Chicken and leek pies with sweet potato wedges

At the risk of confirming all the stereotypes about the British, I am going to start yet another post with a complaint  comment on the weather. The lovely warm, sunny weather that led to my last post on barbecued swordfish and halloumi skewers is now a distant memory and we have returned to grey, cold, wet, generally miserable weather. Boo. Will summer ever arrive?!

One good thing about this however, is that it is a good excuse to bake a comforting, warming pie! Leeks are one of my favourite vegetables and, aside  from sauteing them with butter, white wine and garlic, one of my favourite things to do with them is put them in a pie! The recipe for these chicken and leek pies is based on a recipe from BBC Good Food. The sauce, made with cream cheese and dijon mustard, is creamy without being too cloying and tangy and tasty thanks to the mustard! These pies are topped with crispy crunchy filo pastry, which helps makes them a healthier option than a more traditional pie. You can also use low fat cream cheese to reduce the calorie and fat count even further – and it still tastes delicious, I promise!

This is what you’ll need to make two individual pies (or you could make it in one dish as well of course, but I’m quite into my cute individual pie dishes!)

  • 2 Chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • Around 1 and a half to 2 leeks, depending on size
  • 1 large carrot
  • About 85g low fat cream cheese (around a third of a normal sized tub)
  • Around 3 rounded tsps wholegrain mustard (maybe a little less if you aren’t such a big mustard fan as me!)
  • 225ml chicken stock
  • A handful of freshly chopped tarragon
  • 2 sheets of filo pastry

Pour a little oil into a pan and fry the cubed chicken until cooked, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the chopped leeks, carrot and a splash of water and cook for around 10 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil until beginning to reduce then add the chicken to the pan and the mustard and soft cheese along with the finely chopped tarragon and some salt and black pepper.

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Divide the mixture between your pie dishes then scrunch up a sheet of filo pastry on top of each one. Brush with a little olive oil and pop in an oven heated to 200 degrees for 15 minutes.

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I like to serve these with some sweet potato wedges. These are good for dunking in the sauce!!

Take one large sweet potato and chop into wedges. Parboil for a few minutes (not too long!) then toss with plenty of salt and olive oil before roasting for around 20 minutes. Mmmm!

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First barbecue of the year! – Soy glazed swordfish and halloumi & pepper skewers

So last weekend spring finally fully hit Manchester! In fact, you could probably say forget spring, summer had just swooped right in, given we had TWO CONSECUTIVE DAYS of bright sunshine and 20 degrees!! (Just a shame that one of them was a work day!) Except now we are back down to 8 or 9 degrees and I am staring out the window at the same grey skies and rain that we have had for the last four days and are forecast to have for the next four days… So I am going to reminisce about summer last weekend with this post about our first barbecue of the year!

I am quite probably halloumi’s biggest fan. It is just the most brilliant foodstuff ever, don’t you think?! So meaty yet cheesy and so satisfying. And oh so delicious when grilled or barbecued. I have made pepper and halloumi skewers whenever we’ve fired up the barbie for years now, as well as peddling them at the barbecues of friends and family too! So of course I was definitely making these for our first bbq of the year.

Given it was just the two of us, and we felt like being a bit healthier, we decided to barbecue some swordfish. I really like barbecued fish, it’s a nice change from the usual meat-fest and goes really well with a nice summery salad. I’d never tried swordfish on the barbecue before so was pretty excited to try these delicious steaks! In order to make sure the fish stayed really juicy and moist, I decided on a sticky glaze type marinade. I also wanted something that would be fast to do and faff-free – minimising kitchen time and maximising sunny garden time! I sort of made it up as I went along so don’t have the measurements, but it was so simple and worked a treat! – I glugged some soy sauce into a pan along with some dark brown sugar, and kept stirring until the sugar had dissolved, then took off the heat, squeezed in a little fresh lime juice and poured over the fish. The fish was then basted during cooking with more of the sauce. So simple but so tasty! It really coated the steaks well, kept them moist and juicy, and was very moreish!

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Happiness on a Friday, part 3

It’s Friday, it’s the start of a three-day weekend, the weather forecast is finally warm, with minimal rain and a generous amount of sun, I’m feeling pretty happy! I’m not gonna lie, I was fairly tempted to buy some Pimms on the way home from work, but refrained for fear of jinxing the weather!

Kicking off the weekend with a delicious Chilean sauvignon blanc and a prawn, pea, lemon and chilli risotto – delicious!! (The risotto has a good glug of wine in it too, of course)

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