food

The Leftover Diaries: How I turned last night's dinner into the best pie ever.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Pampas

What’s the situation with leftovers at your place? For us, 4 out of 5 times, it ends up in the bin.  

We always pop it in the container with the best of intentions to have it for lunch the next day, but the moment it finds a space in our fridge – no deal.  

It’s forgotten or unwanted the next day. 

Also, I find there isn’t really enough leftovers for the 3 of us to eat, so we then still have to cook a new meal. That’s my excuse anyway. Or we end up ordering takeaway or going out for dinner. 

But the truth is, I’ll admit I'm a bit of a princess and I don’t enjoy eating the same meal twice in a row.

It’s usually on the third day that we realise that we’ve got leftovers from the beginning of the week and ciao – into the bin it goes. 

I feel terrible throwing food someone could have eaten, and even a little embarrassed to have wasted a good meal especially given how big of a problem food waste is in Australia.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment say that each year we waste around 7.3 million tonnes of food in this country. Isn't that wild?

The wastage equals about 300kg per person. Equally, food waste accounts for more than 5% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Yep. Read that again.

So instead of having to eat the same meal twice, and feeling like it’s Groundhog Day, I’ve started using a pretty simple and delicious solution that more people need to be doing too I think. 

As I’d like to reduce food waste, while inspiring others to do the same, I've been turning our leftovers into easy and delicious pies and baked goods.

(Also gives me an excellent reason to eat more Pampas pastry).

Listen to Mamamia's food and cooking podcast, What I Eat When. Post continues below. 

Hands up if you’re like me, and you’ve eaten enough pies to last you a lifetime – beef pies, mince pies, chicken pies, party pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, cherry pies... oh my goodness, I could keep going on about pies. 

Before my pie-making stint, I would really only have a pastry good on a 'special' occasion. But I seem to have rediscovered recently that they're not as time-consuming as I'd remembered. They're actually super quick and convenient to whip up (and guaranteed, the family will be scraping their plates for more). 

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When feeding kids, that's music to a parent's ears.

So, after I read about the Pampas Re-Pie-Cling campaign (like recycling… get it?), this came as extra motivation to get some family pies into the weekly meal rotation, and help contribute towards saving food rather than wasting food.

Starting with using our leftover curry from the night before. 

I genuinely cannot tell you how ridiculously mess-free, straightforward AND delicious it was to make a pie using just our leftovers, and a few sheets of Pampas pastry. 

Wish I'd thought of this idea years ago. 

Here’s what we made:

Image: Supplied.

No-fuss mini pies (using leftover Malaysian chicken and veggie curry):

For this recipe we used only 3 ingredients: 

  • 5 Sheets of Pampas Puff Pastry (freezer section from Woolworths or Coles) which we popped in the fridge 30 minutes before using
  • Leftover Malaysian chicken and veggie curry (for our pie filling – but I feel like SO many other curries would also work a treat, so swap your own in)
  • 1 egg (for brushing the pies)

We also used:

  • Muffin tray for our mini pies – no need for anything fancy! This will make 12 small pies
  • A knife to cut out the pastry circles
  • A large mug to use to cut out pastry circles
  • A slightly smaller mug to also use to cut out pastry circles
  • A tiny bit of melted butter to grease the muffin tray
  • A pastry brush
  • Nia, our 4-year-old daughter who did half the work and also ate half the pies (HA)

Some hot tips that are useful: 

  • Use cold leftovers for your pie filling. This helps prevent the pastry from breaking and equally getting soggy.
  • You can use a pie dish instead of a muffin tray if you have a lot of leftovers.
  • Get creative by using the leftover pastry bits to create letters or patterns on top, like hearts or stars for each pie.
  • Our go-to is Pampas Puff Pastry Frozen Sheets, so highly recommend this for your pie (or pastry) making adventures. The light and golden layers give you perfect, quality pastry, time and time again are ideal for making delicious pies and tarts. They also have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and have been rolling out quality pastry since 1934, so I feel like they've got it nailed.
  • Once thawed, you cannot refreeze the pastry sheets. So thaw only 5 sheets out for this recipe, and pop the remaining sheet back in the freezer.

The next ten minutes looked like this:

Image: Supplied.

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We used 3 puff pastry sheets and laid them side by side. 

Cut out discs to fit inside the cups (and slightly overlap the rims) of our 12-hole muffin tray.

To do this, we placed a large mug onto the puff pastry sheet, and used a knife to cut out 12 pasty circles.

Image: Supplied.

Then we greased the muffin tray with melted butter using a pastry brush.

Nia placed the pastry discs into the muffin tray, and gently pressed them in (then burst with pride at her work).

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Image: Supplied.

Quick photo moment to show off how proud Nia was of her pastry work:

Image: Supplied.

Nia then spooned in the cold leftover curry filling to just under the brim of each pie.

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Great work babe! Image: Supplied.

Then we used another 2 puff pastry sheets and laid them side by side. 

Next, we cut out discs to fit the tops of our 12-hole muffin tray.

I used our biggest measuring cup to cut out 12 slightly smaller pastry circles which were the lids for the pies as our smaller mugs were mid cycle in the dishwasher! 

Image: Supplied.

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Then, using a fork and also our fingers, we joined the pastry lids. 

Image: Supplied.

We then lightly whisked an egg and Nia brushed it over each of the pies.

We pre-heated the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and then popped it in to bake for only 10 minutes.

Image: Supplied.

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Nia's first pie-making experience!

Perfectly flaky and buttery outside. Deliciously moist on the inside. We're all about it in this household. 

Image: Supplied.

Best enjoyed with your favourite people too.

We are hooked. There's no turning back! We've converted pies from a once-off special occasion, now to a mid-week staple and are extremely ecstatic that we are helping reduce food waste along the way. 

Love a two birds, one stone moment.

Also it’s really important to me to not only teach Nia more cooking skills for her independence, but also show her ways we can help our beautiful world. 

Inspired to get Re-Pie-Cling with Pampas? Head here for more recipes, and turn last night’s leftovers into fabulous pies or baked goods like Nilu's family!

Pampas
Everything tastes delicious with pastry... especially with Pampas Pastry. We create the golden mouth-watering pastry that turns last night’s left-overs into something delicious, and nothing is more satisfying than seeing empty plates across the family dinner table.