No fuss Naan bread

Standard
No fuss Naan bread

I’m not a huge fan of barbecue cooking in the back garden, although I do love eating outside. I much prefer to put something in the slow cooker or oven, open a bottle and sit outside in the sun secure in the knowledge that my dinner is getting on with it. Lovely smells start wafting outside and you can sit back and pretend someone else is doing the cooking.

You won’t be surprised to know that I love spicy food, Indian in particular.  A lot of people think that when we get lovely sunshine it’s too hot for a curry. I disagree – they seem to cope really well in India! You should really turn up the heat, chilli-wise during a heat wave, it has a cooling effect on your body.

Last Friday was hot and sunny, so I didn’t want to miss a second of such wonderful weather after I got home from work. I refuse to think of Friday night as being anything other than fresh, home cooked Curry Night. I’d prepared a Hare’s Moor Madras Curry Kit (www.haresmoor.co.uk) up to the stage where you add the tomatoes, the night before. When I got in from work, I just mixed the prepared masala with some chicken thigh fillets and par-boiled potatoes and put it all in the slow cooker with a slosh of water and turned the cooker to high.

Naan bread was needed to mop up the gorgeous gravy. I don’t like to buy ready made flat breads, they’re so simple to make and taste so much better. Naan bread is traditionally made in a Tandoor oven: dough is rolled out thinly and pressed against the side of the hot oven which makes the underside of the naan crisp and brown, but leaves the top soft – ready to be brushed with butter. If you haven’t got a tandoor, help is at hand! This recipe doesn’t claim to be authentic – it’s easy and requires the minimum of attention. It makes great tasting soft, spongy bread which soaks up sauce – what more could you ask for?

This is the recipe that I always use – it’s a Dan Lepard one and he says that bread dough doesn’t need lots of kneading, it just needs time. Minimum effort, while sipping cold drinks in the sun – perfect. They freeze really well too. This recipe makes 6 naan.

No Fuss Naan

Put 300g plain flour in a bowl, along with 50g wholemeal flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar and 1-2 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds (these give you the stereotypical taste of naan bread, but leave them out if you don’t have any, or substitute with cumin/fennel seeds).

Image

In a large bowl add 125g plain yogurt (whatever you normally use), 100ml cold milk, 50ml boiling water and 1tsp fast action yeast (the sachet yeast is fine, but don’t use a whole sachet). Stir everything together and make sure there are no lumps.

Image

Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir well. This will produce a very soft, sticky dough. Make sure that you’ve gathered together all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl and then cover the dough with a sheet of cling film and go back to the garden for 30 minutes.

Image

After half an hour, pour 1 tblsp of any oil on to your work surface and rub it out to the size of a dinner plate. Tip the sticky dough on to the oil and roughly knead the dough into a ball. This should take around 10 seconds and then put in back in the bowl, cover with cling film and go back to the garden for an hour.

Image

After an hour, lightly flour the worktop and place the dough on it. Pat it into a circle and cut it into 6 pieces. You already roughly have your classic naan tear drop shape. Put the oven on to 200C/180C fan/390F.

Image

Image

Melt a large knob of butter/4tblsp oil (or a mixture of the two) in a small pan and grate 1 clove of garlic into it, along with a handful of chopped coriander if you like it – you can use any other chopped herb in it’s place, such as parsley. When the butter has melted, turn the heat off and leave the flavours to infuse while you cook the naan.

Put a large frying pan on a medium heat, don’t add any oil to the pan. When the pan is hot, roll out the first of your triangles to around 1cm thick using extra flour to stop them sticking. Image

Stretch the triangle as you place it on the hot frying pan. Brush some of the garlic butter onto the top of the naan as it’s cooking. Soon you will see little bubbles appearing on the surface.

Image

Keep an eye on the underside of the naan so that you can take it out when it’s starting to brown.

Using a spatula/fish slice take the naan from the pan and place it on to the racks in the oven. This will finish off cooking the top while you get on with the next naan.

Repeat the process until the dough has been used up. Keep a close eye on the naan in the oven and take them out if they start to get brown.

Image

They soak up sauce perfectly and taste wonderful. Give them a go when you want to give yourself time to sit in the sun!

Image

Image

Chilli and Garlic slow roast chicken

Standard
Chilli and Garlic slow roast chicken

Every winter, I fall in love all over again with my slow cooker. Walking in after a tough day at work, I’m greeted by the olfactory equivalent of a big hug. It’s like someone has got in before me and started cooking, leaving me just to put the kettle on and sit down with the paper for half an hour before I start on the side dishes.

