Corned Beef and Potato Pie

Corned Beef and Potato Pie by The Fat Foodie

I’m originally from the North East of England and as a result I was born with a love of pastry in all of its beautiful forms. Northeasterners are extremely skilled at working all types of pastry into divine concoctions. They can make delicious steak pies, mince pies and chicken pies. They can also create outstanding apple turnovers and jam tarts. However, for all that they are great at creating these wonderful delicacies, in my eyes none of these pastries compare to the humble plate pie.

Plate pie is exactly as it sounds – a pie baked on a plate, with the gentle sloping curves of the plate helping to contain the filling within a pastry casing. My Mum and Dad (both of whom are Northeasterners) are masters of the plate pie, just as their own parents were, and frequently make them for family gatherings. They often make plate pies filled with minced beef and onion, which is delicious, but my favourite is their corned beef and potato pie.

Once upon a time, it would have been necessary to peel and boil countless potatoes to make the mash for this pie, but the invention and ease of access to cheap, good quality ready-made mashed potato in our supermarkets has made the creation of this pie a much faster task than it ever was. The same can be said about the convenience of picking up a pack of ready-made (and even ready-rolled) puff or shortcrust pastry instead of having to go through the palaver of making your own. We’re truly living in exciting times, my friends!

For all that it’s now July, on the day I’m writing this the weather is, as the Scots would say, ‘dreich’ (drizzly, overcast and cold) and I’d highly recommend making this plate pie on a day such as this. The lovely warmth of the fan oven is gently circulating around the kitchen and the scent of the pie cooking is reassuring me that a good dinner will warm me up even further very soon. I’m going to serve it with steamed broccoli, thyme-infused carrots and a ‘stick to your ribs as it goes down’ rich beef gravy. And now I think of it, I’m sure there’s some rhubarb and ginger crumble left in the freezer that we can have with warm custard. Shall I set another place at the table for you?

Ingredients:

A 500g block of puff pastry (I used gluten-free)

A 340g tin of corned beef

A 500g carton of good quality mashed potato

1 tsp asafoetida

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 beaten egg (for sealing the edges and glazing the top of the pie)

Method:

Get a large, deep dinner plate or a pie plate and keep it to one side.

Put the corned beef, mashed potato, asafoetida and ground pepper into a large bowl and mash together.

Cut your puff pastry in half and keep one half aside.

Roll one piece out on a floured surface until it is the right size to fit comfortably on top of the plate with a little hanging over the edges.

Put the beef and mash mix in it and smooth it out, leaving 1 cm around the edges bare so you can seal the pie edges later on.

Roll the other piece of puff pastry out until it’s the right size to fit on top of the pie.

Spread beaten egg along the edge of the pie and fit the lid on top. Use a fork to gently seal the pastry together and then trim off the excess with a knife and make two small knife cuts in the centre of the pie. (This helps steam escape.)

Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 mins until the pastry is risen and golden brown.

Corned Beef and Potato Pie by The Fat Foodie

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Quick Cook Dahl

Quick Cook Dahl by The Fat Foodie

Emma Hatcher, the author of the awesome low FODMAP cookbook The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen Cookbook, has a recipe for a dahl that’s made with just three tins and some spices. It’s a lovely dahl, but as an Indian food aficionado I prefer my curries to have a lot more flavour in them so although I make this quick cook dahl with the three tins Emma suggests, I also add a lot more spices to it which, in my humble opinion, makes the dahl more complex and tastier.

I normally make my dahls with dry red lentils, but tinned green lentils work very well in this curry because they keep their shape even after they’ve been cooked which helps to add texture to the curry. Also, the beauty of using tinned lentils is that the tinning process helps to reduce their FODMAP content, so you’re much less likely to have problems digesting them. (This would be the perfect opportunity to use a flatulence joke, but I’m much classier than that. Honest.)

This quick cook dahl can easily be made in a slow cooker if you’d like a meal ready to come home to after work, simply requiring you to throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and give it a stir before leaving the house, but it only takes about half an hour to make on the stove top too so it’s a great option for dinner if you don’t want to be standing cooking for ages when you get home.

