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"Significantly, the charge (if it is a charge) has been levelled at the gastronomic essay and the 'learned' cookery book that they have an affinity with pornography. Certainly, both gastronomy and pornography dwell on pleasures of the flesh, and in gastronomic literature as in pornography there is vicarious enjoyment to be had." 

Stephen Mennell

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Entries in pastry (5)

Friday
Mar252011

Beef and Guinness pie

 

Fellow blogger, Jo Romero, has dedicated her little corner of the web to one of my favourite things – comfort food. So when she asked me to do a guest post for her blog, comfort bites, I jumped at the chance.

Comfort bites for me means hearty and warming foods like pies, stews and casseroles; those things best eaten when it is cold and miserable outside. And if I had to choose it would be a pie every time – stew with an added bonus, pastry. As you know, I am a big fan of pastry!

Most traditional English fare is very comforting indeed, hardly surprising given the weather we have to put up with. So for my guest post I chose an old British staple, the Beef and Guinness pie.

You can read my guest post here, and while you are at it have a look round Jo’s blog, there are lots of delicious recipes to try.

For those who prefer to cut to the chase, I have provided the recipe below. Makes four individual pies or one large pie for four.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan022011

Charlie’s olive, goat’s cheese and roast cherry tomato tartlets

Updated on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 3:58PM by Registered CommenterVix

I am still trying to pin down my father for some (any) of the recipes from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In the meantime, I have this canapé recipe from my sister. The tartlets are a little time consuming and fiddly to make, but the recipe itself is straightforward and they look great.

In the past I have found tartlets this small have not worked especially well for me because it is hard to roll the pastry thin enough so that it does not overpower the taste of the filling. For this reason, I have also found that they tend to be quite dry. Charlie has overcome these issues by using very moist ingredients, one of which – the olive tapenade – is strong enough in flavour to counteract that of the pastry.

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Monday
Nov292010

Leek and stilton tart

I have been on rather a long journey this evening to arrive at this post. Metaphorically speaking, I have visited Greece, Turkey, the Balkans and Thailand before arriving back in England to the comfort and ease of a leek and stilton tart.

I started out by writing about moussaka, but I got tied up in a longwinded history of the dish which I decided to leave for a day of the week when I am not feeling naturally depressed and lacking enthusiasm. A perfect day then to write about a disappointing restaurant experience; that is how I ended up in Thailand, but it did not bring the pleasure I sought and I thought it only fair that I re-read it in a more forgiving frame of mind.

So back to England for a simple dish which requires little or no explanation.  It is a well known staple of the Modern British gastropub or bistro. Served warm with some dressed leaves or green vegetables it makes for a substantial lunch, add some new potatoes and it is a hearty meal for a cold evening. 

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Thursday
Aug192010

"The tart" inspired by Elizabeth Hodder's Tomato, onion and goat's cheese tart

On Saturday I put up a recipe for shortcrust pastry from my friend Lizzie’s book, The Book of Old Tarts. That post was really just a preamble to this most important of recipes. It is not just any old tart, it is the tart, or so it has come to be known in my household. Indeed for a long time it was the only tart I ever made, because although I was very tempted by other recipes, it was just so damn tasty I could not think of any reason to make something new. My sister loves it so much that she would brag about it to all her friends, but not a single one ever got to try it because I was not allowed to make it for guests; the tart was not for sharing.

Until this week, I had only made the original recipe once and I now feel rather guilty for having written it off so quickly. The first time I made Lizzie’s recipe I found it a little bland; this is probably because I did not season it well enough, but also because at the time I was a teenager with little appreciation for the less is more approach to cooking. Having made the original recipe for a second time, I can now appreciate that its simplicity is its most appealing quality, a perfect balance of flavours and textures. As Lizzie says in her introduction to the recipe,

Successful tomato recipes are those where the distinctive taste of the fruit surmounts the other flavours. I think this tart succeeds in this, but partly through its soft texture.

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Tuesday
Aug172010

Creamy chicken pie with leeks, mushrooms and bacon

 

Loser that I am, I was actually excited when I heard that the weather was forecast to be wet, windy and, by most people's standards, utterly miserable this past weekend. And when I opened the door to my little balcony on Saturday and was greeted by torrential rain, I was positively over the moon. Why? Because I have been missing my winter comfort foods God dammit! As you may have gathered, I get great joy out of making my own pastry, but apart from the fact that it is incredibly difficult to make decent pastry when it is hot, it is not much fun eating it in summery weather either.

I took this turn in the weather as my window of opportunity to cook and enjoy as much wintery goodness as was humanly possible in one August weekend: Chorizo, chicken and cannellini bean stew followed by apple and pear crumble on Friday; creamy chicken pie with leeks, mushrooms and bacon followed by Dad’s best ever brownies and vanilla ice cream on Saturday; and accidental tomato, mushroom and red onion tart on Sunday, all washed down with plenty of red wine. And to top it all off, I made the tart that didn’t go to plan on Sunday on Monday night as well. So much for the 2kg I wanted to drop for my trip to Croatia in less than two weeks.

This chicken pie is my own recipe and, as such, it tends to be a little different each time I make it. However, I have made it enough times now to have worked out which combination I like best (this one). You may prefer to add or substitute some other vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, peas, sweet corn) or you may find tarragon too strong, in which case I suggest parsley or thyme. So long as the basics are there (chicken, wine, cream, stock, pastry), it would be hard to go wrong. Have a play around and see what you like best.

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