Sunday, March 13, 2011

Aussie Meat Pies

Classic Australian food - Every Australian bakery has meat pies, there are so many variations on flavors - beef and bacon, beef and mushroom, steak and kidney -this recipe is using just the original basic plain beef pie. You can use it for mini pies, single serving pies or even for a large family size - just change your baking dishes. To serve for an Australian dinner simply roast or steam fresh vegies such as peas, potatoes and carrots, for dessert whip up my Australian Trifle recipe and whualla.. a complete Aussie meal!

Makes approximately 8 single serving pies.
4 Sheets Puff Pastry Mostly Defrosted
1 lb Minced Beef (Ground Beef)
1 white onion chopped
1 packets brown gravy mix
1 egg and milk for eggwash
Pre-heat Oven to 410F
Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray. Heat on medium and add your onion, when softened add your beef.
When completely browned sprinkle on your gravy seasoning and then add water as directed on packet.. more if you like your pie saucey. If you find that your mixture is too runny simply add a little bit of corn starch.
When you have a thick stew like meat and onion mixture you are ready.

For single serving size pies use a large teflon muffin tin. (If you can find aluminium pie casings then use those.. I don't have them in my area)
Spray muffin tray with non stick spray.
Unfold your puff pastry, lightly dust counter with flour if it is sticky.
Quickly roll over the pastry with a rolling pin and thin the pastry out a little bit and make sure any creases are smoothed out.
Divide your pastry into squares to fit in the bottom and over lap over the top as well.
One by one press into your muffin tray.

Once you have the bottom of your pie put in scoop in your meat filling.
Don't fill it all the way to the top or when it cooks the juices wil make the pastry top come off.

Cut out tops to fit your pies. You want the edge to over lap so you can get a good seal on your pie. (See picture below)

When you have completed this for all your pies get your kitchen elf to help you put on an eggwash over the top, this gives the pastry that great shiney appearance...and kitchen elves love putting on their aprons and helping.

These were mini meat pies (mini muffin size-perfect for my kitchen elf)
Place pies in oven and bake until they are golden and flakey - approximately 15-20 minutes.
Your pastry should not be doey but cooked all the way through.
Serve with Tomato sauce for a truly traditional lunch.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stirfry Chicken with Roasted Chili Paste, Asparagus and Thai Basil.

I was craving some zingy thai flavors this week. This stirfry was whipped together in 15 minutes. A quick chop of your key ingredients and then it's minutes for a tasty balanced meal. I love those kinds of dinners.

6 Cloves Garlic
500 grams (Approx 1 pound) Uncooked chicken cut into thin strips
1 red onion (If in the U.S. use a small red onion and not the giant ones you commonly find)
2 tsp Roasted chili paste ( This is not Sambel Olek, don't confuse the two)
1 TBSP Fish Sauce
1 TBSP Oyster Sauce
1 TBSP Shaved palm sugar (you can substitute in brown sugar if you cannot access palm sugar)
1 large handful of Sprouts
Approx 2 cups chopped Asparagus (Small and fresh is best)
Half Cup Thai Basil leaves
Coriander (cilantro) leaves for garnishing.
If you would like to garnish with egg as well lightly beat 2 eggs in a bowl, add a splash of fish sauce and mix. Heat 1 1/2 TBSP oil in wok, throw in egg tipping pan to let it spread around like you are making an omlette or crepe. Allow it to cook quickly flipping when ready to cook the other side without break it apart.

When completely cooked remove from wok and slice into long strips.
Heat 2 TBSP of vegetable oil in wok, add onions and stirfry briefly.
Add Garlic and stirfry briefly. 
Add Chicken and cook a few minutes. 
Add your asparagus, stirfry briefly. 
Add chili paste, oyster sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar.
Cook until chicken is tender, only a few minutes.
Add basil, sprouts, and stirfry until greens are slightly wilted.

Transfer to serving plate, serve with Steamed jasmine rice and garnish with coriander and egg if desired.