Slow cooking is as old as cooking itself. It’s origins are from when fires used to be kept alive 24 hours a day not only for cooking, but for warmth and protection. Beans and pulses collected and dried during late summer, were put into a cauldron over a fire with water (or beer!) and herbs and left to bubble away all day. Sometimes this soup would be flavoured with a small piece of gammon or some bacon fat being lowered into it which was also left to cook – this was our early soup, known as pottage and was devoured by hungry people as their main meal of the day. Slow cooked meat was cooked on the embers of a fire from the day before – a hole was dug and lined with bricks and all of the embers were put on the bricks. The meat was wrapped in large leaves and put on top of the bricks and then the dry soil/sand was put on top of the meat and left all day to cook underground. A lot of hassle for slow cooked meat! Hurrah for slow cookers!

The best tasting meats take a long time to cook, making them release their natural fats, flavours and juices – melting away any fat which flavours the meat, basting as it goes ensuring that the whole joint is flavoured as it makes its lazy way out. The resulting meat falls apart and is definitely not for carving – rustic meals rule!

I like to add a bit more to our roast chickens to make the meat super tasty for left overs during the week and I like to use butter to emulate the fat that would melt through a fatty cut of meat. This week we’re having Chilli & Garlic chicken because everything tastes better with chilli!

Take a couple of cloves of garlic, around 50g – 100g butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1-2 cloves garlic crushed, 1tsp fresh ground pepper and 1 or more tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (turkish chillies are semi dried and flaked without seeds or membrane, making a sweet semi hot chilli flake, substitue with normal chilli flakes if you can’t find them but use less as they will be hotter).

Image

Blast the butter in the microwave to soften and mash the other ingredients into it.

Image

Using your hands (or a spoon if you’re squeamish) paste the flavoured butter inside the cavity of the chicken, making sure you cover all areas, reaching in as far as you can. If you have a lemon, cut it in half and squeeze half of it inside the chicken then place both halves of the lemon inside the cavity along with the top leaves of some leeks if you have them, or some parsley stalks or the outer peelings of onion skin (not the papery part). You can use an onion that has started to go a little soft if you need to use it up, or some dried out spring onions! Or you can just leave it at the flavoured butter. There is no right or wrong. Place a piece of silicon paper in the base of the slow cooker and smear any leftover butter from your hands or spoon onto it.

Image

Place the chicken breast side down onto the paper in the slow cooker. The paper is there to protect the chicken from the base of the slow cooker – you could use a couple of celery sticks if you prefer to lift it away from the base.

Tuck another piece of silicon paper around the chicken – this creates another seal, apart from the lid which will keep all of the precious flavoured steam underneath.

Image

Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Half way through cooking you can turn the chicken the right way up, so that the meat underneath is flavoured too.

When your chicken is cooked, baste it well with the juices at the bottom of the pot and lift it carefully into a heated dish.

20140126_171951_Richtone(HDR)

 

Pour the juices from the pot into a casserole dish and add some peeled new potatoes. Toss them around. Put the lid on and cook them in a hot oven 200C for around 30 minutes. Take the lid off and gently turn them over. Cook them for another 20 minutes (or until done) with the lid off. These won’t be crispy roast potatoes because they are a super tasty version of fondant potatoes – waxy and deeply savoury, which instead of being cooked in butter and stock are cooked in butter and chicken juices. Believe me, they’re delicious!

20140126_174608_Richtone(HDR)

Enjoy with veg of your choice, or just with crusty bread!

Popcorn is dead – long live Sev!

Standard
Popcorn is dead – long live Sev!

We’re always looking for something to munch on Saturday nights – dinner is prepared and cooked at a leisurely pace in between glasses of wine, while we all catch up on what’s been happening to us all during the week. The evening usually ends up with us all of the sofa, watching a film or something on TV, with a big bowl of home made sweet or salty popcorn.

On Friday, we ventured into the new snack territory of Sev and now we’re all convinced that no other snack will ever do! (Although, we did have to turn the volume up quite a bit, so that we could hear what was going on over loud crunching!) We’d eaten Sev before, you can buy it in bags from Asian shops, but it hadn’t really made a huge impression on me. I was talking snacks with my Gujarati friend (Gujarati’s are experts in the savoury snack field, to my way of thinking) who said that I should try a freshly cooked batch of Sev, instead of popcorn. She promised that there’d be no going back once I’d tried it.  I did some recipe research and decided to give it a go. It’s one of those recipes that you can barely believe: can 2 spuds and some chickpea flour really taste that good?

