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Spicy Lentil and Lamb pies

November 28, 2011
Spicy Lentil 'n' Lamb pies ready for scoffing.

People that know me, know i love mince…and pastry.  If you are bored with mince and pies, stop reading.


I love lentils too. Cheap and easy.  So I thought, why not combine them?

And here I present….spicy lentil and lamb pies. The perfect friday night meal.

First things. An onion is always a nice way to start the good smells in the kitchen. I like red ones, cos they are purdy.  He gets all chopped up reasonably fine.

Chopped onion ready to rock

Chopped onion ready to rock


Then, the onion gets reasonably lonely, so why not make him friends with an anchovy? Don’t be scared, he’s only as slimy as a used car salesman.  Throw some garlic in there too for good measure.

Anchovy Fillet

One solo Anchovy. All alone.


Then let these guys sweat in out for  a bit.


Sweating the veg

"it's a tad warm in here"


Now, Lentils and lamb are great. However we want to add some “jush” to this. So  a teaspoon of coriander and cumin are added.


Spices added

"Yellow....Is it me your looking for?"-You know the Lionel Richie classic 🙂


Then in with the Lamb mince to brown a bit, and then the lentils. ( I used tinned, because that was what was in the cupboards). And then some chicken stock-or whatever stock you have kicking around.


lentil and lamb mix

"Blob blob blob".


Now whilst this is cooking, taste it. I like it with a bit of a kick, so a few glugs of Louisiana hot sauce are always welcome. Anything with a peppery piquancy is perfect!


Right. once it has absorbed most of the liquid take it off and let it cool.  Get your pastry out of the freezer-I used puff sheets. I just don’t have the time to faff around making puff pastry.

I made squares, but rounds are easy too.


Lay it out, filling in the middle, then folded, crimped and eggwashed.

Pies ready for the oven

Quick eggwash and then it's time for baking


Reasonably hot oven(about 190) and 20 minutes later……..


Spicy Lentil 'n' Lamb pies ready for scoffing.

Spicy Lentil 'n' Lamb pies ready for scoffing. Wine is a great addition to the recipe and cooking process.

Really easy. Really cheap. And scoffed. These reheat really well, and with summer pretty much here, perfect for picnics!





Quick noms

November 23, 2011




Just a few quick shots until I can sort my tumblr feed 🙂

Fish was great on the courgettes, baked chicken & rosti was delish, and crazy chicken/bacon penne was ultra-savoury.

Hogging the Hogget

November 6, 2011

It’s Sunday, end of the weekend for most. For me however it’s my Monday. After a whole one day off  due to some Friday conference action I’m still knackered.

Nursing a bruised and battered ankle from tennis during the week, you could say I’m a pretty goddamn happy chappy.

However, on the car ride home on Friday my boss handed me these. Hogget chops. I havent had these in years, but they are pretty tasty.

BOSS hogget?

Not heaps in the fridge. But I was thinking something to cut thru the fattiness. Of which there is a bit around the sweet sweet morsels of meat.

Now I’m starting a new blog called which is for family meals under $10. I’m not sure how much these chops would be worth, so its going to be a Pinkysbits meal for today.

So, I manage to scrounge a few spring onions and some leeks, sweat ’em quickly with some garlic and ginger.

No so springy now...

Then in goes some soy and a splash of balsamic to help cut through some of that hogget fattiness.

Spring onions, garlic and soy/balsamic....a total nom mess.

This is reduced a little.

While all this is going on, my trusty rice cooker is doing its thing.

$30, 3 years old. And still the best rice ever.

People may say “why do you need a rice cooker?”   To this I reply…..”millions of Japanese can’t be wrong.”  It takes twenty minutes, you just chuck in the rice and water and its DONE.

Back to the hogget. I finally dust off my cast iron pan again and throw in those chops. Well…GENTLY. Hot oil burns kids. BURNS.

Brown baby brown.

Now these just got coloured on both sides. Then it was back into the sauce to braise for a bit.


Then it was off to the bucket garden to get some lettuce and the first radish of the season.

I wanna radish!

Then its time to eat!

All done. Nice easy sunday night meal.

Chicken, leek and tarragon pies.

September 20, 2011

Pies. What can’t they do.

They can cure a hangover, cover you in pastry flakes, provide a wrapper for all kinds of fillings, be savoury or sweet, and fit in the palm of your hand.

I like pies.

No, actually I LOVE PIES.

My fave has to be steak and cheese, but today I had some chicken to use up. It was frozen, and had been defrosted, so it was to the kitchen to make stuff.

Today its going to be chicken pies. But as they say on telly, just a wee bit fancy. Chicken, leek and tarragon  I reckon.

Right, choppity chop!

Who leeked?

Slice some leeks. Sweat ’em with a bit of garlic and olive oil. Till nice and soft.

Stirring the bubblin' broth.

Now, I’m being cheap and dont have any stock in the cupboard. So its just going to have to be water with some salt n pepper. And of course, what marries well with some chicky? TARRAGON.

On a side note I managed to KILL a microwave when I was working early on in my youth. Using the microwave to reduce some vinegar and tarragon for a dressing. It boiled over….and Mr microwave DID NOT like it.

Anyways to this nice broth, some small diced chicken breast is added. Real small, because I dont want to overcook it.

