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Mini Vegetable Pasties

Woeful Wahaca 

So I finally visited Wahaca, the restaurant by Thomasina Masterchef winner and I was not happy at all.  The food was awfully bland and the service was poor.  Even the cocktails tasted like ash.  Frustrated by such a disappointing meal I decided to recreate a version of one of the empanada dishes which tasted like a Macdonald’s apple pie, it was disgusting beyond all reason.  Trust me it made no sense. And to think I wanted to go there for my birthday.  This pasty recipe is really unique and I think the presentation looked querky and fun.

This recipe was adapted from The Best of Sainsbury’s Vegetarian Cooking (Reed International Books Ltd, 1992).

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Ingredients:

Homemade shortcrust pastry (courtesy of Kamaria’s Kitchen), 1 large sweet potato (boiled till soft and chopped in small pieces), 60g sweetcorn (cooked), 30g green beans (cooked and chopped), 50g cheddar cheese (grated), 1 tbsp caramalised onion chutney, salt and pepper, milk to glaze, parsley to garnish.

Method:

  1. Mix the vegetables together with the cheese, chutney and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Divide the pastry into small circles.
  3. Add the vegetable mixture in the middle of the pastry.
  4. Create your cute and querky pasties.
  5. Make sure the edges are compressed together and compact.
  6. Use the milk to brush the top of the pastry.
  7. Make slits at the top and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes.
  9. When the pastry has cooked garnish with some parsley.
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Shortcrust Pastry

“What the heck is in my food?”

Dear Kamaria’s Kitchen,

I recently found out that there might be wood in my Parmesan cheese.  I am worried about all of the added weird molecules that my food might be based on.  I have a baby and because of this latest food scandal I am really worried about what might be in er food as well.  I am taking extra precautions to read all the labels but I want to make an effort to make my own food.  I like hearty food and I like the idea of making things from scratch.  I can’t make my own cheese but I bought a bread maker so at least one thing that I can use.  Do you have another basic food recipe I can make apart from bread that is really easy and cheap? 

Dear Rightfully Worried,

I most certainly can relate to what you are going through as these strange food scandals are scary and unlawful.  I am very happy to have received this letter because  it is great to know that other people are taking steps to make their food from scratch and therefore gaining more control on what they are putting in their systems.  Living in the west avoiding unprocessed foods is seriously difficult so every little homemade meal etc really makes a difference.  I would encourage you to keep going and learning new recipes and because you have a child it is even more important that you set a good example.  The recipe I have chosen for you is a very easy shortcrust pastry recipe.  I think this would be great for you because you can experiment with different pastry flavours and shortcrust pastry tastes fantastic with parmesan.

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Recipe & Method:

  1. Place 125g plain flour into a bowl.
  2. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Cube 50g of butter into the flour.
  4. Work the flour into breadcrumbs.
  5. Add a tbsp of cold water and knead into a dough.
  6. When it’s elastic textured wrap in cling film and place in the fridge until ready to knead for recipe.
  7. If the dough becomes too sticky add more flour and if too dry and tiny amounts of water.

I have a wide range of great recipes that use shortcrust pastry.  Please let me know how you get on.  Also for good quality cheeses you can trust,  try farmer’s markets and local produce.  These cheeses may be more expensive but the quality tends to be higher.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

Epic Fail

Cheesecake fails count as epic fails because they should not be so difficult to get right.  I consider myself to be more than capable of doing a damn cheesecake and because I hate it when they go wrong as they are so expensive to make I always follow the recipe step by step.  But what if the recipe is wrong?  What do I do if the Queen of the British baking kitchen has the simplest cheesecake recipe wrong in her book?  I make a cheesecake ice cream.  There was a typo in the book so I improvised.  It did work out well but I can’t deny that this wasn’t what I was going for.

This recipe was inspired by Mary Berry’s Baking Bible (BBC Books, 2009).

Ingredients:

175ml full fat milk, 200g caster sugar, 125g cream cheese, the rind and juice of two large lemons, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 large egg, 350ml double cream, 50g crumbled digestive biscuits.

Method:

  1. Heat the milk in a pan and while it is getting warm beat in the sugar.
  2. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, lemon juice and rind, vanilla extract and egg.
  3. Pour the hot milk into the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Pour all of this back into the pan.
  5. Cook and stir until you get a velvet custard.
  6. Take off the heat and let it cool.
  7. When cooled slowly stir in the double cream.
  8. Place in a freezer proof tub and pour in the mixture.
  9. Place in the freezer and every three hours stir the mixture briefly.
  10. Add the digestive biscuit crumbs after the first mix.

Macaroni Cheese Pie with Walnuts

Bish Bash Bosh

A quick and easy recipe with a crunchy unexpected twist.  My macaroni cheese pie is perfect for a weekday meal and is much more delicious than a sloppy macaroni microwave thing.  Trying to make macaroni sophisticated is a very hard task but as Greg said on Masterchef “sophistication is not just featured in the look but in the flavours”.  So here is a quick but interesting take on macaroni cheese.

