Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 72 – Shepherd’s Pie

Sheperd's Pie

I bet you thought I had forgotten about my self-imposed challenge.  True, I haven’t been cooking as much lately, but as I have been preparing for the wedding and busy with beaurocratic bullsh*t since I moved, the inspiration has been on the back burner.  But I’m back, with a vengeance!  Finally after settling in and having the majority of my tasks completed, I now have time and the chutzpah to dedicate to some serious cooking.  Especially now that the weather has turned, and I can open my kitchen windows and let in that beautiful spring breeze!

I have made shepherd’s pie for many, many years.  It was one of the first ways I got my daughter to eat her veg, masked under the layers of creamy mash.  That is why I was so excited to try this recipe from Saveur, because it looked delicious.  And true to its word, as my daughter put it, it was the best shepherd’s pie she had ever eaten.  Quite disillusioned with the recipes that we tried before from the magazine, she was super surprised when I told her its provenance!

I know I mentioned in my first challenge that I would recreate the recipes exactly as they are printed, but since moving to Madrid, I haven’t found “my markets” yet.  You know, your go-to places to get those ingredients that are a little harder to find?  Well, in my case, even the easy ingredients are harder to find.  It’s amazing how much Madrid differs to Barcelona.  Some things that I considered staples in my household because I knew where to buy them, have now become extremely difficult to attain.  So, this recipe has two variants.  Instead of lamb shoulder, I used ground beef, (I get lots of lamb chops in my neighborhood, but shoulder, not so much.)  And, I added peas.  Just cause we all love peas.  (I snuck some nutmeg into the mash too….)

This dish was a winner.  The layer of beef was juicy and flavorful, the mash was silky smooth on the inside, and perfectly crispy on the outside.  Total hit!

Overall Points:  9/10 –  It beat the Carbonnade!

Difficulty:  Medium, just for the varying components of the recipe.  But, it is leaning more towards easy.

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available

Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup beef stock

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand

1/2 cup frozen peas (my addition)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 lb russet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 tbsp unsalted butter

Freshly grated nutmeg (my addition)

1. Heat oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium high heat.  Add lamb, and cook, stirring, until browned all over, 10-12 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Add celery, garlic, carrot, and onion to pan, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.  Add wine, and cook, stirring to scrape bottom of pan, until wine evaporates, about 8 minutes.  Add stock, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, add the peas and lamb, mix well, and transfer to a 9″ deep-dish pie plate; set aside.

2.  Heat oven to 400 F.  Place potatoes in a 4 qt saucepan, and cover with water by 1″; bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.  Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 1 qt saucepan; keep warm.  Transfer potatoes to a food mill or potato ricer, and process into a bowl; add hot cream and butter, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and whisk until smooth and fluffy.  Spoon potatoes over meat filling in dish, spreading to cover to the edge; drag tines of fork lightly over potatoes to create ridges all over.  (Alternatively, fill a piping bag with the potatoes and pipe them in rows over the filling.)  Bake until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes. (Serve with peas if you didn’t add them in!)

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Individual Chocolate Banana Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

Chocolate Banana Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

 

When I moved to the Bahamas, I tasted my very first Crunchie bar, and it was pure, sweet, magical love.  I had never tasted anything like it, that airy, sweet, crispy caramel tucked neatly inside milk chocolate.  It was pure bliss.

Crushed Honeycomb

Imagine my happiness when my Jamie’s Great Britain book arrived in the post, and I found a recipe on how to make the inside of a Crunchie bar!!!!  I literally got the book on Tuesday, and Wednesday I was making the honeycomb.  I’m flabbergasted at how easy this was to make.  I mean, I don’t know what I thought it would entail, like some super-duper complicated machinery to infuse the caramel with all those teeny tiny holes, but in reality….it’s a 4 step process.  It took me a whole of 10 minutes.  Crazy!!!

My friend came over for lunch yesterday, and I hadn’t baked in a while.  Luckily, my pantry is always stocked with the necessary accoutrements (I just wanted to use a fancy word.  Ingredients, actually) to whip up a simple sponge cake.  Which also came out of Jamie’s book.

