Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Angry Man's Lamb Pie & The Stealth Blue Sangria

"You made this? This Morning??"
Demos thinks that I am far from being domestic goddess worthy - and more lady of leisure than lady of the kitchen. But when the need arises  - I rise like a phoenix from ashes. Okay, thats a bit freakin' dramatic but the blog is The Empty Fridge for a reason.. and friends and family unfortunately have not associated me with culinary prowess in the past.

However, there has been a change in the air in the Demos and Gianna kitchen stadium. I have been cooking (gasp) quite a lot in fact. Dez is starting to get intimidated because (sorry) I am challenging his self appointed title of King of the Kitchen. Yes, he is a great cook, he won me over with food and is also very OCD in the kitchens, so I have always relied on him to feed me. Until Now. 

Consider this the first of hopefully many recipe posts at The not-so or maybe only-sometimes Empty Fridge. 
Lets start with the Sangria. The Stealth Blue Sangria which was made for the  Sydney Food Bloggers Spring Picnic. Why stealth? Because it was so deliciously sweet - it masked the presence of any alcohol. This drink was perfect for a nice spring picnic with thirsty food bloggers...and then BAM! The alcohol stealthy sneaks up.  So so so very easy to make and perfect for any upcoming spring or summer get together!
Ingredients
1 Bottle of Sweet white wine - I used of Lindemans Cawarra Porphyry
300 mls or more ;) Cointreau
1 Punnet Fresh Strawberries
1 Punnet Fresh Blueberries
2 Large Oranges
1 Litre Bottle of Lemonade - I used Schweppes
Method
1. In a deep container or punch bowl, mix the Wine and Cointreau with the blueberries, sliced strawberries. Slice one of the oranges into thin "circles" and then into quarters and mix it in.
2. Let the fruit soak in the alcohol for a while, I left this fruit in the freezer for an hour and a half (while I made the pies)
3. Squeeze the juice from the remaining Orange - approx 3/4 cups of OJ - into the mix it goes too.
4. Pour in the Bottle of lemonade and yell out "Arriba" because its that simple - you are done!

I added only a few drops of blue food colouring to fit in the Blue theme of the picnic, but because it is a white wine sangria you can make it pink, purple or green. Im convinced though that blue makes everything taste like bubblegum. I did not specifically choose the white wine - so I'm sure any sweet white will do. It was 9.30 am, I was at my local liquorland, and to avoid looking like an alcoholic I accepted the help of the shop assistant. He picked a good one! 
And now for the pies - The Angry Man's Lamb Pie. Why angry? It's my homage to Demos, I suppose. He's always ranting about and yelling, but that's because he is Greek and its a standard way of communicating - I have grown to tolerate love it. Greekapino is a made up word that describes our Kitchen - with Demos coming from a traditional Greek and Italian household and my background of Filipino food. Its just an explosion of culinary possibilities!
So yes..the pies. I usually make these with different fillings but its a great party idea because it is hearty, and easy to eat! I came up with the idea of the filling the night before - something a bit Greek to impress my man?
Ingredients (for the filling)
2 kgs Lamb Mince
1 small container / 500g of sliced kalamata olives
1 small container / 500g of sundried tomatoes, sliced
200 grams Pine nuts and slivered almonds
1/2 tbsp dried Oregano
200 grams Dodoni Feta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove of garlic finely diced
1/2 large red onion finely diced
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Salt and Pepper

9 Sheets of Puff Pastry
1 small egg, beaten for use as an egg wash

1. In a wok or saucepan heat the oil and then add the garlic and red onion.
2. Once brown, add the lamb mince, oregano and some salt and pepper.
3. Let the mince cook, and in a separate small pan toast the pine nuts with a tiny bit of olive oil.
4. Once the mince is cooked, place it in a mixing bowl. There will be a pool of juice in the bottom of the wok/pan - leave it there, you do not want soggy pies. Use tongs and drain as much liquid, don't fret you wont be loosing flavour at all.
5. Dont throw the liquid away just yet, add a bit of cornstarch to this and some cracked pepper. It forms a thick gravy - mix it well and set aside.
6. In the mixing bowl, add the olives, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts to the cooked meat. Add just enough gravy - 3-4 tbsp's worth to bind it all together.
7. This is the filling. Mix it through while playing Greek music in the background. Do the Zorba and break some plates if you must.
I used store bought puff pastry this time. Lies. I use it all the time. One day ill make my own buttery pastry the way Demos' grandmother does but for now Pampa's puff pastry will do. 

To construct these pies, thaw the pastry - its much more co-operative and workable at room temperature.Cut the large square pastry sheet into 4 smaller squares. Out comes the muffin pans (12 per pan), which has to be oiled lightly so that the pies don't stick. Stretch the smaller pastry square, lay it over a muffin crater and use your fist to press down to create a pastry "bowl". As the filling is placed into this "bowl" it sinks into the muffin crater and I crumble some feta on the top.

Gather the corners of the pastry to create something like a money bag - see the photo above. Brush the pastry with the egg was to create that golden sheen and in it goes into a pre-heated 190 degree oven - for 20 mins or until the pastry is golden brown.
Let it cool before munching into them of course! And make sure that there are no holes when you seal the pie parcels so that the juices or molten feta do not leak out. Easy Peasy and makes about 30 pies!

At the picnic, I served it with some Pukara Estate Garlic Mayonaise.
For my fellow bloggers at the Picnic, hope you enjoyed it as I much as I enjoyed cooking them. I have received some great comments on both dishes so I'm feeling very happy that they were well received by such awesome people - Thank you!

So friends, expect to see some random cook-offs here at The Empty Fridge - it should be entertaining! Happy Eating Everyone!

14 comments:

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Those lamb pies were amazing and the blue sangria was very easy drinking :)

Simon @ the heart of food said...

Sangria was welcome relief considering it was pretty much the only beverage at the picnic.

Under different circumstances, I could easily see myself downing 3-4 of those pies without a second's thought.

Great work!

Trisha said...

I can't believe I missed out on this too! I missed out on alot of different dishes waaaahh

Mrs FBC @ Fatbellyclub said...

I missed out on the lamb pies too.
I love the sound of a a'Greekapino' kitchen - I'm picturing wacky fusion cooking :)

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

YAY! These were so good! Nice flaky pastry and yummy filling! Totally would not have thought it'd come from someone that doesn't cook. They look pro but what I am impressed with is how uber easy they are to make!

And sangria was the bomb! So easy to drink!

the dainty baker said...

That sangria was the bomb!!! and the lamb pies!! delicious!

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

Thanks Guys! For those who were able to try it - im so so so happy that you got to enjoy it! They were made with love! You guys are so awesome - I have a warm and fuzzy feeling inside because you are all such awesome cooks and you enjoyed my dish!

For those who missed out - that what you get for overlooking me to attack the sweets! Only joking :D

Such an easy way to make pies, I should re-name this post to "Cheaters Guide to Pie Making"

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