Monday, 7 March 2011

Drop Scones or Scotch Pancakes & National Pie Week

Drop Scones are by far the easiest of pancake to make so we often have them for breakfast or tea with butter and honey or maple syrup. They are rather good with poached fruit with liqueur and crème fraiche as a pudding too. I use very alcoholic black cherries or brandied pears.
115g self raising flour or Doves Farm gluten free self raising flour mix
30ml caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
150ml milk (goats or cow, fresh soya or Arla lactofree)

Lightly grease a frying pan. In a bowl mix the flour and sugar, make a well in the centre and stir in the egg with enough milk to make the bater the consistency of thick cream. Fold the mixture as quickly and lightly as possible. Heat the pan over medium high heat and drop a spoonful of the mixture into the pan. They should be small and neat, no bigger than the size of a slice of lemon!  Cook until bubbles rise to the surface (couple of minutes) and then flip over and cook until golden. Serve immediately or keep warm in a pile on a warm plate,under a clean cotton cloth until they are all made. The devour them with great pleasure!

National Pie week this week and my all time favourite pie is home-made steak and kidney pie with plenty of rather good sherry and mustard in it. A wiff of puff pastry that is as light as air! Well definitely not my puff pastry then...............I have tried out half a dozen frozen and chilled puff pastries from various supermarkets and I have to say that without doubt that even on this occasion you definitely get what you pay for. So,double the price, All Butter Puff Pastry really is gorgeous, it literally melts in the mouth. The Pink Lovely, aged 7, supreme judge of puff pastry awarded it 5* and had seconds. Quite an achievement as she hates pastry.

The filling I was taught, one hung-over teenage morning by Madame Russell, our Diploma Cookery Course Teacher in a minuscule kitchen in Pimlico in the 1970s. Madame Russell was, let it be said, the second most terrifying women that I have ever met in my entire life. This could be due to the fact that she knew my French Grandmother, who was, indeed, the most terrifying lady that I have ever met.  Madame Russell's husband had been captured in Germany in the second world war and my Grandmother and her team had rescued him and then looked after him in her special hospital wing of her house in Surrey for a year until he was well enough to leave. Stern words about being as amazing as my Grandmother was not really the most encouraging thing for a 17 year old and I spent the entire 3 months in dire trepidation of being ask to make anything in front of the class!  Amazing, that I survived it and went on the cook all around the world and write 14 cookbooks!
For your filling, cook plenty of sliced onions in a half-half mixture of butter and olive oil and then when they are soft add plenty of crushed garlic, seasoning, grated nutmeg, a couple of cloves, Dijon mustard, very nice sherry, mixed herbs and toss it all around in the pan for a few minutes. Toss your steak and kidney, in any balance of mix that you prefer in flour and then chuck it into a very hot frying pan with some hot oil and seal it and toss it until evenly browned. Add the your onion mixture to the steak mixture in a casserole dish, stir in a bit of tomato puree and stock and cook in a medium oven until tender. Transfer the steak and kidney mixture to your pie dish and cover with the puff pastry. Brush with beaten egg and decorate if you enjoy it. Bake for about 35 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffy.

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