Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Hobbit, Chicken Pot Pie and Ginger Toffee Curd

We eased into the last weekend of the holidays with A and H looking like bookends, working at opposite ends of the kitchen table.  I was gently pottering, baking chicken pot pie and making little tarts with left over pastry, using amazing sticky ginger curd that H had bought from the Christmas market in London. I was feeling smug that my suggestion that Gaston Bachelaurd's, The Poetics of space might be worth a read, met with approval. H finding three or four quotes that could be of use in her essay. 

Pies made, looking forward to a night-in, and compulsive viewing of back to back, first two episodes of new series of  The Bridge, Danish-Swedish crime drama; we realised that Saturday night was the only free night to go with H and boyfriend to the new Hobbit film 'The desolation of Smaug'. A cool change of plan. The film was good, even better than the first one. 

Sunday morning A told me to get ready because he was taking me shopping. News to me...We'd agreed not to buy presents for each other this Christmas but I'd sneakily got him a jumper. This sounds very materialistic but he insisted on getting me seven jumpers, and the cutest little pair of flat black suede pumps. Honestly I hadn't asked to go shopping. I know that lots of people in the world only have one jumper...

But the sales were on, it was blue cross day, things were half sale price. All seven plus the shoes cost less than the yarn to knit one pure wool sweater, never-mind an alpaca one. Four cotton from here, one woollen fair aisle man's sweater from here, and two cute little alpaca ones from Gap that were reduced to £14 and then when we went to pay were only £11 each. 

Perfect timing as 2014 is going to be a very busy year and all the sweater patterns I dream of making will have to wait for another year. I'm all set for this one now...maybe next too. It'll just be a continuation of the small knitting projects for now...

We had lunch here.  Linguine with chili and cumin roasted butternut squash, served with baby spinach and homemade pesto. The best pasta dish I've had in England. All buttery and garlicky. 

An unexpectedly indulgent end to the holidays. I feel badly spoilt. Detox starts tomorrow, and so must work...ooh but we can watch The Bridge on iplayer tonight...

Chicken and mushroom pot pie 

  • One small skinned and jointed chicken with as many of the bones removed as possible. Chicken joints will do for this.
  • About 250g of mushrooms of choice, sliced fairly finely
  • Water and seasoning just sea salt and crushed black pepper, or chicken/vegetable stock
  • Half a pint of milk (300g)
  • Two tablespoons of plain or cornflour to make white sauce
  • Two ounces of butter/50gm.
  • One beaten egg  or some milk to glaze the pastry
For a pot pie you will need puff pastry, either ready made or you can link to a recipe to make your own here.

  1. Poach the chicken in a saucepan stock or water seasoned with salt and pepper until tender. As I've recently got a slow cooker/crockpot I used this, because I wanted to play with it. 
  2. Once the chicken is tender drain and allow to cool a little 
  3. Cook the mushrooms in butter and add a little salt and pepper
  4. Make the white sauce: I like to remove the mushrooms from the pan and use this butter as it has nice flavour.  Add more butter if necessary and the sifted flour. Combine the two mixing with a wooden spoon and finally beating until you get a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, mixing all the time to avoid lumps. Allow to gradually come to a boil and quickly reduce the heat. At this point the sauce should thicken. Add the reserved stock little by little until the sauce is the consistency that you require. My family like a very thick sauce. Check the seasoning as the seasoning from the mushrooms and in the stock will be in the sauce. Adjust if necessary.
  5. Take the now slightly cooled chicken and remove any bones. Separate the meat into nice sized portions then place into an oven proof dish. 
  6. Add the mushrooms mixing the two so that everyone will have an equal portion of chicken and mushrooms.
  7. Cover the chicken with the sauce, making sure that it's evenly covered. Set to one side to cool a little
  8. Preheat the oven to 200g
  9. Roll out the pastry on a lightly dusted surface. Until it's just larger than the top of the dish.
  10. Place on top of the pie and trim to size. Crimp the edges and it's fun to decorate with bits of left over pastry. 
  11. Place the dish on a baking tray and bake for about half an hour or so until the pastry has risen and is golden brown and the filling piping hot.
Any left over pastry is great for making cute little tarts. I filled mine with sticky ginger curd from The Cherry Tree Preserves, you can get other curds from them online. But they don't seem to have the ginger one yet, possibly it was just a trial run at the christmas market. I'm sure it'll soon be available though, it's amazingly more-ish.

Happy baking.


  1. my detox is in the near future once the kids are gone. I think you hit the lottery with the shopping sales! Around here only the Christmas stuff is marked down drastically (I might be a tad picky about clothes though).

    1. It's so hard to do when cooking for lots of others. I know, about the jumpers, especially as like you I'm picky.

  2. I am already detoxing, it was time. But my guys aren't and I think they would love your potpie.
    I am now on a mission to see if I can find sticky ginger curd here, it sounds and looks so wonderful. I do love all things ginger.
    I am glad you were able to find some wonderful clothing deals.

    1. I was ready for detoxing too, I've got into a very bad coffee habit over the last few months.Working late and drinking to keep awake.
      The curd is delicious but I'm not sure where to get it from now the Christmas Market has finished. Hopefully it was a trial run and they'll start making it.
      I was very lucky with the deals. I know that like me Tracey you aren't a favourite of clothes shopping so that's me done for a while.

  3. That garlicky, buttery linguine,roasted squash dish sounds so yummy! I desperately need to detox from all of the holiday feasting. Your hubby sounds like a gem! I so enjoyed reading about your shopping expedition and all of your fabulous finds (black suede flat pumps--swoon!) I love knitting, but it is a very expensive hobby. Most of my sweaters are store-bought and the majority of my knitting projects are small ones. : ) So glad you had a great weekend to wrap up the holidays!

    1. Thank you. It was so good Susan and the linguine so scrumptious that even my husband who'd ordered a hamburger kept pinching mouthfuls. He is a gem, I'm very lucky.