Christmas part 1!
There are two questions people always ask me around Christmas time; “do you celebrate Christmas”, and “what do you even eat?!”
People ask me the former for obvious reasons, and the latter, well as a veggie, that’s also obvious. So to answer both those questions in two words; yes and pie.
Not always pie. But more often than not, turkey is replaced with pie.
Let’s just go back to the first question quickly; “do you celebrate Christmas”. No I am not Christian, I am a Hindu. However, I have been raised not to discriminate against any religion and to see all religions as equal. Which means Christmas is celebrated in the Bharti household! Lets be honest though, how many of us remember little baby Jesus as we pass round the box of chocolates ( if you’re lucky), whilst watching the Dr Who Christmas special?
Here’s a classic Christmas cracker joke for you:
Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?
A mince spy!!
Did I mention I love halloumi? I love halloumi. 2 pies = SO MUCH HALLOUMI
To me, Christmas means family, and my family are bloomin’ marvellous. We were a few Bharti’s short this year. The baby Bharti’s were off holidaying in Tennerife and big brother Bharti was in Singapore. He moved there in the summer, and I must admit, I do miss him. Don’t tell him that though. Despite the smaller number of mouths to feed, I cooked enough to feed those not present plus a few more!
So you may be wondering, what was this talk of pie? I feel having some sort of pie has become somewhat of a tradition for our Christmas dinner. You can take your turkeys (and kindly bring them back to life and set them free) I will keep my pie thank you very much.
This year I was inspired by The Great British Bake Off. Remember ruby? Remember that picnic basket pie she made in the final? I sure do. As soon as she uttered the words “halloumi” I knew what I would be making for Christmas! The pie consisted of layers of roasted med veg, cous cous and halloumi! Oh my! Ruby created a picnic basket by weaving pastry. I did not. I did not have the time nor the patience to be faffing around with such trivial matters! Along with the pie I decided to serve Duchess Potatoes. They are pillowy soft mashed potato swirly things which are baked to give you a crispy shell thingy. Or something. Seriously though, they were delicious!
This handy little gadget was from my Mum’s days as a Pampered Chef’r. It’s much easier to use than a piping bag!
Recipe for Duchess Potatoes can be found here
Now as I mentioned before Christmas is for family. We had the pleasure of spending the day with the Amlani’s and a dear family friend. A quick update on your lesson in names for uncles and aunties in Gujarati. Your Dad’s sister is your “foi” and your Dad’s brother in law; “foa”. We had Raji foi, Dinesh foa, (and my two cousins) Darshanee and Arjun over, along with Ishver kaka (cause all indian’s, call family friends, Uncle or Auntie even though they aren’t related).
I would like to thank each and every one of them for their help on Christmas day. I get a bit bossy in the kitchen and despite that, they all did exactly as I said, no questions asked! I left my Mum in charge of the veg (broccoli and carrots) to go on the side and she ended up got a telling off, by me, for not planning the cooking time of the carrots properly. Sorry!
Two things that I am not happy with in this picture; pepsi max bottle and gravy. Gravy has absolutely no place on a plate with this pie!
I am already planning how I could adapt this pie to make it even better. I am thinking less cous cous, more veg!
Original recipe can be found on BBC Good Food.
TOP TIP: If you are making everything on the day, make the pastry dough and couscous, and fry the halloumi whilst the veg are roasting to ensure your time is used most efficiently.
I made two pies but the recipe is for one 🙂
Prep Time: 1hr (roughly)
Cooking Time: 1hr 20- 1hr 30 mins
Skill Level: It’s tricky!
In advance: Veg can be roasted and pastry can be made!
Chopping board & knife
900g/ 2lb Loaf Tin
175g unsalted butter (at room temperature, not soft)
¼ tsp baking powder (heaped)
30ml milk (to brush)
1 free-range egg (beaten)
2 tbsp sunflower oil/ olive oil
2 medium red onions (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (whole, skin on, lightly crushed)
3 Romano red peppers (chopped)
1 large courgette (chopped)
1 aubergine (chopped into 1cm cubes)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
90g sun-dried tomato paste
100g mozzarella (grated)
small bunch fresh oregano
small bunch fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/Gas 6.
- Lightly oil a roasting tray with your choice of oil.
- Arrange the onions, garlic, peppers, courgette and aubergine on the tray. Shake ’em about a bit to coat the vegetables in oil.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Remove garlic cloves.
Turn oven off if you aren’t going to be baking the pie anytime soon (let’s not waste energy unnecessarily!)
- Rub the butter into the flour using your hands until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add water and bring the mixture together to form a dough (don’t overwork the dough yo).
- Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.
- Put the couscous in a bowl and add enough boiling water to just cover it.
- Cover the bowl and leave standing for 5-10mins.
- After all the water has been absorbed , using a hand-held blender, blend half of the couscous with the sun-dried tomato paste.
- Combine with the unblended couscous.
- Season with salt and pepper and set aside in the fridge.
- Slice the halloumi and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Dry-fry until it starts to brown in places.
- Flip it over and fry the other side in the same way.
- Leave to cool.
- Split the dough into two; 150g (lid) and
- Return the lid pastry to the fridge (don’t want it getting warm)
- Roll out pastry for the bottom, into a rectangle big enough line the tin. (Bottom and up the sides)
- Lightly grease loaf tin.
- With the loaf tin vertical, place a piece of baking parchment into the loaf tin horizontally. (You want it to be long enough to hang over the edges so you can use this to lift the pie out of the tin)
- Line loaf tin with rolled pastry. Leave any excess pastry hanging. (Do not trim just yet!)
Layering and Lid
- Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan/Gas 6.
- Layer 1: spread half of the couscous on the bottom (this will soak up any liquid), pack it firmly by pressing it down.
- Layer 2: vegetables.
- Layer 3: halloumi and grated mozzarella on top.
- Layer 4: sprinkle over the oregano and basil.
- Layer 5: remaining couscous, again pressing down. Make sure all layers are tightly packed.
- Retrieve pastry for the lid and roll out into a rectangle large enough to cover the loaf tin.
- Brush the edges of the bottom of the pie (in the loaf tin) with milk.
- Carefully place on the lid, making sure it “sticks” to the bottom by pressing down edges lightly.
- Trim over hanging dough.
- (Optional) Pinch and twist along the edge of the pie lid to get that “crimped” effect.
- Brush top of the pie with beaten egg (you will not need all the egg).
- Bake in oven for 50 mins until pastry is golden brown.
- Remove pie from tin by lifting using the baking parchment.
ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOUR
Hope you enjoy my Snopp Dogg “Drop it Like it’s Hot” pie making video
BLAST just realised two of the pictures from my pie vid are in the wrong order! Should be couscous, veg, cheese, couscous!
Credit where credit is due, my Mum helped a lot with the making of the pie…don’t look at me like that, it’s call delegation. It’s what all efficient and effective team leaders (of the kitchen) do…Come to think of it my Mum had to do loads! Thanks again Mum, KISSES!
You’ll never guess what we had for dessert…MORE PIE. Well a tart. Tart, pie it’s all semantics. I made a Ginger & Treacle Tart which will be coming your way next week 🙂
I obviously was listening to Christmas music whilst making this, and I am not one to listen to said music at any other time of the year so I shall add another tune to “K.beats Cooking Muisc”. Today we will have a bit of Temples “Shelter Song”. Temples are psychedelic. They’re “groovy baby”. Sorry. But they really really are. I have chosen them because I will be seeing them in March 🙂 Enjoy!