Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eat. (pie pastry recipe)

One thing we talked a lot about while we were away was food.

We grow and sell organic food for a passion and for a living and are rather obsessed with the stuff. The fresher, the closer to your kitchen it was grown, the fewer nasties used to grow it, the better.

But still we are aware that unless you prioritise food, the more often you end up taking short cuts and finding yourself with some not so great food habits. I think that's what happened to us before we left. We were so tired from looking after the farm and growing great food to send off to other people, that we ended up putting some not so great food on the table for our family.

So while we were away we resolved to come home and to prioritise our family's eating habits. To grow and pick and cook and prepare from the kitchen garden/farm as often as possible. To prepare from scratch as often as possible. To eat local and organic and in season as often as possible. To include the kids in the process from start to finish no matter the messy consequences as often as possible. To experiment. And to start broadening our food horizons with new flavours and tastes and ingredients as often as possible.

And you know what? I think we are succeeding.

We have been making all our own bread and pasta and pastries and doughs. We have picked and used berries and lettuces and herbs and beans and garlic and onions and eggs and plums from the garden. We bought and swapped masses of produce at the farmer's market. We have introduced a few new menu items and experimented with some new to us flavours. And the girls have been involved and made a mess and had fun.

And I think making it pretty has made a big difference too. Using lovely crockery and cutlery. Having flowers on the table. Making a meal an event rather than a rush. Spending time as a family eating and talking (not with your mouth full) and enjoying each other.

To be honest I am dreading school going back. I am not good at rushing. A huge, important aim for me this year is to continue on with this food plan. Maybe we'll have to start menu planning. Maybe I'll have to get more organised. I think I can. I hope I can.

RECIPE: Easy Peasy Pie Pastry.

Gathered from lots of recipes, adapted over time.
Used for any sweet, fruity pie filling.

225g of flour
140g butter, cold, cubed
90g sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 egg yolks

Chuck flour, butter, sugar and zest in your food processor and mix.
Add yolks and a drop of water and mix to make into a dough.
(I love that moment when the mixture binds and becomes a smooth dough).

Roll half of this dough out to line a greased metal pie tin and pop the other half in the fridge.
Pack your cool filling tightly into the pie bottom.
Paint the edge of your pie bottom with an egg wash mixture of one yolk and a splash of milk.
Get the remaining dough from the fridge and roll it out on your floured bench.
Pop it on top of the pie or cut it into strips and weave them like we did.
Use any remaining dough to decorate the pie.
Press the top onto the bottom around the edges.
Egg wash the top.
Cut air holes in the top if it is sealed.

Our rhubarb/berry pie was cooked at 150c for about 50 minutes.

Breathe in those yummy pie smells. Admire. Get out some pretty plates. Eat with yogurt or cream. Enjoy.

Are you good eaters? Do you menu plan? Are you adventurous? Do you think about the ingredients? Are you trying to be better like me? Could you eat salad every day like me? Have you made/eaten anything amazing lately? What are you eating today?

See ya! x


  1. we have just cooked our own eggs on our own baked bread. it doesn't get much better than that. love this post & love your photos. that pie looks seriously good!

  2. Fab recipe! Thank you. Menu planning will change your life x

  3. Over the summer I've been trying twice a week to make something really yummy and fresh. I got a new book called "Leon" that I love (it's healthy fast food) and we have been trying all sorts of different things. I find more than that is too much. So my meals look like this... Monday: some kind of traditional dinner (nana comes for tea, she's 89), Tuesday: Pasta Dish like Mac Cheese (it's a busy night and it's healthy and quick), Wednesday: Something fresh from scratch, Thursday: Salad/Meat/Bread type dinner, Friday: Homemade Pizza, Saturday: something fresh again, often that we work on together, Sunday: Leftovers. I never cook dinner on Sunday that's my day off, the kids and David have to figure it out (hello cheese on toast)

    I'd love to do more, but it's so busy that seems the best I can do.

  4. I too, am dreading the return of school. I hate the rush of the school routine, the endless lunchbox packing and the whining of the kids that they don't want this or that in their lunchboxes. The endless grind of homework and getting kids to actually do it everyday (maybe that is just cause I have mainly boys lol I don't know)....I just hate it soooooo much!!! Okay enough of my whining,,, I so want to bake a pie now!!!

