My Favourite Pie – Ratatouille and Mozzarella Pie

I alluded to my favourite pie in my ‘About’ section. Well here is the recipe: Ratatouille Pie with Mozzarella. Actually I think it is nicer as individual pasties, but you can do it either way. It is a bit time-consuming, but the result is worth it.

Roast potatoes and glazed parsnips go really well with it. Good waxy boiled potatoes are also nice. I also like to serve it with baked butternut squash (recipe included), and possibly Petits Pois Frais à la Française. For the recipe see my previous blog Spaghetti with Oyster Mushrooms and Sour Cream (it’ s there, honestly!)

To really make it special, serve with Haricot Bean Cappuccino laced with Truffle Oil!

The key to success is to roast the vegetables first, so that they acquire a light caramelization but remain juicy (if it’s brown it’s done, if it’s black it’s buggered.) Also do not cook the pies too long, so that the mozzarella is still oozy; too long and it will have the texture of a school rubber.

Serves 4.
1 small courgette
1 small aubergine
1 medium red pepper
1 large red onion
12 cherry tomatoes
4  garlic cloves
1 handful fresh basil leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2tbsp olive oil
270g rich shortcrust pastry
125g buffalo mozzarella

1. Cut the vegetables into 3cm chunks.
2. Place in a large roasting tray or dish. Add the garlic, herbs and olive oil and mix until all the vegetables are coated.
3. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes at 180°, or until the vegetables are lightly browned, but not dried out. Allow to cool.
4. Add 2tbsp water and allow to cool.
5. Roll out the pastry into 4 equal disks about 15cm diameter. Brush the edge circumference with water.
6. Cut the mozzarella into 12 equal portions, and lay 3 on each pastry disk.
7. Add ¼ of the vegetable mix to each pastry disk.
8. Pinch the circumference together to form pasties. Brush with beaten egg.

9. Place the pasties on a greased baking tray, and bake in the oven at 180° for about 30 minutes until nicely browned.

Rich Shortcrust Pastry
150g        plain flour
30g          Parmesan cheese, grated
90g          butter, chilled

1.     Sift the flour.
2. Add the Parmesan cheese and mix.
3. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Cut the butter into small cubes and mix into the flour, by hand or in a processor.
5. Slowly add water until the pastry is elastic. (probably 2tbsps)
5. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Baked Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash
6 fresh thyme sprigs
50ml olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Peel the squash (not strictly necessary), core  and cit into 3cm chunks.
2 Place in a deep baking tray, add the oil and thyme, season, and mix well.
3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 180° for about 45 minutes or until tender.

Note: an average squash will yield 6 to 8 portions.



© DAVEggie

Spaghetti with Oyster Mushrooms and Sour Cream (Vegetarian Carbonara)


For this week, I thought I would reveal my favourite pasta dish, Spaghetti with Oyster Mushrooms and Sour Cream. And for a starter, a bowl of Pea and Lettuce Soup.

The pasta dish is loosely based upon Spaghetti alla Carbonara, substituting oyster mushrooms for bacon. The key to success is to use sour cream instead of ordinary. You have to be a bit more careful with sour cream to prevent it curdling.

Peas and lettuce combine wonderfully. This vibrant green soup is a kind of liquidized version of the French classic Petits Pois Frais à la Française.

Both these dishes are quick and easy. Realistically both can be ready in little over half an hour.

Pea and Lettuce Soup
Serves 2
400g                    frozen peas (yes I know ‘frais’ means fresh)
½                            iceberg lettuce
1                            small onion
1l                           vegetable or mushroom stock
1 bunch             parsley stalks
1 pinch               granulated sugar
1 sprig                fresh thyme
25g                       butter
Black pepper


  1. Tie together the parsley stalks and thyme with string.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a heavy saucepan, end bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the herbs, and liquidize.
  5. Serve with a steamed sugar snap per bowl, with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.

Note: for a smoother soup, pass it through a fine sieve.


