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Seasonal South Leigh Recipes

This festive pie is perfect for vegetarians over the Christmas season as it is not only delicious but looks sensational with its colourful, layered fillings and crispy top. Although, on first glance, the recipe may seem a bit laborious, it can easily be made in stages, with the different layers being made even a few days ahead. Assembling the pie is simple, as filo pastry is easy to use and very forgiving! E.L.

Christmas wreath © Eve Lawson
Christmas berry wreath
© Eve Lawson

This festive pie is perfect for vegetarians over the Christmas season as it is not only delicious but looks sensational with its colourful, layered fillings and crispy top. Although, on first glance, the recipe may seem a bit laborious, it can easily be made in stages, with the different layers being made even a few days ahead. Assembling the pie is simple, as filo pastry is easy to use and very forgiving! E.L.

Festive Veggie Pie - Serves 8

3 red peppers
500g butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
450g fresh spinach
½ tsp grated nutmeg
200g block feta cheese
250g ricotta cheese
150g Parmesan, finely grated
4 eggs, beaten
240g pack filo pastry
olive oil or melted butter
salt and pepper
sesame seeds and nigella seeds, optional

Festive Veggie Pie - Serves 8

3 red peppers
500g butternut squash
1 large sweet potato
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
450g fresh spinach
½ tsp grated nutmeg
200g block feta cheese
250g ricotta cheese
150g Parmesan, finely grated
4 eggs, beaten
240g pack filo pastry
olive oil or melted butter
salt and pepper
sesame seeds and nigella seeds, optional

Christmas berry wreath © Eve Lawson

Heat the oven to 200ºC / 190º Fan / Gas 6. Half the red peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the peppers skin-side up in a lightly oiled roasting tin and roast for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the skins have bubbled and begun to blacken. Remove from the oven, place the peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film. Alternatively place them in large 'ziploc' bag and seal. This allows the peppers to sit in their own steam and makes them easy to peel. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and trim away any burnt edges. Set aside.

De-seed, peel and cube the squash and sweet potato. Place in a steamer, cover and cook until soft. Uncover and allow to cool. Tip into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mash. Set aside.

In a large skillet or deep frying pan, heat a little oil and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft but not brown. Add the spinach - it may be a squeeze to fit it all in but it will soon wilt down! Cook gently, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated and the spinach is quite dry. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

In a large jug or bowl, mix together the crumbled feta, ricotta, parmesan and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Mix half of this mixture into the mashed squash and sweet potatoes then stir the cooled spinach into the remaining cheese mixture.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC / 160º Fan / Gas 4 and start assembling the pie. Brush a 20cm spring-sided cake tin with oil or melted butter. Add a layer of filo pastry, brush with oil or butter then repeat with four more layers of filo, oil or butter. Don't worry it doesn't have to be neat and the pastry should hang over the edge of the tin. Fill the pie with a layer of spinach mixture, followed by pieces of roasted red pepper, then top with the squash and potato mixture. Fold the edges of the pastry over the filling. Brush the remaining sheets of filo with oil or butter, crumple the sheets and place them randomly on top of the filling. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and nigella seeds, if using.

Bake the pie for 60 minutes. Remove the spring sides of the tin and cook for a further 10 minutes to crisp the sides. Protect the top with a small sheet of foil to prevent it burning, if necessary. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing the pie.

'Christmas berry wreath' from an original watercolour © Eve Lawson


One-Pot Chicken, Chorizo & Bean Bake - Serves 4

8 bone-in chicken thighs
200g chorizo, skinned and cubed
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
fresh thyme
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
180-200g semi-dried, sunblush or slow roasted tomatoes in oil
salt and pepper


Heat the oven to 200ºC / 190º Fan / Gas 6. Remove any excess fat and skin from the underside of each chicken thigh and season the thighs with salt and pepper. In an oven proof skillet or deep frying pan gently fry the chorizo until the fat is released. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the beans together with the tomatoes and two tablespoons of their oil. Add a few sprigs of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Gently place the chicken thighs on top of the beans, cover and transfer to a hot oven. Cook for 25 minutes then remove the cover and cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until the chicken skin is crisp.