Fill the tins

fill the tins

We all get hungrier over winter, so what better way to fill the tins (and empty tums) this season, without blowing the grocery budget, than with some warm, nutritious and delicious savouries from Sophie Gray, aka the Destitute Gourmet.

tangy vegetable & lentil hand pies




  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup diced pumpkin – small dice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable stock – use more if needed
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp Marmite or Vegemite
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pepper
  • a heaped tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 x 400 g approx. can cooked brown lentils
  • 4 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • beaten egg or a little milk to glaze

These individual pies are made in Texas muffin pans and make a good meatless main course with a tangy, savoury family-friendly flavour. If you don’t have Texas muffin pans you can make them into pasties instead.

In a saucepan, heat the oil and gently cook the onion, carrot, celery, pumpkin and garlic until beginning to soften. Add the stock, cover and simmer until
the vegetables are almost cooked through. Stir in the sauces, tomato paste, Marmite or Vegemite, seasoning, herbs and lentils, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently – add more stock if you need to maintain to a moist but not runny consistency. Allow the filling to cool before assembling the pies.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Lightly grease the muffin pans.

I use a 12cm noodle bowl to cut out the pastry bases and an 8cm glass to cut the lids. Jigsaw the pastry trimmings together and re-roll them to avoid waste. Line the pans.

When the filling is cool, spoon the mixture into the prepared pans to three-quarters full, press it in gently and smooth over the top with the back of a spoon. Place the lids on top, then press the edges of the pastry together to seal the pies. Roll the top edge over itself to form a little seam around the top and crimp it together. Poke a hole in the middle of each pie to allow the steam to escape while cooking. Brush with beaten egg or a little milk.

Bake for 25–30 minutes or until dark golden.


Cut the pastry into rounds using a noodle bowl of roughly 16cm diameter. Brush a little water around the edge of the pastry and carefully place a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of each one. Gather the sides into the middle and crimp them together, forming a seam along the top of the pasty. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush with glaze and bake as above.

herby sausage picnic plait



  • 2 slices bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 good-quality meaty sausages (approx. 500 g) – I like a herby Italian-style sausage
  • 2 sheets frozen flaky or puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with
    1 tbsp water

Real sausages make this pastry plait into a sophisticated relative of the ever-popular sausage roll. Great ‘boy’ food.

Preheat the oven to 210˚C. Grease a baking sheet.

In a bowl or food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, onion, herbs, mustard powder and salt. Squeeze the sausage meat out of its casings and into the breadcrumb mixture and either mix with your hands or pulse in a food processor.

Place the pastry sheets on the greased sheet. Lightly wet the edge of one of the pastry sheets, then overlap with the other and press down firmly to seal. Trim approximately 3cm off the end of the pastry rectangle.

Scoop the sausage meat mixture onto the pastry, arranging it in a strip
down the centre of the rectangle, and smoothing and shaping so it is neat and even.

You need to have enough pastry either side to completely cover the filling. Slice 1cm strips all the way along each side of the pastry. Don’t worry if they aren’t even – it is a rustic dish, so will just look ‘handmade’ and delicious if a bit lumpy and bumpy.

Fold up the pastry ends to enclose the ends of the sausage filling, then crisscross the pastry strips over the filling like a plait – I do them two at a time. Brush all over with the beaten egg mixture.

Bake for 25–30 minutes or until dark golden. Serve warm or cold with tomato sauce or relish.

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