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

I decided I would combine his recipe for honeycomb, with his recipe for Victoria Sponge, and add a little banana and some ganache.

Individual Chocolate Banana Sponge Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

This is the bomb.  Tastewise and calorically.  But heck, it was worth the run I did afterwards!

So, if you are so inclined, here is the recipe for my little concoction!

Serves 6

Adapted from Jamie’s Great Britain Cookbook

Basic Honeycomb Recipe:

1/2 heaped tsp baking soda

125g white sugar

1 tbsp honey

Line a shallow baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.  Measure out your baking soda so that it’s ready to go – you’ll need to work quickly once the sugar reaches the right temperature.  Put the sugar, honey and 25ml of water into a medium-sized, deep, heavy-bottomed pan.  Stir together and heat to 150 Celsius on a sugar thermometer.  Whatever you do, do NOT touch or taste the caramel, as it will burn you.

As soon as the caramel reaches the right temperature, turn the heat off and add the baking soda, whisking quickly and carefully to combine it.  It will froth right up, but that’s normal.  Carefully pour the mixture out onto your lined tray right away, then gently tilt the tray a little from side to side to get the mixture to spread out in a fairly even layer (again, being careful not to come into contact with the hot caramel).  Leave to one side to cool, then crack it into bite size pieces and crush some into powder or smaller pieces.

For the Victoria Sponge:

125g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

125g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

2 large eggs

zest of one lime

a few drops of Rosewater

Preheat your oven to 190C.  Grease your individual cake tins with butter, and dust with flour.  Trust me on this, I didn’t dust with the flour and they stuck….so instead of 6 I had 4.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure you beat each one before you add the next one.  Fold in the lime zest, flour and rosewater.  Divide the batter among the cake tin, and with a greased spatula, smooth the bottoms.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and rise, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Turn out on a baking rack to cool completely.

For the ganache:

250g dark chocolate

1 cup heavy cream.

Shave your chocolate with a serrated knife.

Shaved dark chocolateThis will make sure that the chocolate melts all at the same time.  In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream just before boiling.  Place the chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl, and add the cream.  Mix once and let sit for 1o minutes.  Then whisk well, until all the chocolate is mixed with the cream and it is glossy.

To Assemble:

1 banana, cut 6 slices, and chop the rest

Crushed Honeycomb

6 individual cakes

Ganache

Place a piece of parchment beneath the baking rack.  Add the honeycomb and chopped banana to the tops of the cakes.  Then drizzle the ganache over the cakes.  Let it set for about 3 minutes, then pour over again, and smooth the sides and top with a spatula.

Top the cakes with the small crushed honeycomb, then add one large piece.  Add one slice of banana to each cake.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Free form Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ingredients for Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ahhhh, the pie.  That magical, wonderful, filled with goodness food.  So humble, yet so incredibly fabulous.   I love pies.  I don’t make them that often, but I had to start after perusing a book that belongs to my friends Laura and Jim.

They have this amazing book which I stole borrowed, aptly and simply called “Pie” by Angela Boggiano.  They brought it back from the UK, and it is a veritable smorgasbord of pies!  I swear to you, every time I look through it, I start salivating like Pavlov’s Dog.  I honestly want to make EVERY SINGLE RECIPE.

I decided to tackle this one first, well, because one, it’s fairly easy and I am quite busy what with back to school and the such.  And also, who the heck doesn’t like cheese, onion and BACON??????  Just thinking about the combination makes me hungry.  Then finding out that it also has potato?  Oh….*swoon*.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon Pie

You can whip this up in no time if you’re having guests for dinner, because it calls for store-bought puff pastry.  And, if you’re guests or you are vegetarian, omit the bacon, and it’s still going to be UH-MA-ZING.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon PieServe it with a nice lemony salad, and you have a decadent and delicious meal.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

“Pie” by Angela Boggiano

Serves 4 (but I think it serves more, unless you’re REALLY hungry.

