Kookoo Goosht – Persian Meat Frittata

Kookoo Goosht - Persian Meat Frittata

Kookoo are a popular Persian meal or snack and are best described as a kind of Frittata. You can get a vast variety of different kookoo, one of the most popular being kookoo sabzi which is made with copious amounts of fresh herbs and eggs and is nearly always on the menu for Persian New Year (Nowruz). The other kookoo which I’ve posted and love is kookoo baghali which is made with broad beans and dill. This time I’m sharing the other kookoo that we eat at home regularly, kookoo goosht. You can use any type of lean minced meat you like but it is traditionally made with minced lamb. I like to mince the lamb myself to ensure that it is very lean but you can substitute it with beef, chicken or even turkey. Kookoo can be eaten hot or at room temperature. They make a great lunch with a side salad and some flat bread but I also like to serve them as an appetiser to a Persian meal or as a side dish.

Ingredients – Makes one 30cm cookie which can be sliced into 8 pieces

2 small white onions finely diced
Vegetable oil, something neutral tasting such as sunflower oil or rice bran oil
½ teaspoon turmeric
700g lean minced lamb – you can substitute with beef, chicken or turkey
6 extra-large eggs. organic or free range if possible
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a 30cm non stick fry pan. When the oil is hot add the onions along with a pinch of salt and cook until caramelised and golden brown. Add the turmeric and stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mince and turn the heat up slightly and cook the meat, making sure it is well crumbled and separated, until the meat has changed colour, is starting to brown and all the juice from the meat has evaporated. Remove from the heat, season well with salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Onions for Kookoo Kookoo Goosht

In the meantime break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until the yolks and whites are combined. When the meat has cooled add it to the eggs and stir through. Heat the same frypan (no need to wash it) over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the base of the pan by a ½ centimetre. Add the mince and egg mixture, spreading it out evenly over the base of the pan, especially the sides. Turn the heat to low and cook covered with a mesh cover (an oil splash guard is ideal) for 30 minutes. The reason behind the mesh cover is that it lets a little bit of evaporation occur while keeping the heat level just right.

Kookoo Goosht Kookoo Goosht

After 30 minutes the kookoo should be just set and ready to flip over. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut the kookoo in the pan into four even slices and then flip each slice over. Continue to cook on the other side for 5 more minutes by which time the kookoo will be completely set. Serve straight away or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.

Kookoo Goosht - Persian Meat Frittata

Cinnamon Raisin Buns

Best Ever Cinnamon Raisin Buns
A while ago I posted a recipe for one of the easiest homemade breads I’ve ever made – Asian milk bread, which I used to make ham and cheese buns. There are so many ways that this basic dough recipe can be used, and as promised, here is another incarnation using the same basic milk bread dough. These buns are as soft and pillowy and sweet and delicious as they look. This clever dough replicates all the great qualities of a brioche although it contains no butter and is far simpler to make than a traditional brioche dough. These buns are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee in the morning or afternoon and even as a cheeky breakfast. Next time I make this amazing dough it will be for hot dog and hamburger buns which I think will work a treat as the dough is firm enough to hold a substantial filling but soft and yielding at the same time.

Ingredients – Makes 12 buns  Adapted from Woks of Life

For the bread dough:
⅔ cup cream (at room temperature)
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon milk (at room temperature)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup cake flour, or ½ cup plain flour with ½ a tablespoon on flour removed and replaced with corn flour
3½ cups bread flour or plain flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
To finish the buns:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½-⅔ cup raisins
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water to form an egg wash
simple syrup: 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Method

Start by making the bread dough. In the bowl of a mixer, add the cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt (in that order). Using the dough hook attachment, turn on the mixer to “stir.” Let it go for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to push the dough together. After 15 minutes, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough will grow to 1.5 times its original size.

Asian Milk Bread Dough Asian Milk Bread Dough

After the bread dough has proofed for an hour, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes to get rid of air bubbles. Dump the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a rough 8×4 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and dot with a few raisins. Roll into a cigar, and cut the cigar in half lengthwise, leaving one end attached (it’ll look like a pair of pants). Twist the two pieces together, and then roll the whole thing into a snail shape, tucking the ends underneath the bun. Lay on a baking sheet, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise for another hour.

