I haven’t fallen off of the edge of the Earth, just in case you’ve been wondering where your favourite Gujarati food blogger has gone. I hope you’ve been wondering – have you been wondering?

I trust you all had a delicious Christmas and New Year. I’ve been spending my precious time recovering from the most brutal lurgies seen this side of London. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve hardly cooked, feeding only on unsatisfying take-aways and frozen pizzas. Interestingly, I’ve lost weight on this questionable diet full of fat, salt and cholesterol. FYI, I’m not endorsing this depressing diet in any way – just observing an unexpected fact.

I cannot begin to describe how much I’ve missed blogging and sharing my favourite recipes with you. Working full-time really takes its toll, especially now I must resign blogging to the weekends. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better now and can’t wait to get back to dreaming, cooking, photographing and writing about my favourite things to eat.

I have some big dreams for 2011 and the determination to accomplish them, so I hope you stick around and see them through with me. I promise you won’t regret it.

Something simple to start the New Year never goes amiss, and this recipe for Cheese and Potato Puff Pies are just the ticket. Soft cubes of rosemary-peppered potato are combined with sautéed onions, mature cheddar and crème fraîche, then the whole thing is enveloped in crisp, buttery puff pastry. Trust me, this is the kind of dinner you want to eat on a cold January evening with a crisp green salad.

Green chillies are my personal fiendish addition, but you don’t have to add them if you’re cooking for kids or don’t like chillies. However, I think a mild kick of chilli is exactly the type of cuddle simple potatoes, crème fraîche and pastry needs.

You can present your pies in any way you like – I’ve shown two of the simplest ways here. One version is a pot pie, with the filling piled into a ramekin or pie dish, topped with a slice of red Leicester cheese and a sheet of puff pastry.

Another way to serve these is by wrapping them into traditional crescent shapes, reminiscent of the time-honoured English pasties. Somehow, I think these are the way they should look – although the choice is entirely yours.

Cheese and Potato Puff Pies
(makes approx. 6-8 depending on size and shape)

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes (450g), peeled and cubed
2 large onions (450g), peeled and roughly chopped
250ml/200g crème fraîche
120g mature cheddar cheese, grated
8 slices Red Leicester Cheese slices
1 tbsp olive oil
1 hot green chilli, chopped finely
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
500g puff pastry, thawed if frozen
Milk to glaze the tops of the pies

Method

1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until they’re just cooked but still hold their shape. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and add half of the chopped onions, sugar and 1 tsp rosemary. Sauté for about 10-15 minutes until just golden at the edges. Add the rest of the onions and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

3. Combine the potatoes, onions, crème fraîche, grated cheddar, 1 tsp rosemary, chilli and salt. Mix thoroughly.

4. If you’re making pot pies, pile the filling into pie dishes or ramekins. Top with a trimmed slice of Red Leicester cheese. Brush the edges of the dish with some milk. Roll out the pastry about ½ cm thick and cut out a disc slightly larger than the top of the dish and place the pastry over the top, edges overlapping the sides. Brush with milk all over, make a slit in the top and place in a 200°C oven for around 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffy.

5. To make traditional pasty shapes, divide the pastry into 6 equal portions and roll out each to about 7inches, using flour if it sticks. Place a slice of Red Leicester cheese in the middle of a pastry circle, top with around 2-2 ½ tbsps of the filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk and fold one end over to meet the opposite end. Stick down firmly and crimp with a fork. Repeat for each pie.

6. Place each pie on a non-stick baking tray, make a slit in the top and bake 200°C oven for around 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffy.

Serve with a crisp green salad and not much else. If this doesn’t make up for my time away, I don’t know what would.

I’ll be back. Honest.
 

 

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