  5. Oh Kate I just envy how you guys's our dream. And there's only so much we can do living where we do but we are trying. What am I eating today? Why didn't you know? I'm heading to your place for pie..I wish!!!
    Well done to your little lady & thanks for the recipe! xxx

  6. Lovely post, great photos and yummy looking recipe! My family is eating an abundance of home grown veg...tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, herbs. Also, home made sourdough bread and home grown beef and lamb. Our eating is far from perfect but having plenty of homegrown stuff is a good start I think :)

  7. Delightful pictures Kate. I am not good at rushing either.

  8. I am not looking forward to making school lunches and the daily rush to get my children out the door. I menu plan each week - it does make life a little easier not having the 6pm panic about whats for dinner, I may not get as much me time during the day while I organise a meal earlier. We always try to have dinner at the table - candles and linen napkins too.
    Lovely photos.

  9. Hey Kate, this is such a great philosophy. Such a beautiful way to live, and an amazing gift to give your kids too, setting them up for a lifetime of mindful eating. Wonderful! Kellie xx PS pie sounds yum!

  10. Tonight I am going to try making zucchini chips to cope with the masses of the green things jumping out of our vegie patch .. I can't remember where I gleaned it - but I luckily wrote the recipe down ... I am trying hard to menu plan too!!

  11. We've been trying to eat better, not that we ate anything especially bad but we're trying to have salad or heaps of vege with every meal. Rather than just eating spag bol on its own we have a side salad. And then we make sure there's leftovers for the hubby to take to work and for me to eat at home. It's a good feeling. And trying to incorporate more leafy greens and stuff and expand our repertoire a bit too. So it does require a little bit of forethought although menu planning isn't really my specialty.

    I like the ideas of making vege muffins and stuff and freezing them individually for kids lunch boxes. Or little quiches in muffin tins with ham and mushrooms or something and wrapping them individually. Do it once a week and then just pop them straight from the freezer into the lunch box, should be thawed by lunch time.

  12. We here are also borderline obsessive about food and eating good stuff. we spend a lot of money on ti because it is important to us. We work so we can buy local and not have to support the BIG supermarkets. We also sometimes get into bad habits, maybe I will even start cooking this year.....

  13. yummmm!!!
    thanks for the recipe share X

  14. I am just a wee bit obsessive about food. There are many things that I know other people consider healthy and let their kids eat, that I won't have in our home. I'm not a fan of refined food, including flours and sugars. Preservatives are a definite no-no as are any colours. We try to eat wholefoods and organic as much as possible.

    My favourite cookbooks are by Jude Blereau, I particularly love "Wholefoods for Children"
    She also has some great recipes on her blog;
    website linky dink:

  15. Ah thanks any recipe that uses egg yolks up is a great one...especially if I have made the pavlova!

  16. I am quite obsessive about food too. If I can make it better, then I often can't bring myself to buy it. Menu planning has worked really well for me in the past. At the moment we're still trying to find our rhythm again, so I've been winging it everyday. I've got a date with my cookbooks tonight to plan the next fortnights dinners. Thanks for the nudge.
    We've been baking bread (olive bread too, yum!), bikkies, pikelets, fish patties, pasta, pizza... but no pie! This I must rectify. I've got a rhubarb plant just outside the kitchen, so there really is no excuse now.
    Keep up the awesome cooking. One day I'll just have to drop in & sample the goodness.

  17. Fantastic Kate. A wonderful philosophy you're implementing in your home for you and your children. We only have a small veggie patch but are aiming for more variety and more love and care for it this year.
    Will definitely try your pastry recipe.

  18. Hi Kate, I am also trying to improve our eating habits this year, I have been growing a lot of our vegies for quite a few years now and can generally have at least a few home grown, very fresh things on the plate. My problem is the bunch of very fussy, suspicious, non adventurous, non-trying-new-things, boys (and a kind of fussy husband) who I cook for. I love shopping at the farmers markets and buying local and fresh; they, on the other hand, couldn't care less! I have tried lots of different strategies to entice them into the wonderful world of food, but they would still prefer take away. Sigh. (My younger 2 were the only kids who wouldn't try new food they cooked and grew at school in the Stephanie Alexander Program -for the whole year!!)
    So I keep trying, and sometimes I just cook 2 meals when I know it will make mealtimes too horrible if I force the issue. They do have sweet teeth though so I do lots of yummy baking and use up our chookie eggs that way. So although we are probably more of a white bread family than a sourdough , I am going to keep gently nudging them in the direction of slow food and hopefully I'll be successful one day!! They do like my homemade bread and lemon cordial and the pasta I made from scratch did get eaten, so I guess that is something! I have bought the Bourke Street Bakery book, and am going to try my own sourdough bread soon! I also have a large collection of cook books, so the plan is to make 1 new recipe a week to broaden my repertoire of everyday meals, hoping to find a few they might try! Wish me luck, haha... Sorry for the essay-like comment, I think you touched a nerve! Julie:) x