Spaghetti with Sour Cream and Oyster Mushrooms
Serves 2

100g                     oyster mushrooms
15g                        butter
1/2tbsp               olive oil
200g                      spaghetti
2                             egg yolks
1tbsp                    sour cream
2tbsp                    milk
25g                        Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste


    1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
    2. Add the spaghetti, and cook until al dente.
    3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the olive oil.
    4. Cut the mushrooms into 1cm pieces.
    5. Fry in the oil and butter until well browned.
    6. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl until frothy.
    7. Add the sour cream, milk, Parmesan cheese and seasoning and mix well.
    8. Add to the frying pan with the oyster mushrooms.
    9. Drain the pasta, and add to the frying pan.
    10. Serve with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


© DAVEggie

First Blog of 2015

First of all, best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2015 to all my readers! Thanks for following me, and for your feedback.


My first thought for the opening blog for the year was something healthy, you know, antidote to all the (over)indulgence during Christmas. But I have never been much of a one for new year’s resolutions, so I have decided that really what is needed is something delicious.

I have said several times before, I simply love Middle Eastern food. So I present you my menu for Falafel Kebab: fried falafels, wrapped in a roti (or tortilla) with shredded lettuce, grated carrot, sliced red pepper, sliced red onion, sliced tomato, and griddled. The kebab is served with warm Tabbouleh (a sort of couscous salad), HummusGarlic Yogurt Sauce, with Harissa to spice things up.

serves 2:
150g chick peas (1 small tin)
150g white beans
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp ground allspice
1/4 lemon zest
5g chopped parsley
1/2 clove garlic
pinch sumac (optional)
1tbsp gram flour
3tbsp sunflower oil

1. Rinse and drain the chick peas and beans and dry really well.
2. Mash the garlic.
3. Blend all the ingredients apart from the flour in a food processor or with a staff mixer until smooth.
4. Mix in the flour.
5. Form into 6 small burgers.
6. Dust with gram flour.
7. Fry in hot sunflower oil until crisp (about 5 minutes), turning half way.

If you cannot obtain gram flour (chickpea flour available at Asian supermarkets), substitute plain flour.
If you cannot obtain sumac (a bitter spice available at also Asian supermarkets) then simply omit this.

I also like to add about 50g of roughly-chopped pistachio nuts.

serves 2:
15g butter
120ml vegetable stock
pinch saffron, crumpled
85g couscous
25g celery
25g raisins (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained)
25g spring onions
25g pine nuts
1/2 mild red chilli (de-seeded)
5g parsley
25ml olive oil

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the couscous, saffron and boiling stock.
2. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes, then fluff lightly with a fork.
3. Toast the pine nuts very gently until slightly golden. Allow to cool.
4. Chop the chilli, spring onions and parsley finely.
5. Chop the celery into small pieces.
6. Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl.

Traditionally, tabbouleh should have more parsley, and be drizzled with copious amounts of lemon juice, but I personally find this too astringent.

275g chickpeas
1 1/2 tbsp tahini paste
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1. Simply blitz all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste, thinning with yogurt as necessary.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Scoop into an attractive bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over the surface and place in the fridge until needed (will keep up to a week)

Garlic Yogurt Sauce
125ml Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp garlic

1. Mince the garlic
2. Combine with the yogurt.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bloody hot harissa!
Enough for LOTS:
12 habanero chillies
100 ml olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt

1. De-seed the chillies – use rubber gloves if using habanero chillies!
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the smoked paprika and salt in an ovenproof bowl.
3. Bake in a preheated oven (150°) for about 1 hour.
4. Allow to cool, and add the salt and smoked paprika.
5. blitz to a smooth paste, and spoon into a sterilized jar.

Harissa is a salty, fiery hot seasoning, that can be added stirred into harissa or soups to liven them up. If you follow this recipe, I would not add more than about 1/8tsp per person!

TIP: I find Harissa jazzes up cuppa soups wonderfully!

To assemble

  1. Add two falafals to a roti or tortilla, along with about a tbsp each of the salad ingredients (you will probably want less chilli though!)
  2. Roll up, tucking in the ends.
  3. Grill un a toasty machine until the wrap is crisp.
  4. Serve with Tabbouleh, Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Hummus (with Harissa added to taste.)

Note: If you prefer, you could add the Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Hummusto the kebab before toasting.



© DAVEggie