Apologies for having been on radio silence for the past week. My BT line has been 'hors de combat' so I've been without internet access. I tried to explain the importance of passing on my recipe for rhubarb pavlova (to follow), but somehow BT didn't seem to think that this classified as an 'emergency'! I can't think why... It has shown me just how reliant I have become on the internet - I felt quite lost without it!
Anyway, the good news is that I have a whole host of things stored up to share, mainly various dishes served at a supper party I hosted last Thursday. It was a work night and, with the benefit of hindsight, I think it would be safe to say that I should perhaps have prepared a little more of the menu in advance! Things weren't served quite at the moment I had intended and the beef stroganoff pie and roasted vegetables could really have done with another 15 minutes in a hot oven to allow both pastry and veg to crisp up more. Oh well. You live and learn.
It is strange, isn't it, how some things can look delicious and yet taste revolting whilst other dishes look less appetising yet taste divine. Not sure what I mean? Take a look at this sundried tomato hummus...
Mmmm. Looks good, huh? Sadly not. It tasted horrid. I'm not sure why. I think perhaps I used a little too much tahini paste. Then take a look at this...
Looks kind of... grey... doesn't it (though note the cute butterfly shape decorating the top). But yet it tastes delicious. Really! I have said it before and shall say it again... I find it IMPOSSIBLE to make stews/casseroles etc perform for the camera. You'll just have to trust me.
This in fact tasted much better the second day (minus the slightly soggy pastry). Next time I'll make it in advance and re-heat, giving extra time for maximum pastry crispage. It is by no means an authentic stroganoff - it has no soured cream and no paprika. Though you could use both. It has a great kick from the mustard though and by using half fat crème fraîche, you can feel slightly less guilty about the amount in the recipe. You could use less, I suppose. But come on. Beef stroganoff isn't meant to be a healthy dish exactly! And remember, that amount is divided amongst 8 people. In fact, mine would have fed 10 easily.
This recipe came from delicious. magazine, I think. Foolishly, I didn't note where I got it. I have a feeling that it was a Bill Granger recipe, but a google search has left me none the wiser. I hope you (and Bill) will forgive me for this oversight. I've juggled ingredients slightly - the original recipe used many more mushrooms. I just used what I had, which seemed fine. I seem to remember that the original was for individual pies which would be great. I don't have individual pie dishes, but it would be fun for a dinner party if I did.
Beef stroganoff pie
serves 8 (or halve recipe easily for 4)
1 kg good quality rump steak, cut into strips
2 knobs of butter
2 -3 large red onions (depending on how much you love them!)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
700g button mushrooms, sliced (or more exciting mushrooms if you prefer)
4 tsp fresh thyme
4 tablespoons tomato purée
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
400ml half-fat crème fraîche
puff pastry - large packet that will cover a big pie dish (or two smaller ones if you prefer)
1 egg, beaten with a little salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 210C.
2. Season the steak strips and brown in hot olive oil and a little butter. Do this quickly over a fairly high heat and in small batches. Do not crowd the pan! Remove with slotted spoon and set to one side.
3. Add a large knob of butter to the pan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches.
4. Add mushrooms, thyme, seasoning and tomato purée and cook for a few minutes, until mushrooms are just starting to soften. Then add the steak back to the pan. Stir in the mustard and parsley and heat together for a few minutes.
5. Remove pan from heat and add the crème fraîche, stir together.
6. Pour into a large ovenproof pie or lasagne dish and then roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Brush edge of pie dish with beaten egg and place pastry over the top. Press down at edges and trim. Pinch around edges to create a pleasing pattern. Decorate using the scraps of remaining pastry - I used cookie cutters to decorate with butterflies and 'gingerbread' men! Stick decorations on with egg and then brush the entire pie with the beaten egg to help it brown.
7. Pierce pastry around 3 times to allow air to escape and then bake in the oven for a good 30 minutes. Check after 30 mins, you may want to bake a little longer - the pastry should be crisp and brown.