One of the benefits of spending so much time at home, and not being able to just pop down to the shop whenever we want to, is having time to cook tasty dishes from things we find in the pantry, fridge or freezer. And in our case spending some time searching through the wine cellar to find a few hidden treats.
While Kevin Hopgood has been using up ingredients that he has at home to make some really tasty and easy-to-make lamb empanadas we decided to make a treat for afternoon tea – cheese and smoked paprika scones.
These scones are so incredibly easy to make you can get the kids involved too and you can swap out some of the flavour ingredients if you want to. We love the smoky flavour that comes from the smoked paprika but if that’s not to your taste just leave it out. The same goes with the cayenne pepper, but rather than leaving it out just cut back on the quantity a little because I think the little bit of gentle heat that comes from the cayenne really lifts the flavours of the cheese.
You can make them with any cheese, but a sharp, tasty cheese is best.
- 3 cups of good quality aged cheddar cheese
- 2 cups of flour
- Decent pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika (sweet or bittersweet)
- 4 tsp of baking powder
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- Pre-heat oven to 200c fan bake
- Mix together the cheese, flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
- Mix together the beaten eggs and milk
- Lightly fold the egg/milk mixture into the other ingredients (do not over mix)
- Put baking paper on oven tray
- Drop spoonsful of the mixture onto the oven tray (should make around 12)
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, depending on how brown and crunchy you like them
Kevin Hopgood’s Lamb Empanadas (a Mexican type of pie)
Kevin says “These Empanadas are really tasty and a great way to use up leftovers, I slow cooked lamb leg the other evening and we turned the leftovers it into two tasty dishes, Empanadas and also a lovely mulligatawny soup. You use cooked chicken, beef, pork or make a vegetarian version if you want to. You can also use fresh beef or lamb mince but you will need to cook it with the onion, garlic and stock for 10 minutes.”
- 2 Tbsp of Oil
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 Cloves of Garlic crushed
- 400g of Lamb cooked
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of Smoked Paprika
- 100mls of stock
- 80g of Black beans (tinned)
- Pinch of Chilli Flakes (can be omitted)
- 2tbsp Chopped Mint
- 2tbsp Chopped Coriander ( The stems are perfect for this)
- 3 Spring onions finely sliced
- Egg beaten
- 4/5 Sheets of Shortcrust Pastry (store bought is fine)
- Heat oil in a heavy based pan add onion and garlic, cook for 4/5 minutes on a low heat until soft and translucent
- Add cumin, paprika and chilli then cook for a further 2 minutes,
- Add the Lamb which should be finely diced. Stir then add the stock and black beans.
- Cook for another 3 minutes just to reduce the stock and intensify the flavour.
- Take off the heat add the mint, coriander and spring onion and season to taste. Chill the mix.
- Pre heat your oven to 200c.
- Take a shortcrust pastry sheet and cut four circles with a 11cm pastry cutter out of each one.
- Place approximately a dessert spoon of mix each circle.
- Brush the outer part of the pastry with a little beaten egg, fold over and press the edges together, at this stage you can pinch and fold the edges to make a nice pattern or you can just use a fork to crimp the edges.
- Place on a tray with baking paper, brush with egg and sprinkle a little salt on top (I use flaky sea salt).
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, they should look golden brown.
Serve with Mexican salsa, Sweetcorn salsa, tomato relish or even sweet chilli sauce. Great with a cold beer!
Neil’s wine pick
If it is the cheese scones you are looking to pair a drink with then it has to be a straight-up espresso rather than wine for afternoon tea but when it comes to dinner and Kevin’s empanadas if you don’t want a cold beer then Pinot Noir should be top of the list.
I think you should try the St Pauli Vineyard 2019 Pinot Noir with the lamb empanadas. Made from fruit grown in Upper Moutere the wine is crushed black plum juice in colour, is simply bursting with ripe berry fruit aromas and flavours, it’s also a wine with silky tannins, however, it’s the beautiful fruit and touch of toasted hazelnuts flavours that shine. Simply delicious!
Published in the Nelson Mail 22.04.20