Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cook my winning recipe: Cheese & Beetroot Pie

Earlier this year I entered one of my family's favourite recipes into a competition in House Beautiful magazine. Readers were invited to submit a recipe which included home grown ingredients. This was the first cookery competition I had ever entered and I certainly didn't expect to hear from Jeni Wright, House Beautiful's food writer and published cookery book author. She called unexpectedly one evening and initially asked me questions about the recipe which she was testing, along with several other shortlisted recipes, in a test kitchen. A few days later I then received a call to say I was successful in reaching the cook off final and was a winner of one of the three top prizes! 

On the day of the cook off in July 2011 I travelled to London to the head office of House Beautiful which contains a huge test kitchen. All of the fresh ingredients I took to the final were home grown and were picked the evening before the cook off. Stepping inside a professional kitchen for the first time was both daunting but incredibly exciting. The cook off itself lasted around one and a half hours and there was a great friendly spirit between myself and the other competitors. Emma, Wendy and myself were so pleased to have made the final and it was great to share the day with each other. It was a nerve wracking experience cooking under the watchful eye of judges, magazine staff and a professional photographer but the judges were friendly and welcoming to all of us on the day. We were also generously provided with a lunch and other goodies to take away. 

Although I did not win overall it was a once in a life time experience and I was certainly not disappointed by the outcome, having been amazed to be in the final. I tasted all three dishes on the day and Wendy's winning recipe of Raspberry & Elderflower Tiramisu was certainly a very worthy winner!

If you would like to try my recipe the details are below... 


175g (6oz) cooked beetroot 
1 small onion 
175g (6oz) well-flavoured cheddar cheese
2tbsp plain yogurt 
1tsp wholegrain mustard 
About 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley

For the pastry:
175g (6oz) plain flour 
50g (2oz) wholemeal flour 
Pinch of salt 
50g (2oz) butter 
50g (2oz) margarine 
4-6tsp cold water 
Milk, for glazing


1. To make the pastry, tip both flours into a bowl and stir in the salt. Cut the butter and margarine into cubes and rub into the flours until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in enough cold water to bring the mixture together, then form into a smooth ball with your hands. Wrap and chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

2. Peel the beetroot and grate the flesh into a bowl, then grate in the onion and cheese. Add the yogurt, mustard and parsley, season well with salt and pepper, and mix well.

3. Preheat the oven to 210°C (190°C fan, gas mark 61⁄2).

4. Divide the pastry in half and roll out one piece on a floured surface to line the bottom of a 18-20cm (7-8in) round pie dish or tin. Spoon the filling into the dish and brush the edge of the pastry with water. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out a lid, then place over the filling. Press the edges together to seal, and trim off any overhang with a knife.

5. Now press around the edge of the pie with a fork for a decorative effect, and make a small hole in the centre of the lid for the steam to escape. Brush the lid with milk.

6. Bake the pie for 35-40min or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Allow to stand for about 5min before slicing and serving.

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