Cinnamon Raisin Buns Cinnamon Raisin Buns
Cinnamon Raisin Buns Cinnamon Raisin Buns using Asian Milk Bread Dough

Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the risen buns with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Right after they’re baked, brush with simple syrup.

Best Ever Cinnamon Buns

Egg Fried Rice

Kylie Kwong Egg Fried Rice

When we eat at Chinese restaurants I always order plain steamed rice. As much as I adore fried rice I find plain rice a better accompaniment to all the rich dishes that are normally ordered. So for me fried rice is usually something I make at home as I like to eat it on its own or with something very simple like white poached chicken. I’m always on the hunt for a really good fried rice recipe and this classic egg fried rice by Kylie Kwong is one of the best I’ve tried. As Kylie suggests it’s best to eat fried rice with chopsticks as it’s so delicious it would be easy to finish a large bowl of this very quickly with normal cutlery. One golden rule for good fried rice is to always use day old cooked rice. If you cook rice and use it straight away for fried rice you will just end up with a gluggy mess. Whenever I cook plain rice I always make extra to freeze, this way I can quickly defrost it whenever I feel like cooking fried rice. Talking about leftovers I sometimes turn this recipe into pork fried rice by replacing the bacon with leftover roast pork which I dice up and freeze – tastes delicious and a great way to use up leftovers.

Ingredients – Serves 4 as a side dish  Adapted from Kylie Kwong

Peanut oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thick-cut slices of bacon, sliced 1/2 inch pieces – I sometimes replace this with diced leftover pork. You can also leave it out if you want it to be vegetarian
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
5 cups cooked white rice, chilled or at room temperature – it’s crucial for the rice to be at least a day old. Fresh rice will just turn gluggy.
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2  tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
5 spring onions, thinly sliced
Optional – ½ teaspooon Maggie Seasoning – available from most supermarkets in the Asian section or where they keep stock cubes. This magic seasoning imparts a great authentic taste to stir fries and fried rice.

Method

In a large wok or fry pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the peanut oil until very hot. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and pour into the wok. Scramble the eggs over high heat until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Scrambled Eggs for Fried Rice

Add the bacon (or the pork if you are using it) to the wok and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the plate with the eggs.  Heat the 3 more tablespoons of peanut oil in the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over high heat for a couple of  minutes. Add the onion and cook until golden.

Stir in the rice wine and sugar and cook until the rice wine is reduced by half. Add the rice, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Maggie seasoning if using, sesame oil, reserved eggs, bacon and all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions. Season with salt and stir-fry until the rice is hot, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining scallions and serve.

Kylie Kwong Egg Fried Rice with Pork

Homemade Portuguese Custard Tarts

Bruno Pinho Portuguese Custard Tarts

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like Portuguese custard tarts – flaky crisp pastry and just set silky custard are a winning combination. They are dangerously addictive and nothing beats a warm tart fresh from the oven of a good Portuguese bakery. I’ve never been tempted to bake Portuguese tarts as I didn’t think it’s possible to achieve the same results in a home oven but I came across a recipe by Bruno Pinho and decided to try them out to see how close I could get. I must say I was surprised by the results. Are they as good as tarts from a Portuguese bakery? Almost, they are pretty darn close, very delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Unlike most custards these tarts are cooked at a high temperature which results in the signature burnished marks that are caused by the skin that forms on the custard, similar to the skin that forms on heated milk, scorching. The other hallmark of a good Portuguese tart is the shiny sheen on the custard top, this is also achieved due to the high cooking temperature that causes some of the sugar to separate from the custard. Anyway that’s enough of the science, all you really need to know is that these are darn tasty!

Ingredients – Makes 12 tarts  Adapted from Bruno Pinho

For the sugar syrup
250g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick
½ a lemon, whole peeled rind only

For the pastry & custard filling
25g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
12g cornflour
300ml milk
4 free-range egg yolks, plus 1 whole free-range egg
vanilla seeds from 1 vanilla pod
2 sheets ready rolled all-butter puff pastry

Method

Preheat the oven to its highest setting, or at least 230C.  My oven goes all the way to 275C but I settled on 240C (fan-forced). For the sugar syrup, bring the sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind to the boil in a saucepan with 250ml water. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then simmer for 3 minutes. Set the syrup aside until completely cool. Once cool, discard the cinnamon stick and lemon rind.