    1. Julie your comment so took me back ten years! Just to say keep heart, it will come if you keep trying. I despaired when my two toddlers only wanted nuggets and fish fingers, but one day decided on the 'taste-it' rule. Whatever I served (and I didn't go mad here, just plain food I wanted them to eat) they had to taste. If it was new they were allowed to spit it out. No shouting, no pressure. And I explained to them that it takes ten tries to get used to any new taste (a fact I learned from a very interesting tv programme years ago) I was amazed but they took that on board, at four and nearly three!
      Now my teenagers eat a full range of home made food including curry, fish, risotto and are officially 'good eaters'. Not so keen on whole food or veggie dishes, but I am working on that!
      Take heart my dear, and keep going. You are doing the right thing!

  19. Hands up here, another convenience-food phobe. I've been menu planning for years, although I do often fall off the wagon. I find the thing that keeps me coming back to planning is having a big notebook in my recipe book shelf, and jotting down weekly plans. Then when I am less than inspired I can flick back to previous weeks to see what I made before. I jot down a rough shopping list as I go, and if I am super organised I remember to write down a recipe that I made up that we enjoyed. I recently found a book from when my kids were very young and their tastes have come a long way!
    At the beginning of the year I also resolved to improve our family diet. I love whole foods but beans, pulses etc aren't popular here. I want to use them more, so I made a list in my book of recipes to introduce, that I used to make regularly before I had a family.

    Looks like you are making it fun! Good luck!

  20. I was a good, healthy eater and I hope to be again, but I fell into a food rut a while back and I am only just hauling myself out of it. But we hope to have an allotment this year and that should make all the different as we don't have a garden big enough to grow fruit and veg at the moment. Thanks for strengthening my resolve Kate, that pie looks and sounds delicious :D

  21. Oh I'll be trying this! I'm so inspired by your local produce eating ways. A truly beautiful family eating truly delightful offerings. xx

  22. We are a bit obsessed as well! Recently picked up some bad habits due to both of our crazy work schedules, but back on it now. Meal planning is helpful, but we don't let ourselves become too attached to it. Weekends I make large batches of fresh organic meals that can be frozen for the hectic days, still homemade and delicious. Our problem is the lack of a place to eat. Our house is so tiny that in the winter months our one little table is usually covered with my sewing and work projects (much too cold to work in our unfinished basement) so we sit on the sofa and it's not quite the same. I need to work on that more and have my girl make up pretty centerpieces, great idea!
    Thanks for sharing this, I think the family that eats together is a healthier family on the whole!

  23. Lovely pictures!!! And thanx for the recipe. Have to try it one of these days:)

  24. At the moment I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, all about this very topic. If you haven't read it you MUST. Like you, I always aspire to eat locally and seasonally, but often i stray. This book is making me obsessive! Sam is so sick of hearing about it. In some ways it makes me sad, all the chemicals and hormones and antibiotics that are pumped into so much of our food, and the industrialisation and huge scale of modern agriculture, not to mention how far it has to travel to get to us. But it also excites me that there is another (more delicious and healthy) way and a gradual movement towards this.

    rachel ox

  25. i'm a little obsessed with it as well! i'm a big planner.... i'm really trying to cut down on food wastage in our house now... not that we waste a lot, but i really hate good food going to waste... making use of the freezer and the fowlers vacola- trying to get all that home grown goodness stored and not wasted... now to make sure we eat it all :) which could be tricky as my husband is a little bit picky...

  26. Glad to read you're cutting back on the burger rings.


  27. Oh wow! I'm in love with your little blog! :) Visiting after seeing your blog on the Ivy Nest! :)
    We're moving to a rural location soon and I'll have to get back into some more organised ways with meal planning, chores and vegie/egg collecting! :) Looking forward to it! Love your blog - will stop by regularly as I'm now following your blog! Come visit at Just For Daisy when you have time... bring a cuppa and stay awhile! :) Bek x

  28. That pie looks delicious! Tonight we had a yummy thrown together spinach fettucine with chorizo (which was so good that I had to stop halfway through eating to take a photo to blog it LOL) It was followed by almost a full bowl of toblerone dip eaten with a spoon while blog-hopping! BAD BAD nell!

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