- Savoury Tummy Fillers
- Savoury Tummy Fillers -
For those who need meals with substance and sustenance!
Prep 1hr (+2hr cooling and 5min standing time)Bake 2hr 30minMakes 6 serves
The addition of allspice, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and oyster sauce give these good old Aussie pies a subtle, but truly delicious, Chinese twist.
3 quantities shortcrust pastry (each with the addition of 1 teaspoon ground allspice added with the flour), each made separately and shaped into a disc before wrapping and chilling (see Baker's Tips)
1 egg, lightly whisked
sesame seeds, to sprinkle
1kg trimmed chuck steak, cut into 2cm chunks
35g (¼ cup) plain flour
60ml (¼ cup) peanut oil
2 small brown onions, chopped
200g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
250ml (1 cup) good-quality beef stock
500ml (2 cups) water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce, or to taste
- Place the chuck steak in a large bowl, sprinkle with the flour and toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and cook half the steak chunks, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until sealed. Remove from the pan, scraping any cooked-on bits from the base, and set aside. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and the remaining steak.
- Clean the pan if necessary. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion and shiitake mushrooms and cook over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion and mushrooms start to soften. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1 minute, stirring occasionally, or until aromatic. Return the steak to the pan with the stock, water and 1 tablespoon of the oyster sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and then simmer for a further 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently or until the meat is tender and the liquid has reduced and thickened to a thick sauce consistency. Stir in the remaining oyster sauce, taste and adjust seasoning by adding a little more oyster sauce if necessary. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl, cover and place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature (this will take about 2 hours).
- When ready to assemble the pies, preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Brush 6 x 10.5cm (base measurement) x 14cm (top measurement) metal or foil pie dishes. Unwrap the pastry discs and divide each into quarters. Shape a quarter into a disc and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the pastry on a lightly floured bench top into a round until about 3mm thick and about 15cm in diameter. Repeat with the remaining discs. Use an upturned pie dish to cut out pie lids from 6 of the rolled pastry rounds. Use the end of a 1cm piping nozzle or a small sharp knife to cut a small steam hole in the centre of each pie lid.
- Gently ease the the uncut pastry discs into the pie dishes and use your fingertips to press the pastry gently into the corners without stretching it — it will overhang the dishes slightly. Divide the steak mixture between the pastry cases to fill. Place a lid over the mixture to cover each pie, brush the edge of each lid with the whisked egg and then fold the excess pastry from the bases over the top of the lids, crimping with your fingertips or pressing with a fork together to seal. Brush the top of each pie lightly with some of the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Reduce the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and bake the pies in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and a deep golden. Stand the pies in the dishes for 5 minutes before turning out and serving.
- Don't be tempted to make the 3 quantities of pastry all at once. Making them separately makes the pastry easier to handle and will give you a better final result.
Photography by Alan Benson.
Prep 2hr (+3hr cooling and 1hr chilling time)Bake 50minMakes 8 serves
This pie is one of my all-time favourites and brings together some of Greece’s most popular ingredients – silverbeet, haloumi, Kalamata olives, rice and filo pastry. It takes a little while to prepare but don’t be put off, I promise it will be well worth the effort.
20g butter, plus extra melted for brushing
80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
2 leeks, white section only, trimmed and thinly sliced
200g (1 cup) long-grain white rice
1 bunch silverbeet (about 960 g), thick stems discarded, leaves washed and coarsely chopped
250ml (1 cup) pouring (thin) cream
70g pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
225g haloumi, cut into 1 cm pieces
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 sheets filo pastry
60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
3 teaspoon sesame seeds, to sprinkle
lemon wedges, to serve
1.5kg whole chicken
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 brown onion, unpeeled, quartered
10 whole peppercorns
4 litres water (about)
260g (1 cup) plain Greek-style yoghurt
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- To make the poached chicken, put the chicken, carrot, celery, onion and peppercorns in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough water to cover the chicken by about 2cm. Cover and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and poach gently, covered, for 40 minutes or until just cooked though. Remove from heat and stand the chicken in the stock at room temperature for 1 hour to cool slightly. Transfer to the fridge and cool the chicken in the stock completely (this will take about 2 hours).
- Strain the stock, discarding the solids. Return 1 litre (4 cups) stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil (see Baker’s Tips). Continue boiling the stock for a further 12-15 minutes or until reduced to 375ml (1½ cups). Set aside.
- Remove the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. Use your fingers to shred the chicken meat, cover and place in the fridge until required.
- Put the butter, 1 tbsp oil and leek in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, covered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the leek is just soft. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add the 375ml (1½ cups) reduced stock and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the rice is almost tender. Transfer to a large bowl and place in the fridge to cool (this will take about 1 hour).
- Meanwhile, put the silverbeet in a large saucepan, cover with a lid and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until wilted. Strain and cool slightly, then use your hands to squeeze out any excess moisture. Set aside.
- To make the herbed yoghurt, combine the yoghurt, garlic and herbs in a small bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until required.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush a 20cm x 30cm (base measurement) shallow slice tin with some of the melted butter.
