Phyllo Breakfast Pie

 

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For me to do a cooked breakfast during the week, just does not happen. Everyone is rushing around, so to throw something down quickly is what happens.  I look forward to something different over the weekends, and egg and bacon always hits the spot.

Anyway, this last weekend, I made this Breakfast Pie, made with phyllo pastry! I have done it before with puff pastry and loved it (but not with the phyllo).  I love not having the fat splattering around my stove which inevitably happens when frying eggs.  I now, either grill or microwave my bacon, again to elevate the fat splatter…I am pathetic hey, …but it is what it is… 🙂

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So, usually the concept of this Breakfast Pie would be done with normal puff pastry in a pie shell, but I had the phyllo pastry and thought why not? lets change it up a bit and so the Phyllo Breakfast Pie was born.  A ovenproof pie dish, seemed apt as I was using the phyllo pastry, and the vision of the phyllo pastry hanging over the pie dish, just seemed appealing.  Not only that, but the substantial amount of bacon and eggs filling the pie dish…..there just aren’t words……

Once the pie had cooked for 35 minutes.  The egg contents plumped up beautifully to the height of my ovenproof pie dish and was set to perfection.

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This was a filling brunch for us and was so delicious.  I particularly enjoyed the thin layers of the crunchy pastry as I bit into it.

The hubby is still trying to understand the concept of the phyllo …well, it’s just a change…and a change is as good as a holiday ! I mean I could do the good old puff pastry pie, but then it is not different.  Oh well, he still ate it and wanted more, so …I will say no more.

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Apologies for the pictures, they are not great, but you can just imagine the deliciousness of the ingredients all intermingled into a pie form with crunchy, crispy phyllo.  Total awesomeness !!!

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Phyllo Breakfast Pie

Preparation time:  30 minutes (you can cut down on prep time if bacon bits are already cooked)

Cooking time:  35 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 5 minutes

Ingredients:

500 grams bacon bits, cooked

6 – 8 phyllo pastry sheets

a little melted butter to baste on the phyllo pastry sheets

10 – 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 – 3 spring onions, chopped

8 free-range jumbo eggs

1 tablespoon of fresh herbs (I used chives)

freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

1 extra egg and milk until egg and milk reach 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) for pouring over the top of pie

Instructions:

Firstly, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.

Grease a ovenproof pie dish, (approximately 18 – 20.5 centimeter / 7 – 8 inch) Then separate one phyllo pastry layer and place in the ovenproof loaf dish, allowing it to overlap the sides of the dish.  Using a basting brush, baste  the entire phyllo pastry sheet with a little melted butter. Continue this method of layering the 6 – 8 phyllo pastry sheets until finished.

Then, place a layer of cooked bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, sprinkling of spring onions, herbs and freshly ground salt and pepper. Repeat again until all the ingredients are used up.

Make an indentation in the mixture and crack an egg into the indentation.  Do this until all 8 eggs are used up.

Break the extra egg into a measuring jug, and whisk with a fork.  Add some milk to the egg until it reaches 125 milliliters (1/2 cup). Whisk with fork until thoroughly mixed.  Pour this egg and milk mixture over all the ingredients and with a knife, make holes in the mixture to allow the egg and milk mixture to fill the holes.

Place the ovenproof dish into the preheated oven and cook for 35 minutes. You will see the actual mixture will rise, and the phyllo pastry will become golden brown. Test if set with a sharp knife, then remove from the oven and serve hot.

Enjoy 🙂

 

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Mom’s Cornish Pasties

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These are just the best.  Super easy to do, and so quick.

Wow, these always bring back memories.

I remember growing up and my mom, made them often.  We all enjoyed them. She usually had to do a double batch as, no sooner had the trays come out of the oven these pasties vanished in the blink of an eye.  My dad always was the instigator, always sneakily removing one from the cooling rack thinking my mom had not seen him….my mom would give him a look, and his response would be “oh, I am just testing one” giving my mom a kiss on the cheek when he ‘got caught’. Of course my mom didn’t mind, it must have been so gratifying to her, to know her food was so well appreciated and loved.

My mom, only ever used rump steak with these, and I must be honest I have never made them with anything else.  Its fascinating to know that literally a few ingredients could make such a tasty pie.

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These pasties are great cold as well, so are wonderful to make and take on picnic’s or have the next day for lunch…whatever, they are the best.

