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Mrs Kirkhams Farmhouse Lancashire Cheese & Onion Pie

Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire Cheese and Onion Pie with Quark Pastry

In the freezer I had three pieces of pastry flattened into neat circles and packed away in the freezer from making Dan Lepard’s cheese pastry from Short & Sweet the other week; you can see the pie I made with it here on the ShortandTweet roundup at the very bottom of the post. I used Quark and Felin Ganol’s flour in this pastry.

EM (Evidence Matters) has told me how wonderful a good piece of Lancashire cheese could be, and took the trouble to recommend me a particular sort made by Mrs Kirkhams, which we have found at Waitrose (pre-packed version)  The label says ‘rich ivory cheese, buttery, tangy and complex, made with raw cows milk’.  I am not brilliant at describing tastes but this was delectable and lived up to what it says on the label.

EM also suggested following Simon Hopkinson’s mother’s cheese and onion pie filling recipe from the BBC food site which uses this cheese and putting Dan’s pastry on the top as a single crust pie so I had a go last night. 

I had a small issue about the quantity of onion to use and how to chop it up. This is the trouble with trying to follow a recipe, you stare at the words, hoping for clues, you look at the picture, you read the words. You think. You mutter to yourself,  “Oh I don’t know..”  and, if you are me, your common sense – the little you have – flies out of the window and wanders off to water the primulas. 

Of course I should have cut the onions a little shorter, and grated the cheese cold and I would probably have done that if I hadn’t been following a recipe, strange the effect they have on me, do they do that to you?

We won’t talk about the flapping around trying to find an appropriate pan, I don’t have a pie dish as such, apart from the anodised Mermaid one I used here. I need a fancy pie dish! Support me on this please.

Hanging up in the garage, my French onions were somewhat depleted and one was sprouting huge shoots and had nothing left to give.  I had two small pinky ones and one large Spanish onion, so that is what I used. Today, belatedly, I thought to tweet EM and ask her about quantities of onions and she recommends 500 grams of uncooked onion for the quantities in this recipe. I have no idea what mine weighed, I just used what I had which is all any sensible person cooking at home does.

I also made the mistake of leaving my cheese out to warm up. You see I wanted to taste the cheese before I made the pie (there’s always a reason!). This made it harder to grate and it clumped together a bit which meant I had to eat more as I went along, so maybe there should have been more in the pie; cook’s perks!

The onions took a long time to reduce down on a low temperature, as I was trying not to let them go brown. Having made this once, I realise that I should have left them even longer to get really quite dry with no visible moisture at all. I decorated the top of the pastry with little tears to symbolise all that chopping of onions.

This method of cooking onions though, results in a wonderfully sweet and rich flavour and combined with Mrs Kirkhams Lancashire cheese and topped with a piece of light pastry made a naughty supper accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli.  Here it is chilled down for lunch the next day with half a tomato and a few sacrificial salad leaves from the micro green tub on the windowsill.

EM has also suggested putting slices of boiled potato in the bottom of the dish next time, so I might try that. I’ll tell you one thing though,  if they eat like this in Lancashire farmhouses they are eating well! Thank you EM for introducing me to this lovely cheese and a new pie and all the fantastic advice you give. You are a treasure!

 

Try a Little Tenderness

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Here are some brilliant flatbreads filled with spicy dal rolled out with my magic Turkish rolling pin for Short and Tweet over this last weekend. This recipe is by Dan Lepard (P.73 of Short & Sweet, Lentil Filled Flatbreads) with the help of Franka Philip.  Check out Franka Philip’s photos of making these with Dan; she kindly gave us advice on Twitter on how to seal the little pockets of dough around the filling before rolling them out. Twitter is a funny place, I would never have thought I could ask a cook book writer I had never met for help directly but all the ones I have had contact with are extraordinarily kind and positive. Thank you once again Franka!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

This dough was really interesting in that the dough is made without yeast or sourdough and is left to age in the fridge. Pooh pooh you might say, what difference would that make?  Well, the flat breads rolled out really easily after their long chill, puffed up in the pan and were incredibly tender to eat, light and just yummy.  If I compare them to these quick flatbreads that I made recently these Trinidadian style roti are way superior in terms of their tenderness and flavour.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I had every conceivable colour of dal in a scruffy box in the cupboard, waiting for me to make dal with, except I only had half the quantity of the red dal I needed for this recipe, so I added some uri dal in, thinking that would be OK. It was in the end, but whereas the red dal cooks fast and goes quite mushy, the uri dal stayed resolutely uncooked for ages and retained its shape, so when you look at the photos you can see the pattern the uri dal made. Still it wasn’t a disaster by any means!

