Friday, 11 May 2007

Cheese, onion and potato pie

This is picnic food of fondest imagination, although actually we eat these for ordinary tea in the kitchen fairly often. I say 'we': that's to say I make them for the children, then snaffle down a couple myself - Nigella Lawson

Lest you think that I only cook sweet things and Bells only does the savoury things, I present you with, admittedly my first savoury from HTBADG, cheese, onion and potato pies!
I was having two of my best friends over for lunch, and so that presented the perfect opportunity to make these pies. Pastry from scratch (not my first time on that one!) and a variety of cheeses (mmmm cheese). They are made with spring onions too, which give a lighter oniony flavour than ordinary onions (and also don't make me cry when chopping them!)

The verdict:
Unusual or substituted ingredients: The recipe calls for creme fraiche to bind the filling (which is basically boiled cubed potato, grated cheddar, red leicester and parmesan cheese and chopped parsley). My local supermarket didn't have creme fraiche when I did the shopping, so I used the same amount of light sour cream instead, and I think it worked just as well.
Special utensils or cookware: I made the pastry in my magimix (mmm magimix) food processor - it is fabulous! But you can do by hand, it's just a bit messier (although perhaps more authentic?). Nigella bakes the pies in yorkshire pudding moulds. Yorkshire pudding is not a big thing in Australia and I wouldn't know what a yorkshire pudding mould looked like if it hit me in the face. I used individual pie/flan tins (the ones where the bottom pops out). These worked perfectly.
Repeatability: I would make these again, but next time would probably add a bit of meat, perhaps bacon. I found them just a little bland. (That may also be because I forgot to add salt and pepper to the filling...). But they are a good vegetarian (not vegan though) option, and as Nigella suggests, they taste good cold as well as hot, so are very good for picnics and the like.
Sauciness: Anything that requires you to make and roll out pastry is going to be a bit messy, but I kinda like the whole rolling out and cutting involved. Although as you can see from the pic, I'm not a great roller. I can only rarely achieve a nice smooth-edged piece of pastry. Oh well, just means I need to practice more!
Overall pleasure level: I'll give these a 6. Worth making and worth making again, but the real pleasure is in the making of these - you can't get much more domestic goddess-y than by making pastry and using a rolling pin (especially if you made the rolling pin yourself in your year 8 woodwork class!) (Ok, you got me there, my woodwork teacher made most of it for me...Hey, a lathe is a dangerous machine! But I sanded it really well!)