Sunday, 25 September 2011

Veggie Birthday Pie

... seeing that The Viking and I have pretty much spent all our money on the new kitchen we both agreed that this years birthday presents would be token gifts... Alys Fowler's - The Thrifty Forager for him... a new pair of Jack Purcell Converse for me.... (clearly I won the birthday stakes this year....)

... I also wanted to treat him to his favourite food so yesterday morning we started with a big breakfast; baked mushrooms, veggie sausage, beans, fried eggs and home-made bread... for lunch we pretty much rubbed our still-full bellies and then for dinner I made pie... The Viking loves his pie.  I've spoken of this before but one of the things that he hates about other peoples attitude to vegetarians is that they seem to over compensate when cooking for him... he simply wants what everyone else is eating, without the meat.  Not some tomato goo with godforsaken goats cheese on it...! So pie it was, with a good old-fashioned vegetarian suet crust.  I made the filling on Friday so not only did I not have to slave over a hot stove on my birthday but it also gave the filling a day to intensify its flavours.... Pie was good!

Veggie Mince Pie
As I was making the filling I realised that it seemed very much like a veggie Cornish Pasty filling... which isn't such a bad thing and is something I will exploit at a later date.

for the filling
1 large onion - finely chopped
1 packet of Quorn mince (you can use any veggie mince but I think Quorn keeps its consistency well)
1 large stick of celery - finely chopped
1 large carrot - finely chopped
half a medium swede - finely diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of mixed beans
1/2 pint of veggie stock topped up with half a glass of red wine
4 cloves of garlic - un-peeled
3 bay leaves plus some other fresh herbs

for the pastry
12oz self raising flour
6oz vegetarian suet
a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
a large pinch of fresh thyme
cold water to mix

- in butter and olive oil, saute the onions in a heavy pan or casserole dish you can transfer to the oven, when translucent add the rest of the vegetables and let them sweat for about 8 minutes.

- season, then add the veg mince and let it soak up all the vegetable juices for another couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes, beans and stock and wine.

- bring it to a gentle bubble, add the whole, un-peeled garlic cloves and bay leaves and then transfer the whole lot to a hot oven for an hour.  Try and make this the day before or at least in the morning.

- when you're ready to cook (this pastry doesn't need to sit in the fridge) make the pastry by combining the flour and suet with the salt and fresh herbs, then with a pallet knife add cold water until it starts to bind together, bring it together with your hands before rolling out.  It should be rolled thicker than normal pastry.

- once rolled out, fill your pie dish with filling, then cut a thin trim of pastry and run this along the edge of your pie dish, then press down to create indents.  Glaze with a beaten egg/milk mix.

- then lay your pastry lid on top and press down the edge with the end of a knife.  Glaze the lid.  You can create fancy stuff with the left-over pastry.

- bake in a hot oven for 35 - 40 mins or until the pastry is golden.

eat and of course, enjoy!



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