The pastry could not be easier.  I usually make sure I have a batch in the freezer, its my go-to pastry.

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For the Pastry:

Mom’s Quick and Easy Pastry

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Total time:  10 minutes

Ingredients:

425 grams Holsum or white Wooden Spoon Margarine

1 cup boiling water

4 cups of All Purpose Flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

In a large bowl, add the white wooden spoon margarine, cut up with a knife into smaller pieces.  Do not melt.

Add the boiling water, and stir with a wooden spoon or metal tablespoon.  Stir till the margarine has practically melted.  Don’t worry if there are a few bits of margarine that you can see.

Stir in the flour and salt, well.

Place the pastry in cling wrap or a plastic packet/bag and  put in the fridge until it firms up.

You can freeze this pastry perfectly.  Just when wanting to use it, take it out of the freezer and allow it to de-frost.

For the Cornish Pasties:

Mom’s Cornish Pasties

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Makes 16

Ingredients:

500 – 560 grams rump steak

2 large potatoes or 4 smaller ones

1 large onion

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground

1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary

Instructions:

Firstly, roll out the pastry on a clean, floured surface, until about 2 millimetres in thickness.

I used a saucer to create the size of the pasties I wanted.  Place the saucer on top of the rolled out pastry and with a sharp knife, cut around the saucer, using the saucer as your guide. Continue this method until all the pastry is used up.  You will need to re-roll the pastry a few times in order to finish up the pastry.  Set all the pastry circles aside and then place them on two lightly floured baking sheets. My baking sheets were  approximately  22 x 32 centimeters/ 8.75 x 12.50 inches in size.

Cut up the rump steak into bite size pieces, and set aside.

Dice the onion up finely, and add to the rump steak.

Heat up a large frying pan on medium heat with a little oil, and lightly brown the rump steak and onions.  Add a little water to create a natural gravy if necessary instead of adding more oil.

Grate the potatoes with a fairly large grating blade and place in a large bowl.

Add the browned cut up rump steak pieces to the bowl, together with the onions.

Add the salt, pepper and rosemary.

Mix together with a metal tablespoon.

Now, add a tablespoon or two of the meat mixture into each pastry casing. But only on half the pastry casing, and not too close to the edge of the pastry edge. (The other half of the pastry will need to be flipped over a little later in order to cover the meat mixture.)

(If you have any meat mixture left, like I did, place in a sealed tupperware container and freeze till you have more pastry to make more)

Dampen the edges of the pastry casings with a little water.

Then, flip the half that does not have meat mixture on it, over, in order to cover the meat mixture.

Seal the edges by pinching them together with either a fork or by using two fingers.

Make a few holes on the top of the pastie, using the end of a knife sharpener or just a knife.  This will allow heat to escape from the pastie whilst cooking.

Now, with any left over juices from the meat mixture, get a teaspoon and add a little juice into each hole in all the pasties.

Place the trays in the preheated oven at 220 degrees C/425 degrees F.

After 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 160 degrees C/ 325 degrees F and allow to cook for 20 minutes.

Frequently watch and make sure the pasties do not cook too quickly and burn. If you do find they are browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminium foil over them to avoid burning.

Enjoy 🙂

Baby Marrow (Zucchini/Courgette) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds and Almonds

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Whoever invented the Spiralizer, is a genius !!!  I had been wanting one for months, and finally just took the plunge and bought one…awesome 🙂.  I have had my new toy now for about three weeks, and I love it.  I am still in the throws of experimenting with it and doing meals, so yes, my inventions will be popping up every now and then, if they are blog-worthy :-).

Zoodles! what a cool word…but we call zucchini’s, baby marrows here in good old South Africa, so now what???  Do we have to use a different word???Hmmmmm ??? Well, for now, I will stick with Baby Marrow Noodles, hope that’s okay.

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I am definitely on the vegetarian bandwagon these days, for various reasons. This meal which I concocted is very versatile for sure.  I started off with the vegetarian version which I love.  It is loaded with all the added crunch I enjoy with toasted sunflower seeds and almonds with a dash of heat in the form of a little chilli or two.

I made it to test out, and my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed it for lunch ……and dinner.  For us, it was a winner!

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Ha ha…. I just envisioned puppy dog eyes at the table when yet another vegetarian meal is served…

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So….for the meat eaters, I really can’t have you guys missing out on this healthy meal, so…. I have included an option 1, 2 or 3  (I am so kind). It’s unbelievably easy, it is just a matter of adding the cooked meat to the dish, and that way the meat eaters will be happy.

