Meat pies are to Australians what hamburgers are to Americans and croquettes are to the Dutch. They are a national staple and come in many varieties, from cheap 'fast food' versions to those you buy at high-quality pastry shops. But one thing you can be sure of: Australians will always enjoy them with a healthy dousing of ketchup. So when I started my shop, meat pies were a must-have and this is the version we came up with. The beef and vegetable mix is best made the day before. This allows the flavours to blend and also makes it easier to put the filling into the pastries.
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) minced beef, not too lean
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 g (7 oz) carrots, cut in 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces
100 g (3 1/2 oz) celery, cut in 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces
100 g (3 1/2 oz) onions, chopped
1 beef or chicken stock cube, crumbled
150 g (5 1/2 oz) frozen peas
100 g (3 1/2 oz) courgettes (zucchini), cut in 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces
100 g (3 1/2 oz) green peppers (capsicums), cut in 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces
600 g (1 lb 5 oz) chopped tomatoes (tins are fine)
300 g (10 1/2 oz) tomato sauce for pasta (tomato passata or coulis)
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup (tomato sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons granulated onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
720 g (1 lb 9 oz) good-quality puff pastry (you will need sixteen 13x13 cm (5 inch) squares of pastry)
2 eggs, beaten
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the minced beef and brown well, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Add the oil to the pan, then the carrot and celery. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and the stock cube and cook for 2 minutes. Add the peas, sauté a couple of minutes, then add the courgette and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, then return the beef to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes and pasta sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce, stir to mix, then add the paprika, granulated onion, salt and pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until cold.
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Roll out the puff pastry to about 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Use a bread and butter plate as a stencil to create two rounds for the pie tins, one for the bottom and sides and one for the top. Line eight round pie tins (3 cm/1 1/4 inches deep and 9 cm/3 1/2 inches diametre) with pastry. Divide the beef mixture amongst the pies. Brush the pastry edges with a little egg, lay the second pastry round on top, and gently press together. The egg will act as your glue. Brush the top of the pies with the remaining egg, to make a nice glaze, and pop into the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with lashings of ketchup.
I completely love these. They are a good meat replacement, so make a great choice for the vegetarian clients. They also make an excellent side dish. I make a more standard version with goat's cheese and roasted peppers, but our Icelandic chef, Salka, came up with this really original and truly delicious recipe. They have quickly become one of the favourites in the shop.
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4x4 cm (1 1/2 inch) cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons granulated onion
salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tomatoes, cored, and sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
8 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, with stalks removed
4 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
160 g (5 1/2 oz) Taleggio cheese, cut into 8 strips
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). In a large bowl, toss together the sweet potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the granulated onion, salt and pepper, and add one of the garlic cloves. Transfer to a baking tray, and spread evenly. Bake 25 minutes, or until nicely browned. Set aside.
Place the 8 tomato halves, face-up, on a baking tray, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper, and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
Mash the sweet potatoes with the butter and a few pinches of parsley. Season to taste. Separate the mash into 8 portions, and divide it over the
8 mushrooms. Top each with a roasted half-tomato, face up, then a slice of Taleggio cheese. Chop the remaining garlic clove with the rest of the parsley, and sauté in the remaining olive oil until the garlic is soft. Spoon this mixture over the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is a nice golden brown.
In this simple salad, the salty olives are well set-off by the sweetness of the roasted fennel, and the garlic and parsley give it all an extra kick.
4 fennel bulbs, rinsed well in cold water, and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper
100 g (3 1/2 oz) Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons parsley
100 g (3 1/2 oz) feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread over the sliced fennel. Sprinkle evenly with garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake 30 minutes; give the tray a shake halfway through the cooking time. Set aside for 10 minutes, to cool.
Meanwhile, chop the olives and parsley and crumble the feta. In a bowl, gently mix together all the ingredients, and you are ready to serve.