Gastronomically Terrific

January 30, 2011

Vegetable and Halloumi Pie

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:17 pm

This pie is (broadly speaking!) an adaptation of this fish pie.  But it is also completely different, so I’ll give a fill recipe.


Pie with pastry, as pie was meant to be.


The meaties at the table tried a little of my pie and concluded they would be happy with it as a main, so this was a definite keeper.  The halloumi is very salty but still has a delicate flavour, and everything benefits from being heated in the creamy sauce, soaking up a gentle richness not found in the veg alone.


50g puff pastry (or make your own!)

100g Halloumi cheese

50ml white wine

50g mushrooms

100g other veg (e.g. baby sweetcorn cobs, pepper, leek)

30ml double cream

50ml water

butter, for frying

1tsp flour, for roux

herbs (e.g. tarragon)

pepper, for seasoning


Chop up the halloumi into chunks and fry until golden on both sides.  Then sauté the vegetables in more butter and pepper them to taste.  Make the sauce by heating a knob of butter and adding the flour, mixing well to form a roux.  Add the white wine and water slowly, stirring continuously, then add the cream.  The sauce should be slightly thick, about the consistency of tomato ketchup – add more water if needed, then the herbs, and remove from the heat.

Throw the lot into a heatproof dish, then roll out the pastry to fit and pop it on top, crimping  the edges to make a firm fit and pierce the pastry with a fork.  Then paint the pastry with either egg or milk and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees celcius – to prevent the pastry from burning (in our oven at least) it is best to cook the pie covered for the first 20 minutes.

Oddly enough, I made the sauce a bit too thick this time, and also poured it on as a top layer.  Although it did penetrate the pie, it also stuck a lot to the pastry, which made for a really interesting texture and taste. This might be a trick to remember for the future – perhaps coating the underside of pie pastry with sauce before baking.

We will be trying something very similar to this in the future.

Who made it: Mostly Dan, with some assistance from Anna

Recipe: My own, but based on a heavily modified fishermans pie recipe from the link above.


August 29, 2010

Roasted vegetables and pasta

Filed under: main — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 10:26 pm

The second course for our three course meal was “macaroni with roasted vegetables”.  I’m enough of a cook to know that you can replace macaroni with pasta, and not so greedy to want lots of pasta.  Hence my rearranged title, which I confess to having some reservations about when we started.  Far too often I’m offered pasta as a main in restaurants and it turns out to be exactly that, some pasta.  I’m pleased to say that this recipe did not disappoint.

Another small parsley forest felled for our enjoyment.

Basically, all there is to this is:

  1. Roast some vegetables in garlic and olive oil at a high temperature for about an hour.
  2. Boil some pasta.
  3. Throw the lot together with some passata and black olives, heat through and serve.

This is incredibly simple but does bring the best out of the natural flavours in the vegetables, and provides a well rounded meal.  I normally find that passata needs a lot of cooking to give an intense flavour, but here we roasted some tomatoes so they did the trick nicely, in fact complementing the vegetable flavours without overwhelming it.  The pasta provides a simple base, and I’d probably be happier with roasted potatoes, but this is one of the best ways to eat pasta and I will be repeating the experience!

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly.

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, September 5th.

May 3, 2010

Celeriac and Almond crumble

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:54 pm

This intriguing savoury crumble could be adapted to a range of different flavours, and is a flavoursome recipe in its own right, but could do with “something more” in the main tomato layer.

We left the crumble chunky to add texture. No, it isn't mince!

This consists of two distinct layers – the tomato based celeriac layer, and of course the crumble.  The tomato sauce itself is made from pasata and like all good home made sauces, really adds an intensity to the flavour lacking in shop bought tomato sauces.  Saying that, the main ingredients were simply leeks and celeriac, which are not too thrilling and lack the “meaty” texture needed for stews (and this layer is really a stew).  Any old veg and sauce would do the job just fine; just cook it up like you would a spaghetti bolognaise.

The topping is far more interesting.    It consists of wholemeal flour, rolled outs and ground almonds in equal quantity (50g) with half as much butter again (so 75g).  This is flavoured by fresh thyme (we used lemon thyme) but I imagine many herbs would come out well.  The crumble is baked for 30 minutes at 190 degrees.

We had our celeriac “aldente” – just a little crunchy in places – which adds texture and preserves taste but was a little disconcerting.  I’d prefer root veg properly boiled and to get my texture from something else, perhaps sausage or nuts.  Still, we’ll definitely be trying the crumble idea again because it adds a unique texture and flavour to otherwise simple stew dishes.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 271.

February 3, 2010

Baked Creamy Vegetables

Filed under: side — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:45 pm

We had some cream to use up, so we did some experimenting with

Baked creamy vegetables

Inspired by a blog post about baked creamy brussel sprouts I thought it might be fun to do this with the random veg that we had in the house.  It turns out to be an excellent idea – baked vegetables are the best sort, and by pre-browning the vegetables in a frying pan, the dish was done in about 30 minutes from start to finish. This makes it is a very handy side to go with potatoes, pies, sausages, etc instead of boiled veg and gravy.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Vegetables (any will do, but we used these):

  • half an onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • a few runner beans
  • 1/3 courgette

150 ml cream (anything from single to whipping cream is fine)

Knob of Butter (or oil if you prefer)

Flavourings (we put in a small amount of salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel seeds)


  1. Chop up the vegetables (and garlic) and shallow fry in butter until browning and softening.  Add the flavourings.
  2. Lay shallowly in a baking pot, and cover with the cream.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 200 degrees, until golden on top.


Who made it: Dan did the planning, Anna helped with the cooking.

Recipe: Our own creation!

Blog at