Ghanaian Meat Pies

I first learned how to make meat pies from my mum when I was back in secondary school. If you have an African mother like myself, you’d know they always use their eyes to measure. So, that’s how I’ve done it since.

I remember going to hall parties (if you know, you know) and biting into many meat pies with barely any filling. I never understood the point of being stingy with the filling, hence why I decided to make them myself.

Warning: you’ll need a lot of time on your hands to make meat pies. Making a small batch just isn’t logical as they will be eaten swiftly. Honestly, I’ve had to hide a few in the fridge, just so I wouldn’t be disappointed when a batch of 30 disappears in 2 – 3 days. Excluding myself, there are 4 family members in the house –you do the maths!

Of course when you have no measurements, it’s pretty hard writing up a recipe. It’s taken up some time, but here it is! I’ve used corned-beef for this recipe, but go ahead and try this with a protein of your choice or vegetables.

Makes 15 – 20 pies

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1.5kg plain flour
  • 500g salted butter (I prefer Stork)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 250 ml water

For the filling

  • 600 – 700g corned beef
  • 1 large onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 tbsp oil (any suitable frying oil)
  • 1 Maggi cube (or liquid Maggi seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of tomato ketchup

Miscellaneous

  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • Rolling pin
  • Wooden board
  • Fork

Method

Dough

  1. In a bowl, add the flour and butter. Rub together using your fingertips.
  2. Add the teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the flour and butter mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, dissolve the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 250 ml water.
  4. Add a little bit of water at a time to the flour mixture, and knead.
  5. Keep adding water and knead until you have a ball of dough.

Filling

  1. In a frying pan, heat up oil and fry onions until they start to soften up.
  2. Add in the corned beef and mix together.
  3. Add the Maggi cube, black pepper, chilli flakes, soy sauce and ketchup.
  4. Cook for 5 mins and check for seasoning.

Pie construction

  1. Flour your board and rolling pin.
  2. Beat on egg in a bowl.
  3. Get a handful of dough and roll in your hand to make a ball. Place on the board and roll out into a circle about 3mm in thickness
  4. Place some of the filling on one half of the circle, leaving some space around the edge.
  5. Close the pastry (should look like a semi circle). Using your fork, poke 3 holes into the pie, then press your fork around the edge for a decorative finish
  6. Place pies on a greased and floured baking tray. Egg wash the pies.
  7. Bake for 25 mins or until the pastry is golden brown. Enjoy!
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Nutella Cupcakes

Here’s another cupcake recipe for you all to enjoy –  this time, it features the use of Nutella (or any other generic hazelnut-chocolate spread). The cake includes cocoa powder, chopped roasted hazelnuts, and a surprise Nutella centre. Buttercream is a mixture of vanilla and Nutella, and topped off with more chopped hazelnuts for an extra crunch.

So far, I’ve got three solid cupcake flavours, and I need some more to add to my collection. Feel free to let me know of any flavour combinations you’d like to see!

Check out the recipe below:

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 100g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 30g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 50g chopped or ground hazelnuts (and a little more for topping)
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 140g unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 heaped tbsp Nutella
  • 400g vanilla buttercream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs, and fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the milk, and mix together until you have a smooth chocolate cupcake batter.
  5. Add in the chopped or ground hazelnuts, and stir in.
  6. Spoon the batter into each case until about two-thirds full.
  7. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when tapped gently. Leave to cool.
  8. When the cupcakes have cooled, make a small hole in the middle of each cake (I use the end of a teaspoon for this part). Add 1 1/2 tbsp of Nutella to small piping bag. Cut off the tip of the bag so the diameter will fit the hole you made in your cupcakes. Pipe the Nutella into each cupcake hole – be generous!
  9. Spoon the buttercream into another piping bag with a nozzle of your choice, and and 1 1/2 tbsp of Nutella. Give it a little stir and pipe in a spiral motion.
  10. Sprinkle some more chopped or ground hazelnuts on top, and enjoy!

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes along with my Oreo and Nutella cupcakes for Macmillan Coffee Morning at work. They received great reviews from colleagues, despite this recipe being an experiment!

The cake itself is a pretty standard pound cake, but with a few extra flavours. The buttercream used is Betty Crocker’s vanilla buttercream. I used the Wilton 2D Drop Flower nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes.

Honestly, making 36 cupcakes with only 1 12-hole cupcake tray, a wooden spoon, a bowl, and a whisk (nope, not an electric one), took so much time and arm power. There was no way I was going to make buttercream by hand. I’ve made it by hand before, and mixing took a lifetime – I prefer to train arms at the gym, not in the kitchen!

