Christmas mushroom and chestnut pies

Christmas mushroom chestnut pie

Here is another winner based on a recipe from Sainsbury’s magazine.  An absolutely delicious pie that looks all Christmassy and is full of flavour and texture.  The puff-pastry is bought ready-rolled and it is easy to make little pastry decorations to go on top using a knife – they add a real homely touch.  You will see that the recipe includes soy sauce, which I find brilliant for adding richness to veggie lasagne and veggie bolognaise sauce too.

The pie takes about 35 mins to prepare and 35 mins to cook.  If you want to make it ahead you can freeze it then defrost it thoroughly in the fridge and remove it 30 mins before baking.

mushroom chestnut pie

We ate the pie with parsnips and carrots gremolata and kale (gremolata is a rub of lemon zest, garlic and parsley that you add to veg after it has been roasted – it is a great way to liven it up – click here for the recipe

For lots of other straightforward tried and tested Christmas recipes check out this link and for a great chestnut chocolate cream biscuit recipe click here

Here we go! –

Christmas mushroom and chestnut pies (serves 4)


Big glug olive oil

2 leeks, chopped

1 red onion, chopped

250g mushrooms, chopped

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. tomato puree/ketchup

1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage

Good sprinkling dried mixed herbs

1 1/2 tsp English mustard

240g tin cooked, peeled chestnuts, each one cut in to 6

1 tbsp cornflour

2 veg stock cubes

375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry

1 medium egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/gas mark 6.  Take the puff pastry out of the fridge to warm up.  Heat the oil in a large pan and add the leeks, onion, mushrooms, soy sauce and tomato puree/ketchup.  Saute for approx. 15 mins, stirring regularly, then stir in the herbs, mustard and chestnuts.

Meanwhile put the cornflour and stock powder in to a mixing jug, stir in 400ml cold water and mix well.  Gradually pour the stock mixture in to the leek and mushroom mixture, mixing well with a spoon.  Simmer for a further 8-10 mins, until thickened.  Pour the mixture in to a casserole dish.

Unroll the puff pastry and use a rolling pin to make it bigger than the casserole dish, including some extra for decorative pastry (easy to make I promise!)  Place on top of the casserole dish and crimp the edges with a fork.  Cut out festive shapes (e.g. holly/Christmas tree) from the remaining pastry and place on top.  Use the beaten egg to secure them on to the pie and to cover the rest of the pastry.

Bake for 35-40 mins until golden.  Serve with roast veg.

Recipe adapted from Sainsbury’s magazine


Instant cheesecakes for the party season!

instant mini cheesecakes

I am always looking out for speedy ways to make tasty things so had to rip out this recipe from ASDA magazine.  These mini treats are a clever way to cheat at a cheesecake and it took just 7 minutes to make four of them!  They would work well on a platter as party food or served as dessert.  They are sweet and rich so one should be enough for most people, unless you have a particularly sweet tooth!  Use a sieve to dust with the icing sugar.

Instant cheesecakes (makes 4)


100g soft cheese

1 level tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

Few drops vanilla extract

4 level tbsp jam (I used raspberry conserve)

4 digestive biscuits

100g blueberries

Mix together the soft cheese, sugar and vanilla until soft.  Spread the jam on the digestive biscuits, then the cheese mix.  Top with blueberries, dust with icing sugar and serve.

From ASDA magazine

My spiced roast parsnip soup with parsnip crisps

This is a beautiful, warming winter soup that marries the sweetness of the roast parsnip with the mellow flavours of the spices.  Top it with a swirl of cream and homemade parsnip crisps and it looks proper snazzy.  Both the soup and crisps are easy to make but unless you are lucky enough to have two ovens you will need to cook them separately as they need different temperatures.  You could prepare the soup in advance and make the crisps just before serving if need be.  Or if you are not keen on parsnip crisps you could top the soup with shaved parmesan instead – just as gorgeous.  Allow about 50 mins in total if you have two ovens or 1 hour 15 mins if you have one.

roast parsnip soup parsnip crisps

You will need to buy a few spices if you don’t already own them but this is worth it as they are staple spices in Indian style cooking.  As the soup is quite subtle you could even try it out on kids..!

For more winter soup and topping ideas check out this previous post  And for straightforward and delicious recipes using similar spices click here

Roast parsnip soup with parsnip crisps (serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)


700g parsnips, 600g chopped in to small chunks plus 100g put aside for the parsnip crisps

1 onion, peeled and cut in to 8 chunks

Olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 veg stock cubes e.g. Oxo

Put the chopped parsnip and onion in a non-stick baking tray and coat in plenty of olive oil.  Shake over the spices and garlic and mix everything together so it is evenly coated.  Pop in the oven at gas mark 6 for approx. 30 mins until lightly browned and softish.  Ensure you shake the tray a couple of times during roasting to prevent burning.

Meanwhile/afterwards set the oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3.  Peel the remaining 100g parsnips (approx. one or two) in to thin strips, mix with plenty of olive oil and salt and pepper and spread evenly over a baking tray.  Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins until browned and slightly crispy but not burnt.  Keep a close eye on this.

Put the spiced roast parsnips and onions (not crisps!) in a saucepan and add a glass of hot water along with two crumbled stock cubes.  Blend in a mixer or with a hand blender and then add water gradually until you get the right consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you accidentally make the soup too watery just simmer it until it thickens.

Top with a swirl of single or double cream and the parsnip crisps and serve.