Creamy Chicken and Leek Pie

Who doesn’t love a good pie? Come on, we’re kiwis.

Since arriving in London to a fairly cold Winter (for me), I’ve been looking for some heartwarming classics that are easy to prepare and taste great too.

This recipe is very simple, and tastes absolutely delicious. You can top it with puff pastry, filo,  mashed potato or kumara (sweet potato), or simply spoon into a couple of bowls. This one is worth trying! Enjoy.

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Creamy Chicken and Leek Pie
Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp butter or oil spray
  • 650 grams chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 leeks, thickly sliced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 250 grams chicken stock
  • 100 ml cream
  • 3 tbsp tarragon, chopped
  • Puff or filo pastry (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Spray a large frying pan with oil and set over a high heat.
  3. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes; turn often until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Cook the leeks over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and gently cook for 2-3 minutes, until very soft.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and increase the heat to high.
  7. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that the flour coats the chicken and leeks.
  8. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil, then stir in the cream, tarragon and parsley. Season well.
  9. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Spoon the mixture and ovenproof dish.
  10. Fold pastry over the top of the pie and gently press down around the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
  11. Put the pie dish on a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
  12. Serve with a coleslaw, or salad.

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Chocolate Peanut Slice

I could eat the base of this slice by itself. Seriously good.

  • 200g butter, cubed
  • 1⁄2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1⁄4 cups plain flour
  • 1⁄2 cup peanut butter
  • 150 grams dark chocolate
  • 75ml cream
  • 3⁄4 cup icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Line a slice tin with baking paper.

To make the base, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg, then add the flour and peanut butter and mix until combined. Spread in an even layer in the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

To make the topping, melt the broken-up chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Mix well, then sift in the icing sugar and mix to combine. Cool to warm, and pour over the slice. Refrigerate. Makes 12 pieces.

Chewy Choc Cookies

I absolutely love this recipe. It comes from the wonderful ‘Everyday Delicious’ by Chelsea Winter! The end result is incredibly moreish and I doubt you’ll be able to stop at just one! They are chewy, fudgey and oh so chocolatey. Yum!

  • 225 grams butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 grams white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper.

Cream the butter, and sugars together until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda in. Mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the chocolate. Mix again.

Roll into golf-ball-sized balls using clean hands. Grab a fork and press down on each ball. Place on try about 5cm apart (seriously they spread and make large bikkies!). Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Amen!

Makes about 20 cookies.

Cheesy Chilli Scrolls

This weekend, for the first weekend ever, I made a batch of cheesy scrolls. They could not have been easier! Make sure you try this recipe – you’ll just love it!

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  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk, plus extra if needed
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the dough, sift the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the salt, egg, milk and melted butter. Fold until just combined into a rough dough. You can always add more milk if it’s too dry or more flour if it’s too sticky.

Turn out onto a floured benchtop, knead a few times to bring it together to a smooth dough, and roll out to a rectangle about 1 cm thick.

Spread the dough with half a cup of sweet chilli sauce, spreading right to the edges. and sprinkle with cheese. Carefully roll up lengthways into a tight log, sealing the end with a little milk. Cut into 3 cm thick slices and arrange on the baking tray, a few centimetres apart as they will expand.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Cool slightly before serving or you may end up with a severely burnt tongue – trust me! Enjoy.

Gooey Lemon Slice

This slice is deliciously tangy and the filling just oozes out from between the base and the light crust and just melts in your mouth. If you are lucky enough to have your own lemon tree, and you have a sudden abundance of lemons on hand, this recipe is for you!

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Base

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 150 grams butter, cubed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

Topping

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zest only

Preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line a 30cm slice tin with baking paper.

To make the base, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until they resemble breadcrumbs. Tip into the tin, then gently press down to even out.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden in colour. While the base is cooking, make the topping by whisking all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour this mixture onto the hot base and bake for 25 minutes until firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges while still warm.

Dark Chocolate Stout Cake

This cake is my go-to recipe! One word: devine. I used a bottle of Tuatara’s limited edition Black WCF Chocolate Stout in this recipe, but a regular bottle of stout will do the trick!

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Dark Chocolate Stout Cake

For the cake

  • 500 ml stout
  • 250 grams butter
  • 75 grams cocoa powder
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 142 ml sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 275 grams plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking soda

For the icing

  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 50 grams butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and butter and line a 23 cm springform tin.

Pour the stout into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and the baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese with the butter until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them all together until it makes a spreadable consistency. Spread the icing on top of the cake.

Broccoli, Kumara and Blue Cheese Soup

Well, hello there! It’s winter and it’s cold and all I really feel like eating is soup. Tonight I whipped up a broccoli, kumara and blue cheese soup for dinner, and it’s delish! You can too…

Broccoli, Kumara and Blue Cheese Soup
Serves 4

  • 4 small kumara
  • 1tbsp oil
  • salt and cracked pepper
  • chilli powder
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

Heat oven to 190 degrees and cut kumara into chunks. Spread in a roasting dish, add oil, salt and pepper and chilli powder. Roast for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Cut broccoli in small bits. Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, then add broccoli. Boil for four minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli from water and place in a blender or food processor. Add about three cups of the salted water from the saucepan. Add kumara and blue cheese. Blend very well, at least two minutes, until smooth. Taste, and season.

