Thursday, 17 May 2007

And again with the pie

I don't know why, but I'm absolutely exhausted today (more than usual, anyway). Christopher had a bad dream last night and kept waking me up afterwards, complaining that he'd "fallen over". He did settle back down eventually, though, which was something. Hubby didn't get back from work until nearly 1am either (after a supposed 10pm finish), so that didn't help.

I chatted to some of the mums at playgroup this morning about James' newfound hatred of his bouncy chair and accompanying unwillingness to sit 'propped-up'. He tends to repeatedly thrust his hips in the air in complaint, which looks quite amusing, but which inevitably causes him to slide down whatever he's leaning on and start crying. One of the girls suggested a Bumbo Baby Sitter, so after playgroup finished, I took the boys off to Argos to acquire one (reasoning that if it didn't suit us, I could always return it). So far he loves it! He tried his hip thrust thing a few times initially, but seems to have given up in favour of actually sitting and playing. Best of all, it leaves both his arms free, so he has been happily rummaging in his toy tub for most of the afternoon. We also realised it will be brilliant for trips away from home and especially camping holidays.

I tried cooking something new tonight. I've been trying to make time for reading again now that James is a little bigger and - guess what - the books I read most often are cookbooks! A favourite for quick, low-cost family meals is Meals in Moments by Maggie Brogan. I picked it up in a local (and sadly, now closed) discount bookshop a few years ago and several dishes from it have entered the list of family favourites that I go back to regularly. Most have been adapted along the way to suit us, but then I love tinkering about with recipes and only very rarely cook one 'as is'.

I don't know if Karl was very convinced by the idea of a cheese pie. He asked a few time whether there was anything else in the pie and what else we'd be having. Still, I went ahead and it was a success in the end. To go with it, I steamed some new potatoes and prepared a bit of salad. The original recipe that this was based on, 'Cheese Plate Pie', specified a 20-23cm tin pie plate, but I just used one of my ordinary non-stick pie tins, which was fine.

Fluffy Cheese Pie

Preheat the oven to 200°c and put a large baking sheet on the shelf to heat up.

400g plain flour
150g butter
25g lard

Rub the fat into the flour (add a pinch of salt if you're not cooking for tinies). Add a little water and knead lightly together to make pastry. Roll out the pastry quite thinly, line your(lightly oiled) pie tin and trim off the excess. Roll out the remaining pastry for the top and set it aside while you make the filling.

50g butter
75g cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 large eggs
a pinch each of plain flour and mustard powder
freshly ground black pepper (+ salt if you like)

Melt the butter, over a low heat, in a largeish saucepan. Beat the eggs, cheese, flour and mustard powder together, then grind in some pepper to taste. Pour this into the melted butter and cook gently, whisking all the time until the mixture thickens, which will take just a few minutes. Pour this into the pie case and quickly top with the other piece of pastry. Crimp the edges together (using the tines of a fork or just pinching with thumb and forefinger) and brush the top of the pie with a little milk, then put the pie tin on the pre-heated baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes until the pie is cooked through and the top crust is golden brown.

The pie should slip out of the tin and onto a serving plate quite easily.

Next time I might put some very finely chopped spring onions into the filling, or perhaps some fresh thyme leaves as I am very 'into' thyme at the moment. We had one reasonable-sized slice of the pie left over (not bad for this house), which will be great for Hubby's packed lunch tomorrow, that's if he doesn't have it for a snack before we go to bed!

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