Monthly Archives: March 2013

Russian Crepes “Blini”

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Their peaceful life was firmly grounded

In the dear ways of yesteryear,

And Russian blini fair abounded

When the fat Shrovetide spread its cheer. 

                                                                                                                                -Aleksandr Pushkin Evgeni Onegin”

These lines are familiar to every Russian and come from one of the most beloved poet of the 19th century Aleksandr Pushkin, someone I was obsessed with from the age of 13 to 15. Yes, you heard me right, completely infatuated with a dead poet whose life ended in a duel, defending his wife’s honour at the same age I am now. So very romantic and tragic-absolutely perfect for an impressionable teenager.  I am sure the life and literary heritage of Pushkin will creep up in my writing again at some point but today’s post is about one of the most celebrated foods in Russian cuisine-Blini, loved enough to be immortalised in literature!

What exactly are Blini (plural)? They are thin, crepe-like pancakes, usually eaten with jam, honey, and sour cream or stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings.

Russian Crepes "Blini"

I have always thought that my mum’s blini were the best I ever tasted. That opinion is probably biased but I stick to it. However, I found the task of re-creating the taste of her blini almost unsurmountable. The main reason is the absence of the recipe. You see most of the Russian women cook without recipes, they just sort of throw things together as they call it “na glaz”, which translates as “by the eye”. There is a famous Russian saying “The first Pancake is always a lump”. You would hear it all the time if a new venture doesn’t work out, someone would look at you kindly and say, “Don’t worry, the first pancake is always a lump” meaning-“it’s still early days, you will eventually figure it out”. Well, the origin of that saying became obvious when I decided to create the recipe. I was hoping to write the recipe that would help to avoid the harsh truth of that famous proverb, the recipe my readers could use and succeed with it. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest things I ever did. I mixed the batter and fried the first blin. Sure enough, it was a lump that I had to scrap. More flour. Second try was better but still not “it”. More flour. Third try. Sigh and close to tears. In the end, after many, many, MANY adjustments I conquered it and  came up with the version that was the closest to my mum’s.

Her two main secrets were using kefir instead of milk and always frying blini on a cast iron pan. It’s impossible to find kefir in London unless you make your own, which I don’t do so I decided to substitute it with buttermilk. Here is my recipe and I hope you will be brave and try it in your kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • Flour- 3 cups
  • Buttermilk-3 1/2 cups
  • Water-1/2 cup
  • Eggs-2 large
  • Baking soda-1/2 tsp.
  • Sugar-1 tbsp.
  • Salt- 1 tsp.

Method:

In a mixing bowl mix eggs, flour, 1 cup of buttermilk, baking soda, sugar and salt with a whisk. When the mixture is smooth and has no lumps add remaining buttermilk and water. The consistency should be the same as of heavy cream.  Let stand for 20 minutes. You should see small bubbles on the surface of your batter. Preheat your non-stick frying pan on medium heat and grease it with an odourless oil. ( I usually put some oil on a paper towel and rub the frying pan with it to ensure even coating.) With a ladle or a measuring cup pour 1/2 cup of batter in the pan and tilt the pan slightly so batter runs to the edges forming a thin and round crepe. Cook it until batter looks dry, then flip with a spatula and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Remove to a platter. Repeat with the next crepe and continue cooking until the batter is used. Stack the blini on top of each other. Serve with fresh fruit, jam, creme fraiche or sour cream. As much as I try to instil the “Russian-ness” in my children they still prefer blini with whipped cream and maple syrup! I shake my head and say to myself, “They are Canucks not Ruski.” When it comes to food, there are no hard rules. Eat blini with whatever your heart desires!

In Russia Blini are usually enjoyed with butter, jam and sour cream and sometimes caviar although the latter was not very common in my family. My mum often made blini for a late weekend breakfast. She made A LOT and there were always leftovers which she used for lunch the next day. Always wanting to serve a variety of food she would make a savoury filling and stuff blini with it. There are countless options for a filling and today I will share one of them with you.

Chicken and Mushroom Filling for Blini

Ingredients:

  • Cooked Chicken- 450 gr/ 1 lbs
  • Mushrooms-300 gr
  • Onion-2 medium
  • Flat Leaf Parsley- 10 springs
  • Garlic- 1 clove
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Chicken stock-1/2 cup
  • Butter- 1 tbsp.