Chicken. Chopped.

Few mins later its done!

Then out with the goodies.


Then the sauce goes back in the pan in the pan, and then thicken it a bit with cornflour. Usually I’d reduce it, but I’m worried about it being a bit too salty.

Now tonight I’m thinking individual pies. That way I’ve got lunch sorted!

Muffin tins are prepped.

Yes, its store-bought pastry. Do YOU make your own puff pastry?

Filling is added.

Pies. Slighty naked.

Capped, washed and ovened.

Blurry for heat effect.

Done and done.

Mr Puffy was feeling...well....kinda puffy.

Alternate view for the the directors commentary fans.

I also made another one with shortcrust that I had kickin around.

More of a classy number. Something you could take home to mum.

Verdict on these….mega noms up! Tasted so so good.

Even managed to impress the peeps with these at work, made the kitchen smell nice and tarragon-y….(I guess thats a word?)

Chunky Smoked Hoki Chowder

August 12, 2011

Its winter. Its cold. those in the know reach for soup in these trying times. Me, I think along the same lines as the Jello Biafra and his Dead Kennedys. “Soup is good food”.

However, a plain ‘ol tomato or Leek ‘n’ Potato just isnt going to cut today. This boy needs some chunks.

So I have this. Smoked Hoki. great value, these slabs were 5 bux. Ok, its frozen, but its a nice piece of protein, and what I’m going to do with it is magical.

Fish anyone? Yessir-two slabs please!

Now, I need some starch. Nice diced potatoes go into the pot.  Cooked until tender.

Cubed and cooked. Just like all good spuds should be.

Once they are done, its time to make a veloute.(like VELVET silly). Butter, flour, and then some stock to make a smooth velvetly mix.(There is some leeks in there that been sweated earlier).

Velvetyness is on its way...


Then, my dirty little secret. A little Harissa paste, to add some colour, and a nice warming zing to the proceedings. Or should I say “my spicy and interesting bit on the side”.

Then the diced fish.


Cook for  a couple of mins, then serve. Beautiful, nourishing, and much like me: Cheap.

A soup fit for a king. Or half an Elvis.



Sloppy Joes and Dirty hoes.

August 4, 2011

It was  a saturday, and shopping day was still a few days away.

To the freezer! Found some pork mince. I LOVE pork mince. SO versatile, and pretty darn economical. Plus the fat content is good.

Mincy. Porky. Nommy.

And, everyone knows that New Zealand is famous for books about doing thousands of things with mince. And why the hell not I say! You can do heaps and heaps and heaps!

All I could think of Sloppy Joes, although the extent of my knowledge of those is the Simpsons, and some other cartoons. Wikipedia tells me that they are pretty much mince with hamburger buns.

So screw that, I’ve only got Pitas.

So, here I was armed with half a kilo of pork mince…..and some veg.

You veges have got the chop!

Bit of  leek, bok choy and mushrooms get a quick sweat.

Gonna make you sweat....*80's toones*

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes. (the great Pantry standby).

I recently read an american gardening blog about tomatoes, and they were calling them 'Maters. My new fave term.

Simmer for a bit, add a few mixed herbs and some tomato paste. Plus a bit of feta for saltiness.

Then into the oven, to dry out a little.

Cooking down for ultimate nom-ness. This was a rich rich sauce. Hairs on chest were sprouted.

After 20 mins,  out it comes, and into some pita pockets.

Dinner is served. Not to sloppy, but pretty goddamn tasty.

Totally nommerific!

Lentil, Bacon and Harissa Winter Warmer.

July 15, 2011

Now I’m not sure about you, but winter in the Wairarapa is just brutal. I hate the cold, and it’s just starting to turn these last few weeks.

This was on the top of a bucket of water in the garden this morning.....

Now that I’m a dad, I’m trying really hard to make nutritious meals, on a budget. Becoming quite the bargain hunter at the supermarket(yep-thats one of my duties now!). And after all the RUBBISH news of food prices, and skyrocketing stuff going on, I relish in making things that are an efficient use of money.

I like lentils, and so does my wife. But they can be BORING. Cue boring tasteless student food, with no seasoning, slopped up in cracked bowls, and a grimace.

Never Fear! There is one thing that can save Lentils. Sorry vegetarians, but its BACON. Salty, smoky, beautiful bacon.

Bacon. You sexy fatty beast

And also HARISSA. I’m on a bit of a Harissa kick at the moment, this Tunsian chili concoction has warmed my cockles and my heart.


So, I went about it this way.

Sweat some onions and garlic.

"gonna make you sweat"

Add the bacon bones(CHEAP!)-I’d chopped these a tad smaller to fit in the pot. Then a couple of spoons of Harissa. Let the Bacon and onions cook in this for a bit.


Then some red lentils and stock. I used chicken, but vege would be fine.

Bones and lentils. The making of something purdy......I guess.


Up to the boil then a simmer until the lentils are tender.

Check out the colour. Its orange/red. Which is like FIRE. Which means WARMTH. (are you hearing this toes….?)



Then the bacon bones are removed, the meaty stuff chopped up finely.

Then back into the pot, and served with some crusty bread.


Hells yeah, Dinner is done!

Perfect winter nourishment, and one that pleases a crowd. Bonus points-its wont break the bank.