This recipe makes a lovely creamy, substantial dahl that’s well-spiced, but not hot, and is packed full of flavour. It’s the perfect quick-to-cook, comforting vegetarian curry that’s just waiting to be topped with freshly chopped coriander leaves and served to accompany soft, fluffy boiled rice and crispy shards of poppadums. My own mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground turmeric

2 tsps ground coriander

1 tsp asafoetida powder

A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger (minced)

A handful of shredded green leek tops

1 tin of green lentils

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of coconut milk

300g rice

30g chopped fresh coriander

Method:

If you’re using the slow cooker then just add everything into the slow cooker, stir well and then leave to cook throughout the day before serving with freshly cooked rice.

If you’re cooking this on the hob though, put the oil in a saucepan and then add the spices and cook them for a couple of minutes to release their flavours.

Drain and rinse the lentils and add them to the pot along with the coconut milk and chopped tomatoes.

Leave to simmer for 10-15 mins until hot and cook your rice during this time.

Stir two-thirds of the chopped fresh coriander through the dahl and then serve with soft, fluffy rice and rest of the fresh coriander.

Quick Cook Dahl by The Fat Foodie

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Mushroom Stroganoff (Serves 4-6)

Mushroom Stroganoff by The Fat Foodie

I love mushroom stroganoff because it’s a lovely light meal, but it’s also really filling and satisfying at the same time. However, every time I’ve made mushroom stroganoff in the past it’s been a traditional cream-based version and now that I’m a little wiser when it comes to avoiding high FODMAP foods I know that dairy-based stroganoffs don’t work for me. As a result, I went back to the drawing board (well, it’s more like a kitchen worktop, but the intention’s the same) and I formulated a version that’s much more tummy-friendly.

Now, the Monash app lists button, portobello and shiitake mushrooms as being a high FODMAP food if you’re sensitive to polyols-mannitol, but thankfully oyster mushroom are a low FODMAP food so that’s the type you need to use if you’re making this mushroom stroganoff. However, if you are sensitive to mushrooms in general I’d suggest either substituting the mushrooms for a vegetable that you can happily digest (such as green beans, bell peppers or courgette) or simply giving this recipe a miss. Better safe than sorry. However, if like me, you have no problem with eating small servings of oyster mushrooms then a joyous dinner awaits you!

Although this recipe for mushroom stroganoff is dairy-free it is still beautifully creamy thanks to the use of oat cream. It produces a mushroom stroganoff that is well-seasoned with sweet paprika, fresh thyme leaves and a dash of grated nutmeg, is rich and deeply flavoured with the woodland taste of oyster mushrooms, but still manages to remain light due to the inclusion of the chunks of plum tomatoes. The fresh lemon juice added at the end of the cooking process also lifts the stroganoff to make the whole dish taste fresh and vibrant. It’s a perfect quick-cook mid-week meal when simply served over a bed of fluffy long grain rice.

The Ingredients Needed to Make Mushroom Stroganoff by The Fat Foodie

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

100g oyster mushrooms

1 tbsp paprika (not smoked)

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp asafoetida powder

1/5 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tin of plum tomatoes (drained of their juice and chopped)

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 Oxo vegetable stock pot melted into 200ml boiling water

250ml oat cream

A handful of chopped fresh parsley

The juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

400g long grain rice

Method:

Place a saucepan filled with water and 1 tsp of salt over a high heat and bring to the boil. (This pot is for cooking the rice.)

Meanwhile, place another large saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once hot add the mushrooms and spices. Cook until the mushrooms are soft.

Put your rice into the pot of boiling water and cook until soft.

While the rice is cooking add the parsley, chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, oat cream, lemon juice and Worcestershire Sauce to your stroganoff and cook until hot.

Stir the cornflour mixture into the stroganoff and allow to thicken.

Once the rice is soft, drain it and serve in bowls topped with the mushroom stroganoff.

Mushroom Stroganoff by The Fat Foodie

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Chicken Enchiladas (Serves 4-6)

Chicken Enchiladas by The Fat Foodie

I love Mexican food, but I must admit that I do tend to stick to making the same meals all the time simply because they’re so tasty. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing though because it means that you can perfect your own version until the seasoning mix is just right. That’s the case with these chicken enchiladas.

I didn’t realise until I started reading into Mexican food that the word ‘enchilada’ simply means ‘to season with chilli’ and that, traditionally, enchiladas are quite simple  snacks, involving little more than a fried tortilla that’s wrapped around a plain, spiceless filling of meat, beans or vegetables (or a combination of the three).