Method:

Melt the butter in the skillet, add the onions and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, add chopped mushrooms, garlic and parsley and saute until mushrooms are cooked for another 8 minutes. Add cooked chicken, chicken stock and season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Your filling should be juicy but not too runny.

Once your filling is done, the blini are ready to be rolled. Use 1/2 cup of the chicken and mushroom mixture per crepe and roll in the same manner you would a burrito. Brown them on both sides in a skillet with a little bit of butter or warm them up in the oven at 350 F/180C for 10 minutes. You can have them made and stored in the refrigerator well in advance and warm them up right before serving. Try them instead of sandwiches on a side of a nice bowl of steaming soup. Ah all of this talk of blinchiki is evoking some great childhood memories for me! Enjoy!

Blini with a chicken and mushroom fillingRussian Crepes "Blini"Russian Crepes "Blini"

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Spring Cleaning or Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

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Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinegrette
When I look outside all I see is grey misery but I can tell spring is not far away by the way my orchids are sprouting new shoots in preparation to bloom. Sometimes things are not what they appear and in those moments we need to apply faith, observe signs in nature and enjoy a springtastically healthy salad for lunch! With summer fast approaching I know I need to clean up my eating habits and get ready for the swimsuit season. Are you with me? I am excited to put away my pie plates and casserole dishes and employ my grill and salad spinner for the coming season. This Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad is such a great mix of light and satisfying because nobody wants to starve by 3 o’clock and reach for that trusty pack of Timbits or a Walnut Crunch. Have I lost you with my Canadianisms? If you don’t know what timbits and a walnut crunch are do yourself a favour and visit a Tim Hortons!
Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
There is a salad bar place not far from my work where I like to go for lunch. There are dozens of options which allows you to taste different flavours and combinations. Although great, it’s not too budget friendly and that is why I try to make my own salads at home and take them to work. What I learned from visiting the salad bar place is that I really love quinoa+lentil+feta cheese combo. When I make my salads at home I try to use it as the base and add whatever greens and vegetable I have in the fridge. Dressing is also very important for the overall success of the salad-my latest favourite is Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro VinaigretteQuinoa andPuy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
Ingredients:

  • Quinoa (cooked)-1 cup
  • Puy Lentils (cooked)- 1/2 cup
  • Pomodorino or Cherry Tomatoes( cut lengthwise)- 1/2 cup
  • Red Pepper- 1/2
  • Sugar Snap Peas – 1/2 cup
  • Mixed Salad Greens- 2 cups
  • Feta Cheese- 2 tbsp.
  • Fresh Cilantro/Coriander (chopped)- 2 tbsp.
  • Fresh Parsley (chopped)- 1 tbsp.
  • Lime (juiced)-1
  • Olive Oil- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Avocado-1

Method:

Cook quinoa and lentils according to package directions, in separate pots, and cool completely. (This step could be done in advance. I usually cook more than I need and keep the ingredients in the fridge to use throughout the week.)

Chop up cilantro and parsley, juice the lime. In a mortar combine the herbs, salt and pepper and lime juice and crush the herbs with a pestle to a coarse paste, slowing add the olive oil while stirring. Set aside for the flavours to meld.

Combine all the remaining ingredients together except for avocado. Dress the salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette and top with sliced avocado.

Quinoa and Puy Lentil Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette Note: As I mentioned earlier I use whatever vegetable I have in the fridge so go ahead and improvise. Make this gorgeous salad your own!

