Today I’m thrilled to welcome on the blog one of my favourite bloggers: Rachel from Reality Chick! Reality Chick is one of the first blogs I started reading after I relocated to Australia in late 2009, way before I became a blogger myself. I had never read blogs when I was living in Japan, in the UK nor in France, and this was a whole new world to me. I love Reality Chick because I find that it’s one of the only sites in Australia that openly talk about relationships and sex, with no taboo. I relate to the way Rachel writes her site, with straightforwardness and humour. I read it regularly and like to take part in some of the hot conversation topics! Now place to Rachel!
GUEST POST: Reality Ckick’s I Love You Chicken and Leek Pies + Balsamic Strawberry Delight
I’m an advice columnist blogger, for those of you who don’t know me. Those of you who do – hi!
Something I don’t really bang on about on my blog is my passion for cooking, but it’s an ongoing love affair for me and the best way I know how to chill out. I generally keep it yummy but healthy, because I sit on my butt far too much than is good for me (as do most writers, probably).
I’m not really a slavish recipe follower, but I’ll dip in and out of cookbooks for ideas, and I get my telly fix from the likes of MKR, Nigel Slater, Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. I’ve even learned new tricks from those Junior Masterchef kids. Who the heck are these freaks of nature? At their age my repertoire consisted of pikelets.
Things have changed in my kitchen these days, but I still had a moment of panic (or ten) when Mademoiselle Slimalicious and I cooked up an idea for a romantic guest post. Dealing with questions about sexless marriages and dating dilemmas – no dramas. Creating a dinner menu for a lover befitting one of my favourite blogs? I’ve never changed my mind on a menu quite so many times.
In the end, it had to be this two-course winter warmer. I can’t quite claim credit for the dessert; it’s my friend Victoria Hannaford’s recipe, but it’s such a lovely end to the meal after tucking in to what’s quite a rich little chicken pie. Overall, this meal is more rustic than posh, but it’s perfect for a cold night cosying up on the couch. You can also inject a bit of romantic fun into it by including a pastry ‘message’ on top of the pie like I did – like ‘I love you’, ‘Eat me!’ or just a pet name. You’ll want to see your lover’s face when you bring it to the table! Never fails to delight. Enjoy.
I Love You Chicken and Leek Pies
Serves 2 in 400ml oven dishes, or 4 in 250ml oven dishes
- 1 large leek, trimmed, sliced thinly
- 2 chicken breasts pulled from a roast chicken and roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 1 slurp of olive oil
- ½ to ¾ cup (185ml) of chicken stock (or 2 Massel stock cubes dissolved in boiling water)
- ½ to ¾ cup (185ml) of evaporated milk (or actual full-cream milk)
- 2 large sheets of puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (or 375 degrees F).
- Slurp the oil into a wide saucepan over medium heat and add the leeks. Stir and cook until the leeks soften – about 3-5 minutes.
- Tip in the flour and stir all through the leeks to combine – it should look like dry, floury leeks.
- At this point, gradually add the chicken stock and evaporated milk and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Add the chopped chicken, stir, season to taste. Add more liquid if it’s too dry – you don’t want it runny, but quite thick and saucy.
- Remove from heat and spoon the chicken and leek mixture into ovenproof dishes. I use two 400ml Ecology terracotta paella bowls with handles because Mr Chick and I are too greedy for our own good. However, the mixture would easily stretch to 4 x 250ml dishes.
- Cut a strip from the pastry sheet and stretch around the top of the dish. Then, cut a ‘lid’ for the top of the pie, making sure you keep some extra pastry aside. Place lid of pastry onto the pastry strip, and seal the two layers together all the way around the dish by pressing down with the back of a fork. Cut a cross in the centre of the pie for steam to escape.
- Take the remaining pastry and roll into long thin pieces. These can be used to create letters and the message on top of your pie, which will puff up with the pastry as it cooks. As you can see in the photo I put ‘RC’ and ‘Mr Chick’ on top of our pies.
- Brush the pastry, the edges and the letters with the beaten egg and pop pies into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve pies on their own or with a green salad.
Balsamic Strawberry Delight
Serves 2 in martini glasses
- 1 punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped in half
- 2 generous tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 2 heaped tablespoons of slivered almonds
- 2 heaped tablespoons of vanilla bean yoghurt
- Get two small pans on the hob on a medium heat. In one, sprinkle in the slivered almonds and toast until brown. Keep an eye on them, because they will burn easily! Once brown, take off and set aside.
- Pop the chopped strawberries in the other pan along with the vinegar. Stir, turning, until the strawberries soften a little and caramelise on the cut side – about 2 minutes.
- Divide the hot strawberries into martini glasses, top with the yoghurt and then, the warm toasted slivered almonds.
- Serve. For a healthy dessert, this is seriously yum.