… yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend… she has recently finished working at a company where she’d been for over twenty years and where – with no exaggeration – she helped shape the face of the British PR industry. She started working in the industry, like me, at a time when we didn’t even have email, let alone the internet. Connections were made by going out and meeting people, literally running from company to company with news, samples, details of new products… we built up our little black books alongside our contemporaries and new information was like gold. It simply doesn’t happen that way anymore. It seems there is very little respect for working ones way up through the ranks, we want instant glory without the graft. I’m not actually complaining here, it’s just a reflection on the way it has become. I was helping my friend set up a blog. As you can imagine she’s had an incredible life with some wonderful stories to tell and she wants a place to write it all down… I really enjoyed helping her start her on-line diary but it fascinated me that she doesn’t have a Facebook account… even my mum has a Facebook account! In this world that we populate with our blogs and social media I can’t think of anything more liberating than not having a Facebook account… don’t worry though dear reader. This still remains very much a fantasy…
roasted butternut squash, broccoli and pea pie
As I mentioned in the last post, I inadvertently made puff pasty the other day… I had wanted to make regular shortcrust but I think my butter was too cold so it didn’t fully crumble and then I made the dough too wet so I chilled it for longer than usual and then when I was ready to use it I thought that the best way to deal with it was to treat it like puff pastry and fold it a few times… well as you can see from both posts there’s no complaints from me but I do love how a simple accident can make for a stunning pastry, a pastry that can send fear into the hearts of the hardiest cooks!
Spring was most definitely in the air last weekend when I made this pie and I chose the ingredients to reflect the transition from colder months into warmer… the butternut squash adding it’s rich creaminess to the lighter, fresher flavours coming from the peas and broccoli. Of course it’s still chilly enough to warrant a thick cheesy white sauce and this one is a classic. The whole dish can be a little time consuming but oh boy is it worth it…
for the pastry
220g plain flour
100g butter – cold but not fridge cold – cut into small pieces
a pinch of salt
a little cold water
a tablespoon of dried oregano
75g strong cheddar – grated
for the cheese sauce
40g plain flour
1 pint of milk or 1/2 pint of milk and 1/2 pint stock
75g strong cheddar (or any cheese)
for the filling
1 butternut squash – peeled and diced
150g sprouting long-stemmed broccoli – chopped
100g frozen peas
salt and pepper
fresh rosemary and thyme
to make the pastry, sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub it into the flour, raising your hands high as you do to allow plenty of air to get into the flour. This rubbing process will not be easy as the butter is cold but you’re not after a fine breadcrumb, you want some large pieces of butter in there
add the oregano and salt and mix in then add a few drops of water and using one hand shaped like a claw begin to stir the flour and butter together, it should start to come together into a dough but you’ll need a dribble in a little more water for it to fully come together… I actually ended up with far too wet a dough
once the dough is formed, tip it out onto some cling film, pat it out into a flattish disk, wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for 15 mins
once cold, take it out of the fridge and, still on the cling film, roll it out to double its size, then you want to envelope-fold the dough, which means folding the top over and the bottom up to create an envelope, then roll flat, turn by 90 degrees and envelope-fold again. Wrap it back up and refrigerate for a further 30 mins, it should now be ready to use.
pre-heat the oven to 170C
to make the pie, place the butternut squash into your pie dish, drizzle over a little olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over plenty of fresh herbs – cover in foil and roast in the oven for 20 mins, then remove from the oven, un-cover, stir in the broccoli and peas, re-cover and pop back in the oven for a further 10 mins or until the veg are al-dente. Remove from the oven and set aside
make the cheese sauce by melting the butter gently in a small pan, once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour into a smooth but thick paste then add a dash of the milk/stock and stir into a paste.
place the pan back on a gentle heat and slowly add a little milk at a time, stirring well between additions… if it looks like it may become lumpy take the pan off the heat and stir until smooth. Continue this way until all the milk is gone and you have a nicely thick sauce – let it bubble away very gently on the heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the cheese sauce and set aside
pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables in the pie dish and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before you attempt the lattice pastry crust
roll out the pastry into a large oblong and then cut it into 6 long strips and 8 shorter strips (this is just a guide…)
lay the long strips lengthways along pie dish, with gaps in between, then take one shorter strip and, starting from one edge of the pie dish, weave it over and under each long strip… continue this way until all your pastry strips are woven. I like it looking quite rough and ready but feel free to trim to make it nice and neat
brush with a little beaten egg before baking for 25 mins or until the pastry is golden and puffy
eat and of course, enjoy!
Jane Willis says
That looks gorgeous – the pastry was a real happy accident! Mind you I'd never have the patience to make it so beautiful, I'd just plonk it on top.
Charlene F says
Looks gorgeous, I love the trio of vegetables in this recipe, nom 🙂 x
Baking Addict says
I don't think I'd ever inadvertently make puff pastry! Love how you've decorated the pie and it definitely seems very spring like.
Mark Willis says
I notice that you have used dried Oregano in some of your recipes recently. That would suit me, because I LOVE Oregano. I still regret that we no longer seem to be able to get the stuff “in the sprig” as it were, but only in crushed form. Waitrose used to stock it in little cardboard cartons, each with 10 or 12 stems in. I suppose it was just too fragile…
Katie Bedlow says
Now THAT is my kind of pie, looks absolutely beautiful and very delicious, wish that's what I was having tonight! Katie x
Adam Garratt says
See now this is a good idea. I've always said that cauliflower cheese isn't a side dish for a roast dinner, no one wants cheese sauce mixed in with their gravy. This takes care of that issue by putting a big fat pastry lid on top making it into a meal in its own right. I know you're not using cauliflower and I made no sense really, at all. It's been a long day mate.
Kate Glutenfreealchemist says
It has been so cold again today….. this pie would have been a perfect warmer! I love any cheesy vegetables, so would definitely be happy with a plate of this (gluten fee of course!)
SavoringTime in the Kitchen says
I can't wait to try your accidental puff pastry recipe, Dominic! Your pie has enough green to qualify as a St. Patrick's Day recipe 🙂 Looks delicious!
Phil in the Kitchen says
This sounds a fine use of butternut – it's definitely been my staple food this winter. Perfect for a less than sunny early spring day. I still haven't found the time to create a facebook account although I'm not sure that's because I'm liberated. I probably don't know what I'm missing. And I might just leave it that way.
Claire Jessiman says
I absolutely love the look and the flavours of this pie! I wouldn't have the patience to make the pastry but I love weaving shop bought puff into a lattice to top a pie. There's something very satisfying about it.
Stuart Vettese says
Delicious Dom – it would be a perfect Autumnal dish too. Very comforting x
Tricia Buice says
Well that pastry gets prettier every time I see it. This is a gorgeous pie – absolutely incredible. I hope your friend enjoys her new life – I can't wait to leave the office behind and write a cookbook or by then they won't publish books anymore. Everything changes – and I do remember when I got my first self-correcting typewriter and fax machines – and push button phones! I'm not even that old – things have changed a lot in a short amount of time. I had a “car” phone when there were no plans – just pay by the minute. The phone was mounted in the car and I carried a pager. I think I like my technology but could live without Facebook in a minute!
Dylan Pritchard says
That looks like the meal my sister would love – she's a sworn vegeterian. Doesn't look very difficult to cook, either – if you just know basic knitting.
Karen S Booth says
Drop dread gorgeous pie Dom and your lattice work is exemplary! Karen xxxx
From Beyond My Kitchen Window says
The lattice work crust is gorgeous and the creamy insides mouth watering. It's good to see how delicious a pot pie can be without meat.