Getting your 5-a-day is not so easy during the winter months.  This pie offers a tasty wholesome way of supplying these, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  This recipe is very much a winter’s dish and should be reserved for chilly evenings at the beginning or end of the year.

 

2 onions –  chopped

2 sticks celery – chopped

2 cloves garlic – crushed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp black pepper

2 carrots – chopped

Swede – chopped ½ medium size

Dried mixed herbs – 2 tspn

2 medium parsnips – peeled and chopped

2 small potatoes – chopped

Vegetable stock 1 pint, (568ml)

Butter 1oz, (25g)

Wholewheat flour 2 tbspns

Tahini – 2 tbspn

Soya sauce – 1 tbspn

Baked beans – 415g tin

 

In a large pot fry the onions, celery and garlic in the oil with the black pepper.  Add the carrots and swede.  Pour in the vegetable stock & herbs and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes & parsnip and cook for a further 10 minutes.  In a separate smaller pot melt the butter and stir in the flour.  Drain the water from the large pot of vegetables and put ¼ pint in the smaller pot slowly and stir until a viscous fluid forms.  Mix in the tahini and soya sauce to produce a thick sauce.  Stir in the baked beans.  Add this sauce to the large pot of drained vegetables and mix thoroughly.  Put in a large casserole dish and put on a pastry topping.  Brush with some beaten egg or milk before putting in the oven.  Cook for 30-40 minutes at 180 C, (350 F, Mark 4).

This recipe works best when all the vegetables are of a similar consistency.  This takes a bit of getting used to, knowing which vegetables soften more quickly.  The above recipe gives a rough guide to how you should cook them. If need be experiment a bit, getting to know your cooking vessels and your vegetables. (You could say: “Know your onions!)

Pastry

Pastry is a hugely versatile item in cooking.  It can be used in both savoury as well as sweet dishes.  There are many different types of pastry; shortcrust, choux, puff and flaky to name but a few.  For most things I prefer pastry made with wholemeal flour – it is stronger in both texture and flavour than white flour pastry which I find lacking in these.  Obviously for more delicate dishes, especially sweets, this type of pastry can be too robust.

The following chart gives a good idea for quantities of ingredients to make pastry.  As flours can vary some of the quantities vary.  The end product should be quite malleable, but not too soft.  When making pastry it helps to not have too hot hands.  This is one of the reasons I like the granite worktops in my cottage.  Not only do they look spectacular, but are a lovely smooth and cool surface for making pastry.  If any pastry is left, wrap in clingfilm and store in a fridge. Or make into jam tarts – always a popular treat.  To re-use it after being in the fridge bring the pastry to room temperature before rolling out.  If pastry is too dry then wet hands and knead mixture.  It will not need much water to become manageable.

Generally, I don’t make pies with bases as they easily get soggy.  Consequently for most pies I just put the “lid” on.  Here is a table indicating the amounts of the various ingredients needed.  I tend to use butter, although some people will want to use margarine.  Whilst margarine is kinder than butter to the cardiovascular system, it is not as flavoursome, and I like to think amongst the rest of my diet I am allowed a little indulgence here and there.

 

 

 

100% wholemeal flour        Baking powder      Butter           Water                Made weight of pastry

100g / 4oz                        5ml / 1 tspn          50g / 2oz     20ml/4 tspn     175g / 6oz

150g / 5oz                        7.5ml / 1½ tspn    75g/2½oz    30ml/2 tbspn    225g / 8oz

200g / 7oz                        10ml / 2 tspn        100g/3½oz  45ml/3 tbspn    300g / 10 oz

250g / 9oz                        12.5ml / 2 ½ tspn 125g/4½ oz 45-60ml /          400g / 14oz

3-4 tbspn

300g / 10 oz                     15ml / 1 tbspn       150g /5oz   45-60ml /          450g / 1 lb

3-4 tbspn

400g / 14 oz                     20ml / 4 tspn         200g /7oz    60-75 ml /         600g / 1 ¼ lb

4-5 tbspn

 

Method

 

Place flour and baking powder in a basin.  Rub in the fat until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add enough water to give a soft dough.  Roll out the pastry using a rolling pin on a floured surface.  Sprinkle the top with flour as you go.  When you have a large rough circle, just bigger than the dish you want to cover, roll it up on the rolling pin.  Unroll it over the mixture in the pie dish.  Trim the edges.  Use any scraps left over to decorate the top of the pie.