Golden tangle pie

Golden Tangle PieContinuing with my theme of using turmeric in more dishes and making delicious, healthy, well balanced meals…

When you are cutting back on starchy carbs, but not cutting them out altogether, a little filo pastry can provide a fantastic (and also quick and easy) topping for a pie. 

Here I have layered some softened leeks and mushrooms, followed by chopped cooked turkey, and pieces of cooked ham, topped with a creamy sauce with added golden paste. Then taking one sheet of filo per person, I cut each sheet into small squares and scrunched these up to cover the top of the dish. Sprayed or brushed very lightly with olive oil, then baked in a hot oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Tangle Pie

This would work equally well with fish or lentils, in fact there are probably hundreds of different possibilities! This is one of my favourite things to do with the Christmas leftovers – I put up a picture last year, but here is the recipe, complete with calorie counts.

Tangle Pie

My luxury version comes out at
Per serving:
490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soy sauce. So a delicious fast day main dish at only 390 kcals! Counts would be similar if you used about 100g of white fish or cooked lentils per person, instead of the meat. Calorie counts in brackets.

Golden Tangle Pie
Serves 4
A lovely crunchy topping on a luscious creamy base. Mmm, works brilliantly with leftovers, or a great alternative for all kinds of pie. Layer the vegetables, followed by the meat, fish, beans or lentils, pour over the sauce and scrunch the filo on top. Quick and easy to prepare, delicious to eat! Calorie calculations are for the 'luxury' version, using cream and cheese in the sauce, and turkey and ham for the base.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g cooked turkey or chicken, chopped into chunks (510)
  2. 130g cooked ham, cut into cubes (117)
  3. 7g unsalted butter (50)
  4. 2 medium leeks, sliced (100)
  5. 100g mushrooms, sliced (22)
  6. 4 sheets filo pastry (264)
  7. 1.5 tsp olive oil (60)
White sauce
  1. 15g / 1 tbsp butter (102)
  2. 20g plain flour (68)
  3. 200 ml semi skimmed milk (80)
  4. 100ml cream (292)
  5. 1 egg, beaten (72)
  6. 50g grated cheese (203)
  7. ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  8. pinch cayenne powder
  9. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  10. 2 tsp golden paste (22)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently sauté the leeks and mushrooms, until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour.
  4. Stir well and cook over low heat for a minute or so, then gradually add the liquid, stirring well after each addition to keep it smooth.
  5. Keep stirring until it comes to a simmer, then add the beaten egg, seasoning, grated cheese and golden paste and mix in well.
  6. Put the vegetables in the bottom of an ovenproof dish.
  7. Layer the meat, fish or pulses on top.
  8. Pour the sauce over.
  9. Now cut the filo pastry into 3 strips and each strip into 3 squares or rectangles.
  10. Scrunch up the pastry and distribute evenly over the top of the pie dish, then spray or brush lightly with olive oil.
  11. Bake in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, until crisp and golden.
Notes
  1. I used a mix of milk and cream, as that is what I had leftover. A little cream does give a lovely luxurious texture, but you could cut the calories down by using all milk. Of course, you can use non-dairy milk if you prefer.
  2. The cheese again, adds a little extra savoury kick to the sauce,and I had some scraps to use up - but for a non-dairy dish, you could add some other flavouring, such as soya, worcestershire or nutritional yeast.
Per serving
  1. 490 kcals 25g Fat, 28g Carbs, 38g Protein
  2. You could reduce this by 100 kcal per portion by using all semi-skim milk and swapping the cheese for a tsp of tamari soya sauce. So a decent fast day main dish at 390 kcals!
Adapted from Hairy Dieters
Adapted from Hairy Dieters
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/

Beautiful Basil…

It’s getting to the time of year when most of my gardening time is spent watering and harvesting. The first wave of beans and the raspberries are now coming to an end, but tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, summer squash, Swiss chard and perpetual spinach are growing abundantly, and the first chillies are ripening. 
For these vegetables I’ve been trying out some new ideas, most of which I have captured on my Pinterest board – Seasonal Specials

I also have some fabulous Basil plants. This year I have Purple, Sweet Green Genovese and Thai varieties. 

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DSCF4078 DSCF4080

 

So, what to do when you have a fabulous amount of basil? I make Basil Oil – it is wonderful drizzled over fish, chicken, anything with tomatoes, roasted vegetables, cheese…. This and the other following recipes are from my first book Focus on Flavour.
DSCF3305 DSCF3309

Basil Oil 

I came across this in a book by Annabel Langbein and it was an instant hit with me, because I adore basil and mourn the end of the growing season. This is the perfect way to preserve the intensity of its flavour and colour. It gives a terrific visual lift to the Tomato and Feta Tartlets as well as giving its heady herbal warmth to chicken, fish, potatoes or other vegetables.

  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
  • Boiling water
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Pour the boiling water over the basil leaves and immediately refresh under cold water. Drain well and blot dry with paper towel. Blend with salt and olive oil until smooth. Store in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays.

Approx 120 calories per tbsp

Tomato and Feta Tartlets with Basil OilTomato and Feta Tartlets with Basil Oil  

These little tarts are really yummy. A wonderful mixture of tastes and textures. You could use mozzarella instead of feta.

Serves 6

  • Ready rolled Puff Pastry (373 kcal)
  • 3 – 4 large ripe tomatoes (100 kcal)
  • ½ pack (75 grams) feta cheese, sliced (200 kcal)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Basil Oil (360 kcal)

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Cut out circles about 10cm diameter from the pastry. Lay onto a baking tray and prick the bottom with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes.

Slice the tomatoes and layer on the pastry, alternating with the cheese. Drizzle with basil oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Serve with a drizzle of basil oil on the plate.

Approx 175 kcals per serving

I also love to make my own Pesto, but instead of using Pine Nuts, I use Walnuts

Walnut Pesto 

Until I discovered Basil Oil this was the only way in which I could capture the wonderful aroma of basil to use beyond the season when it grows fresh. We have plenty of walnuts here, so I used them instead of pine nuts and I think they give the pesto a really fantastic flavour. It also tastes delicious without the cheese for vegans or those avoiding dairy products. 

I use this with pasta for a simple starter or lunch dish, mix it in to a vegetable soup just before serving, or spread over meat or fish (see Chicken Pesto Parcels).

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup shelled walnuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 25g finely grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (optional)

90 calories per tbsp
Fat 9.5g, Carbs 0.6g Protein 1.6g

Put the basil, garlic, walnuts and salt into a blender with about half the olive oil to mix to a paste. Stir in the cheese, if using. Transfer to a screw-top jar and pour in extra olive oil to cover completely. Screw on the lid and store in the fridge. Mix well before using and recover any remaining paste with olive oil again. Keeps well. 

Chicken Pesto Parcels 

A super simple way of dressing up a piece of chicken, full of flavour and great for a 5:2 fast day

Cooking the chicken wrapped in paper helps to keep all the flavour and juiciness in. This is a great way to cook if you need to cater for different preferences – meat, fish and vegetarian parcels can all be cooked at the same time without transferring their flavours. 

Serves 4

  • 4 escalopes of chicken (or turkey) (164 kcals per 100g)
  • 2 tbsp Walnut Pesto (180 kcal)
  • 4 slices Bayonne ham (183 kcal)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Spread the pesto on the chicken. Lay the ham on top. Roll up each one and place into the centre of a sheet of baking paper, then fold up and seal into parcel. Bake for 30 minutes at 200ºC.

Lovely served with braised endive in a cheesy sauce.

Approx 250 calories per serving (based on 100g chicken)

Tangle Pie – a lighter way to top almost anything!

Tangle PieThis idea came to me via the Hairy Dieters, whose recipes are enormously popular with many 5:2 fasters, as they are generally straightforward and family friendly.  I am a great fan of filo pastry, as one of the things you often miss when you cut back on starchy carbs and fat (i.e pastry) is a contrasting texture. Here is a way of adding something light and crispy as a topping.  In this example, I was actually using more of my Christmas leftovers so this is a Turkey Tangle Pie, which also used up the last scraps of gammon, some mushrooms, some cream and some brandy. I’m going to be trying some variations of this for sure – imagine some roasted veg and a rich mushroom and sherry sauce, or layers of sliced celeriac and carrots with spinach and a herby sauce…. or something fruity like apples, mincemeat and marzipan with just a drizzle of honey or maple syrup or a sprinkle of icing sugar when serving…

So to the method: 

  • One sheet* of filo pastry per portion and half a teaspoon of vegetable oil, I used sunflower oil.
  • Lay the sheets on top of each other and cut into 3. Lay those on top of each other, and then cut into 3 in the other direction, so you end up with 9 small rectangles from each slice.
  • Now, scrunch them up and lay them on top of your pie to cover the filling completely and very lightly brush with the oil.
  • Bake in a hot oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

* I have discovered that filo sheets vary a lot in size! The ones I use measure 30 x 38cms, there are 8 -10 sheets in a 250g pack, so each sheet would be between 70 and 90 calories. ½ a teaspoon of oil is about 20 calories. So adding a topping like this will be add approximately 100 calories per serving. Compare that to a puff pastry topping, which would be about 300 calories!

Seasonal lusciousness – Walnut and Chestnut Tart, with Figs

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I was reminded of my alternative to Pecan Pie recently, but when I looked at the recipe I had included in my first book, Focus on Flavour, I realised that it was very calorific and much richer than we have become used to. So here is my (somewhat) reduced calorie version. It is still at least 300 calories per portion, so not something for a fast day….

I used ready rolled brisée pastry for mine, but you could use a basic shortcrust or sweet shortcrust pastry.  I have noted the ingredients in order to get the calorie count to match what the packet told me… 

Because we have so many fabulous figs in the garden this year, I have added two, which gave a really lovely flavour and texture for variety, but it would be equally good without them.  I served it with a fromage blanc and walnut ice cream. A lovely seasonal weekend treat.

Walnut and Chestnut Tart, with Figs
Serves 12
A lighter alternative to a pecan pie, using walnuts and chestnut cream
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
For the brisée pastry
  1. 140g flour
  2. 55g butter
  3. 6g sugar
  4. water
For the filling
  1. 70g unsalted butter
  2. 100g sweetened Chestnut Cream
  3. 125ml single cream
  4. 2 tbsp rum
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 200g walnut pieces (including 13 halves)
  7. 2 fresh figs, each cut into 6 wedges.230g brisée pastry, ready rolled
Instructions
  1. Line a 24cm flan dish with baking parchment and pastry and prick the bottom with a fork.
  2. Chill for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)
  4. Cover the pastry with another layer of baking parchment and baking beans or rice and bake blind for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, warm the butter, chestnut cream, cream and rum in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until well integrated, but not hot.
  7. Beat the eggs lightly then stir into the mixture.
  8. Add the chopped walnuts, reserving some halves for decoration, and mix together.
  9. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and decorate with the figs and walnut halves.
  10. Baked for 40 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Leave to cool and serve with creme fraiche, fromage blanc or ice cream.
Notes
  1. You can buy sweetened chestnut cream in tubes or cans. Alternatively, you may find the unsweetened variety, in which case you could add honey or maple syrup to taste.
Focus on Flavour http://www.focusonflavour.com/