These vegetarian leek and cheese sausages are delicious and full of flavour. Perfect comfort food.
- 25g/1oz butter
- 115g/4oz leeks, trimmed, finely sliced (prepared weight)
- 175g/6oz fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 150g/5oz Caerphilly cheese or Welsh Cheddar, finely grated
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 tsp English mustard
- ½ tsp flaked sea salt
- 5 tbsp sunflower oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the sausages, melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the leek gently for 8-10 minutes, or until very soft but not coloured.
- Put 100g/3½oz of the breadcrumbs, the parsley, thyme and cheese in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Beat the egg yolks with the mustard, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper in a separate bowl.
- Remove the frying pan from the heat and tip the leeks into the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and mix together well with a large wooden spoon until well combined. Divide the leek mixture into eight portions and roll into sausage shapes. Place the sausages onto a tray lined with cling film.
- Whisk the egg whites lightly in a bowl with a large metal whisk until just frothy. Sprinkle 40g/1½oz breadcrumbs over a large plate. Dip the sausages one at a time into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated, then place on the baking tray. Chill the sausages in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil into a large non-stick frying pan and fry the sausages over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, turning regularly until golden-brown and crisp. Serve the sausages with what you fancy. I chose baked beans!
This Balkan classic makes an impressive centrepiece for any table – a golden spiral of crisp filo pastry, holding a rich filling of vegetables, feta and bacon. This pie recipe includes a guide on how to make filo pastry from scratch, but if short on time you can also use ready-made, rather than homemade filo pastry. One thing I would say is USE REAL BUTTER! It provides a rich crisp pastry with a beautiful taste.
All pie is good in my book, but this pie is extra special. Not only is it the shape of a Cumberland sausage, but it also boasts numerous layers of homemade filo pastry. Yes, that’s right, HOMEMADE filo pastry.
You would be forgiven for thinking life’s too short for such painstaking tasks, but bear with me. I’ll admit, it would probably be fair to say you have too much time on your hands if you can afford to make homemade filo a weekly staple, but it’s sometimes nice to spend longer than 20 minutes knocking up something quickly in the kitchen. It can be therapeutic to take your time. In fact, it’s the perfect activity to take on while indulging in guilty pleasures like watching telly or singing along to your favourite LP in the daytime. And the flavour really is worth the effort. Homemade filo is never going to be quite as thin as shop bought, but the difference in texture from a more rustic roll feels right for this roly-poly pie.
You can, of course, buy ready-made filo, if you must, but I think you ought to try making it yourself at least once first. As for the filling, you can sing your own tune. It’s delicious with a simple concoction of sautéed onion, garlic and spinach with a few lumps of feta crumbled in for good measure. Minced lamb or pork with cabbage makes for a filling and robust pie and you can even add potatoes or rice for extra and economical bulk. As far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with bacon and leeks as a base and I love to serve it with a simple salad. It’s best to leave the pie for 15–20 minutes after it’s come out of the oven, as the flavours are best when it’s not piping hot.
- 1kg flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp of oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 400ml of water
- 200ml of butter, melted
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 bacon rashers, smoked, chopped
- 200g of feta, crumbled
- 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 small handful of mint, finely chopped
- 1 dash of oil, for frying
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- To begin, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the vinegar, salt, oil and half of the water and mix together with a fork until it starts to come together. Add as much of the remaining water as you need to make a dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface
- Knead for a few minutes until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the filling. In a pan over a medium heat, sweat the onion, leeks, garlic and bacon in a little oil (or butter) until soft and slightly golden. Stir in the feta and parsley and season generously with pepper. There is already plenty of salt from the feta and bacon. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.
- Use your hands to roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 10 pieces. Take a piece of dough and cover the remaining 9 pieces with cling film to prevent them from drying out.
- Roll the dough as thinly as you possibly can into a large rectangular shape, then gently stretch it further using your hands. Ideally the dough should be thin enough to be able to see your hand through it.
- Once the dough is as thin as you can make it, brush the filo sheet with melted butter/oil and cover with cling film. Roll out the next piece in the same way, remove the cling film from the first sheet and place the second over the top.
- Brush liberally with more melted butter and place the sheet of cling film back on. Continue until all the dough has been rolled and brushed with melted butter, giving you 10 layers.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Place the layered filo in front of you, horizontally, and trim off the edges of the pastry to make a neat rectangle. Spoon the filling into a line a few inches in from the edge of the filo closest to you. Now for the fun bit!