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I found it quite fascinating how the spiced and garlicky filling started off dark yellow and then as it cooked again within the confines of the roti turned a wonderful rich amber-red colour. I don’t know quite why it did that, the combination of spice, salt and lentils?

We used our flatbreads to scoop up a spicy pork mince dish that I made up with some ancient freezer aged mince, garlic, ginger, fresh garam marsala, a mild  chilli and a tin of tomatoes (the sort of thing I made as a student, only a bit better than my cooking abilities then)  and a little dark green fresh spinach on the side. All eaten before I thought to take a photo, oops.

Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

I rolled like a demon, a rather slow demon, and B flipped the breads in the pan. The recipe made loads, so we paused half way through our roti making, ate far too much and then I made the last few balls up and put them in the fridge for a further night.

Incidentally, I also learnt that a Tequila Sunrise made with blood orange juice is called a Tequila O Positive. Dad gave me this beautiful glass when I visited him last year, he told me he bought it when he was a student so it has survived a long time.

I slept well after all that hard work, concentrating on the delicate rolling out of these breads. We watched the season finale of Borgen, best thing on TV the last month,  and shared a plate of atmospheric (dark and gloomy Copenhagen)  lemon cardamom (no baking powder this time!) madeleines made from Thane Prince’s recipe here.

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Franka Philip Dan Lepard roti dal

Edit: Another oops, I forgot to add this picture in!

Back to the tale of the Tender Ones – The following morning I pulled the remaining balls out of the fridge (36 hours after the dough was originally mixed) and rolled them out in the early morning sunshine and we had them for breakfast topped with egg and bacon and a squirt of tomato ketchup and took sunshine filled photos to share with you.  I was so pleased the sun came out!

Last year we made some alloo parathas  (left) with Mellow Bakers, but they weren’t a patch on these! I will definitely make today’s recipe again. We are going to investigate making thin rolling pins from dowel as I really think it makes it much easier to roll these little quite frail balls of dough out and I would like one that is a bit shorter so I don’t hit stuff off the worktop when I am rolling.

I am getting on much better with this skinny pin than I do with my big rolling pin, or else it is just practice.

For anyone who is old enough to remember, or young enough to know the song from a later cover version here’s Otis Reading singing on YouTube.

PS If you have a new Mac, Snapseed has put out a fantastic easy-peasy to use photo editing programme like the one they did for the iPad. So as you can see I have been playing around with it here this morning. It’s great fun!

PPS Here’s Evidence Matters’s super round up post for this week’s baking. Have a peek and discover some new blogs to read and if you want to join in it’s very easy and all explained over on her blog.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Buttermilk (Yoghurt) Oatcakes

The Shortandtweet challenge this week was buttermilk oatcakes or cheesy buttons from Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard.

Dan Lepard Short and Sweet Oatcakes

I made a batch of Dan Lepard’s buttermilk oatcakes, fitting them in between making supper and sorting out my friend’s Macs which had inexplicably locked her out. While I am useless at fixing my own, the God Geek of Tech smiled on me last night and I managed to get her up and running which gave me a big rush of happiness.

I used home made yoghurt as I didn’t have any buttermilk and it is given as an alternative in the recipe.

I split the batch and did half with no added sugar at all. I wasn’t sure how fine to grind the oats so I whizzed away, forgetting to whizz more for the shaping, but I hadn’t washed up the food processor so just did a few more. It makes a sticky moist mixture and it is very quick to put together.

I found it a bit fiddly to shape and messed around for ages. In the end I put a cutter over the mix and patted away at it through the top with the back of a spoon and then I pressed them out some more with my fingertips.

I baked on fan at 150 ºC but they were really not done after 25 minutes and I put them back again for another chunk of time. I really had no idea of how to judge when they were done, so going by golden edges I took them out and left to cool. They were still a bit soft in the middle when they cooled and the following day they are on the soft side, maybe that is the effect of the yoghurt? I think I prefer the oatcake recipe in the Handmade Loaf, but then I am a fan of Nairns Oatcakes, which are very hard and have a distinctive dry mouth feel and a slightly tangy taste which these don’t have, I wonder if more salt would do the trick for me and a longer bake. I will experiment some more when I have a moment.

I tested this little plateful just now ; very nice with some creamy Chavroux for a morning snack. Forgot to have breakfast (well that’s my excuse!) Healthier than chocolate digestives and quite moreish once you get going on them.

Now where’s the Cheddar?

This week’s recipe is one of my all time favourite Dan Lepard recipes, top tea cakes! on Page 88 of the book. if you haven”t made these and love toasted tea cakes this is the one to go for. I love this recipe. Just love it!