It was so supremely wonderful, that I have to share the recipe with everyone so that you can all see what I mean! It’s spicy (or not, if you don’t like spicy things), crunchy potato, salty – everything you want in a savoury snack!

Ok, it’s not exactly a health food – but it’s gluten free, suitable for vegans and kids love it too. I fried it in rapeseed oil, to try and convince myself that we were all getting lots of essential fatty acids in a fun way! It will also last for at least a couple of weeks if you put it in an air proof container (and hide it), although I haven’t tried this out as there’s never any left over!

You can only make this snack if you have either a special sev making machine or (which you can pick up from an asian store for a few quid) a potato ricer (which you can pick up at Morrisons for £4).

A potato ricer is like a huge garlic press which you use in the same way, but with cooked potatoes, making them completely lump free for mash, gnocchi etc. The potato that it produces looks like grains of rice. You can put the ‘riced’ potato straight on top of Cottage/Shepherds/Fish Pie with a few blobs of butter and some cheese over the top of it before baking in the oven, to make the topping extra crunchy. Everyone needs a potato ricer in their lives.

You’ll also need to buy a bag of Chickpea flour (also known as Gram flour). You can buy a small bag in Asian shops for around 70p. Normal flour can’t be substituted.

Sev

Boil 2 medium sized potatoes in their skins until cooked through. Peel them while they’re still hot so that the skins come off easily – I hold them with a fork so I don’t burn my fingers! While they’re still hot, put each one through the potato ricer and leave in a bowl to cool completely.

When the potato has cooled, gauge roughly how many cups of potato you’ve got by patting it into any cup/mug you have to hand, so that you know how much Gram flour to add. You’re going to need roughly half to three quarters of the potato that you’ve measured, of flour. I had 2 small mugs of potato and so I used 1 mug and a bit more of chickpea flour. Don’t worry about being exact.

Put the potato back in the bowl and add: a big pinch of turmeric, 1 dessertspoon of lemon/lime juice (fresh or bottled), 1 tsp sugar, 1tsp salt (you may need a little more, taste it at the end), chilli powder (or cayenne pepper), you can use paprika if you don’t like heat, or don’t put either in. I put a heaped half teaspoon of chilli powder in mine and it was moderately spicy, so add less or more to your taste.

Get your hand in there and mix everything together really well.

Still using your hand, put half a mug of chickpea flour into the potato mixture and combine it thoroughly. Continue to add flour until you have a dough that isn’t too sticky. The amount you use will depend on how much moisture was in your cooked potato. At this point, taste a bit of the dough, it should taste savoury/salty. Add more salt if you think you need to and more chilli powder if you want to turn the heat up. If adding salt and chilli powder now, you’ll need to knead the dough thoroughly to combine it.

20130927_174057

Heat some oil in a wok/deep medium sized pan over a medium heat. You’ll need around 5cm oil. When you can put a cube of bread in the oil and it takes around 30 seconds to turn golden, the heat is right.

Put a large satsuma sized piece of the dough into the potato ricer and hold it over the hot oil. BE CAREFUL AROUND HOT OIL. Press the handle of the ricer down over the hot oil, so that the bottom of the strands of dough start to fall into the oil. Keep a knife handy, so that you can scrape the strands off, as they’ll cling to the ricer.

20130927_174217

Keep the heat at medium, making sure that the oil is bubbling gently around the cooking sev (like in the picture). After a minute, turn the sev over to cook the other side. Fry for another 1-2 minutes until the Sev is light golden and crisp. It will crisp up more when you take it out of the oil. Don’t let it get too dark in colour.

20130927_174009_1

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cooked Sev and leave to drain on kitchen paper while you cook the rest in different batches until all of the dough is used up. Obviously at this point, the cook’s perk is to have the first taste (just don’t eat it all before anyone else gets to taste it).

I had some raw peanuts to use up, so I fried some of those at the end too, to add to the mixture.

20130927_175606_Richtone(HDR)

To make it look authentically Indian, make cones out of newspaper and stuff each one full of sev to hand out to everyone.

Enjoy! You. Are going to be SO popular.

