Archive for May, 2010

Anyone who has read my previous posts will know that potatoes and I get on very well.  It’s been said, that before the 1845 Famine in Ireland, a working man would eat up to 14lbs of potatoes a day!  I can’t even begin to imagine how that could be humanly possible, but I’d be happy to give it a try!

Using a slightly lesser amount of potatoes… I first saw this recipe through a Facebook group called The Recipe Chef, as I am a fan of their blog. 

This potato and spinach bake is supposed to appeal to those who are looking for a meat free meal.  I tried.  I really did have the best intentions.  But… I couldn’t resist chopping up a smoked sausage and adding mushrooms, to bulk it out a bit.  Oh… and I didn’t have many potatoes, so used half potato and half sweet potato.  Delish!

The end result was SUBLIME.  Very tasty indeed.  The only criticism I would have, is that I felt there was too much spinach.  This is a completely personal preference though, so if you love your spinach get stuck in 🙂 I opted for half the amount of cheese, just due to feeling that 200g wasn’t necessary.  I was right – it didn’t overpower the other flavours and yet had that cheesy melty goodness with the 100g!  One other adaptation I made was to fry the veg & sausage THEN add stock.

You can get the proper recipe from The Recipe Chef’s website here, or you can try my adaptation if you’re a carnivore like me.  I would imagine you could add anything to this dish – chicken, bacon, leeks, maybe a cheese sauce would be lovely.  Mmmmm I’ll look forward to trying out the variations!

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

3 baked potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

400g washed baby leaf spinach

100g mature cheddar, grated.

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 onion, diced

250g closed cup mushrooms, chopped

1 mattessons smoked sausage

200ml vegetable stock (I just used from a cube)

Knob of butter


Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 5

Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender (around 15-20 mins).

Fry the onion, garlic, mushroom and smoked sausage for 5 mins (or until onion and mushroom soften). 

Add the veg stock and simmer for a few minutes.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain and put your spinach into the pot used for potatoes.  Close the lid and steam for a few minutes with the butter.

Gently stir the potatoes into the wilted spinach.

Pour the veg, sausage and stock mixture into the pot of potatoes and spinach.

Season with salt and pepper and stir in a handful of grated cheese.

Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 40-45 mins, or until golden brown.

Just about to go in the oven…

Nom Nom Nom….

Enjoy 🙂 x

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My first attempt at a pastry pie. 

I had concocted this romantic notion in my head.  I’d make a gorgeous filling, cover it with my perfectly rolled out pastry (ready bought), pop it in the oven and the next thing you know, a beautifully golden pork & mushroom pie would appear, as if by magic.  That’s how it always looks in the adverts anyway.

I can say, with confidence, that this has been my biggest cooking disaster yet.

The reason I’m posting about it though, is that I know where I went wrong and how it can be fixed!  Hindsight is a wonderful thing…

I adapted the recipe from BBC GoodFood’s “20 Minute Pork Panfry” for my filling (you can find the proper recipe for it here).  After reading some of the comments and tweaks by the others, I decided to go along with their suggestions.  This is where I went wrong.  There were suggestions to replace SOME of the stock with red/white wine vinegar, and others to replace HALF of the stock with red/white wine.  I replaced HALF of my stock with white wine vinegar and I tell you, I could hardly stand over the pan without my eyes watering.

I tried adding sugar to the dish, to cut through the acidity.  I added a bit more veg stock and a couple of bay leaves.  I even tried adding a tsp of mustard powder and some extra pepper.  It was still stinging the nostrils.  I was ready for putting it all in the bin, but goddamnit I wanted to make my pastry pie 😦 I stubbornly decided to follow it through.

There was a bit of pastry leftover, so I rolled it up and made a wee sad face to top the pie; a testament to my doomed mission.  As I put it in the oven, I started panicking.  My sister was coming over for dinner; we’d spoken at length about how AMAZING the pie was going to taste only hours earlier.  Mum was in the next room, with a rumbling tummy.  I was sure she could smell the vinegar perforating throughout the house.  I ran in and confessed all to her.  She told me that it was probably fine and just to go ahead and serve it up (she must have been famished).

My pastry slightly collapsed halfway through (I must not have rolled it out evenly, in my despair).  The sad face looked even more desolate; I almost felt bad for cutting it into pieces.  I served it with heaps of broccoli and cauliflower, and as I carried it to the table my conscience nagged at me… “how could you serve this to another human being?”

They both cleared their plates and ate the leftovers!  :O  Either they are extremely polite, or I am my own worst critic.

It was certainly less vinegary than I originally thought; there was only a hint of vinegar left by the time I’d mutilated it.  It was actually quite nice, but I’d never make it again the same way!

I think it’s another lesson that sometimes it’s better to follow the original recipe, rather than tweak it with flavours I’m not yet familiar with.  But, like everything in life, you learn from your mistakes!

What did I learn then?  Don’t put 150ml white wine vinegar into this dish.  It will remove the outer layer of your eyeballs.

My next pie will be a happy one, I promise! 🙂

It started out fine, when I put the pork, flour, rosemary, salt & pepper into the bag and tossed until well coated.

This is the offending filling…

Booooo 😦

Surprisingly rather palatable 🙂

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Just to say…

… sorry I haven’t been blogging as much recently; it’s been a busy time for me, but I hope to get back into it soon, I have a few recipes coming up soon, including chicken enchiladas, pork & mushroom pie and hopefully a potato & spinach bake (which I will make tomorrow).

Be back soon! x

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