Chicken Pie

Ingredients
1 barbecue chicken
250g baby frozen peas
5 spring onions
1 leamon
4 thawed sheets frozen puff pastry
1 egg
1 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
250ml (1 cup) double cream
Green salad, to serve


Method 
1. Preheat oven to 220C. Boil a kettle of water. Meanwhile, shred chicken meat, discarding skin and bones. 
2. Place peas in a bowl, pour over boiling water and stand for 1 minute. Drain. Squash peas with your hands. 
3. Roughly chop onions, including most of the green part, and place in a bowl with chicken and peas. Zest lemon over chicken mixture, season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine. 
4. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Stack 2 pastry sheets on top. 
5. Pack chicken mixture in centre of pastry. Stack remaining 2 pastry sheets over, stretching to cover filling. 
6. Lightly brush edges with water and press to join. Trim pie to a 25cm round. Lightly beat egg, then brush over pie. Using a knife, score top, if desired. Cut a 2cm hole in top of pie. 
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is dark golden (cover with baking paper if overbrowning). 
8. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Bruise garlic, discard skins, then add to pan. 
9. Strip leaves from thyme into pan, then cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. 
10. Add cream and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard garlic. 
11. Spoon the cream mixture into pie through the hole. Stand for 5 minutes. Serve pie with green salad.

Serves: 6

Sour Cream Pastry

Ingredients
200g Chilled unsalted butter
250g Plain flour
125ml Sour Cream

Method
1. Mix butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball
3. Using your hands, shape pastry in a rectangle. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. 
4. Roll out the sour cream pastry to 3mm thick.
5. Grease a flan tin (23cm x 2.5cm) and line with the pastry, cut off the excess pastry around the edge but allow the pastry to come above the fin tin by 5mm, this is due to the pastry shrinking during blind baking. Place in the fridge for 15 mins to chill.
6. Remove from the fridge and place in the oven for 5 minutes. 
7. Decrease oven temperature to 220°C and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden and cooked through. 
8. For an even colouring of the lid, turn the pie half way through cooking, if necessary.     

Marshmallow Fondant

Ingredients
450g mini-marshmallows 
2 lb powdered sugar 
1 tbsp water 
1 tsp corn syrup (optional) 
1 tsp lemon extract (optional) 


Method
1. Melt marshmallows
2. Empty your bag of marshmallows into a large, microwave-safe bowl, and add water. Microwave until the marshmallows are puffed up and soft looking (about 2 minutes in my microwave).
3. Grease a wooden spoon
4. Add your corn syrup and lemon extract and stir them. 
5. The corn syrup seems to help with flexibility of the fondant after it reaches room temperature, and the extract is for added flavor and to help cut the sweetness. 
6. The mixture should be kind of soupy as you stir it, and most of the marshmallows should be dissolved.
7. If you want to color this entire batch, you can add color now, rather than trying to knead it in later.
8. Adding powdered sugar Gradually, begin to stir in the powdered sugar.
9. Continue stirring and adding powdered sugar until you have used about 2/3 of the bag. Stop when it becomes difficult to continue to stir with the spoon.
10.Turn out onto greased surface and knead, KEEPING IN MIND THAT IT IS HOT, begin CAREFULLY kneading with your hands, and gradually add in the rest of your bag of powdered sugar. You may not need to use the entire bag! You'll want to stop kneading when the fondant stops absorbing the powdered sugar, and it actually feels like warm fondant (this is where previous experience with fondant comes in handy). You may want to keep your shortening nearby so you can grease your hands as necessary. 

* A special note about stand mixers: I know that some people use their stand mixer and hook attachment to mix their MMF. Some people are successful and have never had a problem, but I have read TOO MANY STORIES of people burning out their mixer's motor this way! It's not worth the risk, folks! Your stand mixer wasn't made for this!

11. When you've reached this point, it's time to grease the outside so that it won't dry out, and then put it in a gallon-sized ziploc bag to rest. It should rest for several hours, preferably overnight. Right now it is too warm and soft to use. 
12. When you are ready to use your MMF, grease your work surface with shortening and a paper towel. Be sure to cover every spot, there is nothing worse than having your fondant stick to the mat! The two most important things to have on hand when working with marshmallow fondant are shortening and a microwave. Marshmallow fondant does not loosen up with kneading, like traditional fondant.
This is fondant straight from the bag. If it is too hard to roll out, put it in the microwave in 5-second increments until it is kneadable. It's important to not "melt" your MMF! You just want to soften it enough so that you can knead it and roll it out! A liberal coating of shortening on your hands will assist with the kneading process.
13. Roll out as you would for any other kind of fondant, and cover cake as usual.