- When the rice has cooled, add the chicken, silverbeet, cream, olives, haloumi, parsley and thyme and stir gently to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Lay the filo sheets in a stack, cover with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to stop them from drying out. Take 1 sheet of filo (keeping the remaining sheets covered with the tea towels) and brush generously with the remaining olive oil. Lay another sheet on top. Continue to layer with the remaining filo to make two stacks, each with 6 sheets. Place the filo stacks widthways and slightly overlapping, into the greased tin to line, allowing the ends to overhang the top.
- Spoon the chicken and rice mixture into the tin. Fold the overhanging filo over the top to cover. Brush top with remaining oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until filo is golden and crisp. Remove from oven and stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a serving plate or board. Serve warm or at room temperature with the herbed yoghurt and lemon wedges.
- Any leftover pie will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat, covered with foil, in a preheated 160°C oven for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the pastry is crisp.
Photography by Alan Benson.
Prep 30minBake 40-50minMakes 8 serves
Similar to the Greek Spanikopita, this pie brings together nutrition-packed silver beet, ricotta, feta, eggs and herbs and wraps it all in crisp filo – perfect served either warm from the oven or at room temperature at a lazy picnic.
- 80g butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 bunch silverbeet, washed, trimmed (see Baker’s Tips) and shredded
- 345g (1½ cups) firm fresh ricotta
- 200g Greek feta, crumbled
- 4 eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Finely grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, to sprinkle
- Lemon wedges, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush a 20cm x 30cm (base measurement) shallow slice tin with some of the melted butter.
- Put the oil and onion in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the shredded silverbeet, cover with the lid and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Transfer the silverbeet mixture to a colander and then use a potato masher to press out any excess moisture. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool
- Add the ricotta, feta, eggs, mint, parsley and lemon zest to the silverbeet and use a wooden spoon to mix to combine evenly. Season well with pepper.
- Lay the filo on a bench and cover with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to stop it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of filo (keeping the remaining sheets covered with the tea towels) and brush generously with the melted butter. Lay another sheet on top. Continue to layer with the remaining filo to make two stacks, each with 6 sheets. Place the filo stacks width ways and slightly overlapping, into the greased tin. Press gently over the base and sides to line, allowing the ends to overhang the top.
- Spoon the silverbeet mixture into the tin. Fold the overhanging filo over the top to cover. Brush top with remaining melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until filo is golden and crisp and the filling is set. Remove from oven and stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
- When trimming the silverbeeet, cut the stems at the base of the leaves and then only remove the central veins if they are thick and coarse.
- Buy refrigerated filo pastry as opposed to frozen. It will be easier to handle and less brittle. If you do buy the frozen variety, thaw it overnight in the fridge before using for best results.
Prep 15minBake 18-20minMakes about 12
These individual frittatas are dead simple and super quick to make – perfect for lunch boxes either for lunch or as a substantial snack that is packed with energy and goodness. Try different combinations of favourite vegetables (corn kernels, chopped capsicum and grated pumpkin all work well also) and throw in a can of drained and flaked salmon or tuna to boost the protein.
Ingredients130g small short pasta, such as macaroni
Olive oil, to grease
2 medium zucchini (about 270g), coarsely grated
1 medium carrot (about 120g), coarsely grated
100g (1 cup) coarsely grated extra tasty or vintage cheddar cheese
80ml (⅓ cup) milk
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
125g small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush a 12-hole medium (80ml /⅓ cup) muffin tray with the oil to lightly grease.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water, following the packet directions, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
- Put the drained pasta, zucchini, carrot and 75g (¾ cup) of the cheddar in a large bowl and mix to combine well. Divide the mixture evenly among the greased muffin tin holes.
- Use a fork to whisk together the eggs and milk in a large jug until well combined. Season to taste with pepper and salt and whisk again. Pour evenly over the vegetable mixture. Press the halved tomatoes, cut side up, into the tops of the frittatas and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until just cooked through and lightly golden. Stand in the tin for a few minutes before running a palette knife around the outside of each frittata and lifting out. Serve warm or at room temperature
- These frittatas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Prep 15min (+ 5min standing time)Bake 25min-30minMakes about 12
Savoury muffins are a great alternative to the sweet ones, especially when served as a snack or instead of bread alongside soup or salad. The zucchini in these makes them lovely and moist while adding substance.
Light olive oil or sunflower oil, to grease (optional)
150g (1 cup) plain flour
150g (1 cup) wholemeal plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
70g (⅔ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
65g (⅔ cup) coarsely grated vintage cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped basil leaves
185ml (¾ cup) buttermilk
80ml (⅓ cup) light olive oil or sunflower oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 zucchini (about 100g each) ends trimmed, coarsely grated
40g (¼ cup) pine nuts, to scatter
Cayenne pepper, to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole 80ml (⅓ cup) capacity muffin tin with paper cases or grease with a little vegetable oil.
- Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, returning any husks left in the sieve to the bowl. Season well with pepper and then gently stir in the parmesan, cheddar and basil. Make a well in the centre.
- Use a fork to whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil and eggs in a bowl. Add the zucchini and mix to combine. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. (Don’t overmix – the batter should still be a little lumpy.)
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin holes, dividing evenly. Scatter over the pine nuts and sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- These muffins are best eaten the day they are baked, however they freeze well – wrap individually in plastic wrap and then seal in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
Photography by Alan Benson.