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Day #31 – Chicken Pie (Dairy-Free)

Today, Fantastic Mrs T is Sleepy Mrs T.

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Mr T has a cough and was coughing through the night. Baby Girl had her usual midnight party-for-two – her and I. And Princess and BoyChild were up at the crack of dawn, rearing to start the day. Probably due, in part, to the cupcakes hidden in the laundry. You want to see a Mum run really fast at 7am? Have a 3 year old boy open the laundry door, knowing there are 3 dozen cupcakes sitting there ready to go to Kindergarten for Grandparent’s Day. Run? Goodness me, I LEAPED!

Aunty M is still visiting and Mr T is on his late shifts, so we decided on Chicken Pie for dinner. Finding a dairy-free chicken pie recipe was a challenge so I just kind of made it up as I went along. Could have been a nice dinner of eggs for Aunty M and I, luckily it wasn’t.

Chicken Pie (Dairy Free)

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Chicken Breast, diced

Oil

Onion

Flour

Pastry

Stock (I used vegetable because I didn’t have any chicken left)

Mushrooms

Frozen Mixed Veges

Cook the chicken until browned through, then set aside. In the same pan, brown the onion for a few minutes. Add some flour in and then gradually add the stock, whisk until it bubbles and thickens, and then add some more. Do this until you have a nice onion gravy thing happening. Chop the mushroom and add this to the mix, and re-add the chicken. Throw the veges in as well and let it all simmer away happily. While this is going on, roll out your pastry and line a dish. Once the mixture is to your liking, put it into the pie base, and then cover with the other (rolled) half of pastry. Cook in the oven until pastry is brown and crispy.

Verdict

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Very yum. Colour me surprised. It was really quite tasty. Dairy Schmairy, you didn’t miss it in this pie.

Well done, Sleepy Mrs T. Well done.

…. now, where’s that chocolate gone …

 

“sleepy mum” picture – http://arisusa.deviantart.com/art/Sleeping-180329222?q=gallery%3AArisusa&qo=0

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Day #7 – Pea, Pie & ‘Pud

Ah, leftovers. Probably Mr T’s and my biggest failing in the kitchen. Neither of us are terribly fond of leftovers. But, the whole purpose of this challenge is to utilise what I have etc. Leftovers are a necessary component of home cooking and I really need to learn to use them and, more so, enjoy them.

Tonight we are having a meal nearly entirely made up from last night’s leftovers. I decided to make Pea, Pie & ‘Pud. That is, peas, pies and potatoes. I decided to make Potato Pancakes with the potatoes and an egg, they come out like little pikelets/thick pancakes. Princess helped me with the pies and she had a lot of fun doing it, she was able to scoop the mince out and create her own “pies”. Special shout outs to her pie “with a window”, her absolutely teeny tiny pie that she made for her brother, and her “pie with no meat” (aka a ball of pastry).

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Pies

Puff Pastry (I used sheets of frozen pastry that I thawed out)

Leftover mince

Cut the pastry into rectangles. Put a small amount of mince in the lower half of the rectangle. Fold over the pastry and press down the edges with your fingers. Bake in the oven for 20ish minutes, until the pastry is cooked.

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Potato Pancakes

Leftover mashed potato

Egg

Mix together and fry to make little pancakes

Peas

Peas

Cook peas.

Verdict

Yum. Not a fancy meal by any means but, as with last night’s meal, it hit the spot. We have two pies leftover so they will be tomorrow’s lunch.

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I’m really enjoying this challenge at the moment – I have noticed a significant increase in the nightly dishes but I popped into the supermarket today and realised that I don’t need to buy large amounts of food like we normally would, because I’m making so much from home.

Week one done and dusted and we have survived – on to week two!

 

 
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Day #6 – Shepherd’s Pie. With Marmite. Stop it.

This evening, as I was preparing this meal amidst the usual chaos that is our house at 5pm, I was thinking about this blog and my “30 Days Without Takeaways” challenge. I came to the realisation that, as with many things, it often takes merely not being allowed to do something to stop oneself from doing it. In other words, I have challenged myself and am writing this blog as motivation to see the challenge through, and therefore I simply am not allowed to buy takeaways. And so, we are not. Today would have probably been an ideal fish and chip night – I spent a large part of the day working, Princess spent the day at a birthday party and Mr T is still under the weather. And, there is a cyclone looming, apparently. But, takeaways wasn’t even floated as an option. Because, quite simply, we are not allowed.

And thus I made Shepherd’s Pie.

This is another of the meals that Mr T mentioned when I asked him earlier in the week about meals from his childhood. Shepherd’s Pie (according to me, anyway) is just savoury mince topped with mashed potato. In some form.

