Simple tips for smart food… by Anna Montali
4 puff with pastry
How to make apple custard tarts
For the custard, place 200ml milk and 1 split vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then set aside. In a bowl, beat 1 large egg yolk with 30ml (2 tbsp) sugar until thick and creamy. Mix in 15ml (1 tbsp) cake flour. Remove the vanilla pod from the warm milk and gradually add the milk to the egg mixture, beating continuously until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot and stir over low heat until the custard coats the back
of a wooden spoon. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out 1 x 400g packet puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and brush with 30ml (2 tbsp) melted butter. Cut out circles to fit a 6-hole muffin tray. Push the circles into the openings and divide the custard between them. Core and slice 2 apples and mix with 5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon, 15ml (1 tbsp) brown sugar and 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh lemon juice. Divide this between the pastry cases. Bake until the apples are soft and the pastry is puffed, crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, dusted with icing sugar.
How to make strawberry galettes
Preheat the oven to 180°C. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 x 400g packet puff pastry and cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the pastry circles on the paper. Spread each circle with a little strawberry jam and sprinkle with finely ground almonds. Top with fresh sliced strawberries and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
How to make chicken and leek pot pies
In a large frying pan heat 45ml (3 tbsp) olive/avocado oil and 10ml (2 tsp) butter and sauté 1 finely chopped garlic clove for a few minutes. Add 2 sliced leeks and cook until soft, about a further 5 minutes. Mix in 4 chopped chicken breasts (deboned, skin on), 5ml (1 tsp) fresh thyme leaves, 1 large chopped potato, 100g peas, 100g corn kernels, 100g baby button mushrooms (optional) and 200ml good-quality chicken stock. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in 80ml (cup) fresh cream and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into 4 deep ovenproof bowls and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 x 400g packet puff pastry and cut out rounds big enough to fit the top of the bowls. Place a round of pastry over the top of each bowl and trim the edges. Brush with lightly beaten egg and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Serve hot with a fresh green salad.
How to make steak pies
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Season 2 x 130g beef fillet steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and rub with 2 crushed garlic cloves and 30ml (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard. Drizzle with 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Heat a nonstick frying pan and brown the steaks for about 4 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. Fry 4 rashers bacon until crispy. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 x 400g packet puff pastry and cut out 4 rounds big enough to fit the steaks. Roll each steak in bacon and sandwich it between 2 pastry rounds, brushing the edges with 1 large lightly beaten egg before pressing together to seal. Brush the top with the remaining egg. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Serve hot with chutney.