500g ready-made puff pastry

Beaten egg, to glaze

2 medium floury potatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm strips

2 large onions, thinly sliced

200g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

3 tbsp double or heavy cream

Ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.  Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into thin slices.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until beginning to color.  Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened but not colored.  Set aside to cool.

Divide the pastry into two portions.  Roll out one half to form a 25cm square, (or in my case, leave it round).  Lay the pastry on a lightly greased baking tray and brush the edges lightly with beaten egg.   Spread the sliced potatoes over the pastry leaving a 2.5cm border,

Potatoes over pastrythen top with the bacon, onions, and black pepper.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Drizzle over the cream.

 

Roll out the second piece of pastry to form a 28cm square (or leave it round, but with a larger circumference than the bottom piece…sorry I didn’t measure mine out!)  Place over the filling and press the edges together to join.  Trim away excess and cut a cross in the middle of the pie.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and bake in the top of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until golden and risen.

Serve cut into wedges.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Hurrah to Brit Week: Barcelona’s One and Only Fish and Chips in the Raval

5 years ago, Fish and Chips in Barcelona was born.  Two lovely young ladies and good friends of mine, opened up Fish and Chips, after having a hankering for their countries’ ubiquitous food.  Barcelona is full of Doner Kebap shops, Pubs, and Burger Joints, but there was nary a Chippy in sight.  So, after travelling to Leeds to complete their National Fish Fryer’s Association course, they came back to their new home town and embarked on a new path in life.

Yesterday I went down to the Chippy to have some Fish and Chips, because how could I possibly have Brit Week without having probably the most English of dishes other than Chicken Tikka Masala? ;)  The Raval is an area of Barcelona that is chock full of Kebap joints, making the chippy stand out if you are in the mood for something that is completely different.  I grabbed a friend, and we plonked ourselves on the terrace, under the shade of Acacia trees and hungrily waited for our food.

Which took a while, since the chippy was plagued today with a group of British students having their lunch.

But no worries, it was such a gorgeous day that with a beer in hand, and idle chatter with good friends, I didn’t mind waiting. We ordered the fish and chips menu, with all the sauces, because my friend is Catalan and he had never tried any of them.

Baked Beans, Mushy Peas, Curry Sauce, Onion Gravy

My favorite is the curry sauce.  If you are missing all your typical chippy food, well you are so in luck.  They have just about everything an expat Brit’s heart can desire.

They also serve a Full English Breakfast, and an American one, all day long.

And now….for the Food.  I have tried Fish and Chips maybe once or twice in London, and was not impressed.  These ladies, to me, make hands down the best fish and chips this side of the english channel, and probably on that side too.  They only use flash-frozen fresh Cod fillets, and they made sure they got the highest quality potatoes that have very little water content, which are perfect for frying.  And I was not disappointed!

It was perfectly crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside.  We both ate everything off our plates.

But, those of you that have been there before, and those who haven’t will have a big surprise.  This year marks the Chippy’s 5th Anniversary, and they are having a big blowout this Sunday, 10th of June, from 3 pm onwards.  There will be mini-canapes of yorkshire pudding and roast beef, all sorts of baked goodies, and lots of the usual stuff too!

But, the best part is that they are unveiling their new menu items.  I will certainly be going there really soon, to try all the new yummy things!

Apart from the regular menu, they are doing a Burger menu, with 100% beef, Chicken, Fish and Veggie burgers; a Hot and Cold Sandwich menu that will have the regular Sausage, BLT, Bacon…..and then Egg and Cress (LOVE),  Cheese and Pickle (LOVE LOVE) Chicken Salad and Ham and Mustard.

And for those who want something completely different, there will be Lasagna and Veggie Lasagna.  And another option of sides will be the coleslaw!  Can’t wait to try it all.

So, if you want to have a great time on Sunday, with some great British grub, drinks, music and fun, go down to the Chippy for their 5th Anniversary!  And if that weren’t enough to make you want to go, all their bestseller’s will be sold at a discount!