- Roll the whole thing up tightly into a long sausage and, with the seam underneath, coil the sausage into a tight ring. Butter a round ovenproof dish, big enough for the pie to snugly fit into the dish. Use a couple of fish slices, or any other long flat implement to hand, to carefully transfer the pie to the dish.
- Brush the top of the pie with more melted butter and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 15–20 minutes before carefully transferring the pie to a serving plate. Slice into wedges to serve.
A great English classic made using leftovers, this oddly named dish can be created with whatever vegetables you have to hand. It is a great way of using up your veg and as with most leftover dishes, is even better than the original.
You can serve it as a whole and cut into slices to serve or shape into individual cakes and fry. It is a fantastic accompaniment to sausages, pork chops, bacon, or even a full English! For a light lunch, serve with salad and poached eggs.
This recipe shows you how to make the dish from scratch but if you have leftover mashed potato or roast and boiled vegetables then you can skip the beginning steps and jump straight to the frying it all up.
- 6-7 Charlotte potatoes
- 1 Tbsp cream cheese
- 1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
- ½ red onion, sliced
- ½ head broccoli, cut into florets with stalk trimmed and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Boil potatoes, skin on, in a large pan of salted water until tender. Drain, return to the pan and allow to steam for 2 minutes then mash with the cream cheese and mustard until fairly smooth.
- Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large frying pan. Cook leeks and onion until soft and melting, about 10 minutes.
- Boil or steam the broccoli until just tender. Drain and allow to steam for 2 minutes then roughly chop up and add to the potato along with the leek, red onion and spring onions.
- Season and form into 4 cakes. Heat remaining butter in a non-stick frying pan and cook cakes on each side for 2 minutes until golden and crisp at the edges.
These are fantastic with thick, beefy onion gravy for a warming meal or with hollandaise as a light meal.
Okay, so my presentation leaves little to be desired but the flavour totally delivers.
A pie is a great homely meal that pleases everyone and when it is made from leftover roast dinner, it is all the more satisfying… and cheap!
This pie usually serves 3-4 people (depending on how hungry everyone was for their Sunday roast).
- 2 rashers smokey bacon, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 leeks, green parts finely sliced, white parts sliced
- 1 tsp thyme
- a handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
- fresh ground black pepper
- (I have omitted the addition of extra salt as this comes from the bacon and the stock)
- Leftover chicken meat (1/2 a bird), in chunky pieces
- 2 Tbsp plain flour
- 3 Tbsp soured cream, creme fraiche, whipping cream or whatever you have that needs using
- Chicken stock (fresh if available or a stock cube made up to about 300ml)
- 1/2 block of ready-made puff pastry
- Pre-heat the oven to 190C
- To make the filling, melt the butter and oil together in a saucepan. Add the bacon and fry until crispy. This will give your pie a lovely subtle smokiness.
- Add the leeks to the pan and stir to cover them in the bacon and butter. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let the leeks sweat until meltingly tender and soft for about 30 minutes. Stir every so often to prevent catching.
- Add the thyme, black pepper and parsley then mix in the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the flour over and stir well to combine. You don’t want bits of flour that are not stirred in or they will go claggy when the liquid is added. You should be left with a thick and pasty looking mix at this stage.
- Add the cream and stir well to incorporate then gradually add the stock until you achieve a nice consistency. Sometimes you need a lot more stock than is stated. The flour mix will thicken slightly as you stir over a heat so use your judgement and your preference here. Once happy, pour the mixture into an ovenproof pie dish.
- For the pie crust, roll out the half block of pastry on a lightly floured surface to the size of your pie dish and plonk it on top of the pie. No need for neatness here. If there is a bit overlapping, just tuck it under and it will go lovely and puffy when baked. Brush the top of the pastry lightly with milk or egg and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. It will be golden, bubbling and puffy.
You can serve this with any vegetables you like, mash, gravy, a big squirt of ketchup or for a little extra effort why not try adding closer to 1L of chicken stock to the filling mix? Sieve the runny mix before placing it in the pie dish. Keep the runny pie gravy aside and add the chunky mix to the dish. Continue assembling the pie as normal and serve with the extra sauce created.
I have made this pie numerous times and never quite the same. It’s a great one to experiment with and tastes lovely every time. Try adding a spoon of pesto to the filling if you don’t have fresh herbs in or adding more vegetables such as mushrooms, asparagus and beans.