Tag Archives: lunch

Karjalanpiirakka – Finnish rye pastries with swiss chard rice filling

20 Dec

Continuing on this Nordic theme for no apparent reason whatsoever, here we  present to you karjalanpiirakka. Or Karelian pies, if you don’t speak Finnish. I don’t profess to speak Finnish, but I have accrued a somewhat surprisingly large Finnish vocabulary in foodstuffs.

These little pastries are often part of a picnic spread or table of breads and snacks. We’re not going to lie here. It’s heavy on the old carbohydrates. But it still isn’t too stodgy – unless you want to follow the traditional recipe which uses a lot more butter in the pastry, in the rice and then dips the whole buggers in butter-water then tops it with a mixture of munavoi – which is a mixture of equal parts egg and butter. Butter.

We served this as a starter with beetroot carpaccio, and it’s likely that we’ll make a bunch for Christmas, chucking a few in the freezer to pull out for when guests come around and we’re too bloated from the previous day’s excess to actually cook anything else.

This rye pastry, though, is quite versatile. We’ve used it as a base for pies, it has a really lovely flavour and texture when rolled out very thin. We used it in a broccoli, cheddar and dill pie which worked really rather brilliantly.

Thin rye pastry (makes enough for about 14 pastries and a small pie)

  • 50g white flour
  • 200g rye flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g butter chopped
  • 125g fromage frais
  • 85ml water (add more accordingly)

Mix all dry ingredients together, then add the butter, fromage frais and water. Knead, leaving some chunks of butter in the dough, wrap with cling film and  let rest in the fridge for a little while (this can be left for up to 2 nights in the fridge and still be good, according to our experience).

Remove from fridge and roll out. There will be butter pieces still in this, but laminate the dough – so continuously fold over, then roll out, fold over and roll out until the flattened pastry is even in consistency.

Roll to about 2mm thickness, or as thin as you can get it.

Filling (enough to fill about 14 pastries – or half the above pastry mix as above)

  • 1C pudding rice
  • 1C milk
  • 1C water
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 4 leaves (not ends of stalks) Swiss chard
  • salt to taste

Cook as though making rice pudding. Once the rice is soft and the liquid as been absorbed, add the chopped Swiss chard and stir through.

Dill yoghurt
  • 60ml yoghurt
  • 1 TBSP chopped dill
  • 2 tsp chopped chives
  • salt to taste

Just mix. That’s it.


Use a small saucer or cup (ours was about 8cm in diameter) to cut circles of pastry. In the centre of each circle dob about 2.5 TBSP of rice mix.

To fold the sides in, start at the edge of the circle furthest from you. Using both hands pinch the pastry around the rice mix, fitting tightly.

Cook in the oven at 200C for about 15 minutes, it should be obvious when it’s cooked.

Serve as a snack, as a starter with beetroot carpaccio or salad (one pie per person suffices in our experience) or – if you want to go really Nordic – some munavoi.

Estimated cost:

Musical accompaniment: Spiritualized, Songs from A&E


Cheat’s amazing breakfast (shhh! It’s toast)

25 Oct

This is less a recipe than a ‘serving suggestion’, in all earnestness. Man Woman feels guilty about posting it here because it is so simple. It is, actually, toast. Which is why we’ve had to call it ‘cheat’s amazing breakfast’, because it is pretty amazingly good, and yet it’s stupidly easy to the point of being obvious. But again, in the face of English brunch establishments collective aversion to moving beyond fry-ups and eggs Benedict (which have their place and can be done well and so on and so forth), this almost feels necessary. It’s a straight up copy of a great, fall-back breakfast Woman used to devour at Cafe Sofia in Erskineville, around the corner from Erko Villa, aka her old share house.  It seems a very Sydney breakfast: healthy, easy, care-free and just a little bit pretentious.

Cheat’s breakfast: Mushrooms, tomato and avocado on toast

  • Sourdough
  • 6 mushrooms per person
  • 1 TBSP soy per serve
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed) per serve
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado

Slice mushrooms thinly and throw into small pan with heated olive oil, crushed garlic and a dash of soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and glossy.

Now this is embarassing. Cut tomato. Spread avocado on sourdough (or whatever bread you like, in all honesty), top with mushrooms then that tomato. Crack pepper, drizzle lemon and olive oil if you feel so inspired.

Estimated cost (per person): £2.10

Musical accompaniment: Dark, Dark, Dark

Parsley & sumac egg white omlette

18 Jul

This recipe was born out of the detrius of a crema catalana (to be published soon). When faced with half a dozen egg whites and not particularly keen on making anything sweet, one might easily fall into despair. But this little lunch or brekkie item is quite a good’un. I know the mention of an egg white omlette might initially seem like worthy diet food, but packed full of fresh herbs this is rather tasty and totally filling as a lunch.

Parsley and sumac egg white omlette

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 C finely chopped parsley
  • 2 TBSP sumac
  • 1/2 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 3 TBSP finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 C milk

Whisk eggs until white, but not necessarily too foamy and definitely not stiff. Add parsley, herbs, spices, onion and milk.

