More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Veggie Christmas Pie

Every year we have a veggie pie on Christmas Day and this year I posted a pic of it on Facebook. Several friends asked for the recipe, but as I never make it the same twice I knew I'd have to think very hard about what actually went into it, especially as I have to confess to being a tad merry when I was cooking it. So I promised I'd post it as soon as there was a lull in festivities, which would give me a chance to try to remember the ingredients. So here it is... for a large pie as in the pic:

Pastry
Either make your own puff pastry or do as I did and buy some - life's too short, especially over the holidays. Grease and line the pie dish with the pastry, saving any leftovers for the shapes on top. Prick the pastry with a fork all over to let out any trapped air, then pre-bake at Gas Mark 5/190C for twenty minutes.

Filling
Cut into cubes 1 packet of smoked tofu and lightly fry in olive oil with black pepper and about a tablespoon of grated ginger. Turn the tofu a few times so that all sides get cooked, and just before it's done, pour shoyu over the cubes and leave to reduce for a couple of minutes.

Then saute all the vegetables in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste (if you don't have exactly these ingredients, providing you have the onions, you can just use a combination of what you have :
2 chopped red onions
1 chopped white onion
2 chopped leeks
1 diced courgette
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped stick of celery
2 red peppers
7 chopped cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of veggie bouillon
1 large sprig of sage, chopped finely

Mix the tofu in with the vegetables, put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down low and while this is cooking, make the sauce:

Sauce
Saute four large chestnut mushrooms in olive oil, add salt and pepper and pour liberal splash of red wine over them as they cook. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornflower with a cupful of cold water and add this to the liquor, stirring constantly until it thickens (you may need to add a little more water here depending on how much of the oil and wine went into the pan initially). When the sauce is a gloopy consistency, remove pan from the heat, leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then stir in1 tablespoon of tahini, replace on very low heat stirring continuously until the tahini is totally absorbed (take care the sauce doesn't boil as the tahini will then separate).

Construction
Fill the parbaked pastry case to within a couple of centimeters of the top with the vegetable/tofu mixture, then pour the mushroom sauce over it evenly so that the case is packed to the brim. I seem to have unknowingly perfected the art of gauging how many vegetables to do,  but if you find yourself short, just saute another onion or if you have it a bit more tofu.

Decoration
As the pie is quite rich, I usually decorate the top with seasonal shapes to make it less stodgy. Every year I use different cutters from a selection of angels, stars, holly, Xmas trees, or as in this year's pie, reindeers and hearts.

When you've decided on a pattern for the top of the pie, roll out the remainder of the pastry, cut out the shapes and add to the top of your pie. Finish by brushing each shape with a little milk.

Baking
Return to hot oven Gas Mark 7/220C  and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with roast potatoes, roast root veggies, Brussels sprouts, sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and red onion gravy and ENJOY!  I know it's not a quick and easy recipe, but it's certainly packed with flavour.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Xmas Carol

I'm not religious, I prefer to believe I'm spiritual, as this embraces all religions. As you probably know, I love festivals and celebrations, so though I may not always agree with the sentiments, I'd be the last one to miss out on the chance to sing Xmas carols.
Last week my guitar mentor taught me the tune of Gustav Holst's beautiful carol In The Bleak Midwinter. I just love it and can't get it out of my head, but when I looked up the lyric I knew I couldn't sing it with any sincerity and eventually my own rather different version started to kick in. 

Here's a lovely rendition of the original:

So here it is, with apologies to Christina Rosetti, as the original lyric is based on one of her poems written in 1872. Haven't had a chance to record it yet so you'll have to use your imagination:

In the bleak midwinter
Angels come to play
Bringing light in darkness
Peace on earth they say.
Hark the herald angels
Proclaim their news on high
Glad tidings for the future
As New Year draws nigh

Chorus
(Sung after every verse)
We all know the story
What can mere mortals do?
What happens to the glory
Once the year is new?

Comfort, joy, goodwill to men
And even women too
Love thy neighbour even if
She's gay, black or a Jew.
Ditch the new world order
The pyramid of power
No place for Rupert Murdoch
Pull down his ivory tower.

Lucifer is waiting
With open arms for you
It's much more fun down under
All you have to do
Is rape and pillage and plunder
Lie and cheat and steal
Don't worry about the planet
It's all in the Devil's deal.

So in the bleak midwinter
When angels fly to earth
Wouldn't it be wondrous
To heed their glorious words?
No more greedy bankers
No more corrupt MPs
No more hate and bigotry
All peoples walk in peace.
A very merry Christmas with friends and family to you all and thanks for reading my ramblings xox

Monday, 2 December 2013

Pattern discounts for a Happy Advent!


To celebrate the advent of the festive season, if you join my Ravelry group, there's a voucher code to get 20% off any of the 150 patterns in my Ravelry store. Offer runs until midnight on 24 December.
Happy Advent knitting everyone!