Monthly Archives: May 2012

bada boom pie – Pieminister

A few months ago I entered a bake off competition in Oxford, I went for the Pie category and made a Samosa Pie. My prize from the competition was the Pieminister book, addressed to me and signed! It’s a lovely Blue hardback, filled with lovely images and Pie recipes, here is a sneak peak and review of my first Pie from the book.

Pieminister. a pie for all seasons. Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon. BANTAM PRESS.
Pg 50. Spring.

Pie ingredients
4tbsp olive oil
2 Ramiro peppers, sliced into rings
2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 small tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
400g butter beans, or cannelini beans
small bunch of dill, chopped
small bunch of parsley,chopped
small bunch of mint, chopped
salt and pepper

1/2 ciabatta loaf, whizzed in a food processor
70g parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp olive oil

Add the ciabatta, parmesan and olive oil into your food processor, this combination will go on your pie mixture just before it hits the oven.

Pre heat oven to 180.
Heat the olive oil in a pan add the peppers and red onions and cook for 5 mins.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 5mins
At this point your onions and peppers should be lightly caramalized. Now tip the contents of your pan into a bowl, large enough to hold all the other ingredients, now stir in the other ingredients.

The book suggests that you spoon the mixture into ramekins, as the recipe is for 6 people, and that looks like the best idea for making multiple mini pies. As I had halved the recipe to serve just two people and made this into a one pot dish.


Now add your topping and put the pie into the oven for 25mins until the top is golden brown. I served this with raw courgette and raw broccoli with a drizzle of oil.

My thoughts on this pie: This pie gives you a good health kick, the beans and veg combo with the yoghurt instead of cream keep the dish light. next time I make it I would add a chilli into the process but that’s because I love a kick in my dishes. I will continue to work my way through the pie book, which has been put into seasonal chapters. I look forward to the next one!


Cafe Cocos Cowley road

Last week I met up with my recently married friends, this was the first time I’d caught up with them since the big day.

Cafe Cocos and Kazbar sit on Cowley road near St Clements, between them sits an alfresco dining area, which always reminds me of summer holidays spent in Spanish squares surrounded by restaurants and bars.

Cocos has that holiday feel to it this is created by decor and atmosphere, the relaxed vibe is clear to passers-by, the large windows that wrap around the restaurant show off the venue inside. Coco’s serves breakfast lunch and dinner and if you don’t want food? It’s not a problem!  They have plenty of cocktails and happy hours too. There are two Coco’s in Oxford, the original one is on Cowley road and the second, slightly larger venue is near the train station.

I hadn’t been to Cowley roads, Café Cocos for an absolute age, but when I returned I opted for my favourite pizza, prawn saganaki, no matter how tempting the king prawn and coriander sounds I’ve not yet moved on to it.

Prawn Saganaki £9.55 king prawns, feta cheese, tomatoes, spring onions & garlic

My friends both had a Merguez & tzatziki each. This was the first visit for Rich and I suspect that he may return again, the pizzas were certainly enjoyed.

Merguez & tzatziki £9.35 spicy beef & lamb sausage, spinach, onions, peppers, garlic, mozzarella & topped with cooling tzatziki

To drink we had: 2 x Peroni £3.and 1 Cocktail £6

I think that £41 between 3 people for an evening is not bad going!

The service is friendly and relaxed, and you don’t feel that they want to boot you out of the door once you’re finished. The only slight grumble would be that we were left for a little too long between clearing the tables and getting the bill, fine for a Friday or Saturday night, but not on a weekday.

As the sun and the heat will be with us at least for the weekend and I suspect summer holidays away are a little while off most peoples’ radars, why not take yourself down to Cocos this weekend? You never know, you could be in another country in no time, without the jetlag, depending on how many cocktails you have!

Thai Chicken Curry for Friends

This bank holiday Sunday I decided to cook for my friends and get back onto the creative wagon. It was just before our local pub quiz that I was hosting that evening.

Curry paste – you should create this a day in advance.
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4-5 long red chilies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
3 lemon grass stalks, remove the outer leaves, trim and chop roughly
5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 large shallots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
2-3 tbsp ground oil.

For the paste, prep all of your ingredients first on a chopping board. As everything is going in a food processor don’t worry about taking too much time to finely chop items. Make sure you de-seed the chillies unless you want to risk the heat.


6 chicken breasts – 1 per person.
2tbsp groundnut oil
2 onions peeled and sliced Sea salt and pepper
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
400ml coconut milk
100ml Chicken stock
1tsp palm sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
Addition for the final 4 mins
400g green beans

I marinated my chicken frozen chicken, allowing it to de frost overnight with the paste on top. The next day when the chicken has defrosted chop the marinated chicken into bite size pieces and season.

First step: Add some oil to a heavy based pan and add your onions, allow the onions to soften this will take about 5 mins, now add the marinated chicken and allow the chicken to colour with the oil, while making sure the onions and paste are well combined. Second step: Now add the remaining curry ingredients, everything except the beans! And bring your curry pot to the boil, once your hit the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30-40mins until your chicken is tender.


During the 30-40 mins you can sort out your rice and sides! For 6/7 people I made coconut rice.
350g long grain rice
200ml coconut milk
200ml water 1 piece of root ginger (chunky) and a pinch of sea salt.
Add everything together in a pan and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and allow the rice to stand for 10mins keeping the lid on. Remove the ginger and fluff the rice – Serve this in a warm dish.

The final step Skim the top of your curry, to remove the excess oil. Adjust the seasoning to your liking and tip the green beans in, cook these for 3-4 minutes. Now you’re ready to serve to your friends and family. Along with your rice and poppadum’s This was a fun dish to create and it certainly seemed to go down well at the table.

I don’t eat meat as you might have read on my home page.So I made myself a fish portion. I created the curry for me in a seperate pan and added the fish into hte curry after the first 20mins had passed, cooking my fish for about 15 – 20 mins in total.


Lemon Curd and Raspberry Mess
To complete this dish I threw a dessert together, which was zesty, so as to cut through the curry and freshen everyone’s pallets.
6-8 Meringues 1 per guest
Lemon curd 1tsp per meringue
A punnet of fresh raspberries about 300g for 6/7 people
8 Tbsp Yoghurt
2 Tbsp Runny honey

Mix your yoghurt, honey and 200g raspberries together, don’t worry that your raspberries go mushy. Sit each meringue in a bowl, bash gently to break it up. Add a teaspoon of lemon curd to each meringue and now top your meringue with a large spoonful of your yoghurt and honey mix, sprinkle with your whole raspberries and enjoy.