Fish and Chips
Rambla del Raval 26
08001 Barcelona.
Tel: 93 4411134
info@fishandchipsbarcelona.com

Say hi to Julia while you’re there!


Tomorrow, I am off to Switzerland and Italy for my 20 year high school reunion,  so will be photo blogging all my wonderful eats and sights!

Ciao e ci vediamo Lunedi!

More Brit Week: Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

As I’ve mentioned before, I moved to the Bahamas and was suddenly thrown into all things British…..and I remember singing this song.  I had no idea that it was an actual food…….and I am a bit ashamed to admit, I tried them for the first time 6 years ago, when I helped two friends open up the one and only Fish and Chip shop in Barcelona.  I was intrigued by this little bun, with a big white cross on them….and I was told they are generally served on Good Friday.  Light bulb moment! Hence the cross.

I thought they were good, but there was nothing that really made me scream out….Wow, amazing!  Then this week, I decided I wanted to try to make them at home.  I dug out a recipe from one of my books, and let me tell you, I was MORE than pleasantly surprised!  If you have the time and inclination to make these at home, they are well worth it.  They compare nothing to the pre-fabricated versions you can buy at any store.  It really does them no justice.

They are more of a bread, than a pastry.  It does take time to proof, but the actual mixing part is a breeze if you have a stand up mixer.  The result is a moist, light and spicy bun that is not too sweet and perfect for breakfast or as an afternoon snack!

I did have to make my own Golden Syrup though, which is something that is very hard to come by here.  It was probably the most time-consuming part of this whole recipe, so if you have some already, don’t bother to make it.  Also, you might want to make more than just 12, as this recipe says, mine turned out to be enormous…..and I know they are actually supposed to be much smaller.

So, here’s what you’re going to need:

625 g

1 tsp salt

2 tsp mixed spices, such as cloves, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg

45 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

85 g sugar

Zest from 1 lemon

1.5 tsp fast action yeast

1 egg

275 ml tepid milk

125 g sultanas

For the topping:

4 tbsp plain flour

Vegetable oil for greasing

1 tbsp golden syrup, heated for glazing

For the buns, sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into the mixing bowl of your stand up mixer, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add the sugar and lemon zest and yeast.

On low-speed with the paddle attachment, beat the egg and add to the flour with the tepid milk. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.

Change to the dough hook, Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove.

Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with the tea towel and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray. Wrap the tray with the buns on it loosely in greaseproof paper, then place inside a large bag. Tie the end of the bag tightly so that no air can get in and set aside in a warm place for a further 40 minutes to rise.

Preheat the oven to 240C.  Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.  When the buns have risen, remove the bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.

Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

More Brit Week: Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie

As a child, I remember leafing through my mother’s cook books, and there was always a recipe for a chicken pot pie.  It looked so good, warm and luscious.  But, as I said before, my family was a lot of things, but not British or American.  So, never in my life did I have a Chicken Pie until I made one myself.  The first few tries were laughable.  I was just out of my teens, was living on my own and attempting to cook.  Let’s just say the results were less than stellar.  And that is putting it lightly.  But, I never give up when I fail at something, so I tried and tried again and EUREKA!  By George, I got it!

A few weeks ago I was at a friends house, she was born here in Barcelona, but her family is from Argentina.  Her husband, however, was born in Yorkshire from American parents.  They had just come back from a trip to the UK, and they brought back this amazing book, I don’t remember what the name was, but it was all about pie’s.  Savoury pies, sweet pies, hand pies…..oh sweet Jesus!  I think I actually drooled on the book. ( I hope they didn’t notice.)  It got my wheels a working to make more pies at home.

I love tarragon, but it is sparsely used in recipes here, although it is always in the supermarket?  Huh.  So, for Brit Week I knew I was going to make a pie.  I originally thought cheese and onion, but since I did the Sunday roast with chicken, I had quite a bit left over.  And as I mentioned before, British cuisine really knows how to make do with all your left overs.