And…this way, everyone will be chuffed :-).

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Baby Marrow (Zucchini) Noodles with Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

600 grams spiralized baby marrow noodles

100 grams sunflower seeds

100 grams raw almonds

a dash of oil (coconut oil, olive oil or vegetable oil)

2 medium-sized fresh red chillies (Not Devil Chillies, these are incredibly hot and will overpower the meal completely)

2 large fresh garlic cloves

freshly grounded salt and pepper, to taste

Then for the meat eaters:

Option 1.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken

Option 2.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over bacon

Option 3.  100 grams chopped cooked, left over chicken and bacon (50 grams each)

and for all 1,2 and 3 options, an extra 100 grams of sunflower seeds to be added when serving.

Instructions:

Dry toast the sunflower seeds by putting them in a small pan on top of the stove.  Do not add any oil as seeds contain their own oils.  Turn on the oven plate to medium.  Turn and toss the seeds around with a wooden spatula. They burn quite easily, so be careful, as burnt offerings with this dish wouldn’t be too cool.  They could even start popping, just warning you… So there could be a scattering of seeds around your stove (just eat them, I do…the perfect snack attack whilst cooking :-)).  Wait until they become a nice golden brown before removing the pan from the oven plate.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Dry roast the whole almonds the same way as the sunflower seeds were done. Once toasted, chop, place in a bowl and set aside. (I quite like keeping some almonds whole as well, but that is purely optional)

Then once that is done, its chilli time….cut the top of the chillies off, and then with the chilli between your hands, roll the chilli, that will help remove the pips.  If the pips are being stubborn, just slice the chilli up the side and remove the pips with the knife.  Toss the pips aside and wash your hands :-). (probably not a good idea to touch your eyes…..) Then with either a very sharp knife or a pair of scissors, chop or cut the chillies up finely.

Finely chop up the garlic cloves.  I usually get the back-end of the knife and press down on the garlic clove with a little force till it squashes and flattens a bit and then I chop…just so much easier

In a large frying pan, add a little oil, just enough to lightly saute’ the garlic and chilli.  This will only take a minute before the aromas start filtering the kitchen. Add the spiralized noodles and toss very gently to avoid breaking the noodles.

Add the toasted sunflower seeds and toasted almonds.

Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

Enjoy 🙂

For the meat eaters…

Follow the above instructions; just after the nuts and seeds have been added, add either the chicken, bacon or both and then taste before seasoning. Bacon is generally quite salty, so if having the bacon option, season after the bacon has been added.

For the added crunch with this meaty dish, add the extra 100 grams of toasted sunflower seeds on serving.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Grilled Brinjal (Aubergine or Eggplant) Sandwich

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Brinjal, Aubergine, Eggplant…they are all the same vegetable :-).

Here in South Africa we generally use the word Brinjal.  I believe that the word, Aubergine is used in Britain and in the States, the word Eggplant is used.  It has always intrigued me that the same vegetable can have numerous names depending on which country one lives in….why is that???

Well, no matter which word you use or prefer, this is the ultimate vegetarian grilled sandwich !!!

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The original recipe came from a Your Family magazine, which I cut out years ago and put into my recipe file.  Desperately wanting something vegetarian to braai (barbecue), and knowing that the combination of brinjal (aubergine or eggplant), tomato, mozzarella and basil just all compliment each other so well, this was a no brainer.  I had to try it.  I have changed the actual quantities slightly, and found this to be necessary due to the size of the various vegetables.

Ideally, these are perfect if you are ‘braai-ing’ (another South African word) or ‘barbecuing’ as a no meat alternative.  They are actually so delicious, even the typical meat and potato man would love them !

I am all for trying out different foods and with the warmer weather approaching us, I am keen to get some new ideas for when we braai (or barbecue).

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Just for interest, I have attempted these on the stove, and it works, but it’s just so messy with oil splattering all over the show, and then you need to squash them down, as they are quite chunky, in order to make them in a sandwich form…..hmmmm not really worth it….Braai-ing (or barbecuing) is the way to go and all you need is one of those grill goodies (braai grid), and then it works like a dream :-).

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These healthy little babies are a winner, there is no doubt, and I love the added touch of baby marrow (zucchini).  So, this super easy recipe is definitely going to stay.