Heat a small fry pan (about 20cm diameter) and coat in olive oil. Pour egg mix into the pan and cook for a few minutes, until the base appears to be cooked through.

Remove pan from stove top and put under grill, until cooked through. Let cool before removing from pan.

Estimated cost: Given that this was leftovers, I want to say zero. But in more true terms, £1.40

Musical accompaniment: Lyla Ices

Haloumi mushroom burgers with chermoula

14 Jun

The truth is, you can totally make this without chermoula. I know. Who would have imagined? But chermoula is pretty damn good. When Man Woman used to partake in the consumption of animals from the sea, we enjoyed chermoula spread over grilled mackerel and tuna.  Memories.

Chermoula on haloumi though is really, probably better and, regardless, is far more fun to say. For anyone who hasn’t tried mushroom haloumi burgers before, don’t look at me. What the hell is wrong with you? Goodness. How do you live? We’ve fed this to numerous carnivores who always seem shocked to their respective meaty cores that this is meat-free. Which is no way to sell a meal to a vegetarian, but there you are.


  • 4 TBSP chopped coriander
  • 2 TBSP coriander parsley
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1.5 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced


  • 2 bread rolls
  • 1 packet of haloumi (300g)
  • 1 tomato
  • lettuce
  • 1 beetroot (we are Austrayan after all)

To make the chermoula, finely chop the fresh herbs. Then mix all other ingredients, adjusting to taste, very quickly – almost like whipping.

For the burgers, grill mushrooms under a grill for a good 15 minutes until they’re all oozing juices etcetera. When these are about done, slice your haloumi into large squarish slices and throw onto a hot fry pan (no oil is needed, there’s enough fats in the cheese). While both haloumi and mushroom are just about done, slice and chop the fresh bread.

Build your totally amazing burger. Drizzle chermoula over everything.

Estimated cost: £5

Musical accompaniment: Miles Davis

Quick & chunky hummus (or houmus)

15 Feb

This recipe carries with it a startling and depressing confession: Man Woman does not possess a food processor. Gasp! Shriek!

Alack, dear readers, ’tis true. So the reason that this following recipe is ‘chunky’ is partly because we couldn’t be stuffed mashing the chickpeas for any longer. The amount of liquid added to this, however, does make for a more, well, liquid hummus, and the lack of blitzing means that the texture ends up being desirable as well as the only one we’re capable of producing.

Chunky hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/3 C tahini
  • salt
  • sumac, paprika, mint or parsley to garnish

Mash chickpeas, combine with other liquids and salt to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with spices, fresh or dried herbs & serve with bread or veg sticks.

Estimated cost: £1

Musical accompaniment: PJ Harvey, Let England Shake

Winter salad: Mustard roasted butternut squash & orzo

7 Feb

Orzo is such a fun pasta shape – almost like alphabet pasta shapes for adults. It doesn’t often  get a showing on Man Woman’s dinner table, but I think we might have turned a corner.

Mustard-roasted butternut squash & orzo salad

  • Two lady handfuls of chopped butternut squash
  • 1tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp agave nectar, maple syrup or honey
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 C orzo pasta
  • handful or two rocket

Heat oven to about 200C.

Mix chopped butternut squash, spices and agave and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Throw in the roma tomatoes into the baking tray and cook for another 10  minutes.

Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta.

Mix together with the rocket and serve hot or cold.

Estimated cost: £2.10

Musical accompaniment: Beirut, the Gulag Orchestra

Barley and sweet potato salad with tahini dressing

26 Jan

The war will be won on the smorgasboard.

Well, perhaps, let’s not say ‘war’, lest we appear militant ‘why don’t you slaughter a cow yourself?’ vegetarians. Christmas Day in the Woman household is in Australia, which generally means outdoor cricket, sunburn and tables groaning with all manner of foods. Despite the very best efforts of Woman’s parents (steak tartare, brains, kidneys and all that usual kid food), two of their three progeny are vegetarian. Success. A section of the buckling smorgasboard table was designated with vegetarian proteins as well as slow-cooked hams and pork.

The victory is here: the omnivores liked this salad. This vegan salad. (Even the tandoori tofu also gained a few fans!). Christmas truly is a magical time.

As the good Jonathan Safran Foer said at a recent talk on his Eating Animals book at LSE, the best advertisement for vegetarianism is eating well. Consider this Coca Cola.

Tahini sauce

  • 1 C tahini
  • 1/2 C water
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Salt (plenty)


  • 2 C pearl barley
  • 1.5 medium sweet potatoes
  • Bunch of  parsley (around 1 C chopped)

Barley is great. That’s the first step in this recipe. It’s fantastic. I hope to eat more of it in life. (I soaked it before using it here. Not sure if that’s necessary)

So, mix ingredients of tahini sauce. Do so to taste.

Meanwhile, cut sweet potatoes into cubes and bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While all this is going on, cook barley in about 2 C of water for about 15 minutes. Drain.

Mix the whole lot with chopped parsley and serve hot or cold. Win over a tough Christmas crowd.

Musical accompaniment: Some terrible Christmas compilation

Estimated cost: Unknown. Purchased in Australian dollars, so perhaps a gazillion pounds.

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