|Fresh basil and chives taste nice but also leave the kitchen and my hands smelling nice when cutting them up|
I joined a website recently (Foodie Blogroll), partly to promote my blog, partly to meet other foodies and while looking in the forums I discovered they hold a little competition each month where you are given 3 ingredients and have a month to come up with something. This time, we were given September AND October instead of just September to get it done and the ingredients were garlic, sweet potato and citrus, I chose lemon. This is a good thing for people like me.
Being Spring here in Australia I thought I'd do something creative and a little "out there" and make a sweet potato ice cream/sorbet (depending on which one went better with the biscuit) with a wafer type of biscuit thing flavoured lightly with garlic (and maybe lemon juice). Everyone who heard my idea screwed up their face and poo poo'd my garlic biscuit idea. "You can't have a GARLIC biscuit with ICE CREAM!" they yelled at me.
WELL. Fortunately for them, perhaps, my ice cream machine was being held hostage at the house of a friend and I ran out of time to make experimental biscuit prototypes and things.
What on earth was I to do? I'm highly partial to these potato pies the bakery near my train station sells and I always think how I should try to make them. This is where my mind went last night. The pies I made are nothing like the ones from the bakery but who cares, THEY'RE MARVELLOUS AND I LOVE THEM. I WILL CALL THEM FRANK AND KEEP THEM FOREVER.
This was also my first attempt at piping. I envisioned beautiful piping and swirls of orange and white, sweet potato and regular potato in an entwining potato mash. I can tell you with all certainty that that is not how it looked. So I gave in and just lumped lots of mixed mash together and shaped it with a fork. I also used an instant mash potato which I'm sure some will gasp at. I don't drive and have to carry all my shopping home and was not interested in carrying a couple of kilos of potatoes home. No thanks. It also meant that I could use a mashed potato that already had onion in it.
Getting fancy can wait for another day I think.
It also gave me a chance to use some herbs from my new garden so that made me happy too.
Potato Pies with Sweet Potato and White Potato Mash.
500g beef mince
2 table spoons tomato paste
Gravy (I made some in a jug without measuring, but enough to cover the mince in a frying pan)
Herbs (I just took stuff from my garden; basil, parsley, chives), minced
Garlic, 5 cloves, mincedJuice from 1/4 - 1/2 lemon
1 sweet potato, cooked (steamed, baked etc)
1 kg of potatoes or a packet of instant potato mash
3 sheets of filo/puff pastry
Salt/pepper to taste
1. Brown the garlic in a pan on medium-low heat. I didn't have any but you could also add onion and mushrooms. Once the garlic has begun browning, add the mince.
2. Once the mince is brown add the tomato paste, you can add more if you like, as with the other ingredients. Just go with those measurements to begin with and taste and see if you think it needs a bit more or some other ingredient I didn't come up with. Add the chopped herbs, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Heat will evaporate some lemon juice so you can always add it at the very end if you prefer a stronger taste.
3. Once well coated, add the gravy and leave to simmer and thicken but make sure to stir frequently and to especially stir the bottom. The last thing you want is bits sticking to pan or burning.
4. Boil potatoes and make mashed potato, or make it with instant mash potato. Cook the sweet potato however you like. I guess it would change the depth of flavour. I steamed mine because it's easier for me and pretty damn hard to burn. Put some milk and butter and salt in both lots of mash for a creamier consistency. Combine both types of mash in a bowl and mix lightly, enough to have a swirled consistency but not lose the white mash.
5. Cut circles of pastry with round cookie cutters and place in muffin tray, or just make squares and have sticky outy bits if you're not too fussed about neat, round edges. Fill with mince and top with mash mixture and place in an oven at 175 C/345 F and just keep an eye on them. They should take between 10-20 minutes. They should look cooked but not burnt. Burnt is bad.
6. Take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tray. I discovered that taking them out too early leads to the pastry being soft and mushy and losing its round shape and potentially leaking all over your hands and burning you. ALSO bad.
|Mixed with the tomato paste and herbs, it's a gorgeous sight and smell|
|Make sure that there's enough gravy to cover all the meat and simmer away. If you didn't make enough just add more boiling water|
|I tend to use my cats as judges of my food. If they sneak a bite while I'm trying to take a photo, then it's a winner.|
|The pies with their original attempt at piping. They look like ugly, orange, brain pies and really don't have enough mash on there, not even an inch deep. Plus it made it impossible to show that there was 2 types of mash residing there.|
|I made a last ditch attempt on just 3 and gave up on the pretty piping idea and went berserk with a fork. Much prettier now.|
I decided to experiment with the remaining bits of pastry and cut them in to strips and blobbed the mash and mince, folded the pastry over and pinched it shut with a fork and baked at the same temperature as the pies for 10 minutes. These turned out very nice. As the mash was sealed inside the pastry it stayed soft. I would definitely make them again.
|I kept have to fending the pastry and mash of all things from the cats. They appear to have forgotten that they are cats and supposed to go for the meat. I won't tell them if you don't.|