Mince meat is one of those grocery items you buy every week, regardless of meal plans. Because it is so versatile, so cheap and so easy to cook – we always have at least one or two lots of mince in the freezer. I didn’t use a recipe as such for this dish because, as with many mince dishes, it really is a case of throwing things at the frying pan and hoping they taste good. I mean, any mince is tastier than what my flatmate used to cook when I was flatting as an 18 year old – he aptly named it Salty Mince because it contained mince and salt. Only mince and salt.

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Which brings me to Marmite. Marmite? Shut. The. Front. Door. Are you crazy? Well, yes. But we already know that! For those of you blog followers who don’t know what Marmite is, it is a black spread similar to the famed Australian Vegemite, only slightly sweeter. Very slightly. You either love it or you hate it. Oh, it is also very different to British Marmite, as we discovered when the NZ Marmite factory was closed for two very long years after the 2011 earthquake.

Shepherd’s Pie

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Mince

Onion

Garlic

Mixed Vegetables

Worcester Sauce

Beef Stock

Herbs and Spices

Potatoes (plus ingredients needed for mashing. We are dairy free due to BabyGirl’s allergy so we use margarine and olive oil to mash potatoes).

*You might like to top your pie with grated cheese as well. As above, we are dairy free so don’t but it is a nice addition

Marmite

Potato Pompoms (Now, these weren’t part of my plan but while I was waiting for the potatoes to boil, I found half a bag in the freezer. I love them, I absolutely adore these, so I decided to put them on top of the pie. This meant I didn’t need as many potatoes as well)

So, the method is pretty simple – as I said earlier, I just throw things at the frying pan. Not literally. Most of the time. Chop the onion and cook with the garlic, add the mince and cook until it is brown. Add the Worcester sauce, mixed veges and stock. Cook some more. With the Marmite, I put about half a teaspoon of it into about 1/4 cup of boiling water and stirred until it had mostly dissolved, then added it to the mince mixture. Trust me, it’s delicious.

While this is going on, peel and chop the potatoes then boil them until ready to mash. Mash potatoes.

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Once the mince mixture is cooked to your liking, put it into an oven-proof dish and top with pompoms or potatoes or whatever combination you have chosen. Top with cheese if ya’ll like. Put into the oven just until the potatoes are nice and crispy (about 10-15mins).

Verdict

Win. On a windy, stormy evening nothing is better than hot comfort food. Appearance wise, it looked like prison food but it tasted amazing. Smothered, of course, in tomato sauce. We didn’t need any side dishes because the pie itself is so jam packed with meat, potato and veges. There was enough left over that I can use it to create something for dinner tomorrow night.

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Here’s a question Mr T had for me today – are we allowed Takeaways if they are bought for us by someone else? Hmmm, I’m not sure. Food for thought!

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Day #4 – Bacon and Egg Pie

Mr T has been unwell today so we decided to delay the full roast until tomorrow. So, tonight I am cooking my most basic recipe – Bacon and Egg Pie. It’s cheap and it’s easy and it’s popular.

Bacon and Egg pie is a staple in kiwi diets, you can buy them at every corner store and bakery. We grew up with them, at picnics and BBQs, trips to the beach and pot luck dinners. What kiwi kid doesn’t love a bacon and egg pie? My kids sure do – it’s the single meal that I know will be wolfed down by the lot of them, even Fussy McFusspot BoyChild. It’s one of those meals that we assume is common around the world, and are surprised to find out that it’s unheard of in many countries! They don’t know what they are missing!

Bacon and Egg Pie

Puff pastry (I use frozen, normally not more than $2.50 at the supermarket)

Bacon (I love using diced bacon from the deli section of the supermarket for this. The bacon pieces are small enough not to be too chewy for the kids and it’s cheap – I get 100g and it doesn’t cost more than $1.30)

Eggs (5-7 depending on how many I have. And, truth be told, how many I can be bothered cracking)

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You can add any number of veges and herbs to this, depending on your preference. I once added peas and Princess literally begged me never to put them in again – “Please Mum, please don’t add those green things again”. This dish is so popular with my kids, I’m happy for them to eat their veges beside it rather than in it!

To make, you simply cut the pastry in two and roll out one half to line the base of the dish. Add the bacon and the eggs directly into the dish. Top with the other half of the pastry (rolled out, obviously). Bake in the oven for around 30 – 40 minutes at about 180C. Voila. I served it with mixed veges, carrot sticks for the kiddles and salad for myself and Mr T.

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Verdict

Well, I feel like I cheated a bit tonight because I have cooked this dish once a week for the past I-don’t-even-know-how-long. And, it is always a success.

Nevertheless, for the sake of this blog – I call it a win 🙂

Tomorrow, roast beef om nom nom