Heart-shaped strawberry hand pies

Heart-shaped strawberry hand pies

Ingredients:

  • Perfect pastry dough (see the recipe)
  • 3 cups strawberries, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 6 tabs raw sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tabs Chambord, or other berry liqueur (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tab water
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, to decorate
  • Freshly whipped cream, to serve

Fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200° C. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, berry liqueur and vanilla until sugar dissolves and strawberries disintegrate.
  3. Drain some excess juice (approximately 1/4 cup) from the saucepan to a small bowl; return the saucepan to the heat.
  4. Add cornflour to the separated juice; stir until completely mixed. Add cornflour mix to the saucepan and stir until strawberry mixture is thick; remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the prepared pastry dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
  6. Use a 6 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut heart shapes in the pastry. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and repeat. Form any excess dough back into a ball, roll out and cut again until dough is used up.
  7. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl; lightly brush around each heart.
  8. On half of the hearts only, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cooled strawberry filling.
  9. Cover each ‘filled’ heart with one of the remaining hearts; use a fork to gently press the edges together to seal. Pierce the top of each pie with a sharp skewer to allow steam to escape.
  10. Brush the tops of each pie with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the pies are golden brown.
  11. Cool the pies on a wire rack, then use a sieve to dust them with icing sugar.
  12. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Perfect flaky pastry

Perfect flaky pastry

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tabs caster sugar
  • 170g cold (hard) butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup cold (hard) coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Method:

  1. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the flour and sugar. Pulse until combined.
  2. Add the butter and hard coconut oil. Pulse until the butter cubes are pea-sized.
  3. Using a low processer speed, pour the ice water down the processor feeder. Pulse until the dough begins to form a ball.
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a ball. If some dry flour remains, just sprinkle it with a little more water and knead until combined with the ball.
  5. For pies with a top and bottom crust, cut the dough in half; otherwise leave whole. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for no less than thirty minutes.

Jalapeño chicken soup with lime

Jalapeño chicken soup with lime

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 500g chicken breasts
  • 2 jalapeños (or 3 if you like it hot!)
  • ½ small red onion
  • 2 x 400g cans white beans (I use cannellini beans)
  • 1 cup of salsa verde (see the recipe)
  • 3 limes
  • Sour cream for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil in a large pot. Add the raw chicken breasts to the hot liquid; cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat but leave the lid on so that the chicken continues cooking. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and check to make sure there is no pink in the centre of the chicken breasts. Remove the cooked chicken from the hot liquid and set aside to cool.
  2. To remove any unwanted chicken fat in the broth, pour the liquid through a fine sieve, then return the liquid to the pot.
  3. If you are making the salsa verde, do this now (see the recipe).
  4. Mince the jalapeño and onion in a food processor. Once finely chopped, add it to the pot of chicken broth, along with the white beans and salsa verde. Cover and leave it to simmer over medium heat.
  5. Use two forks to shred the cooled chicken breasts, then return them to the pot.
  6. Stir the soup, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Just before serving, squeeze the juice of one lime into the pot.
  8. Cut the remaining limes into wedges for serving.
  9. Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream and fresh cilantro, with a side of lime wedges.

Salsa verde

Salsa verde

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tabs lemon juice
  • sea salt

Method:

  1. Place basil, parsley, capers and garlic in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Add oil and lemon juice to herb mixture. Process until well combined.
  3. Season with sea salt and pepper. Allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Note:  This is great as a pasta sauce, or as a flavour booster in soups.