For the custard filling, mix the flours together in a bowl. Pour in a little bit of milk and stir until combined. Bring the remaining milk to the boil in a saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly. Gradually add the boiled milk to the flour mixture and whisk for 1 minute, or until smooth and well combined. Slowly whisk in the sugar syrup until well combined. Whisk in the egg yolks, whole egg and vanilla seeds until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

 

Place the two sheets of pastry on a floured surface one on top of the other, then roll the pastry as tightly as possible into a roll, brushing it from right to left with water as you go. Cut the pastry roll into 12 x 2cm thick discs. Place the discs in the holes of a muffin tin and massage them with a circular motion using a wet thumb, until the pastry rises up the sides of the holes in the tray. Make sure you don’t make any holes in the pastry.

 

Fill the pastry cases with the custard until they are almost, but not quite, full. Bake the custard tarts in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and the surface of the custard is scorched. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the custard to set slightly.

Bruno Pinho Portuguese Custard Tarts

A Great Side Dish for Christmas – Rick Stein’s Baked Pumpkin with Sun-Dried Tomato Paste & Crispy Onions

Rick Stein's Baked Pumpkin with Sun Dried Tomato Paste & Crispy Onions

This recipe is from Rick Stein’s latest cook book, From Venice to Istanbul. The accompanying television series aired recently and I must say I’ve been cooking a lot of the featured dishes. This particular recipe is a real crowd pleaser and would make a great accompaniment to the Christmas turkey which I always think pairs well with pumpkin. The dish is called Sinkonta and is Turkish in origin, hence the use of Salca or sun-dried tomato paste, which is a staple in Turkish cooking – if you can’t source any just use normal tomato paste.  This is incredibly easy to throw together (another bonus for Christmas day) and a large tray of this will feed a crowd as a side dish and will satisfy any vegetarians you may have around the table. I find the sweetness of the pumpkins against the savoury tang of tomato paste addictively good.

Ingredients – Serves 8 as a side dish  Adapted from Rick Stein’s from Venice to Istanbul 

1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into chunky slices – should be about 1kg of flesh
medium onions, halved and sliced
1½ teaspoons fine salt
6 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste, you can replace with normal tomato paste
12 turns of black peppermill
2 tablespoons plain flour
150ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing

Method

Heat the oven to 200C. Grease the base of a roasting tin or ovenproof dish and arrange the pumpkin slices in it. I used a shallow sided roasting tin and laid the pumpkin in a single layer.

Sinkonta - Rick Stein's Baked Pumpkin with Sun Dried Tomato Paste & Crispy Onions Sinkonta

In a large bowl, mix the sliced onions with the salt. Massage the salt into the onions using your hands, to break them down a little. Mix in the tomato paste, black pepper and flour, making sure that the paste and flour is evenly distributed, again it’s best to use your hands. Then scatter the onion mixture all over the pumpkin. Drizzle the olive oil over the whole lot and bake for 30–40 minutes or until the onions are starting to brown and the pumpkin is tender. Serve hot or warm.

Turkish Sinkonta - Baked Pumpkin with Tomato Paste & Onions

Ham & Cheese Buns Using Asian Milk Bread

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Bread Rolls

This is the most fantastic dough recipe! It’s so simple to make and yields perfect, soft, buttery bread every time. You can create a lot of different recipes from the basic dough, including cinnamon and raisin buns, dinner rolls and hamburger buns. The bread created from this dough is called milk bread and is very popular in Asia. If you’ve ever been to Chinese and Japanese bakeries and noticed all the different types of savoury and sweet snacks made from bread (one of the most unique being frankfurters wrapped in bread) this is the dough that is  used. When you first taste this bread you’ll think it’s a brioche dough but amazingly enough it contains no butter – pure genius! These buns are great with a cup of coffee for breakfast or as a snack, you could even make them slightly smaller and serve them as an appetiser. I sometimes replace the ham with mortadella which works really well, as would salami. Even if you’ve never made bread before you’ll be amazed by the professional looking and delicious tasting bread you’ll produce. I wish I could take credit for this recipe but that belongs to my favourite Asian food blog, Woks of Life.

