Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cupcakes silent movie style

The honourable Maud hosted a fabulous silent movie themed party on Saturday night. Highlights included Izzy's utterly convincing Charlie Chaplin get-up and creating captions on blackboards whilst striking poses to match. The look I went for was swooning-heroine-cuts-the-drama-and-calms-her-nerves-with-a-pint-of-Guinness. Not sure how well I pulled it off. For the occasion I baked black-bottom cupcakes - chocolate cupcakes with a dollop of cheesecake with chocolate chips mixed in. Good stuff.

The Guinness-grin and the baked goods.

Monday, 1 March 2010

On the ball City! A football-inspired pie

I took a gaggle of girls (and a boy) to the football last week. They were predominantly lured there by the promise of Delia's pies. Thankfully, the pies did not disappoint and the football wasn't so bad either. We (Norwich) won 2-1 with a final goal in the last minute of extra time. Take that Southend!

Match pie was steak and Woodforde's ale. The gravy was incredible and the meat was good quality too (lucky, because I can be quite suspicious of meat in pies... anything could be lurking under the pastry). The vegetarian option was Mediterranean vegetables in a tomato sauce and even featured pieces of aubergine. I reckon that is highly exotic for a football pie.

Post-match I couldn't help but wonder why I had never made a pie. So, I took inspiration and instruction from a recipe for parsnip and steak pie in Gregg-cuddly-cockney-of-MasterChef-fame-Wallace's A cook's year in order to come up with a Norwich city "match pie" of my own. 'ere we go...

a dash of sunflower oil, a knob of butter, 450g stewing steak, 1 onion finely sliced, 1 tbsp flour, 250ml vegetable stock, 150ml Broadside ale, 1 tsp thyme, 1 teaspoon Colman's wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp Marmite, 450g mix of parsnips and carrots thickly sliced, 250g puff pastry

Pie ingredients
Preheat the oven to 180 C - melt oil and butter - brown meat - remove meat and place in pie dish - sweat onions - add flour - fry for a few minutes - add stock and boil - add ale, thyme, mustard and marmite - bring to the boil and pour the sauce over the meat - braise in the oven for an hour - meanwhile blanch parsnips and carrots in boiling water for 3 minutes - drain - [time passes] - add vegetables to the meat - braise meat and veg for a further hour - leave for a few hours or overnight to cool - [did I mention this is a delayed gratification pie?]

This recipe seems to have left me with nigh on a pint of ale to drink, what's a girl to do? Glug.

- preheat the oven to 220 C - roll out pastry on a floured surface until it is larger than the pie dish - cut 2.5cm strips and stick these to the edge of the pie dish with water - place the pastry on top of the pie - push the pastry together firmly at the edges to seal - make pastry leaves to decorate if you fancy (I did) - glaze with milk or beaten egg - bake for 30 minutes.

Dinner time
A little over-golden brown perhaps but I don't mind. Look, I made a pie!