Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tax Free Pasties

Shortcrust Spiced Lamb and Pine nut Pasties and Filo Roast Sweet Potato, Garlic and Feta Pasties

This weekend saw a spot of topical cooking, I made mini pasties, although my 'freshly baked goods' didn’t come with an extra 20% VAT and were perhaps a little bit better for you than a trip to Greggs... I did heat them for the customer, so should have charged extra according to Mr. Osborne... But served them in various states of cooling, so perhaps not according to Greggs chief exec, Mr. Ken McMeiKan. It's a complicated business these days all to do with ambient temperatures. So in winter a warm pasty would be chargeable but last week in our little heat wave when its boiling outside it wouldn’t be...

Thankfully The Blonde and her fella, Boozer and the other characters didn’t have to stump up any cash and everyone tucked in to piles of steaming pasties... There was a modest supply of flat breads to accompany the little hot pasties, along with smoky aubergine dip, toasted cumin hummus, spicy tomato sauce, tzatziki to start... Followed by slow cooked Moroccan lamb, couscous, apricot jam and garlic green beans... and perhaps too much wine...

The limited supply of flat breads was due to a little fire incident as I tried to speedily make my own. I had pre rolled them and left them between layers of grease proof paper, thinking I was being super organised... It turned out that they didn’t really want to come off the grease proof paper and as I faffed around peeling paper and getting stressed I managed to stick some of the said greaseproof paper under the hob that was in use! Thankfully the back door was already open so as the flames leapt up I had to throw the whole lot out of the back door... So we were a few flat breads short on starting, but everyone still had a fine time... It all added to the excitement.



There were two types of pasty, Spiced Lamb and Pine nut in shortcrust pastry and Roast Sweet Potato, Garlic and Feta in filo pastry. The sweet potato ones were so simple. Peel and chop into inch sized chunks 2 sweet potatoes, add to a roasting tin with salt and olive oil and put them in the oven at 200°C, roast for 30 minutes, adding 5 or 6 cloves of garlic still in their skins after 15 minutes. When they are done take them out of the oven to cool, squeeze the garlic out of their skins and mush everything with a fork. Test for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed, then crumble in about half a pack of feta cheese. I also added a few cheeky bits of manchego.


I used filo pastry, brushed with melted butter and folded them into little triangles, I made about 20 of them in total, they were voted the favourites by the visitors. But at that point they had survived a kitchen fire and had quite a bit of wine so who knows...


The lamb pasties were a little bit more effort but by no means complicated... Chop an onion and cook in olive oil with a little salt until soft and golden, add ½ teaspoon of allspice, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of sumac. I brought my sumac back from a holiday in Turkey, you can get hold of it here, but it would also be fine to leave it out if you can't find any. Cook the onion and spices for a few minutes. Add 300g of lamb mince and cook until it is browned all over, then stir in 1 tablespoon of tomato purée, add 2 chopped vine tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Mine dried out more than I expected in the oven so don’t cook it away entirely. Finally season and add a handful of toasted pine nuts and a handful of chopped mint, and leave to cool to room temperature.



I then used shortcrust pasty cut into circles and folded over into little crescents with a teaspoon of lamb mixture inside, sealed with a fork and brushed with egg wash. I baked both types of pasties at 200°C for 20 minutes, keep checking them though as they may brown at different rates depending on your oven and you don't want burnt pasties! The spiced lamb ones were lovely with the spicy tomato sauce, and the sweet potato even more delicious with buttery crisp pastry, mellow garlic, sweet potato and tangy melted cheese...

I'm thinking about trying out ones with roast apple and black pudding next perhaps or creamy chicken, capers and bacon...

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