Tag Archives: Garlic

Butternut Squash & Sage Pies

Pies remind me of home.  Here is a recipe for very tasty muffin sized pies which uses purple sage to enhance the flavours of butternut squash, sweetcorn and chicken.  They taste great hot or cold and make a handy packed lunch food.

I use homemade yoghurt pastry dough for my pies and quiches, I will post the recipe for that later.  Alternatively you could use an all butter short crust pastry or puff pastry for the crust.  The recipe includes a very small amount of fresh chicken,  I just added some leftovers to my pie filling, but this can easily be omitted for vegetarians.  You may also like to add a little chopped fennel to the filling.  Pies are a good way to use up fresh left overs as from a little filling you can create a lot of tasty little pies!

Butternut Squash & Sage Pies – makes 12 (muffin size)

Pastry (see above) –  enough for a quiche base
Knob of butter, ghee or olive oil
5cm slice Butter nut squash, peeled, deseeded and finely cubed
1/2 small can of sweetcorn or a handful of frozen kernels
1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube, or 1 dessert spoon of bouillon powder or 1/2 cup fresh stock
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
6 large fresh  purple sage leaves, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp chopped dried sage)
1 dessert spoon creme fraiche
1 dessert spoon finely chopped lean fresh chicken
Handful grated goats’ cheese or cheddar type cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
12 hole non stick muffin tray, greased with butter or ghee

  1. Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F) and prepare muffin tray.
  2. In a pan with well fitting lid, heat the ghee/butter or oil and gently cook onion, with lid on pan, until sweet and clear.
  3. Add the garlic and sage to the onions and cook for a further minute, stirring all the while to prevent the garlic from burning.
  4. Add the cubed butternut squash, chicken and sweetcorn and quickly mix into the oily onion/herb mixture.
  5. Add about 1/2 cup of water and the stock cube or fresh stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender.  Check now and then that the water has not evaporated or been soaked up completely.  You should end up with a well cooked mixture which is moist but not sloppy.  If the mixture is too wet, cook a little longer with the lid off.
  7. Remove from heat, add the cheese and creme fraiche.
  8. Stir into the mixture, adjust seasoning to taste and set aside to cool whilst you line the muffin holes with pastry
  9. Roll out pastry quite thinly (probably about 1/5cm thickness).
  10. Use a round pastry cutter or similar to cut out 12 circles, large enough to just line each muffin hole.  Push the pastry into the holes carefully so that the filling will not break through it when added.
  11. Add a desert spoonful of filling to each hole.  It should come close to the top of the pastry lining but not above it.
  12. Cut 12 smaller circles of pastry, just large enough to top each pie.
  13. Gently press the edge of each pastry top into the pastry which lines each hole.  You don’t need to be too exact with this but if you are too rough your pie contents may bubble out.
  14. Cook at 190° C (375° F) for about 25 – 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on your pies to ensure they don’t burn.
  15. Remove muffin tray from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, until the pies can be easily extracted.  You may need to loosen them carefully with a knife.  Check they can spin in the muffin hole before removing.
  16. Eet smakelijk!These pies can be frozen BEFORE they are cooked in the oven.  I much prefer to cook the whole batch, eat half hot on the day I make them, store the rest in the refridgerator and eat those cold the next day.

Cough Syrup

This cough syrup recipe was kindly sent to me by Louise from Thornbury, South Glocestershire, UK.  She has been making it since attending a herbal remedies course in Bristol a few years ago. The recipe is taken from Hedley & Shaw’s book, Herbal Remedies: A practical beginner’s guide to making effective remedies in the kitchen

Louise says that… “It’s really good stuff and clears a heavy cold in a matter of days.  I always keep a bottle handy in the fridge and it keeps for ages.  I have even given some to colleagues in work.”

The combination of herbs is said to be soothing, antiseptic, antibiotic and expectorant.  The aim of the syrup is to thin out mucus and help open up the bronchi.  It is recommended by Hedley & Shaw to help relieve deep restless chesty coughs, tightness from colds and sore throats.

I made a batch this week, it tastes wonderful. There are several ingredients but all are easy to obtain and the method is really quite simple.  Some of the ingredients contain strong volatile oils so this syrup should be taken in small quantities for a short period of time and should not be used by pregnant women.

Sterilising storage bottles

Remember that your storage bottles need to be sterile, to prevent contamination and prolong the life of your potion.  This is best done just before you set to work with the herbs as if left until the last minute there may no time to do it properly.

  1. Clean the bottles/jars thoroughly with hot soapy water and a bottle brush,
  2. Let them drip dry
  3. Sterilise them (with lids/caps off and the openings facing upwards) in a warm oven (about 110 oC) for about 10 minutes.   Beware that plastic caps or lid liners will melt and burn if left in too long.
  4. Turn off the oven and leave them in there whilst you make the potion and get ready to pour.  If you need to leave them waiting in the oven for a long while, loosely fit the caps/lids when cool enough to handle, to prevent contaminants getting in.Some people find that cleaning them on a hot dishwasher cycle also does the trick.

Cough Syrup
(Makes approximately 350ml)
Not suitable in pregnancy or for babies

15g dried thyme (NL: Tijm)
8g dried sage (salie)
8g dried chamomile (kamille)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (venkelzaad)
1 teaspoon aniseed (anijs)
20 cloves (nagelkruiden)
2 garlic cloves (knoflook teentjes)
Pinch cayenne pepper (cayenne) or ground ginger (gember)
900ml water
450g locally sourced honey


  1. Put water and chopped herbs into a pan and bring to the boil.  Cover with a tightly fitting lid.
  2. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Cool a little, strain through a fine mesh seive, pressing with a clean wooden spoon to extract the goodness.
  4. Discard the herb and keep the liquid.
  5. Return to the heat and simmer slowly, uncovered until reduced to 200ml (making a decoction).
  6. Add 450g honey, dissolve and simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until of a syrupy consistency.
    DO NOT OVERHEAT as the syrup will burn.
  7. Cool a little before pouring into sterilised bottles.
  8. Label (date made and contents) and keep refrigerated to avoid fermentation.
    Best kept in a corked dark glass bottle, as a screw topped bottle may explode if fermentation takes place.

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