Yield: 3 lbs fondant 




Basic buttercream icing

This simple buttercream icing recipe to decorate your cakes. You can add a little food colouring for a splash of colour.

Ingredients
  140g butter, softened
  280g icing sugar
  1-2 tbsp milk
  few drops food colouring

Method
1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.
3. Stir in the food colouring until well combined.

Warm Chicken Salad


Ingredients
  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1/2 tsp lemon zest
  1/4 cup lemon juice
  1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  1/2 tsp salt
  1/4 tsp black pepper
  1/2 Kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  1/2 Kg thin asparagus
  2 tbls fresh chopped dill
  1 tbls honey
  1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  8 cups salad greens
  4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered

Method
1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and black pepper.
2. Break off woody ends of asparagus but leave rest whole. Heat 2 tablespoons of the lemon dressing in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and asparagus. Stir-fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and asparagus is tender.
3. Add dill and honey to the remaining lemon dressing.
4. Add tomatoes and lemon dressing to the skillet; cook about 1 minute or until heated through.
5. To serve, line each plate with 2 cups salad greens. 
6. Equally divide chicken mixture and dressing over the greens. 
7. Top with quartered hard-cooked eggs and serve.

Bacon and Egg Pie

Ingredients
  4 slices turkey bacon
  1 tsp olive oil
  1/2 of a small red onion, chopped
  2 cloves garlic, minced 
  5 large eggs
  5 large egg whites
  1 cup low-fat milk
  2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  1 - 2 tbls chopped fresh dill
  1/2 tsp salt
  1/2 tsp black pepper
  1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  2 tbls grated Parmesan cheese

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Coat a thick pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.
3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned. Remove from skillet and dice.
4. Add the oil to the same skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until onion is softened. Transfer to a large bowl.
5. Add the eggs, egg whites, milk, flour, dill, salt, and pepper and whisk until smooth. 
6. Stir in the diced bacon and mozzarella and pour into prepared pie plate. 
7. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle tomatoes with the Parmesan.

Star Cookies


Ingredients
 1 cup confectioners' sugar
 2 tsp milk
 2 tsp light corn syrup
 1/4 tsp almond extract
 assorted food coloring

Method
1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. 
2. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. 
3. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. 
4. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush. 

Cupcakes

Ingredients
125 g butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Pinch of salt

Icing
3/4 cup icing sugar
5 g butter
1 tbls boiling water

Icing flowers and edible glitter, to decorate

Method 
1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C. 
2. Grease and flour a 12 x ½ cup capacity cupcake tin.
3. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat for ten minutes or until smooth.
4. Divide mixture between prepared cake tin and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cakes spring back to the touch.
5. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. For icing, sieve icing sugar into a bowl, ensuring to remove any lumps. 
7. Place butter and boiling water in a small bowl and mix until butter has melted. Pour into icing sugar, a little at a time and stirring well between each addition until icing reached the desired consistency.
8. Spread icing sugar over cupcakes and decorate with icing flowers and edible glitter if desired.

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients
  1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  3 large eggs
  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin)
  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  1/4 tsp salt
  1/4 cup milk
  Confectioners (Butter cream) Frosting:
  2 cups confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  2 tbls milk or light cream
  Food colors (if desired)
   
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 - 20 minutes or just until set and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. 
7. Do not over bake or the cupcakes will be dry. 
8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. 
9. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting. 
10. If you want to pipe the frosting, I like to use a large Wilton 1M star decorating tip. 
11. Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be covered and stored for a few days.


Confectioners (Butter cream) Frosting: 

Method
1. In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. 
2. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. 
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
4. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). 
5. Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. 
6. Tint the frosting with desired food color 

Makes about 12 cupcakes


Chicken Salad Pitas

Ingredients
  1 cup plain whole-milk Yogurt
  2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  1 cup chopped red bell pepper 
  3 cups chopped cooked chicken 
  1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives 
  1/2 cup diced red onion 
  1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  6 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, cut in half 
  12 Bibb lettuce leaves 
  6 (1/8-inch-thick) slices tomato, cut in half 

Method
1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. 
2. Combine chicken and next 5 ingredients (through chickpeas) in a large bowl. 
3. Add yogurt mixture to chicken mixture; toss gently to coat. 
4. Line each pita half with 1 lettuce leaf and 1 tomato piece.
5. Add 1/2 cup chicken mixture to each pita half.

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