Monday, 4 February 2013

Pass the Parcel...

It was my eldest niece's birthday at the weekend - I can't believe she is 13 already!  Time flies... It reminded me of birthday parties and the social side of eating.  I love to eat in company.  There is something quite lovely about sharing a meal with others, passing bowls of tasty food around and chatting over dessert and coffee.  Maybe it's because I grew up in a big family. :-)
Dinner parties are an ideal opportunity to share food with others and I think today's recipe would be fab for this: samosas.  How about a big platter of these with dips when people mingle?  Or a couple of samosas each as a starter? These little parcels are great - you can fill them with pretty much anything and - using ready-made filo pastry - they are quick and straightforward to create.  I had never used filo pastry before, thinking it would be incredibly hard to work with but the opposite was the case with this ready-made version.  
The samosas I made had a curry filling and we served them with my sweet chilli sauce (find the recipe here) and also some homemade chutney (which will feature in another post soon).  

I also froze a couple to see how that would work and am happy to report back that not only do they freeze extremely well, they are also just as tasty as freshly made.  You can eat them cold or heated in the oven.  And I guess you could even take a couple out of the freezer in the morning before going to work and by lunchtime, they'd be defrosted and ready to be eaten.  Perfect!

I hope you have a good start to your week!

Samosas (makes 12 small ones)
4 sheets of ready made filo pastry (they measure about 36cm x 30cm in size here in the UK)
100g mince (I used turkey mince but beef, pork, lamb or quorn would also work)
1/2 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
a little oil
50g frozen peas
1 small potato, cooked & cut int small cubes (or use leftover mash)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder (or just use curry powder and omit the other dried spices)
a little chilli powder to taste
salt, pepper to taste
25g butter, melted

To serve: sweet chilli sauce, chutney etc

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven) / 200C (conventional oven)
  2. In a pan, heat the oil and brown the mince together with the onion & garlic, then stir in the spices.
  3. Add the cooked cubed potato and peas and heat through, covering everything in the spices.
  4. Season the mixture with salt & pepper and set aside to cool slightly.
  5. Take one sheet of filo pastry and lay it flat on your work surface.
  6. Brush with melted butter, then place a second sheet on top and also brush with melted butter.
  7. Cut the pastry sheet into 6 strips of approx. 6cm width.
  8. Take a strip and place a spoonful of mixture into the bottom right corner (see Picture 1).
  9. Fold this over to create a triangle (see Picture 2).
  10. Continue folding the triangle until you have used up the pastry strip, then brush the top with melted butter and set aside on a baking sheet.
  11. Repeat steps 8 -10 to use up all of the pastry strips and then take another 2 sheets of filo pastry to make the next 6 samosas.
  12. Once you have made 12 triangles and placed them on a baking sheet, pop them the oven and bake for approx. 15 minutes until crispy.
If you want to make more samosas, just remember to keep the filo pastry from drying out by placing a clean, damp kitchen towel on top whilst you work on the other samosas.

These little parcels can be frozen!  Just defrost prior to eating and serve either cold or warmed up in the oven for 2 - 3 minutes at 180C.

You can make these completely meat-free - just omit the mince and increase the potato & other vegetables.

The above is just one idea for filling these - you can use anything you like and have in your fridge & larder.  Maybe spinach & feta?  Tomato, basil & mozzarella?


  1. Those look like a lovely appetizer. I like your idea of them as a lunch box item too. I do not have curry powder around but when you mentioned cumin and cirander that sounds soo good. I love Mexican style food and that often uses cumin and cilantro. These would have been perfect for a treat for the Super Bowl. May have to keep them in mind for the next gathering.If we don't have them for some lunch before then...

    1. Ah, I should have thought of the Super Bowl when I posted this! Cumin & cilantro flavoured samosas sound lovely & they could be served with guacamole and/or salsa ... I love Mexican food too and have a great recipe that I am just writing up & sorting the photos out for, so it'll feature in the next couple of days! Kirsten x