Local Heart, Global Soul

June 7, 2014

Team Awesome Pull Off A MasterPIEce….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A Foodie friend of mine had a brilliant idea a short while ago:  she formed a group called “Team Awesome” and decided to make a dinner based around a theme.

Fellow foodie friends were invited to participate, entry to the “event” would be a dish cooked per the theme.

This particular weekend the theme was “Pie” so everyone got their rolling pins and pastry dishes out as we stretched our imaginations and culinary skills and endeavoured to come up with a delicious result.

“Pie”, I might need to explain, is in Europe (and most of the world) a savoury dish and not a sweet one as it is in North America, so most of the results featured pastry cases with fillings of meat, vegetables or both.

The resulting “entries” on the table consisted of everything from tried and true recipes to first time “this sounds interesting, let’s have a go” efforts and everyone agreed that there was something to suit all tastes and plenty of fabulous flavours.

I didn’t get photographs of every dish: I photographed one of mine but actually made several, a sweet crust apricot pie (easy because I had made and frozen the filling from fresh apricots last summer).

A chicken pie (also because I found  some frozen chicken pie filling in the freezer that like the apricot one, desperately needed using) and a tart flambé, where I cheated  because I got the ready made ultra thin pastry from a German friend, and all I had to do was add crème fraîche and top with chopped onion and bacon before baking…

The sweet pastry for the apricot pie was done in minutes in my food processor and the pastry for the chicken pie was of the ready made variety from the supermarket, so work on my part was minimal.

The evening was a grand success, the food was delicious and we are looking forward to the next theme so that we can have as much fun a second time around. Dishes that got photographed include:

Cauliflower and caramelised onion pie with Gruyère cheese and Parmesan on top…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Steak, Guinness and Roquefort Pie…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cottage Pie…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Tarte Flambé with crème fraîche , chopped onion and bacon…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Pizza Pies! Tomato sauce and cheese (served toasted warm )…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chicken, bacon, apple pie…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Chilli chocolate tart with nut brittle…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lime curd / Marmalade meringue …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 30, 2012

Ingredient Search: Shortening

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In my quest to recreate a “proper” Kiwi-style meat pie in the Netherlands , I’ve come up against a few obstacles.

One of them was obtaining metal baking forms to get the classic pie shape. After searching high and low in the Netherlands (understandably) without success because there is no meat pie culture here,  I put it these baking forms my shopping list for our next trip to New Zealand and subsequently bought some in Christchurch New Zealand.

The other thing I was having trouble finding was shortening… a.k.a. lard.

Incorporating a small amount of shortening/lard into your shortcrust  pastry is what gives a flaky crisp bite to the crust rather than a soggy weak doughy mush… but finding shortening was turning out to be more of the hassle than I first thought.

First I asked in the supermarket… big mistake. I was directed to a block of  “bakboter ” which I know is a sort of cooking butter that I know my aunts like to fry meat in. I really didn’t think sounded right for my pastry at all but the lady pulled over a colleague and they both  insisted that this is what shortening was in the Netherlands.  I took some home and made pastry with it on more than one occasion… the pastry survived and was edible but it was light-years away from my Kiwi meat pies in taste.

Knowing that my pastry still wasn’t right my next step was to contact a butcher… and confirmed that what I needed wasn’t bakboter, but  “reuzel” (translates literally as pig or beef fat, lard, shortening).

I now have reuzel sourced from several butchers… if you want to get hold of some, be warned that some butchers no longer stock it because demand is so low these days.

Some would order it for me, one butcher said he only stocks a packet or two at a time and we got the last packet.  Another butcher had two packets and we took both. In all instances the reuzel  was frozen, so be prepared to buy it when you can get  back home in time to get it  into your freezer before it thaws.

One packet cost about Euro 2,50 for 250 grams, the other two at roughly the same weight (pictured in blocks) was a bit cheaper.

Ok, it’s fat, but shortening is also fat (just with a more politically correct name) and yes I have made several test-runs of pastry with shortening in it. The taste was a lot like the classic Kiwi meat pie that I’ve been missing from home.

Bearing in mind that making the pies is labour intensive and is nowhere on any health-food list,  I won’t be making them very often, but when I do I want them to taste like the real thing  and not some lacklustre  imposter, so I figure that the use of a little bit of shortening can be excused now and again.

So if you want to make  savoury pie with a crisp and flaky shortcrust pastry,  get friendly with your local butcher and find yourself some reuzel .

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My recipe called or half shortening and half margarine…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 29, 2012

Savouries and Goodies to Take Home…

Filed under: FOOD,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Reviews,Specialty — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and the kids have been very patient out the front of the bakery as they wait for me to complete my tour…

I watch as other savouries: sausage rolls, pasties and the like are sorted out the back and then make my way to the front counter to buy some goodies to take back with us.

Celia has a surprise for me… a gift box with four raspberry buns and some apricot pies!  Wow,  talk about “the icing on the cake”!  To say I’m delighted with our  unexpected gift is an understatement.  Fantastic!  Thank You so much Celia!!!

I’m also clutching the address of the place where I can buy pie forms to bring back to The Netherlands…  this visit has exceeded my expectations on so many levels  that it’s made my day.

The only shock has been walking back to the van parked just a short distance down the street and seeing so many gaps where buildings used to be. Before I got into the car I looked around, closed my eyes for a moment and tried to remember what  used to be in the gaps, with some I succeed but with others I draw a blank. It’s good to see other businesses here open though… and  people, the whole area is busy with people.

