Rainbow Chard, Goats Cheese and Mushroom Pie

I picked up some very nice looking rainbow chard this morning.  It’s not a vegetable I often buy, although I do often have the baby stems in prepared bags of salad.  I decided that it would be good with the field mushrooms I also bought, together with some goats cheese.

Swiss chard

This is a very quick pie that makes the most of the autumn produce available right now and uses ready bought puff pastry. The cheese really brings it all together and the finished pie makes for a very nice meat-free lunch or supper dish with salad.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie1

Ingredients:
1 bunch of fresh rainbow chard, washed
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 punnet of field mushrooms
1tbs mixed fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary and one sage leaf, all finely chopped
1 small goats cheese
50g Gruyere cheese – grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbs double cream
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
1 knob of butter with a little olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:
Prepare the onions by halving and slicing them.  Strip the leaves from the stems of the chard and chop the stems fairly small.  Tear the leaves.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the onions and herbs.  Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add in the chard stems and cook together until softened and translucent.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie3

Slice the mushrooms and add to the onions and chard, cook until golden, before adding in the chard leaves to wilt down.

When the leaves have wilted, stir in the mustard and cream and remove from the heat.

Stir in the grated gruyere cheese off the heat and leave to cool before assembling the pie.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie6

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non stick liner.

Place the pasty sheet onto the lined baking and cut in half.

In the centre of one half of the pastry, pile the filling, leaving a border of around 2cm. Dot with the crumbled goats cheese and brush the border with beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie2

For the other half, I have cut out little holes, but you can just cut steam holes.  Place the second half directly over the filling and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie4

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crisp, golden and completely cooked through.  Leave to cool a little before serving with salad and a nice glass of chilled white wine.

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

The weather is getting cooler and the nights are starting to draw in, thoughts are turning to recipes baked with seasonal fruit and spices.

Apples and blackberries are a classic combination and I often make apple and blackberry pies and crumbles.  For a change, this is a cobbler and uses buttermilk and melted butter in the ‘cobbles’ which makes the topping very tender and moist.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler2

The sweet fruit and spices all baked together makes the kitchen smell wonderful.  The finished cobbler has sweet, juicy fruit on the bottom and the gently spiced topping is soft on the inside and a little crusty and golden on the top.  It’s the perfect alternative to a crumble or a pie and really easy to make.

Although the temptation is to dive straight in the finished pudding, it’s best to leave it to cool a little before serving as the filling is incredibly hot straight from the oven.

Filling:
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 punnet of sweet blackberries, washed
Juice of half a lemon
150g brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
1tbs cornflour

Topping:
250g self-raising flour
150g butter, melted
240g buttermilk
100g sugar
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
A little melted butter for brushing

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F and butter a baking dish

Place the sliced apples, spices, cornflour, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and heat gently.  When the sugar has melted and the juices thickened a little, place into a bowl and gently stir in the blackberries.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler

Place into the buttered dish and prepare the topping.

For the topping, place the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter and buttermilk.  Stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler1

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, or two spoons, drop spoonfuls of the batter over the fruit and top with a little extra brown sugar.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler3

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cobbler is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cobbles comes out clean.  When the cobbler is removed from the oven and still hot, brush the top with a little melted butter.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler5

This is best served warm and is good with ice cream, custard, whipped cream, or just on its own.  It’s also good cold the next day.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler4

Wild Mushroom Vol-au-vents

I always look out for wild mushrooms at this time of year, as they are so good and abundantly available.  I wouldn’t ever go foraging on my own, despite owning several mushroom books, as I don’t have enough knowledge, but I’d definitely be up for an organised foray with an expert.

Wild mushrooms1

I picked up some really nice wild mushrooms early this morning at the market. My selection included oyster, shiitake, maitake and a few field mushrooms, but creamed mushrooms would be good with any selection of fresh, earthy wild mushrooms.

Mushroom vol au vents1

I think its best to eat mushrooms as soon as possible, they go slimy and pretty nasty if you keep them for too long.  I don’t like to leave them wrapped in plastic either, a paper bag or basket is best.

I made creamed mushrooms with my batch and mushrooms on toast is the perfect quick supper for this time of year.

Wild mushrooms

With the rest of the mushrooms, I decided to make retro mushroom vol-au-vents.  My prawn and avocado vol-au-vents recipe is actually my most viewed post, so I thought I would have to do the other vol-au-vents that I remember from the family Christmas parties from all those years ago.

Mushroom vol au vents1

The mushroom vol-au-vents were one of the first things to go from the buffet table (unlike my poor Grandma’s prawn ones).  They were always made from those creamed button mushrooms from a can and placed into frozen pastry cases.  I was never a fan, but I thought it was time to bring back the retro mushroom vol-au-vent and use fresh, wild mushrooms, thyme and home made cases (I did buy the ready-made puff pastry though!)  The result was a really nice, seasonal treat that makes the most of the wild mushrooms that are around right now, but would also be great on a Christmas buffet table as a tasty nostalgic reminder.

Mushroom vol au vents

Ingredients:
A selection of wild mushrooms – I used two punnets
Knob of butter and a little splash of olive oil
1 onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1tsp Dijon mustard
2-3tbs cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of puff pastry, or you could use frozen cases
1 egg, beaten

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F
Cut out the bases for the vol-au-vents and place on a lined baking sheet or parchment.  I got 12 bases from one sheet.  Then cut out another 12 from the second sheet of pastry and cut holes out of the second set with a smaller cutter.

Brush the bases with beaten egg and place the rings onto the bases.  If the pastry warms up and becomes difficult to handle, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Mushroom vol au vents3

Brush the tops with the egg and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden, crisp and all puffed up.  You can also brush the ‘holes’ with egg and bake those alongside the pastry cases.  Leave on a cooling rack while you make the filling.

Tear up the mushrooms or roughly chop and strip the thyme leaves from the stems if they are woody and give them a chop too.

Heat the butter and oil until foamy and add in the finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  When they are translucent, add in 1-2tsp of thyme leaves and then the mushrooms.  Cook them until they are nice and golden and then stir through a little cream and check the seasoning.

Mushroom vol au vents2

At this point, you can serve the creamed mushrooms on some toasted, buttered sourdough, or fill the vol-au-vents.  I had enough for both!

Mushrooms on toast

For the vol-au-vents, I simply press down the centre that rises up as they bake (I don’t bother docking the raw pastry with a fork) and fill with the creamed mushrooms, sprinkle over a little more thyme leaves.

Serve as a canapé with or without the lids depending on how retro you want to be!

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These are really good in a larger pastry case too, served with a green salad as a first course or a light lunch.