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Grilled Brinjal (Aubergine/Eggplant) Sandwich

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  25 – 30 minutes

Total time:  35 – 40 minutes

Makes 6 sandwiches

Ingredients:

1 x large brinjal (aubergine or eggplant)

2 x medium-sized tomatoes

1 x block of mozzarella cheese, approximately 400 grams

a handful of fresh basil leaves

4 – 5 baby marrows (depending on size)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Olive oil for basting

Instructions:

Ideally arrange a ‘braai grid’ for the braai or barbecue.

Prepare the braai (barbecue).

Slice the top and bottom off from the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant).

Then, at 1 centimeter intervals, slice the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) into discs.

Lay these discs on a board.

Then, slice the tomatoes at approximately 1 centimeter intervals as well.

Place a slice of tomato onto half of the brinjals (aubergine or eggplant). The other half will be used later to top and finish off the sandwich, so don’t stress.

Top the tomato with a healthy slice/s of mozzarella cheese.  I also cut the cheese into approximately 1 centimeter slices.

Wash the basil leaves under water, and add the fresh leaves onto the mozzarella slices.

Then, with a potato peeler, slice up the baby marrows (zucchini) and place on top of the basil leaves.

Now, grind a generous helping of salt and pepper on the baby marrows (zucchini).

Place the other half of the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) on top of the towering sandwich.

Baste the top of the brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) with a little olive oil.

Gently put the towering sandwiches in the ‘braai grid’, close and secure.  You will notice that the sandwiches get squashed quite a bit. Pop any veggies that popped out, right back into the sandwich 🙂

Put the ‘braai grid’ over the medium coals of the braai (barbecue).

A good sign that they are ready is the cheese will start to melt.

Allow to cook for about 30 minutes.

Take off the braai (barbecue).

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Vegetable Toast

040Now Vegetable Toast may sound a bit odd, but really, it is not.  I did this on Saturday. It is a lovely vegetarian light meal and is perfect for a quick, easy lunch.  It literally can be thrown together in a flash, and it is healthy.

I came across the basics of this recipe years ago from a magazine pullout.  It somehow always intrigued me.  I have tweaked it a bit and all I can say is that it is amazingly scrumptious.

This too, can be considered not only vegetarian but vegan if you choose not to use the cheese…but I just had to use the cheese, I love cheese, I am a cheese addict, although I must admit I was a bit mean with my cheese helping on this little toasts! (sorry family)

Do not be alarmed with the quantity of the baby spinach.  Mine literally towered over my large frying pan.  If the leaves fall, just pick them up and put them on the top of the mountain of baby spinach leaves, and gradually stir through while cooking . Trust me, as the baby spinach leaves cook, they will wilt, and all will be fine.

036Oh, and on the cheese matter, I think if you used your favourite cheese, that would be great.  I just had a light cheddar on hand, so used that, but feel free to go crazy if you are not counting calories (I never count calories…way too much trouble).

Also, any bread can be used.  I used a continental bread this time, and a few slices of gluten free bread for my daughter.

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Vegetable Toast

Preparation time:  8 minutes

Cooking time:  approximately 10 minutes

Total time:  18 minutes

Ingredients:

a little coconut oil to saute the veggies

1 medium sized garlic clove

1 large white onion

250 grams baby mushrooms

175 grams baby spinach leaves

8 slices of continental bread

100 -125 grams light cheddar cheese, grated

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Instructions:

With a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic.

Roughly chop the onion, and set aside.

Wipe the mushrooms, with a dry cloth and then slice thinly.

Put the grill on high.

In a large frying pan, heat up the coconut oil and saute the onion and garlic together for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Add the thinly sliced mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.

By this time the onions, garlic and mushrooms will be soft.

Add the baby spinach to the onion, garlic and mushrooms.  It may seem a lot, but as the baby spinach cooks, it will soften and wilt.

Now, place the bread slices on a baking tray and put them under the grill. Watch these carefully to prevent the bread from burning.  When the one side is done, turn them over and toast the other side until a nice golden brown. Remove from the grill.

Place the vegetable mixture on the grilled toast and sprinkle some grated cheese over the vegetables.

Season well to taste.

Return the toast with the vegetables on, to the grill and allow to cook until the cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Serve immediately and if necessary, add some extra freshly ground salt and pepper.

Enjoy 🙂