No matter what life (or Mother Nature) throws at you,  the owners and staff of Sydenham Bakery and all the other local businesses here  prove that they are resilient and with support from locals they are willing to pick up the pieces and get back to normal as much as possible.

One thing I’m certain about too… once fortified by a pie and a raspberry bun, you feel like you can take on the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 13, 2012

A Hilltop Café, a Welcoming Pie and Watties…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We didn’t have breakfast before we set out from the hotel this morning because it was an early start, the kids weren’t fully awake and we didn’t have breakfast food with us.

They were happy with the extra milk we got before we set out from the hotel  but muttered that they weren’t hungry.

We figured we’d hit the road first and stop for something along the way since stopping is an inevitable part of any Kiwidutch Family long car journey anyway.

After winding around hills for a while I felt the need for a breather, Little Mr. looked up from his Nintendo game and announced he needed a toilet stop and we all suddenly decided we were hungry.

Obligingly a few more kilometres up the road we came upon a hill-top Café and pulled in.

The weather wasn’t brilliant, the wind was picking up,  the temperature had dropped noticeably and there was a dampness in the air that promised that rain couldn’t be too far off  so a hot drink and something to eat started to become a better and better idea by the minute.

We got inside and found a large group of customers, but it seemed that many of them were on the point of finishing up and leaving so by the time we ordered we had a table with a view in the front part of the café that overlooked the  car-park and part of the road  to ourselves.

Kiwi Daughter spotted meat pies on the menu and I was subsequently  tempted away from a sandwich by a mince pie with Watties Tomato sauce.

Watties is a New Zealand “institution” …  yes, basically it’s tomato sauce,  a.k.a. “ketchup” but it tastes different to any ketchup you’ll ever have had before. Himself swore he hated ketchup until he tried Watties and now he’s as hooked as most Kiwi’s are.Don’t you know that it’s a known fact that any Kiwi pie tastes even better with Watties on it?  That’s as true as the day is long.

Our breakfast certainly tasted delicious and after a rotation of family members through the rest rooms we were fit and ready to do battle with a few more of State Highway 5’s many hills.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 7, 2011

When Puff the Magic Pastry wasn’t Quite what was Wanted..

Filed under: FOOD,Kids and Family,The Hague,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Kiwi Daughter’s efforts in going solo and making her first ever  family dinner.

It wasn’t however just the pasta she made, there was a dessert on the menu too. Again, from one of her recipe cards the recipe was simple in the extreme:  line a shallow dish with short-crust pastry,  spoon in 6 Tablespoons of  confiture  (jam/jelly) and bake in the oven.

I looked at the recipe card and thought to myself that a sweet crust, kind of shortbread would probably go better than shortcrust (which I personally associate more with savoury dishes) but I had had physiotherapy earlier in the afternoon and didn’t feel up to making my own,  either sweet or short, so I thought it might be ok to go against my instincts and just follow the recipe.

Since I of course could not just pop out to the supermarket, Himself was dispatched to our local supermarket with the most specific  instructions I could manage. (Last time we wanted Puff pastry he returned with Filo by mistake. It’s not that he’s not willing, but to him, it’s just that he said they all looked alike to him so did it matter?  and so when he returned triumphantly with a package that wasn’tFilo pastry, I was already really delighted.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sadly it seems that he couldn’t find anything that was labeled Shortcrust pastry so bought Puff pastry home instead so that he didn’t have to face Kiwi Daughter empty-handed and in the hope that they would be somewhat  interchangeable.

I  had my doubts, but Kiwi Daughter was all fired up with enthusiasm so I thought ” what the heck” and she set about following the recipe.

We thawed out the pastry,  Kiwi Daughter had her first ever full solo pastry rolling  experience  (she’s kind of done it before but usually would ask me to take over once the pastry started to get even remotely thin so that she didn’t make a mess of it.)

This time it was all hers, and she made a pretty good job for a  first effort too.

Like most pastry novices she heaped a small lorry load of extra flour in an attempt to make her rolling-pin stick less and she handled the dough like it was bread to be kneaded and not pastry that better prefers the hands-off approach,  but I know for a fact that we allstart making pastry with the same mistakes so was delighted that she managed to line the dish without too many patches needed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Knowing that I didn’t want our puff pastry to puff,  I set to work docking the pastry (pricking at all over with a fork) so that the steam could escape.

Then the recipe clearly said to use 6 Tablespoons of confiture (jam/jelly) but for a pie this size, I thought this  didn’t look like nearly enough so I got Kiwi Daughter to add  more (easily doubled it).

During the baking process we started to have confiture everywhere, spilling over, and once cooked and cooked the layer was far thicker than it really needed to be resulting in an overly sweet taste.

The end result wasn’t at all pretty like the picture on the card, but doused with enough whipped cream to dampen the sweetness, it was certainly edible.

In fact we all dispatched the evidence with rude and hearty haste.

Kiwi Daughter today not only learned to roll pastry. but also a valuable lesson on the hit and miss affair of not following the recipe.

The pastry worked, kind of… a sweet shortbread style crust would definitely have been better, and my suggestion to use more confiture was definitely not a good call. You can have too much of a good thing it seems.

That said, Kiwi Daughter was delighted with her efforts and we have already decided that one of her next lessons should be in making a sweet crust from scratch so that we can re-do this recipe more in the style to which it would be more accustomed.

Bravo for giving it a go my sweet… I’m proud of you!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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