Coq Au Vin, the Ultimate One Pot Dinner

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Just because I like to cook it doesn’t mean I don’t love shortcuts in the kitchen. Serving delicious food to my family and friends doesn’t always equal hours spent behind the hot stove. I am usually on the lookout for the recipes that are tasty yet simple. This Coq Au Vin (French for “Chicken in Wine”) is one of those dishes that is good enough to serve for a fancy dinner yet doesn’t require much hands-on time. It could be cooked a few hours in advance and then reheated quickly right before dinner. This way you can relax and make yourself look pretty and avoid greeting your guests all red and sweaty. French cuisine is so impressive for its ability to be sophisticated and deeply satisfying and comforting at the same time. Just look at that spread. Who wouldn’t want to sit down to a bowl of flavourful chicken cooked in wine with some crusty bread!
Coq-Au-Vin
The rich taste in this wonderful dish comes from the quality ingredients and a few spices artfully put together. No chef skills required. Have no fear, it’s impossible not to ace it! I have made Coq Au Vin numerous times. It doesn’t get old and it’s always a crowd pleaser. You can guess from the name that wine is one of the main ingredients. I am sure you have heard it before but I will say it again- only use the wine that is good enough to drink. I have tried this dish with a bottle of homemade wine and it tasted good or so I thought. Good but not memorable enough to make it my “dinner special”. It took me a few years before I came back to this recipe but I tried cooking with a decent bottle of wine. That time I saw the magic of Coq Au Vin, the quality that stood the test of time and kept this dish on people’s tables for generations.
Coq-Au-Vin
Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil- 1 tbsp.
  • Pancetta or Bacon lardons (cubed)- 120 gr/4 oz.
  • Chicken thighs and legs- 8-10 pieces
  • Onion- 1 large
  • Carrots- 2 medium
  • Garlic (chopped)- 1-2 cloves
  • Brandy or Whisky- 1/4 cup
  • Red Wine (your choice)-1/2 bottle
  • Chicken Stock- 1 cup
  • Thyme- 8-10 springs
  • Butter- 1 tbsp.
  • Flour- 1 1/2 tbsp for thickening (could substitute for corn starch for gluten-free version)
  • Mushrooms- 250 gr/ 1/2 pound
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 120C/250F.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven. (If you have a cast iron pot it’s perfect for it.) Fry your bacon lardons for 8-10 minutes until browned and remove them to a plate lined with paper towel.

Season your chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them in the same pot in batches to avoid overcrowding. Remove to the same plate as bacon. You are not cooking your chicken all the way through, just browning on both sides.

Slice your onions and carrots in medium sized chunks and add them to the pot with salt and pepper, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer stirring the whole time not allowing it to burn. Add your brandy and scrape all the burned bits to incorporate them into your sauce, now add bacon and chicken with all the juices they collected, pour in your wine, chicken stock and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.

When chicken is no longer pink mix melted butter with flour and stir in the sauce. Slice mushrooms thickly and add to the pot, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.  Put back in the oven with the lid off for 10-15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve Coq Au Vin with mashed potatoes and  crusty French bread and of course, a glass of nice French wine. Bon Appetit!
Note: The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s Coq Au Vin.French Coq au Vin. One pot dinner for busy weeknights.

Coq-Au-Vin

Strawberry Mousse Cake

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Another friend’s birthday passed, another cake made, eaten and enjoyed. I know I get excited about every cake I write about but this one was truly special and quite different from the usual – cake + frosting deal.  Imagine dark chocolate sponge sandwiched together with a light, cloud-like, creamy strawberry mousse, topped with fresh strawberries and cream. Sounds like a dream? It was pretty close to perfection in my opinion and fortunately a snap to make at home.

Strawberry Mousse Cake

I made this cake years ago following the recipe from the Chocolate cookbook I have and although I liked it I knew a few changes had to be made to perfect the recipe. Many English baking recipes call for self-rising flour and this cake was no exception. I am not a big fan of self-rising flour as I find it produces cakes that are too heavy and compact. In this particular cake the texture of the dense sponge didn’t match the light and fluffy mousse.
Fortunately I have my trusty chocolate sponge recipe that I swapped for the original and voila…Perfection! Two layers of delicate chocolate cake filled with light and creamy strawberry mousse made that birthday delight irresistible.
Strawberry Mousse Cake
Ingredients for the cake:

  • Flour -1 3/4 cups
  • Cocoa- 3/4 cup
  • Sugar- 2 cups
  • Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1 tsp.
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Milk- 1 cup
  • Oil- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla essence- 2 tsp.
  • Strong hot coffee- 3/4 cup

Method:

Note: The recipe I used here makes two cake layers or 1 cake layer and a dozen of cupcakes. I made 1 9″ cake and a dozen cupcakes for my kids to enjoy as the cake was for the adult party and I didn’t want them to feel left out.

Preheat your oven to 325 F/160 C and grease your 9″ springform cake pan and line with parchment paper. (Instead of using parchment paper I dusted mine with flour but it was a bit of a mistake as flour shows on the dark sponge. It’s usually not a big deal but because this cake doesn’t get covered with frosting you want the layers to look attractive.)

Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined. In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, oil and vanilla essence. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and beat with an electric mixer until well incorporated. Now make your coffee and pour  3/4 cup of it in the ingredients ( enjoy the rest!) and quickly mix everything together. I promise you the cupcakes don’t taste anything like coffee but it is a magic ingredient :-).

Pour half of the mixture in the prepared pan and level the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 minuted or until cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. Le the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife along the sides of a springform pan, release the sides and turn the cake out on the cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile , make the strawberry mousse.

Ingredients for the Mousse:

  • Eggs (separated)- 2
  • Superfine sugar-4 tbsp.
  • Strawberries (processed in a food processor to a pulp)- 3/4 cup
  • Gelatine-3 tsp.
  • Water-3 tbsp.
  • Whipping Cream- 1 cup

For Decoration:

  • Strawberries (sliced)- 200 gr. for decoration
  • Cream 1/2 cup
  • Icing sugar-2 tbsp.
  • Vanilla- 1/2 tsp.

Method: 

Beat the egg yolk and sugar until light, then whisk in the processed strawberries. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water in a small bowl and allow to go spongy, then put in the microwave for 30-40 seconds until the gelatine has dissolved. Stir in the mousse.

Whip the cream until holding its shape and fold into the mousse. Whisk the egg whites until standing in soft peaks, then fold in. Let stand in a cool place until starting to set for about 30 minutes.

Cut the cake in 2 layers. Place the first layer back in the springform pan and pour in the mousse and let it set for 2 hour in the refrigerator. Place the top layer directly on the mousse layer and continue chilling for 2 more hours or until ready to serve. Whip the cream and icing sugar and vanilla. Decorate the top of the cake with fresh sliced strawberries and pipe cream rosettes around the edges.

This cake is incredibly light and not overly sweet due to the absence of frosting yet the silky mousse layer makes it feel like a great indulgence. Double win!

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Note: Because the eggs in the mousse are not cooked, however tempered by the hot gelatine mixture, I have used free-range and organic eggs to be on the safe side.

Note: The mousse recipe was adapted from Chocolate cookbook by Practical Cooking. I substituted orange for strawberries.

How do I eat buckwheat? Let me count the ways…

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Buckwheat groats
Quinoa, goji berries, flaxseed. What do they have in common? They are the buzzwords circulating in the foodie media/blogosphere, all claiming to be a “miracle food”. Like many others I get weary and suspicious when the next “cure for all ills” emerges, being of the opinion that variety is key in any diet. That said, I believe buckwheat is something special, and that will soon flood first the health stores then the supermarkets and then pantries everywhere. As we stand now buckwheat is still fairly unknown outside of Russia, where it’s been a staple for centuries, and a big part of my diet growing up. The most common use of buckwheat in North America is in the flour form. It’s gaining popularity for it’s unique earthy taste and the fact that despite the name it is not related to wheat or any other grain and is gluten-free. People want to incorporate more buckwheat into their diets for its health benefits-high amount of protein, fibre, potassium and over 80 minerals! However, I am not going to go into details as I am not a nutritionist but merely a buckwheat lover. You can research it yourself if you are interested!

One of the greatest qualities of buckwheat is its versatility. The groats could be ground up and made into pancakes, you could enjoy a bowlful of  morning “kasha” (Russian for porridge) with a bit of milk, for lunch- toss it with some fresh veggies in a salad or sit down to a plate of savoury buckwheat with caramelised onions and sautéed mushrooms for dinner. Reheat the leftovers in the morning, top it up with an egg and voila a new breakfast dish is born! The only two things you need to know are what type of buckwheat is suitable for these recipes and how to cook it.

When I first moved to North America 15 years ago the only place I could find buckwheat was a health food store but although I could recognise the familiar triangular shape of the groats, the colour was anaemic grey instead of rich brown I was used to. I learned that buckwheat sold in Russia is pre-roasted, and it is this process that prevents the groats from turning into a mushy mess during cooking as well as provides that lusciously nutty flavour I’ve come to expect. It seems that many stores have the pre-roasted variety of buckwheat groats, however, the best buckwheat comes from Russian stores so if you have one nearby check it out. It’s worth it!

