced (don’t forget to wash well to get rid of all the grit)
  • 200 g new potatoes, washed, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
  • 1 inch fresh ginger grated
  • 1 pint water mixed with a single of Kallo vegetarian stock
  • 20 mls double cream (optional)
  • 100ml semi skimmed milk (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large pan
  • Sweat the onions which takes about 2 minutes (i.e. cook until translucent but not brown)
  • Add the leeks and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes stirring frequently
  • Add the potatoes and again, stir for a few minutes
  • Add the stock, bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft
  • Blitz with a blender so it’s all combined
  • Stir in the cream and milk (do a bit at a time until you are happy with the consistency)
  • Serve with cheese on toast.

Roasted veg potato cakes

These would work with left over roast veg but as I didn’t have any so roasted from fresh. Plus ideally I would have liked to bake them in the oven as it’s healthier but time was limited (tot was on way home for lunch) so I shallow fried them.  I liked them better than tot who like most [fussy] eaters of her age tends to treat all new things with a great deal of suspicion. That was was fine as it meant that I was able to scoff a load for my lunch as she nibbled on 3 for hers.


  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 10 g unsalted butter
  • 25 g cheese
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • Season to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil for roasting
  • 2 tbs Olive oil/15g butter for shallow frying


  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Wash then peel parsnips and carrot. Cut them into cubes of roughly equal sizes
  • Today I peeled the potatoes and cut them into cubes but in future I’ll leave the skin on as somehow the taste is better methinks.
  • Put into a roasting pan and pour over olive oil
  • Roast until the veg are soft
  • Once cooked, put all veg into a bowl and mash to smithereens ensuring it’s all well combined. (You may want to peel the potatoes first if roasted in skins)
  • Mix in soy sauce, ginger powder, cheese, seasoning if using and butter. Again combine well
  • Add flour. Do this a little at a time until the mixture comes together into a ball. It will still be slighty sticky
  • Divide into 12 equal portions and form into little handhold-able shapes
  • Shallow a few at a time in the olive oil/butter mix being careful to turn frequently to prevent burning
  • Serve with your tot’s favourite dip – we had ours with reduced fat soured cream and chives dip today.

Mushroom, cauliflower and potato shak (khumbi, phool khobi and bateta nu shak)

What do you do if your supermarket delivers a cauliflower that looks promising but when your remove the leaves, turns out to have a dolly sized head? Well, first I vow not to get my caulis delivered anymore (stupid store shoppers), and then put my thinking cap on, peer into the fridge and come up with a new recipe that worked out remarkably well. I hope you enjoy it too.

The preparation of the veg looks like a faff but trust me, it took less than 5 minutes.


  • 2 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1/2 tbs ghee (optional)
  • 1 large dried bayleaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 180 g onion diced finely
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 1 green chili chopped finely
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 200g cauliflower(this was my silly doll’s head. If you have a full head, use it all)
  • 200 g mini new potatoes (if you don’t have mini don’t worry but do not substitute with non new potatoes)
  • 200g mini portabella mushrooms (about 9 mini mushrooms or 3 large flat mushrooms)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (lal murcha)
  • 1.5 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1 tsp cumic / coriander seed powder (dhana jeeru)
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 2 firm red tomatoes cut into quarters
  • Coriander to garnish


  • Cauliflower: cut this in small florets and then blanch. To blanch you boil your kettle, fill a large pan with the boiled water and let the cauliflower sit in it for 5 minutes. This slightly softens the veg. With a spoon carefully lift the cauliflower from the hot water and put aside. Don’t ditch the water as you need for the next step
  • Potatoes: Scrub your new potatoes, if they are large cut them into 1/2 inch pieces and put them into the hot water to par boil – that is they are still firm but a knife should be able to slip in easily.

  • Mushrooms: wipe the dirt off and slice thinly. I wanted to remove some of the moisture so I decided to sweat the mushrooms. Pour a tsp of oil into a frying pan and then throw in the mushrooms. Keep stirring and you will see lots of water/steam start to emerge. Pour this water out and set mushrooms aside.


  • In a large pan, heat the oil and ghee
  • Add cumin seeds and bayleaf. When the seeds start to sizzle and brown slightly, add the onions and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently
  • Add the ginger, chilies and peppercorn then cook for 1 minute
  • Throw in the cauliflower and new potatoes. Stir for 2 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms and spices. Combine all very well and then turn heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes to stop it sticking to the bottom
  • When the cauliflower and potatoes have softened so that you can easily slip a fork in add lemon juice to taste and the quartered tomatoes.
  • Cook for a further one minute ONLY. Turn off and let it cool slightly.
  • Garnish with the chopped coriander and serve with plain basmati rice

Purple mash

Not cooking at all but a review of the Purple Majesty – the new potato with lots of anthocyanins in. It’s grown in Scotland dontchaknow. We got some of these potatoes with our weekly shop this week. Last night we made sausage and mash. Two pans of mash – one with King Edwards and one with Purple Majesty.