Ingredients – Adapted from Woks of Life

⅔ cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon milk (at room temperature)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup cake flour – or ½ cup plain flour with half a tablespoon of the flour replaced with corn flour
3½ cups bread flour or plain flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
12 slices ham – I sometimes use mortadella or salami
12 slices cheese – I like to use provolone but a good cheddar would also be good
Egg wash: whisk together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water
Simple syrup: 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water
Method
In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt. Use the dough hook attachment, and turn on the mixer to “stir.” Let it go for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to push the dough together. If you’re in a humid climate and the dough is too sticky, feel free to add a little more flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time until it comes together. If you don’t have a mixer and would like to knead by hand, extend the kneading time by 5-10 minutes. After 15 minutes of mixing, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour.The dough will grow to 1.5 times its original size.
Dough for Asian Milk Bread Dough for Asian Milk Bread

After the hour of proofing, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes to get rid of air bubbles. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a rough oval/rectangle shape, and lay the ham and cheese on top. Roll everything together into a log, and cut three slits into the top of each bun (about ½ inch deep). Continue assembling until all the buns are made. Cover with a clean, damp towel and allow to rise for another hour.

Ham & Cheese Buns Using Milk Bread Dough Ham & Cheese Buns Before Baking

Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the risen buns with egg wash and bake for 20-24 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and brush the buns with sugar water to give them great shine, sweetness, and colour.

Asian Milk Bread - Ham & Cheese Rools

Ikan Bakar – Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves with Spicy Sambal Marinade

Ikan Bakar - Grilled Fish with Spicy Sambal Marinade

I’m always on the lookout for new things to cook on the barbecue to break up the monotony of steak, steak and more steak! Ikan Bakar is a popular Malaysian and Indonesian dish of grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves and marinated in a chilli sambal paste. I first tried it earlier this year when we were in Singapore at a food hawker centre and I’ve been craving it ever since. Ikan baker is quite easy to replicate at home with the only difficulty being sourcing fresh banana leaves. I actually found some at our local green grocer and most Asian grocery stores stock them but if you can’t find any just wrap the fish in foil, although doing so means you won’t get the fantastic aroma the banana leaves impart or the wonderful char it creates on the fish. I prefer to use a whole fish but you can also use fish fillets, any firm fleshed white fish will do, I particularly like a whole large snapper. All you need to accompany the ikan baker is lots of steamed rice and some sliced cucumbers.

Ingredients 

1 whole fish, scaled and gutted. Any firm fleshed white fish will work well. I like to use snapper
2 large fresh red chilies, deseeded and cut into small pieces
3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 lemongrass, white section only, finely sliced
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon toasted belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
2 tablespoons tamarind puree or paste
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons oil
Banana leaves

Method

Place the chillies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass  and turmeric in a blender or mini food processor with a splash of water and blend until a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a small skillet or wok and when hot add the blended paste and cook over medium heat until fragrant and the oil is starting to separate from the paste. Add the Belacan and stir it into the paste until it is incorporated. Add the tamarind puree and cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and sugar. Set the sambal aside to cool to room temperature.

Ikan Bakar - Sambal Marinade Ikan Bakar Sambal Marinade

When the sambal has cooled down cut a few long diagonal slits into each side of fish.  Lay a banana leaf that is large enough to cover one side of the fish on the counter with the darker, shinier side of the leaf facing upwards. Place the fish on the banana leaf and spread the sambal  generously all over the fish and into the slits you have cut as well as in the cavity. I find it easiest to do this by hand wearing disposable gloves. Be generous with the marinade and really pile it on.  Take another sheet of banana leaf and place it in top of the fish to cover it, again with the darker side facing the fish. Use toothpicks to secure the banana leaves together and don’t worry about any large gaps between the toothpicks, the aim isn’t to steam the fish in the leaves, it’s just to ensure that they are attached together to make turning the fish on the grill easier.

Ikan Bakar Fish in Banana Leaves Ikan Bakar Fish in Banana Leaves

Heat your barbecue and when hot place the fish on the grill and cook for roughly 12 minutes per side (this should be enough time for a 1.2 kg fish) over a medium flame, turning once. The banana leaves make turning the fish very easy, don’t worry if the leaves look as though they are charring or if they split open a little. When the fish has finished cooking on the second side place it on a platter and remove the top banana leaf and serve straight away.