20130927_175959_Richtone(HDR)

Tomato Thyme!

Standard
Tomato Thyme!

This is about the only time of the year that you should be able to buy fresh tomatoes cheaper than tinned. You may be lucky enough to have a greenhouse or sunny back garden and are now harvesting your super tasty home grown tomatoes. Either way, it’s a perfect time to make tomatoes the star of the show when it comes to using them up.

When I went to market last week, I picked up 5 kilos of gorgeous tomatoes for just £1.80. This is about the only perk when it comes to having to get up at 5 a.m. to go and find top quality fresh produce for the kits that we make – you get to find super bargains when it comes to seasonal fruit and vegetables.

This is my favourite Tomato Tart recipe, which takes moments to make and tastes divine! You can use any fresh herbs that you have to hand (or even some dried) and use any cheese that you have lying around in the fridge.

Tomato Thyme Tart with Goats Cheese

You’ll need one pack of puff pastry for this recipe, so get it out of the fridge half an hour before you need it to give it time to soften a little.

Heat the oven to Gas mark 5, 375F, 190C.

In a bowl, mix together 150g cheese (crumbled if it’s a soft cheese, grated if it’s a hard cheese), 1 clove of garlic finely grated or chopped and around 3-4 tablespoons of freshly chopped herbs. If you’re using fresh thyme, you can just pick off the leaves from around 10 stems and put them in with the cheese. If you only have dried, use around 2tsp. Mix well and season with black pepper. Don’t forget cheese is quite salty, so you won’t need to add salt. Make sure all of the ingredients in the bowl are well mixed.

SONY DSC

Roll out the pastry, trying to keep it as rectangular as you can (you can always trim it, if it goes wrong!). Don’t roll it out bigger than the biggest baking tray that you have. If you don’t have any big baking trays, cut the pastry in half to fit.

With a sharp knife, score an edge all the way round your pastry – taking care not to cut all the way through. This will enable the edges of your pastry to rise, but will prevent the middle bit from rising and pushing off all of the tomatoes. Inside the area that you’ve scored prick with a fork to make extra sure that it won’t rise.

20130822_182301

Scatter the cheese mixture all over the pastry. You may think that there’s not enough of the cheesy mixture, but don’t forget – this is all about the tomatoes. The cheese is there to give an extra dimension, rather than providing all of the flavour.

20130822_182618

20130822_182828

Finely slice around 10-12 tomatoes and lay them in lines over the cheese. It makes a nice pattern if you go down one way with the sliced tomatoes and up the other way – like this:

20130822_184025

Brush the cut edges of the tomatoes with melted butter or an oil of your choice. Season well with black pepper and sprinkle a little salt over the top before scattering some more herbs over the top of it all.

Put the tart/s on the middle shelf and bake for around 50-55 minutes (30-40 minutes if you have two smaller tarts) until the outside is well risen and golden and the tomatoes are cooked and starting to brown and show signs of being well roast.

SONY DSC

Leave to cool slightly. Best served warm.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Fresh, juicy Ginger

Standard
Fresh, juicy Ginger

I’ve always appreciated fresh ingredients and know that the fresher they are, the better your cooking will taste. I go to the market once or twice a week, so that I can choose the best possible ingredients for the kits that we produce and I always look forward to going at this time of the year – not only because there are so many lovely fruits and vegetables in season right now, but also because of the new short season Brazilian Ginger.

I excitedly brought some back with me yesterday morning. The first thing that you notice about it is that it’s much smaller than the regular Chinese ginger, the tubers aren’t as thick. It’s a lot more dense because it’s tightly packed with vibrant, hot lemony juice! It also has amazingly smooth, shiny skin.

20130813_114510

 

20130813_114530

 

 

Another way to tell if you have Brazilian ginger is to cut into a piece. You’ll notice that the ginger either has a blue/grey tinge to it, or a blue ring just underneath the skin. This is why Brazilian ginger is sometimes called ‘Blue Ginger’.

20130813_124053

 

This marking should make you confident that what you’re getting is ginger at its very best – juicy with a beautiful hot, spicy flavour.

We immediately celebrated with a cup of ginger tea! Add a teabag of your choice (one that you can drink without milk) to a cup of hot water and add as much sliced ginger to it as you can bear. Leave to steep for as long as possible and then enjoy.

20130813_124306(0)

If you’re lucky enough to find one of these in one of our kits at this time of the year, you know that you’re in for a treat!