This recipe was adapted from Helen Atiken’s The Really Useful Ultimate Student Vegetarian Cookbook (Murdoch Books Pty Ltd, 2000).

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Ingredients:

250g macaroni pasta, 30g mushrooms sliced, 50g salted butter, 50g flour, 60ml skimmed, 150g cheddar cheese grated, milk, 2 tbsps tomato ketchup, black pepper, 20g chopped walnuts.

Method:

  1. Cook the macaroni pasta in boiling water.
  2. 5 minutes before the pasta has cooked add the mushrooms.
  3. Drain the pasta and mushrooms then set aside.
  4. In a small pan melt the butter.
  5. Mix n the flour thoroughly then slowly pour and mix in the milk to make a sauce.
  6. Season with a little pepper.
  7. Add half of the cheese and stir quickly to make a thick cheese sauce.
  8. In a large bowl mix in the cheese sauce with the ketchup.
  9. Fold in the walnuts.
  10. Pour the macaroni into an oven dish.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C.

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemonade

Beyonce was serving lemons for her lemonade and I was serving lemon cheesecake.  Surprisingly when her lemons were previewed she didn’t get such high acclaim, it was constant criticism and I guess people will always be uncomfortable with the unfamiliar.  Not to mention black feminism doesn’t really strike angelic chords with a lot of Americans.  My lemon creation was appealing to those who love cheesecake and everyone who tasted it loved it.  Everything isn’t for everyone but I do know that if I added some unique flavours it would have thrown a few people off.  Just like being an artist as a cook you have to figure out whether you want to create something classic or unusual.  Whatever you do be proud of it and enjoy the process.  I enjoyed making my lemon cheesecake as much as I enjoyed eating it.  This recipe makes a lot of filling so you will definitely have enough for two cheesecakes if you are using an 8 inch tin.

This recipe was adapted from cake days by the hummingbird bakery (Harper Collins Publishers, 2011).

Ingredients:

220g digestive biscuits, 100g unsalted butter (melted), 1 tsp lime zest, the juice from 2 lemons, 180g caster sugar, 600g full fat cream cheese, 2 large eggs.

Method:

  1. Line the base of an 8 inch tin with baking parchment.
  2. Bash up the biscuits into fine crumbs.  This can be done by putting them in a freezer bag and smashing them using a rolling pin.
  3. Pour the biscuit crumbs into a bowl, add the melted butter and stir together.
  4. Put the biscuits into the lined tin and press into the base with the back of a spoon.
  5. Place the tin in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes to allow the base to set.
  6. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, eggs and lemon juice.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin on top of the base.
  8. Make a water bath using a roasting tin so the water goes up to an inch when the cheesecake is placed in the roasting tin.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 160 degrees C.
  10. When firm on the top and a slight wobble in the centre remove the cheesecake and allow to cool at room temperature.
  11. Place in the fridge for a few hours to set or leave overnight if you can.

Pina Colada Smoothie

“But Where’s The Rum?”

The Pina Colada is one of the best cocktails ever made.  It is a beautiful drink and relieves stress better than most over the counter medications.  Even this version, which does not have alcohol.  This may not be a real pina colada because there is no rum, however the coconut and fresh pineapples maintain the dreaminess of the original version.  Rum is good in moderation but pineapple and cream is fantastic in large gulps.  Also this is a great drink for Baby Showers.  No one is taking away my go to drinks when I start a family.  LOl.

This recipe was taken from Levi Roots’ Sweet (Octopus Publishing Group Ltd, 2012).

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Ingredients:

400g fresh pineapple, 200g coconut cream, 200ml pineapple juice, 50g Greek yoghurt, juice of 1/2 lime, 4 tbsps demerara sugar. (Levi also recommends crushed ice to serve but it was still quite chilly the day I made this)

Method:

  1. Whizz all of the ingredients in a large blender.
  2. Scrap out the remaining smoothie with a spoon and lick off your fingers.
  3. Enjoy and don’t worry ’bout a thing.

Sweet potato and chickpea curry

Sweet Coconut

My go to curries usually feature coconut, I love sweet curries especially on fragrant rice or with a herbed naan.  I will never forget the first curry I ever made from a student cookbook,  looking back I realise how far I have come and how confident I have grown in the kitchen.  I am more willing to explore new flavours and go completely out of my comfort zone.   I found an Indonesian based curry paste in a local supermarket and decided to try it with an Indonesian curry recipe I found in one of my student cook books.  I do not have a great deal of experience with curries in terms of cooking but when my taste buds are excited that’s enough for me to recognise good food.

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Ingredients:

Indonesian Based Curry Paste, 2 tbsp oil, 600g sweet sweet potato (peeled and cut), 125ml vegetable stock, 300g tinned chickpeas (rinsed and drained), 400ml coconut cream, 1/4 tsp sugar.

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the curry paste and cook stirring for 5 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the sweet potato and stock cook for 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is almost cooked through.
  5. Add more stock if required.
  6. Add the chickpeas, coconut cream, sugar and salt for seasoning.
  7. Bring to the boil stirring constantly then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. When the sauce has thickened serve with chosen side.