Ikan Bakar - Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves with Samabal Marnade

Abgoosht Bozbash – A Hearty Persian Soup with Lamb, Herbs & Black-Eye Beans

Persian Soup - Abgoosht Bozbash

Abgoosht, which literally translates as “meat-water” is one of the most popular Persian comfort meals. There are a few different variations of abgoosht but the meat used is always lamb and it always includes a pulse of some variety as well as potatoes. Traditionally abgoosht is served in two courses. The first course takes the form of a broth that is strained from the solid elements of the soup and the second course is served as a paste which is made by pounding the  meat, potatoes and pulses together. This thick savoury paste is served with flatbread, pickles, herbs and spring onions, it may sound unusual but it’s very delicious. I tend to served the first course with a little of the meat, pulses and potatoes included rather than just the broth as I love a hearty stew. The best known version of abgoosht is one that is tomato based and uses chickpeas as the pulse, this is the abgoosht that I grew up eating and which my mother still makes regularly. Abgoosht bozbash is very different and mimics in flavour the  very popular Persian meal Ghormeh Sabzi, which is one of my all time favourite khoresht (a Persian stew served over rice). Traditional accompaniments for abgoosht are very important and really bring the meal together – these include yogurt spiked with grated garlic, radishes, spring onions, fresh herbs such as basil and mint and Persian pickles (torshi). Whilst many people make abgoosht by simply adding all the ingredients to the pot at the same time I prefer to sauté the ingredients first which makes it a little more time consuming to prepare but the extra flavour and complexity it adds are worth the effort.

Ingredients – Serves 6 generously and reheats well

 4 lamb shanks – weighing about 1.2kg in total
400g lean lamb leg – I used lamb leg steaks
3 large onions, diced
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
350g (2 cups) black eye beans
2 large bunches coriander, leaves removed from stems and washed well (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
1 large bunch parsley, leaves removed from stems and washed well (about 1½ cups)
3 large bunches of chives, finely sliced (about 1 cup)
5 dried Persian limes (available from Middle-Eastern food stores)
Neutral flavoured vegetable oil
4 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

Method
Season the lamb with a little of the salt and pepper. Heat a good splash of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and when hot sear the lamb until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. To the same pan add the onions along with another pinch of salt and sauté until nicely golden, adding more oil to the pan if necessary. Add turmeric and stir through. Add the meat back to the pan along with the black eye beans and  8 cups of boiling water.  Season with the remaining salt and pepper and bring to the boil, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook covered for two hours.

Meat for Abgoosht  

Whilst the soup is cooking add a couple of tablespoons of  oil to a large skillet and gently sauté the fresh herbs and dried fenugreek until aromatic and softened, about 5 minutes. After the soup has cooked for two hours add the sautéed herbs, dried limes and potatoes to the soup and cook uncovered for a further 1½ hours. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if required.

 Abgoosht Bozbash Pounded Abgoosht Meat

To serve, strain the broth from the solid ingredients and keep warm (you can if you wish add a little of the meat, potatoes and beans to the broth as well, which is how I like my soup). Place the strained solids into a food processor and pulse until combined to a paste ( you can also mash it in a large bowl using a potato masher). Serve the broth in soup bowls and place the paste on a platter in the centre of the table with accompaniments of flatbread (I like Lebanese style lavash) garlic spiked yogurt, fresh basil and mint, red onions or spring onions and Persian pickles.

Meat Paste from Abgoosht Bozbash

Raspberry & Walnut Rugelach from Martha Stewart & Cookie Couture

Martha Stewart - Rugelach

Rugelach are a much loved Jewish sweet and they are utterly delicious. Traditional rugelach are made by rolling a triangle shaped piece of dough around a filling to form a crescent shaped cookie. The dough is enriched with cream cheese and the filling can be changed to suit your tastes, anything from chocolate, fruit or nuts being popular choices. The recipe below was featured on the Martha Stewart show a while ago and was created by New York company Cookie Couture. Martha tried these at a Milk and Cookies event she hosted for New York Food & Wine week and declared them some of the best rugelach she has ever tasted – high praise indeed coming from the doyenne of cookies, needless to say I couldn’t wait to try the recipe. I loved the raspberry and walnut combination and the way these rugelach are dipped in butter once they are rolled and then smothered in cinnamon sugar before being baked – you just know these are going to taste amazing!