20130813_124933

 

http://www.haresmoor.co.uk

http://www.ocado.com – search for Hare’s Moor

 

Potatoes – Bombay or Bravas?

Standard
Potatoes – Bombay or Bravas?

Where would we be without potatoes? We love them – mashed, roasted, jacketed, dauphinoise, chipped, boiled, steamed, crisped – the list is endless. My personal favourites are Bombay Potatoes and Patatas Bravas, which is why I’ve chosen those recipes for this blog post. Patatas Bravas – crispy potatoes, covered with spicy tomato sauce is one of the best things to serve with cold beer. Potatoes are amazing when they’re slowly simmered – the recipe for Slow Cooked Bombay Potatoes uses a slow cooker and can be left for a couple of hours to carry on soaking up the lovely sauce while you get on with other things.

Some people think Sir Walter Raleigh first brought the potato back to show Queen Elizabeth I, from Spain (stopping off at his home in Ireland first, to plant a couple). The story goes that Raleigh presented the potato to the Queen and although dubious, she put her cooks to work immediately so that she could taste this new, exotic vegetable. The cooks didn’t know what to do with it, so threw the potatoes away and beautifully steamed the highly poisonous stems and leaves. This made the whole of court ill. Potatoes therefore weren’t a massive hit and it took a good while for them to gain any kind of respect.

The truth is probably that the potato was brought over to England and/or Ireland by the visiting trading Spanish, but I don’t like to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Potatoes originated in Mexico and were cultivated by the Aztecs. There were many different colours of potato and some reports of a variety that grew under the water. When the Spanish invaded the Aztec empire, they liked some varieties of potato and not others. They obviously only cultivated the varieties they liked and the rest became extinct, it looks as though we’ll never get to taste the underwater potatoes…

Maybe because of the stems and leaves being so poisonous, people weren’t quick to accept the potato into their lives and for many years they were only considered good enough to feed to animals. Wheat bread was the national staple, but where wheat was difficult to grow and oats were the staple (Scotland, Ireland), people were more eager to eat potatoes than rough oat bread. The rest of Britain soon followed and I for one, am very happy that they did!

Here are two of my favourite potato recipes – Patatas Bravas and slow cooked Bombay Potatoes

Patatas Bravas – Serves 4-6

This is a famous tapas dish – crisp crunchy potatoes topped with as hot as you like smoky tomato sauce. I prefer to roast my potatoes instead of the traditional frying but you can fry them if you prefer. Serve with cold beer or as part of a tapas meal.

Parboil around 500g of potatoes (I’d use Maris Piper) until nearly cooked. Strain and leave the heat underneath to dry them off for a minute. Put the lid on the pan and shake gently to roughen the outside of the potatoes. Roast in olive oil until golden and crisp.

Finely chop 1 onion and fry in olive oil along with 1 clove of garlic, until the onion is soft and golden brown (don’t let it burn). Finely chop 1 red chilli and add as much of it as you like to the onions, cook for another couple of minutes. Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes or plum tomatoes OR 400g passatta, along with 1tsp sugar and salt to taste (I used a big 1/2 tsp).  Add 1 tsp of smoked paprika and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until the flavours have come together.

Remove the roast potatoes and put into a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle them with salt and top with the tomato sauce.

Walsall-20120908-00602

Slow Cooked Bombay Potatoes Serves 4-6

This classic Indian accompaniment goes well with anything – even your Sunday lunch roast! If you haven’t got a slow cooker, cook the potatoes in a pan with a well fitting lid on the lowest heat possible (I stand my saucepan on a dry frying pan over the heat to make the heat even more gentle) and just check from time to time that nothing is sticking.

Peel 3 large or 5 medium/small potatoes and cut them into thick chunks. Use waxy red potatoes or large new ones.

SONY DSC

Either peel and grate or using a stick blender blend 3 cloves of peeled and chopped garlic and a small piece (about 1cm) of peeled and chopped fresh ginger with a splash of water.

You’ll need 5-6tblsp of either pastatta OR blended tomatoes from a can OR 1tblsp tomato puree and 5 tbslp water mixed together.

In a small dish collect 1/2 tsp turmeric, 2tsp coriander, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp garam masala and chilli powder to taste (1/2-1tsp). If you don’t have all of these spices, you can leave whichever you haven’t got, out.

Heat some oil in a large pan and add 1tsp cumin and/or mustard seeds. Finely chop 1 onion and add to the seeds in the hot oil. Stir and cook over a low heat with the lid on for around 10 minutes to soften the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and take the lid off. Continue cooking until the onions are golden brown.

Add the prepared garlic/ginger mixture and stir for a few more minutes until the raw smell has gone. Add the ground spices and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and 1 heaped tsp salt (or to taste). Stir and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring often for around 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to look glossy.

SONY DSC

Add the raw potato cubes and stir thoroughly. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary – potatoes take more salt than you think!

Transfer to a slow cooker if using and cook for 2 hours on medium or until the potatoes are soft. If cooking on the hob, cover with a lid and use the lowest heat

SONY DSC

Taste and add salt if necessary. I bet there won’t be any leftovers!

Nettle (or Spinach!), Pine Nut and Feta Pasties

Standard
Nettle (or Spinach!), Pine Nut and Feta Pasties

I love to eat nettles – to my way of thinking, they’re one of the most underused free ingredients that we have access to all year round. If you like spinach, there’s no reason for you to be pulling up nettles from your garden to put on the compost heap. If you have a patch where nettles like to grow in your garden, just regularly trim them back to the ground to encourage new, tender shoots to appear. These are the ones that you need to cook with. Nettles are edible at any stage of their growth, but once they have flowered the taste can be bitter and they’re a bit stringy so it’s best to look beneath the flowering nettles for the new ones that are just coming up.

Choose the first 3 or 4 top leaves of each nettle

Choose the first 3 or 4 top leaves of each nettle

Nettles only sting you while you’re collecting them, so use rubber gloves. The sting disappears the moment the nettle comes into contact with heat, so there’s no danger of you stinging your mouth! Give the nettles a good wash when you get them into the kitchen, like you would with spinach, give them a quick shake and then steam them with the washing water still clinging to them.

These pasties are perfect picnic food, especially if you make the small ones. The nettles can be replaced with spinach or chard leaves and the pine nuts can be replaced with any nut that you have to hand, or be left out completely.

Makes 3 large or 15 small pasties

You need to collect 250g of nettles for this recipe, which is a good half a carrier bag full. If you find you haven’t got enough when you get home, you can either go hunting in your own back garden or add some spinach or watercress leaves. Only pick the tops of nettles that aren’t flowering – the first 3 or 4 leaves. Use rubber gloves!

Pastry:

Do what you normally do for pastry – either buy 2 blocks ready-made, or if making from scratch, make an amount using 250g plain flour.

For the filling:

250g nettle tops/spinach/chard, thoroughly washed and put into a colander to drain

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ pack of feta cheese, crumbled

A handful of pine nuts toasted (you could use toasted, chopped hazelnuts or cashews if you haven’t got any pine nuts)

A pinch of nutmeg (optional)

A squeeze of lemon

1 egg beaten

Salt and black pepper

Make the pastry if making from scratch, or get the ready-made pastry out of the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper.

For the filling: using scissors, chop the nettles roughly and then tip them into a large saucepan with just the water that is still clinging to the leaves.

Wash the nettles

Wash the nettles

Turn the heat to high and leave the nettles to wilt in the small amount of water that is in there. If the nettles are dry, just add a tiny splash of water. This will only take a couple of minutes. Leave to cool.

Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic over a medium heat, until soft and translucent.

Squeeze as much water as possible from the cooled, cooked nettles (the sting will have completely disappeared by now) and add them to the onion. Mix well and leave to cool.

Tip the cooled mixture into a bowl and add the crumbled cheese, chopped nuts or pinenuts, nutmeg, a squeeze of lemon juice and some black pepper. Taste for seasoning, don’t forget feta is salty anyway. Add salt if needed. Mix together thoroughly with ¾ of the egg (leave the rest for glazing the top of the pasties).

Roll the pastry out until about as thick as a 2p piece. Cut either into 3 large circles or squares or 15 smaller circles or squares, depending on what size pasty you want to make.

Walsall-20120708-00484

Mix the leftover egg with a little milk or water and moisten the edges of the first cut out pastry with it.

Using a teaspoon, place the filling on one half of the pastry (don’t overfill or the pastie will burst during cooking)

Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Place on the baking tray.

Walsall-20120708-00485

Repeat until all of the pastry and/or filling is used up.

Brush with any remaining egg mixture and bake until golden brown – approximately 10-15 minutes for small pasties and 25-30 for large pasties

DSCN1704