Making the filling was straightforward and the smells were amazing. I used sherry instead of Marsala, only because my husband and I have recently become sherry drinkers (clearly too many episodes of Fraiser). I was a little distracted whilst cooking the first half of this recipe as I was preparing my handover notes for going on annual leave next week (still working my notice). Anyways, so I forgot to take a picture of the filling before it went into the pudding. I also forgot to tell my husband to leave the left over juices in the pan so I can save them for a gravy - instead he threw them away (I cried a little inside).
I found the pastry needed a little more water than the recipe suggests. I could have mis measured somewhere but I needed nearer 200ml. Pastry came together nicely though:
The pie was easy to assemble and it was a thing of beauty (to my mind anyway) when pulled together:
So, now for the slightly scary bit. It gets 'wrapped up' and then steamed for 2 hours. It looks like something that gets cooked in space at this point:
I was not sure my pie dish fitted in my pan but to my relief it did. It also, as Nigel said it would, rattle and puttered away quite happily on the hob with the occasional top up, the smells filling the house. The finished pie, looks like this:
It has browned a little but I recall from my grandmother's puddings that they never really change colour. I suppose because it steams so gently. It has definitely cooked through as it has a nice crisp top.
I would have served this with mash but as we are away from tomorrow and I had no spuds, oven chips it was! Again, due to lack of fresh veg, enter frozen peas. Actually it all kind of worked. I am a proper southern Nancy but even I am an absolute sucker for chips and gravy. Comfort food at its best!
My husband was delighted with the outcome and finished off the extra portion. It was absolutely delicious and surprisingly easy. As we near the end of the first month and the start of our holiday my husband asked me what my favourite dish has been to date and I must confess this is definitely up there along with the Tartiflette and the Goose Fat Roast Chicken. For my husband, this is the winning dish. High praise indeed.
Finally, and talking of high praise, my best friend's mother commented on Twitter today about how this blog has inspired her to cook something different. I felt very overwhelmed by this. This project started at as a self indulgent project for a new chapter of my life. The fact that a) someone is reading this and b) it is inspiring them to cook more and try new things, fills my heart with joy. I love cooking but we all get stuck in ruts, turning out our old faithful recipes, scared of the recipes containing we ingredients we do not have or can't even pronounce. However, you know what, this month I have cooked an ox cheek I could barely touch, biscuits for cheese (who on earth bakes their own?!), cakes on a Wednesday night after a long day at work and you know what. It is fun, it is escapism, the results more often than not taste good and our conversations over supper have increased. Food is an adventure, a journey and one to be shared and enjoyed. I hope you continue to enjoy.
PS I am out of the office on annual leave for the next week but back to pick up the reigns with the next dish on 29 January. I am otherwise up to date!