I made this pie yesterday.  And no, I did not make the puff pastry.  I usually do, but it is such a long and hard process, that honestly, it defeats the purpose of this easy, delicious and hearty meal.  I mean…..ok, you’re using up your chicken to make a great meal for your family, but you’re going to spend three hours making the dough?  No way.  Just get store-bought.  No one will know the difference, and unless you have made puff pastry a few times, it will more than likely not turn out.  It is one of the more difficult doughs to make.  If you want to make your own crust, be my guest.  But I was too tired.  And I had a glass of wine instead while it was baking.

Today my friend Julie from Liverpool came over, and she gave me the seal of approval.  We had crustless pie with the rest of the bubble and squeak.  And we had seconds.  It was that good.  I wish I had more.  But hey, next week I can make another pie!!!!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6

55 g butter

1 onion, sliced

300 g mushrooms, quartered

salt and pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, chopped

40 g plain flour

150 ml white wine

300 ml chicken stock

Left over chicken from 4 breasts

150 ml heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

250 g puff pastry, store-bought

1 egg beaten

2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped  plus more for crust

In a sauté pan, melt your butter.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and raise the heat to high, add the salt and cook until nicely browned, about another 5 minutes.  If you feel that the veggies are too dry, add some oil or more butter.  Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Now add your flour and lower the heat to low.  Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and stock, and raise the heat and bring to a boil.  When thickened, add your chicken, cream, tarragon and nutmeg.  Take off heat.

Pre-heat your oven according to package directions, but should generally be around 200-220 C.  Unroll the puff pastry, and press some of your reserved tarragon leaves into it.  Place the chicken mixture into a baking dish, and roll out the puff pastry, pressing into the edges to seal.  Cut off the excess, and if you’re feeling up to it, use the extra pieces to decorate the top a bit.  Baste it with the beaten egg.

Bake in your oven for about 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown, and it’s bubbling and you can’t take it anymore cause you’re going to stuff your face into it.  Sorry.  That’s what happens to me sometimes.  Food makes me crrrrrrazy.

Let it cool a bit before serving.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! : Bubble and Squeak

Continuing with British Week, since it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!  I love the practicality of British food.  It amazes me that from one lunch, as we had on Sunday, I have almost a week’s worth of food just from the left over’s!!!

Yesterday I made Bubble and Squeak.  This is a hearty, belly filling dish using up the rest of your mashed potatoes and vegetables from the roast.  On Sunday I made roast chicken, roast vegetables, mashed potato and yorkshire pudding.  The pud’s were the first to go.  But as always, I have chicken, mash and veggies left over.

Bubble and Squeak to the rescue!  All you have to do is mix your veggies with the mash, place it into a frying pan and form into a sort of juiced up hash-brown.  Basically the name of this dish is because of the sounds of the “potato patty” as it cooks, and since your veggies will let out a little water as they cook, the whole thing will bubble as well.

Since I didn’t put the chicken into it, because today I am making a Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie, I decided to fry up a couple of farm fresh eggs to go on top.  Then just, portion it up, place your fried egg on top, and heat up and pour on some of your leftover gravy….and you are good to go!

It’s so ridiculously easy, and tasty.  You can even do this with your Thanksgiving left overs, since the day after I am so keen on the leftovers, but then I kind of get tired of them.  I think this will be a great answer to not end up throwing them all away in despair (and utter disappointment, since I hate throwing away food).

Mind you, the picture isn’t great, just because it is sort of a lump on the plate covered with gravy and egg.  But trust me, your taste buds will thank you.  And it’s so darn quick to make, you don’t even have to think about it and you have a full, balanced meal on the table.  Of course, this isn’t health food.  But I don’t eat like this every day, and you only live once! ;)

So, just to give you a couple of steps:

Mix your left over vegetables with your mashed potatoes.

Place a little oil or butter into a non-stick frying pan, over high heat.

Put your mash and veggies into the pan, and form into a large patty.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes, and then place a large plate over the pan, flip over, and slide the patty back into the pan and cook another 5-7 minutes until nicely browned.

In the mean time, fry up a couple of eggs in another pan.

Serve your bubble and squeak topped with the fried egg and your re-heated gravy.

Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla