Saturday, September 24, 2011

Spinach Homity Pies

Homity pies are traditional British pies consisting of an onion and potato mixture encased in pastry. In my version  I have added some creamy spinach instead of the onions. The pies are quite hefty, so I served them as a main course with salad. However you could also make smaller ones which would be perfect for a picnic.

You will need to have made some bechamel sauce in advance.

Makes 4 pies



-100g wholemeal flour
-150g plain flour
-150g cold unsalted butter, cubed
-1tsp salt
-1 egg
-1 tbsp cold milk


-200g spinach, cooked and drained
-300ml home-made white sauce or bechamel:
-500g floury potatoes, peeled and diced
-100g Lancashire cheese or cheddar, cubed
-2 - 3 tbsp milk
-Knob of butter
-8 tsp mustard (Regular or wholegrain)
-Salt & pepper, nutmeg
Chopped chives to serve. 

1. To make the pastry, put the flours and salt in a food processor. Beat the egg and milk together then gradually add to the flour, and pulse until combined. If making by hand, tip the flours into a large bowl and add the butter and egg. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the milk and bring the pastry together. Knead three or four times to bring it together then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. 
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and mash with the butter and milk until smooth. Season well. 
3. Mix the cooked spinach with the bechamel and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4. Remove the cling film from the pastry and divide into 4. On a floured surface roll each ball into a 15 - 20cm round. Leaving a 5cm crust around the edge, spread each round with 2 tsp of mustard, then top with 1/4 of the spinach mixture then 1/4 of the mashed potato. 

5. To form the pies bring up the pastry around the filling and firmly press together any edges. Top with the cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and the cheese in bubbling. Serve with the chopped chives sprinkled on top.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Carrot & Sweetcorn Soup flavoured with Chipotle and Coriander

In Autumn I like to spend Sunday afternoons making batches of soup- either to freeze or to eat throughout week. It's great to have on hand for a cold Autumn evening. This one is particularly warming thanks to the chipotle powder. Chipotles are smoked mexican jalapeno chilli peppers, if you can't find the powder you could use pimenton (smoked paprika) or ordinary chilli powder. I like this soup served as it is, but it would also be nice served with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Serves 4


-3 carrots, peeled and diced 
-Sweetcorn from 2 ears of fresh corn
-1 onion, peeled and chopped
-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
-2 tomatoes, chopped
-1 tbsp tomato purée
-1 tsp chipotle powder
-2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp marmite or 1 stock cube
-1 tbsp sunflower oil

1. Fry the onion in the oil until translucent, then add the carrot, bay leaves, and sweetcorn. Fry for 2 - 3 minutes more.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, chipotle powder, oregano and garlic. Stir and cook for 2 minutes more. Cover with boiling water and add the marmite or crumbled stock cube. 
3. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Use a stick blender or transfer the soup to a food processor to blend. Season to taste and stir in the coriander before serving.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Presto Pasta Night #231

I am delighted to be hosting Presto Pasta Night #231 today and have spent a great week reading through all the entries. It's wonderful to see how much pasta is loved all over the world- this week I have had entries from Canada, UK, South Africa... pasta unites us all! 

Now on to the round up:

First in was this Autumn Pasta with Borlotti Beans, Cavolo Nero, Girolles, and Crispy Pancetta from Abby at Eat the Right Stuff.  A very seasonal dish!

Next we have 'Truly Tender Meatballs and Spaghetti' from Val at More Than Burnt Toast. As she says, this looks like perfect comfort food!

Tandy from Lavender & Lime gave us this recipe for Pasta with prawns - interesting colour contrast between the sauce and the pasta: 


Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen cooked up Broccoli, Mushroom and Pepper over pasta- a good way of sneaking in some fresh veg:

Emma from Kitchen Goddess (in training!) sent in Spaghetti Puttenemma (Emma's Spaghetti Puttenesca). This looks like a perfect get-home-from-work-quick-and-tasty-pasta dish:

Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes made Gino D'Campo's Tagliatelle al pesto e yogurt. I love Gino and this looks delicious too!

Joanne of Eats Well with Others has combined a delicious mix of flavours in her Pasta with Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, Figs and Arugula:

The founder of Presto Pasta Nights, Ruth, sent in this recipe from her blog Recipes from Every Kitchen. I often get fresh beetroot in my veg box and never know what to do with the beet greens- I do now!

And here is my Spinach & Ricotta ravioli dish again:

I look forward to trying some of these recipes- thank you to everyone who participated. I hope you enjoyed this week's PPN as much as I did. Thanks Ruth for letting me host and for keeping this going!

Next week Tandy of Lavender & Lime is hosting for the second time. Send your entries to lavenderandlimeblog (at) gmail (dot)com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by next Thursday, September 22.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli and PRESTO PASTA NIGHTS

Our cat Walter supervising the pasta making

This week I am hosting Presto Pasta Nights for the first time. If you haven't heard of it before, check it out here: - it's a weekly round-up of pasta dishes sent in by fellow food bloggers. I have entered several times before, and am delighted to be hosting this week. To enter, please send me an email with a link to your recipe lacuisinedesarah (at) gmail (dot) com and copy ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by Thursday 15th September - I will put the round-up on the blog on Friday. The guidelines for entering a recipe are here.

Here is my pasta recipe for this this week - Homemade Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli served with a Sage & Caper butter.
Serves 2


200g of fresh pasta dough - basic recipe can be found here or here, rolled out into a rectangular sheet of dough
200g spinach, cooked and all water squeezed out
250g tub of ricotta
Good grating of nutmeg

50g butter
1 - 2 tablespoons of capers
10 fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan style cheese to serve

1. To make the ravioli, first make the filling by mixing together the spinach, ricotta, and nutmeg. Season to taste. Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture along the bottom half of the pasta sheet at 10cm intervals (there may be some filling left over). Use flour or ground semolina to dust, to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface.

2. Fold the upper half of the sheet down over the bottom half. Use one hand to cup around the filling, excluding any air (if there are large air bubbles the ravioli will split when cooking). Press around the edges then use a sharp knife or cutter to cut the ravioli.

3. When all of the ravioli has been cut, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. At the same time, start to melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the ravioli to the water and cook for 5 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Fry the sage leaves in the butter until crisp then add the capers and seasoning (be careful not to burn the butter). Carefully drain the ravioli then toss through the sauce. Serve immediately with grated cheese.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Foodie France

I have just got back from two weeks holiday in sunny France. Here is a selection of photos of foodie moments I enjoyed during my time in the sud-ouest. I love exploring the local markets and always find something new to try each time I go. I am missing it already!

A very special sheeps cheese from a small organic cheese producer in the Aveyron.

Rabastens market, Tarn

One of many cheese stands at Rabastens market

Colourful veg stand at Rabastens market

One of the many fabulous cheese boards I indulged in.... from this particular one I discovered Delices de Bourgogne (bottom right corner), a very soft cheese almost the texture of whipped cream

Loin de l'oeil grapes harvested from my Mum's 'vineyard'

Olive stand at Gaillac market, Tarn

Gaillac market

Boulangerie window in Salers, Cantal

Perfect lunch in Salers - salad with local cheeses (cantal, bleu d'auvergne, potatoes, tomatoes and walnuts on bed of lettuce)
Having a glass of Cahors in a picturesque spot