Christmas fruit triangles

My take on Christmas fruit mince piesMy take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Following on from my previous post about a Christmas Waldorf salad, I have been meddling in the kitchen with all things Christmas–themed. Here is my take on the classic mince pie. I seriously can’t stop eating these, and have had them in the house since mid-November when I first tried out this recipe. It seems such a shame for this baked dish to have such a short window in the year!

My take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Christmas fruit triangles

  • Servings: 20
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g butter, softened
  • 3 tbs icing sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup water

For the fruit mince:

  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1 tbs milk, to brush onto the pastry
  • Icing sugar, to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Combine the flour and butter in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add the icing sugar, spices and enough water for the pastry to come together. Bring together into a ball, wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  3. Combine the fruit mince ingredients excluding the milk, and whizz together in a food processor until sticky.
  4. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface until thin (as thin as you can without it breaking). Cut into long rectangles, and then into squares about 6cm square.
  5. Place approx. 1 tsp of fruit mince onto one half of the square (divide the square diagonally so that the fruit mince covers a triangle shape). Fold the pastry over and lightly press the edges together to seal.
  6. Place the triangles on the baking tray and crimp the edges with a fork to create a pretty pattern. Brush each triangle with a little milk.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden.
  8. Cool the pastries on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar once cooled to serve.

Chicken and olive sausage rolls

A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

Today I am sharing another quick and easy make-ahead lunch idea. You can read about my other recipes here: curry pumpkin muffins, haloumi, olive and sundried tomato loaf, spring chicken salad and pork pasties.

I love sausage rolls, but often find that they leave me with an unpleasant feeling of having over-indulged in pastry all afternoon! I made these rolls with filo, which is a little lighter and simple to work with.

A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

I decided to change things up by using chicken mince (or I might have had leftover from making a chicken dish for my baby 😉 !). I am a big fan of adding flavour punches to my cooking at the moment, so this recipe has added olives, roasted red capsicum and feta. All the prep required is a simple mix together of the filling ingredients and then roll them up! You can enjoy them fresh out of the oven, or freeze the leftovers for a busy day when lunch prep is not an option, but neither is a boring cheese sandwich.

chicken_sausage_rolls_3A lighter filo wrapped sausage roll with punchy flavours of chicken, olive, capsicum and feta

Chicken and olive sausage rolls

  • Servings: makes 8 rolls
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Ingredients

  • 250g chicken mince
  • 8 green olives, sliced
  • 1 roasted red capsicum, cut into thin strips
  • 50g feta, crumbled
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 sheets filo pastry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Mix together the chicken mince, olives, capsicum, feta, egg and salt and pepper.
  3. Lay out 2-3 sheets of filo pastry, spraying a thin layer of spray oil in between each.
  4. Spread one quarter of the filling along the bottom half of the pastry in a long sausage shape. Roll upwards to form a log and spray the top of the pastry. Cut in half and place on the baking tray. Continue three times more to create 8 sausage rolls.
  5. Bake for 30 mins or until golden and flaky, and the chicken is cooked through.

Lemon cream and elderflower tarts

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

One of my favourite desserts is a lemon tart. I love the tangy, creamy texture of the filling. Delicious! With the warmer weather approaching, I was inspired to make a dessert that captured this taste.

As a nod to my time in the UK, I’ve added a flavour that I was introduced to while I lived in Cambridge. Elderflower cordial is so fruity, so light and goes perfectly with lemon. Sure, it is a flavour combination well used (even Prince Harry had a lemon and elderflower cake for his wedding), but there is a great reason for this – nothing beats it!

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

For these tarts, I went even creamier than a traditional lemon tart. They are individually portioned, cute and easy to share. Better for afternoon tea, or picnics that way

A tangy zesty cream tart filled with lemon and elderflower

Lemon cream and elderflower tarts

  • Servings: approx. 9
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • Zest of a lemon

For the filling:

  • 200ml whipping cream
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tbs elderflower cordial
  • 3 tbs store-bought lemon curd
  • Sprigs of mint, to garnish

Directions

    Directions:

  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter, sugar and zest in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add just enough water until the pastry comes together into a ball. Cover with clingwrap and rest in the fridge for 20 mins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a worktop until ½ cm thick. Using a round template approx. 10cm in diameter (I used the lid of a ramekin that I had) cut out circles and line the muffin tray with them. This pastry will make 9 tart cases.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 mins until golden.
  5. To make the filling, combine the cream, mascarpone, elderflower cordial in a mixer until thick and stiff. Stir through the lemon curd to create a marbled effect.
  6. Fill the tarts and top with a sprig of mint to garnish.

Pork pasties with chilli, lime and coriander

A comforting pasty filled with pork mince, chilli, lime and coriander

I lived in the UK with my husband for a year. It was a wonderful time – we met lots of friends from all over the world, we travelled around Europe and never stopped learning new things. Also, we tried a lot of new foods!

A comforting pasty filled with pork mince, chilli, lime and coriander

We lived in Cambridge and we were often catching the train into London. When I made my pork pasties below, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the many trains we caught that year. The wafting smell of pastry coming from my kitchen brought back memories of waiting at a train platform, with a little Cornish pasties stand down the way. I’m not sure many would, but I admit the pasties always smelt inviting, no matter the time of day. Warm, flaky, juicy and with so many comforting flavours.

A comforting pasty filled with pork mince, chilli, lime and coriander

My pasty’s flavours are inspired by the ingredients we receive in our veg box each week; an Asian cooking box from CERES Fairfood. They make for a lovely winter’s lunch or a light dinner, with little in the way of preparation.

A comforting pasty filled with pork mince, chilli, lime and coriander

Pork pasties with chilli, lime and coriander

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2cm ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 2 sheets store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except for the puff pastry and egg in a mixing bowl.
  3. On a worktop, cut the pastry sheets in half lengthwise.
  4. Spoon in one quarter of the mixture onto one half of a pastry sheet (mentally divide the pastry sheet lengthwise). Spread it evenly along the half lengthwise.
  5. Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges to seal. They can be baked flat, but I stood mine up with the crimped edge in the middle, because I thought they looked prettier this way.
  6. Place the pasties onto a greased baking tray.
  7. Brush the pasties with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in an oven at 180° Celsius until golden (approx. 20 mins).
  9. Serve with a salad of lettuce, capsicum and cucumber topped with sprigs of fresh mint and coriander.