Monday, 20 February 2012

Sunday's successes - or should that be excesses?

As stated in my last post, I do love a big cook-up!  

And with fifteen for lunch yesterday, a fair bit of cooking was required, but I'd planned it all to be as stress-free as possible - pie that could be made the day before, casserole that requires very little effort (just browning the meat and throwing all the ingredients in the pot), mashed potato made ahead of time, puddings that were mostly in the fridge the night before and simple steamed veg.

The American Chicken Pies went down really well...

I learnt to crimp the edge better than before by using this method...

And I remembered the little china bird I got at a car boot, that goes in the top of the pie funnel...

The recipe is from a rather old and falling apart 'The Secrets of The Hungry Monk' cook book, by Ian Dowding, Nigel and Susan Mackenzie.  The Hungry Monk in Jevington (now sadly closed) was the place where Banoffi Pie was born! (Follow the link for the original recipe)

American Chicken Pie

To serve 6  
1 x 3 pound chicken
1 onion
1 carrot
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni
salt to taste

4 hard boiled eggs
2 sweet red pimentos (Karyatis brand, in the antipasti section at Sainsbury's)
4 ounces peas (I used frozen, though the recipe says cooked)
a small tin of sweetcorn
1 pound puff pasty
1 egg and a bit of milk for eggwash

Poach the chicken in a large pot with the onion, carrot, bay leaf, bouquet garni  and salt for one hour.  Remove the chicken from the stock and allow to cool, reserving the stock.

Melt the butter in a saucepan , add the pimentos and fry for a moment or two.  Then add the flour, stir and continue to cook for two or three minutes, before gradually stirring in one pint of the strained stock.   Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for a few seconds.  Remove from the heat and add the pea, sweetcorn and chopped hard-boiled eggs.  Adjust the seasoning.  Strip the cooked chicken from the carcass and chop into half inch chunks.  Add to the sauce and stir well.  Transfer the mixture to a fairly deep pie dish, then cover with pastry.  Decorate with trimming and brush with beaten eggwash.

The uncooked pie will keep in good condition in the refrigerator for up to two days.  Finally bake in a hot oven (Gas mark 7 /220 degrees c) for 30 minutes, till golden brown and bubbling.

The other thing that was much raved about was the brownies.   Now I have used quite a number of brownie recipes, but this one does seem to have topped them all!  

And with Lent starting this week, I thought it best to post this now, before everyone has given up such things.
If Phil Vickery makes these at home, I'm amazed Fern has managed to keep the weight off...

Phil Vickery's Brownies

100g/4oz butter, cubed
100g/4oz dark chocolate, broken into squares
175g/6oz caster sugar
25g/1oz cocoa powder
50g/2oz plain flour
25g/1oz white chocolate, chopped into chunks
25g/1oz milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
a handful of mini marshmallows (or large one quartered)

Heat oven to 180 C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Butter four individual heart-shaped muffin tins.

(Now, romantic individual that I am, I do not possess these. I used 8 ordinary muffin cases in a muffin tin instead.)

Put butter and dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.

(Now, impatient person that I am I did this in the microwave, on low power, for approximately three minutes, stirring every minute.)

Leave until melted and smooth, stirring only once or twice.  Allow to cool slightly.

Break the eggs into a large bowl and tip in the sugar.  Whisk with an electric mixer on maximum speed for about 5 minutes, till the mixture is pale and has doubled in size.  Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and fold in very gently.  

Now sift the coacoa powder and flour over so they cover the mixture evenly, then ever-so gently fold in.  Stir in the chocolate and marshmallows.  Spoon into the tins/cases, gently easing it into the corners and lightly levelling it.

Bake for 15 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

(I wanted to remove the paper cases before serving, so I did this when they were still ever-so slightly warm as otherwise the melted marshmallow bits tend to be stuck.)

Uneaten brownies (!!!) can be stored in an airtight tin for 3 days, or frozen for up to a month.

Anyway, there weren't too many leftovers of anything, but enough trifle for a little breakfast supplement this morning...


  1. Looks absolutely delicious and I love your crimping of the pastry. That trifle is mighty tempting on a Monday morning

  2. Yum!!!
    Pies look great, thank you for sharing both the recipe and the tip for crimping - havent seen that way before and it looks impressive.
    Brownie recipes are always welcome in this chocolate loving household!
    Well done for planning a make ahead, stress free menu and therefore enjoying yourself!

    Gill xx

  3. I'm going to try making the pie at the weekend! It looks delicious.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  4. It all looks delicious...yum yum:)

  5. What a fab menu! and what a task to cook for that many people! x

  6. I think I'll have to try both these recipes! Glad your lunch went well. xx

  7. Not sure I'd like the hard boiled eggs in the pie but otherwise sounds tasty. Leftover Brownies ? Na !
    Love your stitching in previous post.

  8. The pie looks divine and I'd love to crimp like that - just a bit of practice methinks!

  9. trifle for breakfast?
    My kinda gal!
    ps a well crimped pie is truly a delight to behold!

  10. So glad that you shared the recipe for the pie, it sounded delicious, I will give it a go, it sounds like it may become a family staple, even my picky son would eat it.

  11. Your pies look delicious, thanks for sharing the recipe. Hannah

  12. All looks and sounds delicious. M x

  13. yum! those pies look incredible and trifle for it ;o)
    love jooles x