Buckwheat
What I would like to share with you is the basic method of cooking buckwheat and one simple recipe which happens to be my family’s favourite way of eating it. Have I mentioned that my kids are crazy about buckwheat?
Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms {Breakfast Edition}Buckwheat with caramelised onion, mushrooms and egg

Ingredients:

  • Buckwheat-2 cups
  • Water-4 cups
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Cremini/Chestnut Mushrooms-8-10
  • Red Onions-1 large
  • Pepper- to taste
  • Egg-1 (per person)
  • Butter- 2 tbsp.

Method:

Rinse your buckwheat and dry fry it in a non-stick frying pan (i.e. in a dry pan, without oil) over medium heat for a 2-3 minutes. Transfer the buckwheat to a pot, add water and salt and cook for 15 minutes until the groats are soft and the water is evaporated. Take it off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let it stand for additional 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook buckwheat in your rice cooker, just follow the instructions for grain to water ratio for your particular rice cooker.

While waiting for your buckwheat dice your onions and mushrooms. Feel free to slice them if you prefer a chunkier look. I am still in the stage  of “hiding” the healthy things from my kids so I usually dice.

Put a large frying pan on high-medium heat and when it’s hot add butter, onions and a pinch of salt. Salt will draw moisture out of the onions which will help with caramelising process. Fry them slowly, stirring once in a while and not letting them burn. Once your onions look wilted and darker in colour, add mushrooms and sauté them for 5 minutes adding salt and pepper to taste. Now add your buckwheat and mix everything together, cook for 2 more minutes to bring all the ingredients to the same temperature and allow for the flavours to blend, taste to make sure it has enough seasoning. This meal could be enjoyed as a main course or as a side dish to any type of meat or fish.  What you see here is leftovers that were served a couple of days later for breakfast. Fry your eggs in a frying pan and top each portion with an egg. By all accounts-Breakfast of Champions.

Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms

Buckwheat with Caramelised Onions and Cremini Mushrooms
Note: I use water to cook buckwheat when I want it to be versatile-sweet or savoury. If you are preparing buckwheat for dinner in a savoury dish I would suggest using broth instead of water- a quick and simple way to infuse your dish with much flavour.

Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie or Happy British Pie Week

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Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie

It’s British Pie Week and I thought it would be only fitting to indulge ourselves in yet another pastry filled with a wonderful fusion of flavours. When people talk about “pies” here in England you never need to wonder if they mean “meat pies”, it’s assumed. The Brits eat fruit pies as well but the meat variety holds a special place in the nation’s hearts and stomachs. Works for me as I come from Russia, another pie loving nation. I didn’t need further convincing to embark on a pie making campaign. Earlier this week I blogged about Yellow Plum and Blueberry Galette and today I am sharing with you this completely unusual and utterly delicious Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie.

When I was growing up my mum used to make Rabbit and Sour Cream Stew. If you think of happy childhood memories it wasn’t one of them. My brother and I had very strong opinions about that dish and talks about the dislike for it provided for some quality bonding time between the siblings. I often wondered since then if I would think differently now that I am in possession of a very grown up taste. There are not too many foods I dislike provided they are cooked well. Alas, I had a few opportunities to test my theories. After all, where does one go to purchase a rabbit or a pheasant in North America? Now, England is a different story. Sometimes I feel like I am in a foodie heaven-so many things that I love are easily accessable and completely affordable! This was the case with rabbit and pheasant casserole mix I stumbled upon in one of the local shops. Although I had no idea what I was going to cook I knew I had to buy it.  Rabbit excited me but pheasant sent me over the top. If you are a book worm like me you’d probably also wondered what pheasants taste like after reading the descriptions of feasts in various books of old. How pleased was I when I spotted the design on one of my plates- the latest flea market find-  Asiatic Pheasants. Serendipity, indeed.
Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie
The recipe for this pie is a mixture of things-the memories of my mum’s stew, my usual meat pie recipe and also a bit of research. Without further ado let me introduce the final result.
Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie
Ingredients:

