pastry

antique roadshow

roasted pumpkin & hempseed spelt pasties

After another rather deep conversation about the goings on of the planet and our place on it, a beautiful friend of mine proposed a beautiful thing; can we have a play date and remember that carefree joy that sits in us somewhere under the seriousness of how we’re planning to save the world? Instantly on board with the idea, my mind went to setting up jumps for the ponies (our legs) that would be racing around the hill next time we caught up. That little gem of a game featured heavily in my childhood so it was a given it would be the first thing to come to me, but thinking about it a little more, I kind of felt a bit sad that we might have to organise play for ourselves, that it did seem like quite a while since that easy, go-with-the-flow creative process had us captured in that wonderful place of no time and no expectation. A heavy sigh out let in a gorgeous visual vignette of antique shops, a packed lunch, thermos of tea and laughing in the car – a road trip – of course! Grown up play of the very best kind.

Just thinking about what we’d have on our roadside picnic had the creative process started, food always does it. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes cooking can be a drag, but when you take the expectation away the whole concept flips itself into the same territory as finger painting or potato stamping. Good stuff. So, with the current roast-ahead-to-make-easy-meals-later theme at play in our kitchen, I had some roasted pumpkin ready to go, the hemp seeds came out of the fridge and some lemon thyme and sage joined in to make pasties. Because that’s what the miners used to eat, and we were heading into old mining towns, and somehow this all made sense at the time. You know how it goes.

It was the very shiniest of days as we set ourselves up on a blanket in the overgrown grounds of an unused church, drinking kombucha, eating pasties and rocket salad with sauerkraut and pesto, and chatting about everything and nothing. The raw chocolate and tea was saved for our next stop further up the road and every little antique shop in every little town we drove through filled in the blanks along the way. As we stopped to watch the sunset on the way home, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where the sky was so big we had to turn the music way up in the car to do the scene soundtrack justice, we vowed to make this a seasonal event at the very least. Given, eating vegan food and antique shopping in quiet country towns isn’t the wildest thing we could all imagine doing, it’s our new favourite game. And don’t worry, we giggled at that too.

 

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Roasted Pumpkin & Hempseed Spelt Pasties

makes 4 pasties

for the spelt pastry:

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

enough water to pull dough together

Himalayan salt, to taste

for the filling:

1/2 organic pumpkin (about 4 cups), cut into 2cm cubes, skin on and roasted

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp organic lemon thyme, chopped

2 tbsp organic fresh sage, chopped

4 tbsp organic hempseeds

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Then slowly add a little water until the dough pulls together to form a ball. 

To make the pumpkin filling, simply combine all the ingredients without mashing the pumpkin up too much in the process. If you’d rather not have the skin as part of the plan, remove it prior to mixing, but I love the texture it adds so I’ve left it on in this recipe.

Remove the dough and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 20cm in diameter and place a quarter of the pumpkin mixture along the centre line in a small mound, tapering off at each end.

Using your fingers to wet the edges of the pastry, pull the two sides of the pasty over the top of the filling and press together using your finger and thumb to concertina the join. Work all the way down to each end of the pasty and finally fold the very last piece of dough at each end over itself to completely seal the pasty.

Repeat with the remaining dough and mixture to end up with 4 pasties.

Brush a little almond or soy milk across the tops of the pasties and put into the preheated oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry just starts to colour and is cooked through on the bottom. This is not the kind of pastry that puffs up, so don’t wait for that as the sign it’s ready!

When the pasties are cooked, remove from the oven and slide onto a cooling rack to ensure they don’t end up with soggy bottoms. Nothing worse.

We ate our’s with sauerkraut which I’d highly recommend as the perfect accompaniment but I’d never say no to a good homemade tomato sauce either.

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sheep in wolfe’s clothing

Spanikopita

A bunch of us went to see David Wolfe last night and because the drive was a little over an hour, and because we’re all food obsessed, and because it’s hard not to be into the ‘ladies-bring-a-plate’ notion when you live in the country – we had a car picnic. One hell of a car picnic!

It’s such a cool thing when telepathy takes care of who’s bringing what and you end up with a 3 course meal that covers the full spectrum of colours and flavours. We had a wildcrafted saffron and split pea soup (in a thermos of course), carrot and quinoa salad and beetroot and orange salad, a version of Spanikopita filled with most of our garden and ‘tofu turned feta’, with tamarillo and chilli chutney, and for dessert, raw cacao tart with raspberry puree, perfectly presented in a jar for easy eating at the red lights on the way home. It was a carload of pretty happy campers I can tell you, and that’s apart from the epic proportion of jocundity a couple of hours hanging out in David Wolfe’s buzz leaves you with. Ridiculous levels of knowledge with an imp-like demeanour. Intoxicating combination in a man.

The theme gets a bit wonky when it comes to the Spanikopita though because it wasn’t raw. It was half a garden’s worth of chlorophyll though, so points there. And the feta wasn’t really. It was tofu. A sheep in wolf’s clothing so to speak. It’s been on high rotation at our table this week. It’s not tricky to do, more of a time thing, but worth the forethought for sure.

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Spanikopita

serves 4-6

 

1 packet organic firm tofu

3 tsp Himalayan salt

2 cups water

3 -4 tbsp organic herbs (rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay)

juice of 1/2 organic lemon

 

organic raw coconut oil, for sauteing

1 giant bunch organic greens (spinach, silverbeet, cavalo nero)

2 organic leeks

2 tbsp fresh organic marjoram

1 1/2 tsp organic smoky paprika

8 – 10 phyllo pastry sheets 

extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground pepper

Himalayan salt

 

To make the tofu-turned-feta, cut the tofu into 1cm cubes and place into a saucepan with the water, salt, herbs and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer, liquid and all, to marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, thaw the phyllo sheets and pre heat the oven to 180C.

In a large saucepan, melt a little coconut oil and fry the sliced leeks and roughly chopped greens until soft, but not mushy. Add the marjoram, remove from heat and season to taste, stirring through with the paprika. 

Brush a pie dish or enamel pan with olive oil and place 2 sheets of phyllo across the base and up the sides. Oil those sheets and place another 2 on top at a right angle. Oil those and place the final 2 on top, again at a right angle.

Fill the pastry with the cooled greens and leek mixture and add the drained tofu. 

Wrap the pastry over the mixture, like an envelope, sealing with a little more oil. The last 2 sheets of phyllo, I scrunched up to make the top of the spanikopita a little fancier, but that’s absolutely optional. Brush the top of the pastry with more oil and grind some pepper over the top with a sprinkle of salt before placing into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

When nicely browned, remove from the oven and serve while the pastry is still lovely and crisp.

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