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate, Beetroot and Salted Caramel Layer Cake

Little and Friday is the name of a cafe in Auckland. It is the brainchild of Kim Evans and after just two visits, has quickly become one of my favourite cafes. If I opened a cafe one day I’d want it to be just like this one. Excellent coffee, a great range of delicious treats (the savoury brioches, the frittata, mini cakes…) and a fantastic relaxed atmosphere with a great little outdoor garden area with seating, and home to to the cafe’s herb garden and vege patch.

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I have a number of favourites at Little and Friday – the lemon and passionfruit custard slice, and the savoury sun-dried tomato and pesto brioche. I have bought both cookbooks and they have become my go-to if I’m looking for something new to bake or cook.

This weekend I decided to try out Little & Friday’s delectable chocolate, beetroot and salted caramel cake as something new and a bit different. I ended up using just the one cake tin, instead of three, so it did take a bit of extra time to cook in the oven. I highly recommend this recipe! Enjoy.

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  • 5 eggs
  • 2½ cups caster sugar
  • 300ml canola oil
  • 250g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup good-quality cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 cup grated raw beetroot
  • 3 cups Chocolate Ganache, to decorate (see below)

Salted Caramel

  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 300ml cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line three 23cm round cake tins with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on medium speed until mixture is pale and creamy and tripled in volume. With mixer on medium speed, slowly drizzle in oil and combine.

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add chocolate to egg mixture. Stir to combine.

Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl. Using a large metal spoon, fold a third of the dry ingredients into chocolate mixture. Add a third of the milk and combine. Continue in this way until all combined.

Fold grated beetroot through chocolate mixture. Spoon mixture into prepared tins. Bake in centre of oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tins before turning out.

To assemble, use a serrated knife to cut the domed tops off the cakes. Spread ½ cup Salted Caramel over the top of two cakes and stack to form one triple-layer cake sandwiched together with caramel.

Spread a thick layer of Chocolate Ganache over top and sides of cake using a palette knife.

Salted Caramel

Place sugar in a small saucepan and just cover with water to achieve a wet-sand consistency. Bring to the boil but do not stir. Using a wet pastry brush, remove any sugar crystals from sides of saucepan. Continue to boil until mixture turns amber. Remove from heat.

In a small saucepan, heat cream to boiling point. Gradually add to caramelised sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. This takes a while but eventually combines. Season with salt.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 200g good-quality dark chocolate, grated

In a saucepan, heat cream to just below boiling point, Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth. Allow to cool and thicken before using.

Roast Sweet Potato, Cranberry, Rice & Quinoa Salad

This salad is jam-packed full of flavour! It has definitely become my go-to in terms of a quick and easy work lunch lately. I’ve seriously probably made this over 5 or 6 times in the last month. It is incredibly light, full of flavour and very filling! There is just something about the mix of the roasted kumara, and the crunch of the quinoa. The dried cranberries add a little hint of sweetness too, without being too overpowering.

The first time I made this salad, I’m pretty sure I devoured a substantial portion in one sitting. The original recipe has quite a bit of watercress in it but feel free to omit like I did. It is very simple to make and can be served as a main dish or side dish. It is good warm and straight from the fridge – bonus!

Roast Sweet Potato, Cranberry, Rice & Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds..
  • 800g sweet potato, peeled, diced into 2cm-ish cubes
  • 2 x 250g pouches SunRice Steamed Rice & Quinoa
  • 55g sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Put nuts on baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes – keep a close eye on these as they burn easily! Set aside.

Put sweet potato and 2 tablespoons of water in a large microwave dish. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, microwave each SunRice packet for approximately 90 seconds each. Transfer to a both, and separate grains with a fork. Add sweet potato, cranberries, nuts, and the chives.

Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Add liquid to the salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

The salad will last in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days (I think). Mine didn’t quite last that long! Yours probably won’t either…

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Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

Hello! Apologies for not blogging since early October! How many slack of me. Truth is, it’s been an extremely busy last few months and the last thing I’ve felt like doing is blogging my evenings away. Excuses, excuses..I. know. I do wonder, sometimes, how all you other bloggers carry on with such momentum…it’s truly awesome.

I’m back though, with some festive treats over the next couple of weeks. First up is a delightful recipe, and something that truly reminds me of my childhood, and also rather fitting for this time of year. They make a perfect treat for your workmates, or just wrap in cellophane for a cheap, and easy gift.

This recipe is so unbelievably easy to prepare, using the food processor. The smell of gingerbread will be wafting through your kitchen within minutes!

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Christmas Gingerbread Cookies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-3 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 150 grams butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Lollies to decorate (pebbles are great)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

This is the easy part! Sift flour, baking soda and ground ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add butter and rub in with fingertips or pulse in food processor until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and stir or pulse to mix. Ta da!

If the dough is too sticky, you can add a little more flour to the mix and wrap in cling wrap. Likewise if a little too dry, add 1 tbsp of warm water. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

Roll out on lightly floured surface until 5mm thick. Using cookie cutters, cut shapes and place on tray. Form leftover dough into a ball and re-roll and repeat cutting out until all the dough is used up.

Bake the gingerbread cookies for about 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack.

Of course these cookies taste superb on their own, but if you’d like to get a little creative, make the icing by adding 11⁄2 tsp water to the icing sugar. Drop a small amount under each spot where you wish to place a lolly.

When you’re done, store the cookies in an airtight container. Enjoy.