Archive for April, 2008

Beef & Mushroom Pie

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , on April 27, 2008 by helenphillips

I cheated a little with this – I used ready made pastry. The ingredients are enough to serve 4 in a 26 cm pie dish, but I use the same amount to make 2 pies, so that one can be frozen. I served mine with boiled potatoes, and some green vegetable.


500g / 1lb 2oz braising or stewing steak, cubed
85g / 3 oz cubed pancetta (bacon or lardons can be used instead)
2 tbsp olive oil
350g / 12 oz onions or shallots, sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
300ml / 18floz red wine
350g / 12oz chestnut mushrooms, chopped
10g / 0.5oz dried mushrooms (Merchant Gourmet have an excellent selection)
500g / 1lb 2oz Puff Pastry (I used Jus-Rol)
1 egg, beaten

1. Heat the oil, and saute the beef & pancetta until browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and put to one side. Add the shallots to the pan, and cook for around 5 minutes until the onions start to turn golden. Return the meat to the pan, and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, and then stir in the red wine, using it to deglaze the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

2. Whilst the sauce is cooking, prepare the dried mushrooms by soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes.

3. Add the fresh mushrooms, as well as the dried mushrooms to the meat mixture. The excess liquid from the dried mushrooms can also be added to give added flavour. Allow the mixture to cool.

4. Heat the oven to 220c / gas mark 7

5. Roll out the pastry so you have enough to line the dish(es), with extra to make the lid(s). Fill the dish with the meat sauce, then cover with the leftover pastry, folding the edges over. Glaze the pie with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden.

Broccoli, Stilton and Bacon Soup

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, recipe with tags , on April 13, 2008 by helenphillips

Last week I found myself with an excess of Broccoli in my veg box. A quick search of soup recipes revealed a few variations on Broccoli soup, but that sounded a bit bland to me. Further searches found Broccoli & Stilton which sounded better. However, after eating a Stilton & Bacon sandwich at work, I thought why not combine Broccoli, Stilton and Bacon. And so, we have the experiment. It may not sound overly appealing, it certainly doesn’t look heavenly, but the taste is definitely a winner for me.

125g streaky smoky bacon, chopped into small cubes
40g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
500g broccoli heads
600ml vegetable stock (home made is preferable but today I used vegetable Boullion powder)
60g Stilton, crumbled into small pieces

Using a non-stick pan, fry the bacon without any fat until it starts to crisp.

Add the butter, melt, and then add the onion. Gently fry until it softens. Add the broccoli, and mix well to coat with the buttery mixture. Cook gently for about 2 minutes, and then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, and blend the mixture to a smooth purée.

If you are eating the soup straight away, then return the mixture the pan. Gently heat, stirring continuously as you add the cheese pieces. Once heated through, serve.

If you are preparing the soup to eat later, then you can add the cheese pieces to the mixture whilst it is still in the blender. The mixture should still be warm enough to melt the cheese, and you can blend further to ensure that it completely mixes.

Serve the soup with a swirl of single cream and / or some crunchy bacon pieces.