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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Spinach and Feta Tartlets

I actually can’t recall when I first saw this recipe. No doubt in some women’s magazine I picked up briefly at the supermarket or in a waiting room. I truly believe one of the best fillings for pretty much *anything* is the spinach and feta combo. Spanakopita, quiche, tarts, omelettes, bread…you just can’t beat it. In fact, I’m pretty sure any time I cook with either it is always a success.

This recipe is a gorgeous combination of spinach and feta cheese in a nice pie crust. I could seriously eat one of these almost every day, well I wish! The filling is so quick and easy to throw together, too.…what’s not to love?

Go on…enjoy this lunchtime delight.

Spinach and Feta Tartlets
Serves 12 

  • 200 grams baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 200 grams creamy feta
  • 200 grams puff pastry
  • 2 medium-sized eggs
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100 grams sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Turn the oven on to 180 degrees. Spray a 12-hole muffin tin. Roll out pastry into a large rectangle and using a pizza cutter, slice into approximately 8 x 8 cm squares. Next carefully mould each piece into the muffin pan.

Pop the spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, nutmeg and eggs into a bowl and combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture evenly amongst the pastry cases. Place into the oven to bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Put one of these into the lunchbox along with a side salad!

Beef and Vegetable Pie

I came across a food magazine the other night at the supermarket that I hadn’t seen before. It is published here in New Zealand and is called Recipes+. The April issue contains at least 300 recipes which are no-fuss and extremely budget friendly.

Every recipe in the magazine is easy, and delicious! I was particularly impressed to see it also had plenty of recipes that were gluten-free and vegetarian. Best of all, it contained an excellent index! There isn’t anything worse than seeing a recipe and having to flick through to find it again a couple of months later!

I have a few meals that I am going to try this week. So if you’re looking for a delicious, filling weeknight meal which is inexpensive and low in fat, look no further.

Beef and Vegetable Pie

  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 500 grams vegetables, chopped (I used broccoli, carrots, potato, and zucchini)
  • 1/3 cup brown onion gravy powder
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a 20 cm square ovenproof dish. Heat oil in in a saucepan over a high heat. Add mince and onion. Cook stirring to break up any lumps in the mince, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Add chopped vegetables, gravy powder and a 1/2 cup of water. Cook and stir for approximately 3 minutes or until the sauce is nice and thick!

Transfer mince mixture to prepared dish. Place a pastry sheet over the mince mixture to cover. Roll the overhanging pastry inwards to form a border around the edge of the dish. Score the top of the pastry with a small sharp knife. Brush with extra milk.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until browned.

This pie is perfect to eat around this time of the year when the nights are cooler and all you want is a nice, hot meal when you get home. On a sweet note, the April issue also includes a picture of a pretty amazing looking White Chocolate Mud Cake – something else I might have to try! Drool.

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

Fruit crumble is such a comfort food and what a fantastic dessert to eat on a cold, Wellington night. To be honest I didn’t think I’d be reaching for those ‘cold night’ recipes this early in the year, let alone March! Crikey. Although I’m not too fond of the on-going southelies it definitely gives me an excuse to eat things liiiiike….crumble!

Last year was the first time Wellington got snow in 30 years! Lets hope 2012 isn’t a repeat. Enjoy this toasty treat with some vanilla ice cream and some delicious custard.

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

  • 3 cooking apples, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 10 sticks rhubarb
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • ½ cup self raising flour
  • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut
  • ½ cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 180 C. Cut apples into thick slices and place in a saucepan with water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile wash rhubarb and chop into 5 cm lengths. Add rhubarb, sugar and orange rind to apple, return to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour mixture into a shallow oven proof dish.

Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour, mix in brown sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Sprinkle crumble evenly over the apple and rhubarb and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with icecream, cream or custard.

I’ve chosen to enter this recipe into Sweet New Zealand for March hosted by Emma at My Darling Lemon Thyme! Go and check out some delicious entries.


Bacon and Egg Pie

Most New Zealander’s I know love a slice of bacon and egg pie. I wouldn’t call this so much a recipe as I would an assemblage. There is nothing too challenging about making a bacon and egg pie and you probably won’t ever need this recipe. It does however hold a strong place in my heart so to me, belongs on my blog.

This recipe makes for a really quick and easy lunch or light meal. Combined with a nice salad, you have your self a pretty delicious meal.  My Mum would actually be horrified I am even sharing this recipe because it is literally make and bake.

I used the very easy store-bought puff pastry (Mum would also be horrified at this) but the flaky pastry recipe in the Edmonds Cookery book is pretty easy so if you have a bit of time..

I don’t really have too much more to say about this! Enjoy.

