Re-start mode

First things first, I know there’s been some amount of curiosity about why there has been so much silence on the blog front and I’ve spent quite some time pondering over what to write now. There’s been so much that’s happened…

When my dad passed away due to a massive heart attack on November 25 I thought I was watching my entire world crumbling in front of me. This was my hero, my food critic, my drinking buddy, my late night movie partner and my sound board; so how in the world was I going to move on without him? I searched for answers to this and countless other questions, some of which still keep popping up but I haven’t found an explanation that I’m happy with. Maybe it was fate or maybe it was just God’s plan, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that when things like these happen there is always something better in store, yes it is a cliche but now that I’ve lived through it I know it is true! Trust me on this one.

Some time last year when I was going through a lot of trouble, I found that despite my love for food I wasn’t able to step into the kitchen and cook simply because it brought back ugly memories. That’s when my dad told me, “Look just because something bad happened you don’t have to give up something that you enjoy doing and that you are so good at.” That was it. There was no looking back after that. It was a repeat of that same mind-numbing feeling in the first week of December too, a pleasant but sunny Sunday, I never thought I could actually whip, beat, fold or even chop again without breaking down. Who was I going to ask what I could use in place of sour cream? We’re a family full of foodies and that’s when I realised that moping around wasn’t going to help, if there’s any way in which I could remember the first man in my life it could only be by doing things that made him and make us happy, so I ran to put on my apron and smiled to myself as I rustled up a quick Sunday lunch. The good times, they’re back again.

Broccoli-mushroom pie on whole wheat crust

This is something that I made the weekend before dad passed away, first I thought I’d never make it again because the memories are too cruel but on second thoughts, I’m going to make this as often as I can because this pie made him so happy and it was a treat to watch him devour this with a child-like excitement.

I’m not a fan of using too much butter in my cooking so I’m always on the lookout for healthier alternatives and when I saw this recipe for whole wheat pie crust online, I knew it was ‘the one’. Yes, I do get romantic with my food!

For the pie crust
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp of baking powder
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 1/2 tsp of dried herbs
Salt to taste
Cold water

Mix all the ingredients together and work your fingertips through it to create a mixture that resembles cookie crumbs. Add some more cold water and knead into a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and keep it in the fridge for an hour.

The pie crust trimmed and fitted into the mould

Remove from the fridge and roll out the dough on a flat surface. Place the dough in the pie dish and trim accordingly. Pierce the dough all over with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes. I skipped the blind baking part and baked for 15 minutes at a temperature a little less than 160 degrees C.

Just out of the oven

Now for the filling…

1 medium-sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small broccoli, chopped
1 packet of button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
2 tsp of butter
2 tsp of dried oregano
1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes (optional)
1 cup of milk
Some grated cheese, I used Parmesan
Chopped black olives
Salt to taste

Heat some butter and oil in a pan and saute the onions and garlic in them. When they begin turning a light golden brown, turn down the flame and sprinkle the flour on it. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir continuously to form a sauce, when this thickens add the mushrooms and the broccoli along with the rest of the milk and allow it to simmer until cooked. If you find that the sauce is getting too thick, then add a spoon of milk until you get the desired consistency. Now add the oregano, chilli flakes and adjust the seasoning. Allow this mixture to cool down till it reaches room temperature.

The pie filling

Now spread this mixture evenly across the pie crust and sprinkle the cheese and olives on top.

The pie filling in the crust with the olives

Brush the sides of the pie crust with some olive oil, this is done to prevent burning.

Add two kinds of cheese if you want to enhance the flavours

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at 160 degrees C or until the cheese has melted and the pie crust has turned a dark golden brown. Remove from the oven, cut into slices and serve hot with some bread. Yummy!

Serve the pie with a salad and some fresh bread for a complete meal

* You can use all-purpose flour instead of wheat too.
* Adding herbs to the pie crust gives it an unusual flavour, you can get creative and add minced garlic or even red chilli flakes.
* If you’re looking for a sinful twist, add half a cube of grated cheese to the sauce but adjust the salt accordingly.
* Throw in some strips of boneless chicken or even shredded spinach into this dish.
* Use the same pie crust in smaller dishes to make individual servings.

This pie is very addictive, hard to stop at just one slice!

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