Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicken and Yam Hand Pies

Hand Pies (meat pies or pasties)
Hand pies are a triangular shaped pastry with either a sweet or savory filling, formed by placing a dollop of filling onto a square piece of pastry then folded over and crimped shut to be either baked or deep-fried. Hand pies date back to the 19th-century England, where they were portable lunches for tin miners in Cornwall, located south-west of England . The pastry casing is known to be a convenient way to keep the filling warm and free of dirt where miners would hold the edges, eat the inside and discard the pastry when they were done.

The thought of throwing away the pastry seems nonsensical because it's part of the delicious experience! Perhaps the dough was made much tougher back then. Not in this recipe. I fell in love with it because it uses precooked filling ingredients (or left overs) and store-bought puff pastry for a q
uick and stress-free meal. The hand pies are so yummy, you can't have just one! Enjoy.

- 2 cups of leftover roasted yam or sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or 2% milk
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 cup Italian parsley
- coarse salt & ground pepper to taste
- all purpose flour for rolling
- 1 box of Tenderflake frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 cups of leftover roasted chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced into bite-size pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Did you know: Hand pies are a traditional meal in commonwealth countries and each country tends to have different crusts for their hand pies. In England the crust tends to be much lighter and flakier, like a puff pastry whereas Australia and New Zealand uses margarine rather than butter, giving the pies a different flavor.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl mash sweet potatoes with a fork and add cream, coriander, cumin and Italian parsley. Stir to combine and add salt & pepper to taste.

2. On a floured work surface, roll out puff pastry into two 12 inch squares, cut and divide into 8 squares. Divide sweet potato mixture among bottom halves of squares, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Top each with 1/4 cup chicken and few pieces of mozzarella the brush edges of squares with some egg. Fold top halves of squares over filling to make a triangle, then crimp edges with a fork. With a sharp knife, cut ventes in pastry and brush with remaining egg.

3. Transfer pies to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let pies cool for 10 minutes or serve at room temperature. So tasty!!!
Delicious Tip: Don't overfill hand pies, or they'll burst at the seams. Save any leftover filling for another use -- or another round of hand pies!
Recipe adapted by Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Bannock (fry bread)
Bannock made its way over to North America in the mid 1800's when large numbers of laborers came to work for the Hudson's Bay Company from Scotland. As a result, these Scottish laborers brought the traditions of making bannock with them. The fry bread is usually made of barely and oatmeal but the North American First Nations adopted bannock by preparing it with white or whole wheat flour, baking powder and water then baked or fried over fire.

Last week I visited my boyfriend, Jaeger, in the Klondike Gold Rush Capital, Dawson City. I've been missing him terribly because he has been traveling across the Yukon and B.C. for the past month. It was at Dawson City's Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre where we got to try the Tr'ondek Hwech'in Han
Nation's version of bannock. Kylie of the Han Nation, prepared us our scrumptious pan-fried raisin bannock. It had a crispy golden crust with a sweet and hardy doughnuty center. A true taste of Yukon golden heaven!
Did you know: Due to the depletion of large game because of the fur trade, First Nations people turned to food alternatives like Bannock for survival. The Hudson's Bay Company even sold flour below cost in some parts of Canada to discourage hunting. In turn, bannock became a staple food for the First Nations people.

6 cups flour (white or whole wheat or mix)
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 tbsp sugar
dried fruit or fresh berries of choice (optional)

2 -3 cups water
3-4 cups vegetable oil
Did you know: Bannock became popular with trappers and voyageurs because it was a long-lasting travel food that was easily portable while they were on the trail.

1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and desired dried fruit or fresh berries then thoroughly mix the dry ingredients.

2. Start adding water a little at a time and stir to form a soft dough.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy sauce pan (cast iron preferred) to 350 degr
ees F. Form soft dough into cakes approximately 3 " in diameter and 1/4" thick. Fry 3 or 4 bannock at a time for about 4 or 5 minutes per side, turning once until lightly golden brown. Serve with butter, jam and tea! Bannocklicious!
Delicious Tip: For a healthier version, bake the bannocks in a greased pan at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.