One vegetarian and two pies

Everyone has ideas about what motherhood might be like before it happens to them; hopes, fears, dreams…Once upon a time I imagined a busy kitchen, a lot of cooking and lots more happy eating. We have the first two, but it’s taken me more time to achieve the third. We have one vegetarian in the house (me), and two who eat meat (one of whom is a typically fussy toddler, so plain foods all the way!) The offshoot of all of this is that every planned meal, apart from a few favorite vegetarian dishes which we all eat, comprises two similar dishes, one without meat, one with, and a deconstructed version for the fussy eater, which all get cooked at the same time. And which require a minimum of meat handling…something I really, really dislike! So here is the first post in my recipe series: one vegetarian and two pies, the first being an adapted vegetarian crumble-turned-pie and the second, a more traditional chicken and mushroom pie (which I have never tasted, but gets the thumbs up every time!)

Vegetarian sweet potato pie

The original recipe which I have based mine on can be found on BBC’s Good food website. The crumble topping is delicious, but I don’t have time for it normally, and I’ve left out celeriac, as that is often missing from my local supermarket’s shelves. I always start all the chopping from this pie first, given there is so much to do!

Ingredients

  • 1-2 leeks
  • 2-3 small sweet potatoes
  • 1 potato
  • 1-2 carrots
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 200ml crème frâiche
  • 1-2 spoonfuls of mustard (I use whole grain)
  • Frozen peas or other mixed vegetables
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (and egg to glaze)

Slice up the leeks, dice the potatoes and carrots. Take the puff pastry out to thaw.

Cooking sweet potatoes and leeks

Put them all in a large saucepan, cover with stock. Bring to boil, then simmer until tender. I always go too far at this point – you don’t want the vegetables to be too mushy, but it’s not the end of the world if they are! While the vegetables cook, I normally start with the chicken pie (well that’s probably why I overdo the vegetables…)

Okay, when vegetables are done, I scoop out the excess stock, so there’s just a little bit to help make the sauce. Mix in the crème frâiche, mustard to taste (not too much for me) and flour. And then the frozen vegetables for a bit of extra green.

Spoon it all into a lightly oiled casserole dish, and place the puff pastry lid on top. Don’t forget to make a hole for the steam to come out! Glaze with beaten egg and place in oven at around 200 deg celsuis for 30 minutes, or until pastry is crispy and golden brown.

Wow, writing that recipe has made me hungry. Okay here’s the second one:

Chicken and mushroom pie

Ingredients 

  • 1 leek or onion
  • Around 300g diced chicken
  • Several handfuls button mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Vegetable stock
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (and egg to glaze)

Put the chicken in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Once cooked, I get a fork and shred the chicken just a little bit more.

Moe leeks!
In the meantime, slice up the mushrooms, and onion or leek.

Sauté the leek and mushrooms until nicely done, then add in the chicken, and stock and flour, just so there is enough liquid for the pie.

Line the base of an oiled casserole dish with one sheet of pastry. Place the chicken and mushroom filling in, and put another piece of pastry on the top. Again, don’t forget to make a hole in the top and glaze with the egg (it’s not the end of the world if you don’t do this, but it just gives the pie crust a nice glow). And then into the oven, 200 deg celsius for 30 minutes.

Two pies

 

Chicken triangle

For the fussy eater, some of the chicken gets cooked in puff pastry. Eventually I am sure she will eat some of what we are having…eventually!



Potatoes, paints and butterflies

Ok, crayons and play dough have been in use for a long time now in our house. Sticker books are pretty popular too. But paints are a new level of artiness for us!

The first time I tried out our new (non-toxic) paints with my daughter, she really just wanted to watch me paint. And still, I was amazed how quickly paint got transferred to objects which were not the paper. And, in the same vein, it has taken me several times painting to remember that yes, I actually need a smock too – even when using the paint with water books!

By the second time the paints came out, I had more of a programme in mind: what we could do, and an idea on how to use the paints. Most of these ideas are pretty basic, and things which you may have tried in primary school many years ago, like me. Nonetheless, it did take a bit of remembering for me to come up with this little list!

  1. Finger painting / hand printing – I resisted this initially, because of the mess, but it was less messy than I imagined. Finger painting didn’t really produce much of an exciting result, but the hand prints in different colours looked pretty nice!
  2. Potato printing – I remember this activity from my school days (mainly because it was one of the few times I forgot to bring my smock into art). At home, we just cut a potato in half and did some nice coloured stamping with that. Of course you can make shapes, but the potato can be pretty slippery to hold, and not so good for those with sensitive skin.
  3. Butterflies – Dot some nice, colourful splotches on one side of the paper and fold it over – and voila, there’s your butterfly. Was reminded of this activity on a tv show the other day!

So three really simple ideas – things you probably remember from your early  days, but maybe, like me, had forgotten about!

Enjoy your painting!