(P.S. Friends, when we do Secret Santa this year, I’m asking for baking equipment…)

Anyway, enough of my waffling. Here’s the recipe:

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes (1)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 170g self-raising flour, sieved
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter, soft
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium to large eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Good-quality strawberry jam
  • 12 strawberries, washed and dried
  • 400g vanilla buttercream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
  2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar with a wooden spoon or whisk until well combined and pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs, and fold in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and the milk, and mix together until you have a smooth yellow cupcake batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into each case until half full.
  6. Add about half a teaspoon of jam into the centre of each cupcake batter.
  7. Add some more batter to cover up the jam. The cupcake case should be about two-thirds full now.
  8. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when tapped gently. Leave to cool.
  9. When the cupcakes have cooled, spoon the buttercream into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice. Pipe in a spiral motion.
  10. Place a strawberry on top, and you’re good to go.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

Give your leftover vegetables some love with this flavoursome oven dish that won’t break the bank. Carrots, bell peppers, and onions are items that I always have lying around, which form the bulk of this meal. I will be trying this recipe with other vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, mushrooms, courgettes… The list goes on!

DSC_0130[1165]

Serves 4

320 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 bell peppers, cut into chunks
  • 8 carrots, cut into chunks
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan)/ gas mark 7.
  2. In a large oven proof dish, place in the chicken quarters. Season with the season-all, garlic, paprika, ginger, soy sauce and chilli flakes.
  3. Add in the carrots and bell peppers. Spread evenly in the pan in between the chicken.
  4. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce as well.
  5. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After the 20 minutes, take out the oven dish and turn the chicken. Add the red onion into the dish.
  7. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime over the chicken and vegetables, and add the rest of the hoisin sauce. Adjust seasoning where necessary, then cook for a further 20 minutes.
  8. The food should now be ready to cook. Eat the chicken and vegetables on its own, or have it with a bit of rice or cous cous for an extra filling meal.

Apple Crumble

This classic dessert brings back so many memories of lunchtime in primary school. Before the whole Jamie Oliver school dinners shake up, apple crumble was hands down my favourite. It was so good I remember one day I had seconds…and thirds!

The majority of kids had it with custard, but I hated custard (still do). However, it tasted great without. These days, I have mine with vanilla ice cream, while the rest of my family continue to wonder why I can’t stand custard.

My recipe uses Granny Smith apples, so no need to cook them before hand as you would with Bramley apples.

Apple Crumble (1)

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the Crumble

  • 160g cold unsalted butter
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)

For the filling

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced ~ 1cm thick
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC (170ºC fan)/ gas mark 4. Use a 26 cm oven proof dish at least 5cm deep.
  2. In a bowl, mix in the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in slices/cubes of butter gradually while using your fingertips to rub the butter with the flour mix.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Pour the diced apples into the dish and add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Mix together.
  5. Pour the crumble mix over the apples and even out. Sprinkle a thin layer of the demerara sugar on top.
  6. Put the dish into the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden.
  7. Leave to cool a little, and serve with custard, vanilla ice cream, or cream.

Turkey and Bacon Pasta

This meal has become quite the go-to. All made in one pan/pot, and is super easy – just be ready to chop up some meat and veg. I have tried this meal with various combinations of turkey, chicken, bacon, and pancetta – they all work great. If you want an extra punch in the cheese sauce, add some grated mature cheddar. The recipe below focuses on the natural sweet and nutty flavour of parmesan, which I love.

Serves 4

460 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I use penne, or fusilli)
  • 300-350g turkey breast steaks, sliced or diced
  • 150g diced bacon
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pieces of turkey breast steaks, bacon, bell pepper, season-all, paprika, ground garlic, and black pepper to the pan, and fry for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove the turkey and bacon, but keep the juices in the pan.
  4. n a low heat, melt the better in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  5. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  6. Add in the grated parmesan and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the diced tomato, spinach, bell pepper, turkey, and bacon back into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture.
  9. Serve your turkey and bacon pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, and a few extra shaves of parmesan.

Lamb Leg Steaks with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I’m back after a long revision, dissertation, and exam period! Although there were no posts, I’ve got plenty of meals in the bag so stay tuned. Head to my Instagram for a few teasers.

This meal includes one of my favourites: the sweet potato. I love sweet potato fries more than regular fries actually. I’ve paired roasted sweet potatoes with pan-fried lamb leg steak, red onions, and a little salad on the side.

Serves 2

440 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb leg steaks
  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into evenly sized chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp season-all
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan)/ gas mark 6.
  2. Place potatoes onto a baking tray and toss in 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp season-all, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp paprika.
  3. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.
  4. When the potatoes have reached the 30 minute mark, season the lamb with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp season-all.
  5. Heat a pan to a medium heat then place the lamb steaks in the pan.
  6. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, then take out of the pan to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Place the sliced red onions in the pan and fry until softened.
  8. By now, the sweet potatoes should be cooked. Finish them off in the pan with the red onions, and serve with the lamb leg steaks.
  9. Enjoy with a side salad or mixed vegetables.