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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.

Hot Smoked Salmon Club Sandwich – Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food

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I started hot smoking salmon last year and now that’s about the only way I cook it. It’s incredibly easy to do. I followed Jamie’s instructions but then simplified his method to something that works really well.

Basically, you get a foil take away food container, scatter some hickory chips inside, throw some woody herbs on top – rosemary works well. You need to acquire a wire rack to fit on top of the container. The fish fillet/s are seasoned by rubbing with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp of sambal oelek (chili paste).

It’s then a matter of laying the seaoned fish fillet/s on the rack and covering the container with aluminum foil.

The foil is pierced with a skewer at intervals – this lets the smoke out. Cook on a very hot barbecue grill. Depending on the size of the fillet/fillets, and the heat of the grill, the fish takes between 10- 20 minutes to cook. I cook a medium sized salmon fillet for about 10 minutes for medium rare and about 12 minutes for cooked through. It’s important to let the fish “rest ” for a few minutes after cooking.

For more information and photos of hot smoking, click here.

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Jamie Oliver’s book Comfort Food has some wonderful recipes including this one for a Hot Smoked Salmon Club Sandwich, giving me another recipe for this method of cooking salmon. This is my version, with a couple of changes which I have noted.

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Ingredients

20og salmon, skin on (piece or fillets)

Home made or good bought mayonnaise, with some pounded basil leaves mixed through

4 slices of streaky bacon

4 slices of nice bread (something rustic)

1 large ripe tomato

1 small ripe avocado

I punnet of cress (I left this out)

1 handful of mignonette or cos lettuce leaves

1 lemon

Salted crisps (I left these out)

 

Method

Hot smoke the salmon according to the above instructions. Remove to a board, discard the skin and flake into pieces (not too small).

While the salmon is smoking, cook the bacon in a frying pan over a medium heat until crispy and cooked through, then remove from the pan.

Swirl the pan to spread the fat out, then toast the slices of bread in the fat to soak up the wonderful flavour.

Slice the tomato, peel, de-stone and slice the avocado.

Spread the toast with basil mayo, then layer two slices with the bacon, tomato, avocado, salmon, cress if using, lettuce and a squeeze of lemon, and the crisps if using. Top with the remaining slices of toast.

 

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