  • Rabbit meat (skinless and boneless)-150 gr
  • Pheasant meat (skinless and boneless)-150 gr
  • Chicken thighs (skinless and boneless)-300 gr
  • Onion-1 large
  • Garlic- 1 clove
  • Rosemary-2 sprigs
  • Flour- 1tbsp. heaped
  • White wine, vermouth or cider (optional)- a good splash
  • Chicken stock- 2 cups
  • Carrot- 1
  • Peas-1/2 cup
  • Potato- 1 medium
  • Pre-made pie crust – 500gr
  • Creme fraiche or sour cream- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Egg (beaten)-1Rabbit and Pheasant Pie

Method:

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, dice the onion and gently cook it in a pan over low heat for 5-7 minutes without colouring it. Dice your rabbit, pheasant and chicken into 1” dice and add to the pan, brown the meat over medium heat, add rosemary and cook for 2 more minutes, then pour in the wine, let the alcohol burn off and then add your stock, bring to a boil and turn the heat down. Gently simmer the mixture for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if a bit dry. At the end of the cooking time your meat should be very soft and the whole filling look like it’s swimming in gravy but not too soupy.

Adding vegetables is entirely your choice. I like a little bit of crunch in my pies provided by the veggies not the gristle :-). Slice the carrot and potato and add to the mixture, cook for 5-7 minutes, then add frozen peas. When I added my peas I realised it was the pea and corn mix, so that’s what the yellow flecks in the pictures are. Stir in your creme fraiche for the creamy consistency and cool your mixture so it doesn’t melt the pie crust when you pour it in. I am very impatient and often pay for it! Now is the time to preheat your oven to 200C/400F.

Roll out your pie crust to fit your pie plate making sure the bottom crust goes up the sides and hangs over the edges. Fill your pie with the meat mixture and cover it with the top crust. If you feel especially creative you can cut out rounds with a pastry/cookie cutter and assemble a pie topper out of them, overlapping them slightly and brushing each circle with an eggwash to make individual circles stick to each other and to give your pie an attractive shiny and golden finish. If you opt out for the traditional top crust don’t forget to make slits so the steam can escape. Bake at 200C/400F for 30 minutes until the pie is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Wild Rabbit and Pheasant Pie
Note: I would love to point out that this recipe will work brilliantly with just chicken. I realise that rabbit and pheasant are not too common but don’t discard a great pie recipe if you don’t feel adventurous enough to try them. Substitute and enjoy!

Yellow Plum and Blueberry Galette

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Yellow Plum and Blueberry Galette
What a stunner, isn’t it? It’s hard to believe this galette was made as a desperate attempt to save yellow plums that weren’t moving in my house. They looked so beautiful and so appealing but after a few days in the fruit basket remained hard as a rock and quite sour.Typical problem for winter fruit shipped from who knows where.
Yellow Plums and Bluberries
I love making galettes, they are very easy to throw together and seem to provide a more even pie crust to filling ratio than a traditional pie. I also paired plums with blueberries to liven up the flavours. As I mentioned earlier the plums were not ripe, so the only way to make sure blueberries and plums had the same texture once the galette is done was to pre-cook plums.
Ingredients:

  • Yellow plums- 13-15 small 
  • Blueberries- 1 cup
  • Sugar-1/4 cup plus extra for dusting
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp.
  • Water- 1/4 cup
  • Prepared pie crust (your favourite recipe or pre-made)-1
  • Egg (beaten)-1

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.

In a saucepan combine plums, split in half and pits removed, sugar, vanilla and water. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until the plums are tender. The length of this step will depend on how hard your plums are, if they are ripe feel free to skip this step.

Remove the plums from the pan to a plate and let them cool. Meanwhile dust your work surface with some flour and roll out your pastry 12″ in diameter. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Arrange your plums cut side down and blueberries attractively on the the pastry leaving an inch wide border filling free. Fold the border over the fruit while brushing the pleats of pastry with a beaten egg to hold the pastry in place and also to give your galette a beautiful golden colour. Sprinkle the pastry with additional sugar if desired. Bake in the oven for 25-30 min.

Yellow Plum and Blueberry Galette

Such an easy and beautiful treat to enjoy after dinner or on a quiet afternoon with your cup of tea and a friend. Life couldn’t get any better than that!

Yellow Plum and Blueberry Galette
Note: If you have a real sweet tooth you might want to increase the sugar amount but it was perfect for me. Also, you can continue cooking the syrup from the plums until it’s reduced in volume and looks like a jam. Use it as a vanilla flavoured homemade plum spread for your morning toast.