Ingredients – Makes 32 rugelach   Adapted from Martha Stewart via Cookie Couture
It’s helpful to watch this video of from the Martha Stewart Show in which she makes and rolls the rugelach

For the coating:
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted

For the Dough:
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups plain flour, plus more for work surface

For the Filling:
2 cups premium raspberry jam
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts

Method: 

Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter, cream cheese, and salt on low until well combined. Add flour and mix until a dough has formed. Turn out onto work surface and cut into 4 equal pieces; wrap each piece with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper. Unwrap one piece of dough and place on a floured work surface. Roll into  a 10-inch round and, using a pizza wheel, cut into 8 equal wedges. Repeat process with remaining pieces of dough.

Martha Stewart Rugelach Martha Stewart Rugelach

To Fill: Spread 1 tablespoon raspberry jam on each piece of dough; sprinkle 1 teaspoon nuts on the short side of each piece. Starting with the short side of the triangle, fold corners in toward the centre and roll up each piece to enclose filling. Repeat process with remaining dough, jam and nuts.

Martha Stewart Rugelach Martha Stewart Rugelach

Make the coating: In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Dip each rugelach first in melted butter, making sure all the sides are well coated and then in the sugar mixture to coat, pressing on open ends to enclose. Place on a baking sheet and bake until browned and caramelised, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Martha Stewart Raspberry & Walnut Rugelach

Beef, Onion & Guinness Pie

Beef Onion & Guinness Pie with Sour Cream Pastry

I made these pies in the depths of winter this year and whilst savoury meat pies are something I usually crave in the colder months, these beef and Guinness pies are so good I could eat them in any season. The recipe is from Gary Mehigan of Australian Masterchef and the filling is utterly delicious, so much nicer than anything store-bought. The pie is surrounded by one of my favourite pastries – Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry which I used in this beef and red wine pie. Pies with meat fillings can be time consuming (but not difficult) to make due to the long braising time required for the meat to become tender, but the results are well worth the effort and they freeze well. It’s the sort of satisfying cooking project that’s prefect for the weekend.

Ingredients – makes 6 individual pies  Adapted from Gary Mehigan

100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
5 onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 sprigs thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 kg trimmed chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, cut into large chunks – if you cut them too small they will disintegrate during the long braising time
440ml can Guinness
4 cups best quality beef stock
1 egg, beaten
Tomato sauce, to serve

Maggie Beer’s Sour-Cream Pastry: Note – if your pie dishes are on the larger side you may want to make 1.5 times this recipe to ensure you have enough pastry
200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
½ cup sour cream

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). For the pies, add 40ml olive oil (I found I needed to use more than this) to an enamelled cast-iron casserole, then add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook over low heat (use a simmer mat, if necessary) for 40 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high, add bay leaves and cook until the onion is dark and caramelised. Add the flour and cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes.

  

Season the beef generously with salt and ground pepper. Heat remaining 60ml of the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, then cook the beef in 2 batches until well browned on all sides. Remove and add to the onions. Add the carrots to the frypan and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden. Add ¾ of the Guinness and cook for 5 minutes. Tip the carrots and Guinness into onions and beef. Use remaining Guinness in can to deglaze the beef pan, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom, add to the onions.

Pour enough beef stock to cover the beef and vegetables and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours or until tender. Leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the chunks of beef and carrot to a board and chop into 1cm pieces, then return them to the onion gravy. Refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, to make the sour cream pastry, place the butter and flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle or food processor, then blend until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Gradually add the sour cream, mixing until the pastry just comes together. Shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap then chill for at least 20 minutes.

Beef, Onion & Guinness Pie Filling Gary Mehigan Beef Onion & Guinness Pie 

Grease 6 small pie tins with a little olive oil. Roll out the pastry to 3-5mm thick, using a little extra flour for dusting. Cut out six rounds about 5cm bigger than the pie tin bases and six rounds 2cm bigger than the pie tin tops for the lids. Place a pie base pastry in each hole, then press in lightly with your fingers, and draw the pastry up the mould a little so the pastry is 1cm above the mould. Fill each hole with some of the beef mixture, brush edges with water, then top each with a pastry lid and crimp the edges to seal in the filling.

Brush the pastry tops with beaten egg, cut a small hole in the centre of each pie for steam to escape. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Turn out and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

Best Ever Meat Pie - Gary Mehigan Beef Onion & Guinness Pie