Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Waiter there's something in my pie!
I was cycling home today in the sunshine thinking what shall I have for tea? when I thought of something we used to cook as students. Mel and I used to cook together and made delights such as bolognese risotto and sausage plait, though I seem to remember lots of lentils too and one fateful outing of fruity mince, never again. It was the plait that inspired me today - I thought instead of sausage I would put in lots of delicious vegies and some tangy cheese. So here we have it an experimental vegie plait that I shall name Mels' plait!
a tin of chickpeas, chickpeas rinsed
two cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 onion finely chopped
125g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
half a ball of fresh mozzarella
2 peppers (red and yellow)
100g shropshire blue cheese (or other tangy cheese)
500g puff pastry
a little milk for brushing
First put on the oven at 220°C and once hot roast the peppers for 30min. Once they're done take them out and put them in a bowl and cover with clingfilm or foil for 5min. Then peel and remove all the seeds etc and cut into four pieces each. Then make a simple houmus with 3/4 the chickpeas, garlic, peanut butter and enough water to make the liquidiser go round. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan and fry off the onions until transparent and then add the mushrooms and leek and fry until soft and dry. Stir in herbs of your choice - about 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme is good. Roll out the pastry until about 3mm thick, place on a greased baking sheet and then on one half cover with the spinach leaves leaving a border of about 2cm all around (so at this point it looks like a book with just one page covered in green and the other page is blank). On top of the spinach layer the houmus and scatter over the remaining chickpeas. On top of this layer the mushroom mixture and then tear up the mozzarella and spread over as evenly as possible. Then layer over the peppers and finely crumble or finely slice the cheese and layer over the peppers. Brush the 2cm pastry border with milk. Finally take your blank 'page' of pastry over the top and stick down using the back of a fork. Brush the top with milk and cut 8 slits in the top layer of pastry. Cook in your 220°C oven for 20min, until golden brown. And if you'd like to have roasted tomatoes with it put them into the oven too. This will serve 4-6.
I know there's no plaiting here but if you felt inspired you could centre the layers instead of having them all on one side and then plait the pastry from each side - v complicated to explain but easy enough to do.