Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chicken, grape and champagne pie.

It has been so cold here! We have been having a bucket load of rain. Which is not very common for us in Australia. It has literally been raining non-stop for the past week. This sort of weather cries out for warm, hearty, comfort food...

Recently I joined our local library. As we live in a (very) small town now, the local library is one of only half a dozen facilities here. I found a number of cookbooks and gardening books though, and have spent many nights curled under a blanket reading through them.

My favourite book discovery has by far been Maggie Beer's "Maggie's Kitchen". Seriously, where has this cookbook been all my life? Her recipes are brilliant, slightly complex but very achievable, and after cooking this incredibly delicious pie, and am having a difficult time deciding what to cook next.

So I thought I should share this recipe with you. However, be warned, it is amazing. You will end up with a pie that people would swear came from a gourmet pie shop. The combination of flavours and the sour cream pastry really is that good!

Chicken, Grape and Champagne Pie


40g butter
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
3-4 large chicken thigh fillets with skin-on (about 770 g), cut into 3/4" square pieces
sea salt
2 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup Champagne or sparkling white wine
1/4 cup plain flour
1&1/2 cups chicken stock
1&1/2 tablespoons finely chopped French tarragon
1&1/2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
225g seedless green grapes (to yield 1 cup picked grapes)
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh removed and rind rinsed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons verjuice
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray, for greasing
1 egg, lightly beaten

Sour Cream Pastry
250g plain flour
200g unsalted & chilled butter
120ml sour cream (approx)


Heat butter in a large frying pan over high heat until nut-brown, then add a splash of olive oil. Season chicken with salt, then sauté in batches until lightly coloured. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add leeks and garlic to the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high, then deglaze pan with Champagne or sparkling white wine and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until wine has reduced by half. Sprinkle in flour and whisk in well to combine, then add stock and bring to the simmer. Add chicken, and thyme, stirring gently to combine, and then cook for 4-5 minutes. Add verjuice and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add Tarragon and preserved lemon, season with pepper and add salt if needed. Remove chicken from heat and when cooler add grapes and then pop into the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, make sour-cream pastry. To do this chop all the butter into small cubes. Weigh flour and put into mixer. Blend flour and butter until it resembles a large breadcrumb consistency. Add 2/3 of the sour cream. Then continue adding slowly until dough forms a ball. Turn onto a floured bench and pull together with your hands into a rectangle shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes before rolling out and lining your tin.

Preheat fan-forced oven to 220 deg C.
Now grease either one large pie tin or four individual ones, depending on how you want to make this pie up. Roll out pastry, line the bottom of the tin, but remember to keep enough pastry to cover the top of the pie too! I like to brush the tops of my pies with some egg, and then sprinkle over some herbs. Don’t forget to make little slits in the tops of your pies with a sharp knife too. Bake for 25-35 minutes (until top is golden).

If you would like to learn more about this amazing cook, you can visit her website here.

Let me know how you go,

Sam xox

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cherished collections.

Casey from Elegant Musings is running a blog tour, and I am lucky to be part of it. The theme Casey chose was "cherished collections" and bloggers were asked to show collections that are precious to them - whatever the items might be!

I thought this would be a good way to get myself back into the blogging grove after our move. Today I am only able to show you one of my collections, as I am currently using my laptop through the internet on my iphone - not a lot of data and a pretty weak signal :-(

Once we have internet (and I am able to upload lots more pics) I will show you the others.

This is my Royal Doulton Tea Trio's collection. Most of these I have purchased through eBay, both Australia and internationally. I adore tea trios. I think they are soooo feminine and I love the vintage designs.






'Royalty' c.1942

'Showers' c.1935


Sam xox