Now idiot me forgot to take a photo. I love the novelty of the purple spud. Peeling it was just bizarre and hubby thought I was strange for sniffing them. Well as mash, the purple potatoes taste like POTATOES MASH. Yep no difference but the lilac coloured mash looked great on the plate and my tot gobbled it all up.

Can’t wait to make oven chips or aubergine and potato shak with the rest of them .. as you can tell I am very easily pleased.

Fine beans and potato curry

Sometimes it’s not possible to get to an Indian grocer so I have to make do with ingredients from the local supermarket. Today I was pleasantly surprised to see the local Co-op brim full of veggie treasures. I chose some fine green beans as I love to eat my greens! There must be loads of air miles on these as they come from Kenya (where I was born), but they are ever so tasty in a simple curry. The amounts of spice below can be increased if you fancy a hot curry but it really works with a mild amount of spice to let the flavour of the beans shine through. Also I use new potatoes as they hold their shape better but it’s fine to substitute Maris Piper or King Edwards – just cut them into bigger 2 inch cubes.


  • 340g fine beans – snap each bean into 3
  • 450 g new potatoes – scrub and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbs ground nut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard/fenugreek seeds (rye methi)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 green chili – chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic – chopped finely
  • 1 inch ginger – grated
  • 1  tsp chili powder (murcha)
  • 1/4  tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/2  tsp coriander cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes – chopped very finely
  • 1 squeeze lemon


  • In a large pan, heat oil then add mustard and cumin seeds. Let them sizzle and pop
  • Add the garlic, chili and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds (don’t let them get overcooked)
  • Add the potatoes and stir fry for about 5 minutes. The edges of the potatoes should start going translucent
  • Add green beans and stir thoroughly
  • Add all the spices then give it all a good stir
  • Pour in water – it should not be above the level of the veg
  • Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer
  • When you can push a knife through the potatoes, add the tomatoes and lemon juice. Cook for another 5 mins on low heat
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with rice, rotlis or naan

P.S. These green beans go very well with broccoli and peas. My hubby isn’t keen on the latter and doesn’t know what he is missing. In the above, don’t add potatoes – add a head of broccoli (cut into spears) and a cup of frozen peas at the same time as you put in the beans. Cook until the veg are just turning tender which is usually very quick. Omit the tomatoes but add the lemon juice. Absolutely delicious.

Ringan bateta nu shak (aubergine and potato curry)

This shak is so easy to make and has very few ingredients – it’s easily cooked within 20 mins. It’s so rustic! It relies on good quality aubergines and potatotes. I prefer to use the small round aubergine sometimes called a brinjal (do a google image search to see what I mean) sold by Indian grocers rather than the long plump Dutch aubergine normally found in English supermarkets. However, if you cannot get the former, the latter is equally delicious.

Select ones that are plump, quite firm and has few blemishes on the skin. When you cut into the aubergine, the flesh should be white and there should be few seeds.

Sometimes aubergines can be bitter. To remedy this they can be salted before cooking. Wash the aubergines, cut off the stems and slice them aubergine into largish dice shapes. Then put a liberal amount of salt over them and leave for half an hour. Wash out the aubergines well (the water will run a sort of purplish colour!) before using in the cooking below.

The amounts below yield enough for 2 people. I prefer to serve this shak with fresh rotlis, sliced onions (cover with lemon juice to remove the sting!) and a sweet (in my case banana).


  • 3 round aubergines (or 1 large dutch aubergine) – wash, remove stem, cut into 3inch dice
  • 4 small potatoes –  remove skin, cut into the dice same size as aubergines
  • 3 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard and fenugreek seeds
  • 1 chilie chopped finely
  • 1 tsp salt (nimak)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (murcha)
  • 1 tsp coriander/cumin powder (dhana jeeru)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (hurder)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tomatoes – diced finely
  • Coriander to garnish


  • In a largish pan, heat oil over medium heat then throw in mustard/fenugreek seeds
  • Once seeds start to pop, add chilies
  • Add potatoes and aubergines
  • Add all the spices and stir the mixture very well
  • Cook for 2 minutes and keep stirring
  • Add enough water to just cover the vegetables. Don’t be tempted to put more as aubergines already hold a lot of water. Bring mix to the boil.
  • Turn down to a simmer and cook for five minutes, keep an eye on the levels and stir occasionally
  • Add the tomatoes, stir and cook for a further five minutes
  • When you come to serve garnish with coriander and serve with rotlis. If you don’t have rotlis, naan or rice do just as well.

P.S. Sorry I didn’t remember to take a picture of the final dish. It all got eaten very quickly!