Hello again Dear Reader,
I've got my cooking mojo back, I forget sometimes that I write a food blog! I'm no saint in the kitchen and will buy shop bought pastry if I don't feel like making any, ready made coleslaw and bags of salad. However, that's the exception rather than the norm and usually everything we eat is homemade. Occasionally, and usually because it's been yellow stickered down to 15p, I'll buy a steak and kidney pie. Due to our 8pm shopping, we've tried them all including the supermarkets luxury range of pie. The filling is padded out with air.................I don't have an air gap at the top of my pie. The are also full of more gravy than meat and you might get one or two lumps of meat per portion. I used a quarter of the braising steak I bought this morning (£1.50 = 65p for five lamb's livers) to make steak and kidney pie. As you can see, I keep the steak in lumps big enough to find and then cut when you eat them.
I made my pastry today. I use half the weight of fat to flour. I used half a kilo of plain value flour and a quarter of a kilo of fat (half butter/half lard) and a pinch of salt. I make it in the food processor. I handle it less that way and it's light and crispy. I bake my pies in old fashioned enameled dishes so the pastry cooks through.
To make the pie filling.
Saute one finely chopped onion,
Fry off 375g of braising steak
Finally, cut the kidneys into cubes - I cut round the sinewy core and bin the middle.
Add two stock cubes and top up with water.
Simmer for 2-3 hours. You want the meat in chunks but soft.
Finally, I use gravy granules to thicken the gravy.
Leave to cool for a bit and then fill the pies.
I topped the pies and baked them. They will be frozen and when we want them, we will de-frost them and place them in a medium oven for 30 - 45 minutes to warm all the way through. My food has simple ingredients and although you would only need a small portion of this, it's pretty wholesome.
Another real favourite for a packed lunch, or a picnic are homemade pasties. I made pastry in the same way (I only make shortcrust) and diced a potato, onion, swede and some beef steak (skirt). I then crimp them, glaze them with beaten egg and bake them for 45- 60 minutes in a medium oven. A 'giant' pasty can cost £3.50 - £5.00 from a proper bakers or butchers in Cornwall.......giant if you are small one?! Mine, which are huge man sized pasties that would be all you need to eat all day, cost me £1 to make. We're cliff walking tomorrow and DB will love his lunch!
I often get asked about baking for children and I like muffins as you can control the portion size. I make 12 deep muffins with 8oz SR flour, 8oz of butter, 2oz caster sugar, 4 eggs and a splash of vanilla extract all creamed together and then I add a punnet of defrosted blueberries. The fruit is expensive and grated chocolate or raisins could be used instead but I'm trying to make a healthy snack. Even with a £1.99 punnet of fruit, 12 blueberry muffins still cost £3.00 and 25p each!
Here's one of my finished Steak and Kidney pies. I'll pop the tin into a plastic bag and freeze them both......the S&K will remind me of the filling!
I've also made Scotch eggs. Some of you will not know what these are. They are sausage meat, wrapped around a hard boiled egg, covered in bread crumbs and baked. Usually, these are deep fried but they are calorific enough without frying them! I hard boiled five eggs and left them to cool.
I rolled them in beaten egg. I then rolled them in homemade bread crumbs. I took three slices of granary bread and blitzed them in the food processor and then rolled the sausage and egg into the bread crumbs and placed them on a baking tray. I always use greaseproof paper as it makes the pans easier to clean and the baked goods don't stick.
I also made some spicy koftkas.
I placed 350g of minced beef into a bowl and added:
1 tablespoon of minced ginger,
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic granules,
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes,
1 teaspoon of dried corriander leaf,
and I worked it all together with my hands and formed them into balls.
These are great in wraps with salad and garlic mayo or mint and yoghurt dressing. These are also for our day out tomorrow.
Below are the finished pasties.
Here are the Scotch Eggs with one of the koftkas next to them so you can see the size.
Scotch eggs on the inside. If you've never made your own then now is the time! There we go, I think that 1-0 victory to homemade on quality and price. It's not just about the cost, it's about knowing what we are feeding to our children and knowing we're eating good quality food with the shortest food chain possible!
Over to you, what do you make for picnics or days out? Do you take your own or succumb to cafes and take aways? We sometimes buy a coffee for the sake of a sit down somewhere dry and warm but usually take our own food (no we don't eat it in the cafe!!!!!!!!!!!!) which we'll eat somewhere sat outside.
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx