Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was a tough year and I am glad to see the back of it! And what better way to celebrate the turn of the year than with a classic chicken pie! Well, champagne and lobster would have also been grand but chicken pie it was! And Lord Almighty, you have no idea the effort involved in bringing you this chicken pie – direct from the pages of The A-Z of Cooking! This is the third recipe I made from the chapter called Old Favorites.
The first thing I made were some pastries called Maids of Honour, originally made in Tudor Times. I nearly lost my head when I saw the photos of them. They were terrible!!! Totally unusable. So then I made an Apple Pan Dowdy. Terrible name for what was a quite tasty upside down apple cake. I did not take any photos the night I made it and only remembered a couple of days later that I needed to. By which time, the cake was gone!
Left in the chapter was a recipe for Steak and Kidney Pie – I know people eat it and I’m sure it’s delicious. But as far as I’m concerned kidneys are there to absorb waste and make urine – neither of which make me want to pop some in my mouth and chew. There was also a recipe for a Killarney Hot Pot which contained pork belly which is another thing I don’t eat. Finally, there was a recipe for Chicken Pie which I initially ignored because….boring! Then I realised I had everything I needed to make it in the house and voila, chickken pie it was!
This Chicken Pie is actually not boring. It was delicious!!! Making it during a heat wave was probably not my brightest move ever but it was worth it! Seriously, the night I made those pies, I went to bed around 1:00am and it was still 32°C. That’s 89.6°F for my American friends. And is damn hot for the early hours of the morning where ever you are! So you can only imagine how much hotter it was earlier in the day when I was baking the pies!
This was perfectly balanced, chicken and mushroom is always a great combination and this had the perfect amount of wine and cream. I added some fresh chives into my chicken mix and made small pies instead of one large one but otherwise this was exactly as per The A-Z. Well, I used bought pastry instead of making my own – heat wave remember?
This would be a great way to use leftover chicken…just sub it in at the point of mixing. And if you are not fond of mushrooms (I’m looking at you Jenny Hammerton) use whatever vegetables you like – corn, asparagus and or leek would all be super delicious or you could go very traditional and have peas, carrots, celery.
The only downside of this pie, apart from the heat wave, was that for the whole time I made it I was singing that terrible hair band song from the ’90’s “She’s my cherry pie” in my head, except I was subbing in chicken for cherry. Be warned. It could also happen to you! Meaning, now that I have planted that seed it surely will!
All together now
“It’s my chicken pie,
Cool drink of water, such a sweet surprise,
Tastes so good makes a grown man cry,
My chicken pie”
Now that I’ve ruined this, and all future chicken pies for you all, here’s the recipe:
Today we are taking a huge step back in time and heading back to the time of gas lamps, hansom cabs and thick London fogs. How nice then in this cold inhospitable atmosphere to pop into the Oriental Club for a spicy mutton curry to warm your cockles on a cold winter’s night! Just think, Arthur Conan Doyle could have tucked into this curry as he pondered the intricacies of the first Sherlock Holmes story.
And now you can too!
Our mutton curry comes from 1861 from The Oriental Club’s chef, Richard Terry who made use of the ingredients from the first Asian grocery warehouse in London to recreate a curry recipe he had learned from Indian cooks. It is also indicative of Britain’s and Briton’s long-lasting love of curry!
This is certainly not a curry in a hurry! There are several parts to making this, which is time-consuming but if you have the patience, it is well worth the effort. Also, whilst the original recipe called for mutton, I used lamb. I could not find mutton anywhere – not even dressed as lamb. Funnily enough though, my mum says that in Sri Lanka when any recipe called for lamb or mutton, what they actually used was goat so use what you can get.
First up, you need to roast up some spices to make a curry powder. This will make more than you need for one curry so you will have supplies if you want to make this again or you can use it in other curries.
One thing that is strange about this curry is that you not only need a curry powder but also a curry paste.
Whilst we’re roasting and grinding those spices, let’s talk Sherlock! I am a HUGE fan of the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Andrew Scott because who doesn’t love a bad boy right? And I am over the moon excited to see Series 4. Tom Hiddleston! Colin Farrell! This series is going to be AWESOME!
Now, a very weird thing about this curry paste is that it contains lentils which you grind up. I have never heard of this technique before but…hey, if it’s good enough for the The Duke of Wellington, who was the President of the Oriental Club back in the day, it’s good enough for me! The genius stroke is that they help to make the gravy lovely and thick.
Mutton curry (maybe even one based on this recipe!) features as a clue in a Sherlock Holmes story. In The Adventure of Silver Blaze, which not only contains the phrase”Consider the mutton curry,” the title of this post but also “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, a mutton curry is doused with powdered opium, putting the stable boy meant to be guarding the race horse Silver Blaze into a stupor and hence rendering him unable to do his job.
The paste mix will also make more than you need for one curry but will keep in the fridge for months.
Sadly, Sherlock Holmes may not have been a fan of curry. At least not according to the 1946 film, Terror by Night. This however is not based on a Conan Doyle story so this is open for debate. Terror By Night is also available for free download here. Personally, I think Sherlock would have been a fan of this mutton curry…with or without a garnish of powdered opium.
The 19th Century Mutton Curry was delicious, dark and spicy, thanks to those lentils, the gravy was lovely and thick and the meat was tender. This was a winner! And hey, I’ve got paste and powder left so I’ll definitely be making it again!
Best served with an ice-cold beer! Whilst watching Series 4 of Sherlock!
Any leftovers? A curry jaffle is THE best hangover food known to man. Just sayin’. Tis the season after all!
Combine all the ingredients in a jar. Mix. Cover with a tight lid.
Store away from heat and sunlight.
Makes 7 tablespoons.
For The 19th Century British Curry Powder
Put the coriander seeds, split peas, peppercorns and cumin into a medium cast iron frypan and set on medium heat. Stir and roast until the split peas are reddish, the coriander has turned a shade darker and all the spices begin to give off a roasted aroma.
Empty them into a bowl and allow to cool.
Put the roasted spices and the mustard seeds into a spice grinder or food processor and grind as finely as possible. Place in a bowl.
Still looking for a quick and easy dessert to make for Christmas Day? Look no further than my Chocolate Ripple Christmas Wreath! It’s also as pretty as a picture and delicious to boot!
Making this could not be easier. Get a pack of plain chocolate biscuits, whip up some cream. Add a hefty splash of booze – I chose amaretto but you could use limoncello or Baileys or Kirsch, whatever you have or like. Add a large spoonful of icing sugar into the cream and stir through.
Then sandwich your biscuits together with the cream mixture and shape into a wreath.
Don’t worry too much about getting the shape perfect at first. Once you have the general shape you can push the biscuits together to make a neater circle. Then cover the top and sides with the remaining cream mixture.
Pop this into the fridge for a few hours to set. Then decorate – I used cherries, blueberries, strawberries and mint leaves.
Wow! Has anyone else felt that 2016 was a tumultuous year? I am so glad to be coming to the end of it. I am exhausted and looking forward to the break. No work for me until 6 January so I have a lot of time for some much required r&r.
How can I have been doing this so long and never have spoken about my unabiding love for the movie Grease? I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have watched it. And I always wanted to be in a cool girl gang like The Pink Ladies. However , today we are not going to talk about my want to be this type of pink lady:
But about a classic cocktail of the same name – possibly the inspiration for the name of the aforementioned girl gang as I believe the Pink Lady was popular drink in the 1950’s. My “French” take on the classic Pink Lady is that, traditionally applejack is an ingredient in a Pink Lady. However, Applejack was not available in my little suburban bottle shop so I subbed in Calvados. Using French Apple brandy is also a teeny homage to one of the Pink Ladies, Frenchie!
So, in the infamous words of Rizzo, “Okay girls, let’s go get ’em”
The Pink Lady has been around for decades, according to the fount of all knowledge Wikipedia, it was already well known in the Prohibition era. It was also the drink of choice of choice of Hollywood star Jayne Mansfield. I’m not sure if she is holding a Pink Lady in the picture below but it’s pink so let’s put two and two together and raise a glass with Jayne! OMG…how glamourous is she! If just ONE day of my life I could have that sort of va-va-voom I would die happy!
Don’t let the sweet and innocent look of the Pink Lady lull you into a false sense of security. This is not girly drink made from sugar and spice and all things nice. The Pink Lady packs a punch! It almost straight gin, topped up with Applejack / Calvados, with a dash of grenadine, a splash of lemon juice and an egg white being the non-alcoholic components.
So, as a little bit of fun, if you are a lover of the Pink Ladies and / or Grease in general, why not take this fun quiz on Vimio?
Pour the gin, calvados, lemon juice and grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
By Taryn Fryer
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Okay, so….I got Marty “You know, as in cherry”, Maraschino. Very happy to take that. But then again, I would have been happy with any of the Pinks. Except maybe Jan.
I would love to know who you get if you do the quiz! Let me know in the comments!
I am on a work trip to Canberra for the next few days. There will be precious little time for sight-seeing in our Capital city but I’ll try to fit in a run and see if I can get some photos to share with you all. And right now I need to go pack my bag for the flight tomorrow morning!
When a chapter called Nuts about Nourishment contains a recipe for Deep Fried Mashed Potato Balls, you know it has to be 1977. And that we are about to delve into The A-Z of Cooking. Potato Almond Balls. I was so excited about these, I ate salad for a week to pre-compensate for the delicious calorific overload.
And then they didn’t work.
The problem was that the egg and almond crust split in many places…and when it did, the mashed potato kind of disintegrated. So in a lot of instances I ended up with the almond crust and not much else. Where they remained whole, they were totally delicious sprinkled with a bit of smoked paprika and dipped in some of my favorite green sauce.
I’m putting the failure of the balls down to the wrong temperatures. Either the balls were too cold or too warm or the oil was. Is it significant that The A-Z of Cooking has no pictures of this dish? It is possible that their Potato Almond Balls also broke into bits?
Here’s the recipe for anyone who wants it, I hope you have better luck than me!
To counteract the effect of deep fried potato balls (and because I had no other photos) I thought I would give you all an update on my attempts at the C25K running program. Today I started week 7 of the program and ran for 25 minutes which was not only the longest time but also the furthest distance I have done so yay me!
Mind you, this is probably a very apt description of both my pace and my style:
Personally, given my new obsession with the ‘My Favorite Murder Podcast,, this might well become my mantra:
And this is probably closer to the truth:;
Next time in The A-Z we are moving onto O for some “Old Fashioned Favourites”. I was hoping to be done with it by the end of the year but given it is nearly December (how the hell did that happen?) it seems unlikely. I’m now aiming for end of summer.