Gisela’s sweetcorn patties

Gisela travelled far and wide before discovering Dundee “I started 5 years ago in New Zealand,  after that Poland  and then Dundee. My brother in law lives here“.

She explains how she started volunteering at the Maxwell Centre Community garden: “I met Nadege through a friend. She told me how happy was she helping others and enjoying the time outside.  She knows about my little garden, so I said yes when she ask me to be a volunteer”. 

Since then I have taken part in the cooking workshop, helped with the harvesting boxes and sometimes with litter picks and planting during the MAXhour in the Hilltown park. I enjoy coming because it makes me feel good, helping others and learning about plants. Nadege and Manuela made my learning so easy. They know a lot and they want to share that! And I always feel that I am important here”.

We asked Gisela what her favourite spot in the garden is and what she enjoys best about growing… “I love to be in the polytunnel, where plenty of tomatoes and fruits grow, but when the rain is coming, the sound of the plastic in my head is stunning.  My favourite activity.. it’s hard. I love everything about been here”.

Gisela has quite a few plants at home, mostly herbs and ornamentals (for now!) and has an amazing hand with succulents. She brought in a few to the garden which are propagating like mad in our polytunnel now! One of the main challenges with growing at home is space…”All of my plants at home are in pots in my windowsill and on the floor”.

Gisela had many ideas as to a recipe to share with us but she finally opted for an easy one that is suitable for vegetarians. Her mother Liliana helped her decide and they set up a life cooking tutorial via zoom to make sure Gisela got it right! (See photo with them chatting between Dundee and Buenos Aires!): “Empanada de choclo. Is a typical recipe from Argentina,  is a stuff sweetcorn  pastry. Is so special for me because my mother used to make it and we share the time around the table eating and chatting. Onion, peppers and sweetcorn are all grown in the Maxwell garden and are the main ingredients for this recipe”.

Image of empanadas argentinas By Lutoma – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Empanadas de choclo
Sweetcorn empanadas (16 units)

Ingredients (filling)

1 can of sweetcorn
1 can of sweetcorn puree
1 big onion
1 Green big bell peper
1/4 cup of milk (I used plant based)
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp vitamin B12 (optional, used as a supplement for vegan diets)

2 ready puff pastry  sheet

Method (filling):
1. Cut in cubes and saute the onion and the peper. Cook for 5 minutes.  After that add the cans. Cook for another 3 minutes.
2. In a glass mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 2tbs of milk. Mix well to avoid lumps. Then add all the milk.
3. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.  At the end add the B12 and salt, pepper and nutmeg.
4. Let them rest the flavours and get cold before fulfilled the pastry.

Unroll the pastry sheet, roll a little thinner with a rolling pin, then use a 10cm circle cutter to cut out circles of pastry. (You should get 6 circles, then re-roll the trimmings for 2 more.) Brush edges of the circles with a little of warm water then spoon a couple of teaspoonfuls of filling mixture onto each. Fold over one half of the pastry, and seal by pinching the edge with your fingers, until you have 8 small pasty shaped empanadas. Arrange on a baking parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins before baking.


Published by manuelagrows

Community garden mentor at the Maxwell Centre

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