Sweet Potato, Spinach + Feta Puffs

These little veggie puffs were devised for a recent picnic and made a nice change from the usual sandwiches and sausage rolls. Although modelled on a samosa I chose to use puff pastry as I knew they would be served cold and, in my experience, filo doesn’t hold up as well and can go a bit soggy if not served fresh.

These can also be made ahead and frozen and are great to have on hand for when you don’t have time to prep or people turn up at your door wanting nibbles. Freeze them at stage 2 of the picture below - when they’ve been filled and sealed but not egg washed. Put them in the freezer flat on a lined tray then once they’re frozen pop them into a sealed bag. When you’re ready to cook them simply brush with egg yolk, sprinkle with sesame seeds and pop in the oven at 180ºC for 30-35 minutes or until golden and the filling is piping hot.

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Sweet Potato, Spinach + Feta Puffs

Ingredients;

1 Medium sweet potato (about 275g) peeled and cut into 1cm pieces 2 tbsp Olive oil Salt + Pepper 1 Small red onion, finely chopped 1 Garlic clove, crushed 1 Small red chilli, finely chopped - seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy 1 tbsp Curry powder 80g Fresh spinach 25g Feta cheese 1 Sheet ready rolled puff pastry 1 Egg yolk 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Makes 12

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Spread the sweet potato out onto a large baking tray and drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and give it a shake around. Season with salt and pepper then roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until soft and just starting to colour at the edges.

  2. Whilst the sweet potato is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a heavy based pan over a medium heat then add the chopped onion. Turn the heat down a little and cook the onions slowly for 5-8 minutes until softened and starting to go golden. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a few minutes more, stirring regularly so the garlic doesn’t stick to the pan and burn. Stir in the curry powder and 3 tbsp water.

  3. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the roasted sweet potato and stir together, mashing the potato into the spinach mix with the back of the spoon. Add the crumbled feta and stir in. Give it a taste and season as needed. Leave to cool completely.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Unroll the puff pastry, keeping it on the paper it comes on. With the short side towards you, cut into 3 equal strips. Place a heaped teaspoon of filling onto the bottom of the first strip of pastry, brush with egg yolk and fold over the pastry to create a triangle. Trim the pastry to create the parcel and use a fork to seal the edges, as in the picture above. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper and repeat with the rest of the pastry.

  5. Brush the parcels with the remaining egg yolk and sprinkle over the sesame seeds (if using). Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden. Serve hot or cold.

Cheddar + Courgette Waffles

When it comes to brunch, I’m usually a fan of anything soaked in maple syrup - french toast, pancakes, waffles…the lot, but these cheesy waffles are enough to swing me over to the savoury side. Whack a fried egg on top and it’s even more of a winner!

Cheddar + courgette waffles

Ingredients;

1 medium courgette 150 g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder Generous pinch of salt 1 medium free range egg 250ml milk (I used semi skimmed cows milk but you could use plant based milk if you would prefer) 100g cheddar cheese, grated

Method;

  1. Preheat your waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Grate the courgette and tip onto a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Spread the grated courgette out over a few sheets or kitchen towel, or a dry tea towel, and leave to dry out further whilst you make the batter.

  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together in a jug and slowly add to the dry ingredients, whisking as you go to create a smooth batter. Stir in the cheese and grated courgette.

  3. Brush your waffle iron with a little oil then ladle in the batter. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Serve immediately.

Tip;

Excess batter can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container. The cooked waffles also freeze well, just leave to cool then freeze in a zip lock bag, pop them in the toaster to reheat.

The Ultimate Chilli (incl. Vegetarian + Vegan Alternatives)

I love me some Mexican food and I wanted to share my go to chilli recipe, great on nachos, tacos, burritos…you get the idea. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this recipe, in fact it’s pretty darn basic, but that’s why I love it. The success of this chilli isn’t about a long list of ingredients or snazzy techniques, it’s having the patience to cook the few ingredients slowly to bring out their best flavours. It’s actually my husband’s recipe and I’m generally not allowed to get involved, so I’ve also included my own vegan chilli recipe in case beef isn’t your jam.

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I’ve served the vegan bean chilli here on nachos and it’s just as delicious as it’s meaty counterpart - and I don’t say that lightly, like when someone eats a sweet potato brownie and says it’s better than a normal brownie…it’s not Susan, you’re lying, or you’ve never eaten a proper chocolate brownie - this chilli is legit, really tasty!

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Chilli Con Carne

Ingredients;

2 x 400g tins mixed beans (i.e. pinto, black eyed, chick peas, haricot, lima, borlotti, cannellini) 2 tbsp Olive oil 500g Ribeye steak (or any other beef cut) 2 White onions, finely chopped 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 Red chillis, finely chopped 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes Salt + Pepper

Serves 6

Method;

  1. Preheat oven to 140ºC. Drain the beans and tip into a bowl of cold water then leave to one side whilst you prepare the chilli.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, cast iron casserole dish (or something heavy based and lidded) over a low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently, being careful not to let it burn. After a couple of minutes the garlic should have taken on some colour, you can now add the onion and chilli - if you don’t like things too hot, omit the seeds at this stage and add a pinch of dried chilli flakes instead for a milder heat. Stir everything together and leave to cook over a low heat whilst you prepare the meat.

  3. Place the steak onto a chopping board and chop into rough pieces then add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Continue chopping into fine chunks.

  4. The onions, garlic and chilli should now be soft and golden. With a wooden spoon, push the vegetables to one side of the pan and turn the heat up to high. Once hot, add the beef to the clear space in the pan and leave to brown. Be careful not to move the meat too soon, it’ll stick and tear, the meat will release itself after a minute or so. Once you have a good amount of colour on all of the meat turn the heat down low. Drain the beans and add to the pan then stir everything together. Throw in the tinned tomatoes and bring to a simmer, pop the lid on and cook in the preheated oven for 4 hours (2 hours minimum).

  5. Halfway through cooking, take it out of the oven and give it a good stir through and if you feel it’s looking a bit dry, add a little water. Once cooked, taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.

Note; If you are preparing the chilli ahead of time, allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.

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mixed bean chilli (Vegan)

Ingredients;

2 x 400g tins mixed beans (i.e. pinto, black eyed, chick peas, haricot, lima, borlotti, cannellini) 2 tbsp Olive oil 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 Red onions, finely chopped 1 Red chilli, finely chopped 1 tbsp Cajun spice 200g Cherry tomatoes (mixed colours if you can get them), quartered 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp Tomato puree 1 tsp Soft brown sugar Salt, to taste 125g Fresh spinach

Serves 4

Method;

  1. Drain the beans and tip into a bowl of cold water then leave to one side whilst you prepare the chilli.

  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan over a low heat. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it burn. Once the garlic has taken on some colour, add the onion, chilli and cajun spice, give everything a good stir then leave to cook over a low heat until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes or so.

  3. Drain the beans and add to the pan, along with the fresh tomatoes. Stir then leave to cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes have softened. Now add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Stir then cover with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes. Check on it half way through and add a drop of water if it’s looking a bit dry.

  4. Stir the spinach into the chilli and cook for a few more minutes until the spinach has wilted. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.

Tip;

This chilli freezes well but if you wish to do so I would recommend omitting the spinach when you first cook it and adding it in when you reheat the chilli for serving.

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