Bacon and Egg Pie

  • 400 gram packet of store-bought flaky puff pastry
  • 200 gram packet of shoulder bacon
  • 5 medium-sized eggs
  • Salt and pepper

Roll out half the puff pastry on a floured board until you have yourself a lovely rectangle. Lift off the board and shape into a sprayed oven dish. Line the dish with strips of the bacon so the pastry is evenly covered. Crack 5 eggs over the bacon and break up the yolks with a knife. Roll out the second half of the puff pastry and lay over the pie.

Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

Lemon Meringue Pie is actually a pretty stunning dessert. Mini lemon meringue pies are even better! I can’t remember ever having had lemon meringue pie because I usually always choose cheesecake over other desserts. There is something about cheesecake, I am never left dissatisfied. Amen.

I borrowed this recipe from New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and it was relatively easy to follow. Last Sunday night I was feeling a little bit creative and decided to make mini lemon meringue pies. I was really reeeeeally happy with the way these turned out – the serving size was just perfect and paired with a spoonful of natural yoghurt or a scoop of vanilla ice cream….you have yourself a dessert made in heaven!

The lemon filling is very similar to lemon curd so you could just as easily pre-make lemon curd and use when needed. Time saving tips for busy December

Have fun with these little bundles of lemony sweet joy!

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

  • 300g sweet short pastry
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup water
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • Icing sugar, to dust

Roll out pastry to 3mm thick and use to line a 12-hole muffin pan. Prick the base of each pastry shell with a fork and then chill for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200°C. Line each pastry case with baking paper or foil and fill with baking beans (or rice like me!) to blind bake for 15 minutes, then remove paper and beans/rice and return pastry cases to the oven for a further five minutes to dry out. Remove to cool.

Place the egg yolks, water, lemon juice and zest, sugar, butter and cornflour into a saucepan. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring continuously until mixture thickens like custard. Remove to cool.

Spread lemon custard mixture into cooked pastry case. Place egg whites in a bowl and with an electric mixer, beat until stiff. Slowly add caster sugar a little at a time, beating well until thick meringue is formed.

Spread meringue over custard to cover completely. Bake at 200°C for 10 to 15 minutes, just until tips of meringue are lightly browned. Dust with icing sugar and slice to serve.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Cheese Pie)

I love Greek food. Maybe it’s just because I have a not-so-secret love affair with feta and spinach combos!

The weekend called for spanakopita (a Greek dish which literally translates to ‘spinach pie’). Kiallas, my local café in Newtown, sell out of these puppies as quickly as they can make them. They are the most popular items on the menu – they really are that good and have the richest, creamiest, feta EVER… utter heaven. Sunday was one of those days (sadly!), but I’d been dying to try spanakopita at home and what a perfect excuse!

This recipe was recommended by a friend and comes from Jamie Oliver. The filling is extra creamy and luscious but best of all, the process for making spanakopita is really simple and only takes 20 minutes in the oven making it a healthy (ish!), vegetarian meal perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Yes, this recipe is incredibly delicious. I cannot wait to visit Greece one day and have a spanakopita, or the lesser known, but perhaps more traditional Tiropita (no spinach). Enjoy this one!

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Cheese Pie)

  • 100 grams of pinenuts
  • 5 eggs
  • 300 grams of feta cheese
  • 50 grams Cheddar cheese
  • Dried oregano
  • 1 lemon
  • A knob of butter
  • 400 grams of prewashed baby spinach
  • 1 x 270 gram pack of filo pastry
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole nutmeg
Turn on the oven to 200 degrees. Put a medium frying pan on a medium heat. Put the pinenuts into the dry ovenproof frying pan to toast, tossing occasionally. Keep an eye on them as they tend to burn veeery easily!
Crack 5 eggs into a mixing bowl and crumble in 300 grams of feta. Grate in the cheese. Add a pinch of pepper, a couple of pinches of dried oregano, zest of 1 lemon and a glug of olive oil. Once the nuts are light golden, add them to the egg mixture and mix well.

Put the empty frying pan back on the heat, add a little olive oil and a knob of butter and pile in half of the spinach. Gently push and move it around and add more as it wilts down. Make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom and, when there’s room, start adding the rest, stirring frequently.

Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approx 50cm long, on the worktop, rub a little olive oil all over it, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange 4 filo pastry sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over them. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Repeat until you have 3 layers. Don’t worry about any cracked bits.

Once the spinach is really nice and dense, take the pan off the heat. Add the wilted spinach to the egg mixture and grate in ½ a nutmeg. Mix well. Carefully move the greaseproof paper and filo into a glass oven proof dish so the edges spill over. Push it down into the sides, then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out. Fold the filo sheets over the top.

Place the spanakopita into the hot oven for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Eat while hot with a delicious green salad! Bon appetit!