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Beef and Tomato Handpies + Sundried Tomato and Feta Handpies

I made these originally as pasties, but really, they are little pastries that you fit in your hand. So handpies they have become!

They’re pretty easy to make, using bought puff pastry. But you really need to get the all butter pastry.

Beef and Tomato Handpies

The beef version uses a beef casserole I cook a lot. It’s easy too, but does require a long slow cooking time. The sundried tomato and feta version is simple as the filling doesn’t need cooking.

The filling was some slow cooked beef cheeks, cooked in Pedro Ximinez sherry. I added in a chopped fresh tomato and and handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. I reduced the tomatoes with the cooked beef until the mixture was thick enough to be used a pastie filling.

Recipe for the beef cheeks follows.

For a dozen pies, you would need about 1/3 of the recipe quantity. The rest is great served with mashed potato or pasta, root vegetables or green salad.

Ingredients 

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlicky bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry or any other sweet sherry
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C or even lower if your oven is hot (like mine).

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced.

Increase the oven to 190 degrees C. Take 3 puff pastry sheets, and using a plate as a template, cut out 12  20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get all your circles. Don’t worry if you don’t get 12; just get as many as you can from the pastry sheets.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pies on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat the pies warm or cold.

Sundried Tomato and Feta Handpies

Simply chopped sundried tomatoes and crumble some soft feta. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs like coriander or thyme to taste.

The quantities are up to you – I used 6 sundried tomatoes and 3 small pieces of feta to make 2 large pasties from 1 pastry sheet.

Spoon the filling on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp to seal. These pies may open during cooking, but as the filling isn’t liquid, they stay intact.

Place the handpies on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. These ones are best eaten cold.

Jamie Oliver’s Happy Cow Burgers and Old School Coleslaw

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These are veggie burgers  – and if you minus the feta, they are vegan too! Aptly named “Happy Cow Burgers” as there is no “cow” in the recipe.

The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, and I have listed the recipe pretty much as Jamie wrote it with a couple of my own tweaks.

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Ingredients

Burgers

1 bunch fresh coriander

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans

200g frozen broad beans

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 lemon (zest for the burger mix, juice for the coleslaw)

1 heaped tbs plain flour, plus extra for dusting

Olive oil

2 large ripe tomatoes

Cos or any long lettuce leaves

4 gherkins

75g feta cheese

4 burger rolls or 2 long bread rolls

Tomato chutney, to serve

Coleslaw

1/2 small white or red cabbage

1/2 red onion

4 heaped tbs fat-free natural yoghurt

1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard

1 tsp brown sugar

Method

Put the coriander stalks into the processor (reserving the leaves), then drain the mixed beans and add, along with the broad beans, a pinch of salt and pepper, the cayenne, cumin, ground coriander, grated lemon zest and flour. Whiz until fine and combined, scraping down the sides of the processor if needed.

Tip the mixture on to a generously flour-dusted board, divide into 4 pieces, then roll each ball into a ball and flatten into a patty about 2.5cm thick, dusting your hands and the burgers with flour as you go. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the frying pan, followed by the burgers, pressing them down with a spatula and flipping them when golden. Slice the tomatoes and gherkins and place on a serving board with lettuce and crumbled feta. Heat the rolls in the oven, if you want them warm. If the buns are a really soft and fresh, serve as is.

Swap to the grater in the processor, then grate the cabbage and peeled red onion, and tip into a bowl. Chop the coriander leaves and add, with the yoghurt, mustard, and the juice of the zested lemon and brown sugar, then toss well and season to taste. Remove the rolls from of the oven if heating them, and cut them in half.

Serve burger patties with tomato chutney, coleslaw, feta, tomatoes and gherkins.

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Easter Friday Lunch

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On Good Friday 2014 we enjoyed the warm Sydney autumn weather with a fish lunch out in the garden. It was a chance to revisit some recipes  – with varying degrees of success!

Hot smoking salmon is really easy and I have now almost perfected the technique. Coconut rice is great with fish, and I added in Bill Granger’s  Asparagus, Pea and Feta Salad, minus the broad beans, of which I’m not overly fond.

Dessert was another attempt at cooking soufflés, this time a mixed berry soufflé. They looked cooked – but unfortunately erupted in a meringue Vesuvius when a spoon was plunged into the centre!

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So it’s back to the drawing board as far as soufflés go…

Hot Smoked Salmon with Coconut Rice:  https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/03/26/hot-smoked-chili-salmon/

Asparagus, Pea and Feta Salad

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Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, roughly chopped
250 g asparagus, halved lengthways and widthways
A handful of fresh or frozen peas
75 ml vegetable stock
100 g feta cheese, crumbled
A few mint leaves, torn
½ lemon, zested

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and asparagus, season with sea salt and cook for 5 minutes to soften.
Add the broad beans and peas, pour in the stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and the stock has reduced. Serve topped with the feta, mint and lemon zest.

Berry Soufflé:  https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/04/05/passionfruit-souffle/

I substituted a cooked berry, almost jam like mixture for the passionfruit.IMG_0670

Berry Mixture

Put 150 g mixed berries and 3  tbsp caster sugar in a saucepan and cook  gently until liquid is reduced and the fruit is of a jam-like consistency.

The prescribed 8 minute cooking time gave me soufflés that were cooked on top and runny in the middle. So longer cooking at a slightly lower temperature??

 

 

 

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