According to Mexican food expert Diana Kennedy’s quintessential book on the subject of Mexican cookery The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, traditional enchiladas served on the streets of Mexico tend to see their tortillas fried in oil before being stuffed, but I don’t really think that’s necessary when you’re cooking at home. I don’t really like oily food so I’m quite happy to skip that step towards authenticity. Plus you’ve got a grated cheese topping that’s going to add oil to the enchiladas anyway.

Although a traditional enchilada doesn’t contain any spices other than freshly chopped chilli, I like to flavour mine with cumin, oregano and smoked paprika because it makes the whole dish much tastier. As a result, this chicken enchilada recipe yields a large casserole dish filled to the brim with soft tortillas that are stuffed full of delicately spiced tender chicken strips and slices of sweet bell peppers and is topped with a tangy tomato sauce and encrusted with golden grilled cheese. It’s simply the perfect Mexican meal.

Ingredients for the enchilada filling:

8 corn tortillas (use gluten-free if necessary)

1 tbsp of vegetable oil

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

4 chicken breasts (cut into thin slices)

1 green pepper (cut into thin slices)

1 red pepper (cut into thin slices)

2 tsps ground cumin

2 tsps dried oregano

2 tsps smoked paprika

1 tsp asafoetida powder

Ingredients for the enchilada topping:

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp asafoetida powder

1 tsp dried oregano

150g grated cheese (or non-dairy alternative)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Get a large rectangular casserole dish out to cook the enchiladas in and keep it to one side.

Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil, sliced chicken breasts and spices. Fry until the chicken is almost cooked.

Add the sliced peppers and continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook until hot.

Pour the other tin of chopped tomatoes into a jug and add the sauce spices and stir.

Lay a tortilla out on a chopping board and place some enchilada filling inside it before wrapping it up and laying it in a large rectangular casserole dish. (Bear in mind you’ve got 8 tortillas to fill so try to distribute the filling evenly between them.)

Chicken Enchiladas Being Filled by The Fat Foodie

Chicken Enchiladas Awaiting Their Topping

Once you’ve filled all the tortillas and they’re in the casserole dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them and top with the grated cheese.

Chicken Enchiladas by The Fat Foodie About to be Baked

Bake in the oven for about 30-40 mins or until the cheese is crisp and golden brown.

Serve with a fresh green salad.

Chicken Enchiladas by The Fat Foodie

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Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken by The Fat Foodie

The last time I went shopping I bought a reduced whole chicken, but when I got home I realised that I’d forgotten that I was working the following day and wouldn’t have time to cook it. Now, I’ve read before that you can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker, but I’ve never tried it because I wasn’t sure what the results would be like. So, I figured it’d be as good a time as any to try it!

I decided to make a base layer trivet of new potatoes and carrots so that the bottom of the chicken would be protected from the heat of the slow cooker and this worked out well because the cooked potatoes and carrots went really nicely with the cooked chicken. In terms of size, my slow cooker is a 3.5 litre one and it fitted the chicken perfectly, but it wouldn’t be a problem if you had a larger slow cooker. I was a bit of a scaredy cat and added a bit of hot water into the slow cooker in case it ran dry, but to be honest I don’t think it was necessary because the chicken naturally released enough liquid and oil throughout the cooking process that it would not have been in danger of drying out at all.

The slow cooker whole chicken was a triumph and is an experiment that I’ll happily remake soon in the future. Although it didn’t have that flavour that is unique to a roast chicken, when I went to take the chicken out of the slow cooker the meat was so tender that it simply fell off the bone and it was complemented by the lovely soft new potatoes and sweet carrots. I had intended on serving it with gravy, but we ended up just having it with sharp, vinegary pickles, salty capers and sinus-burningly hot creamed horseradish. All in all, it was a delicious dinner to greet me after a long day at work and I’ll definitely be making this slow cooker whole chicken again.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken

New potatoes (enough for however many people you’re feeding)

Carrots (enough for however many people you’re feeding and peeled & cut into large pieces)

Method:

Put your slow cooker on low and put your carrots and potatoes in the bottom.

The Base Vegetables For Slow Cooker Whole Chicken by The Fat Foodie

Place the whole chicken on top and let the slow cooker cook throughout the day.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Ready to be Baked by The Fat Foodie

Remove from the slow cooker and serve.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken by The Fat Foodie

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