I'm sure you're all very aware of the Geordie stereotype? Those of you who've ever read an issue of Viz will know what I'm talking about. Nighttime rolls around, the pubs begin to fill and thousands of coat-less and, when a lady, tight-less people emerge upon the streets in the depths of Winter, ring a bell? Well, I'm sorry to say that the majority of the time, it's true! There's nothing more sobering than driving through the centre of Newcastle on a Friday night witnessing gaggles of Bigg Market girls in dresses small enough to be my dish cloth in the middle of bloody January. Compare that to little me, snug as a bug under many layers of winter woollies (2 pares of 100 denier tights, thicker than the average pare of trousers. Oh yes!). Madness, utter madness! I'm all for looking pretty, but I'm a firm believer in comfort over fashion....at least at this time of year ;)
As cold as it is, winter is my very favorite time of year, if only for the big stodgy meals you allow yourself to gouge upon. Beef, pastry, potato, massive loaves of sourdough bread...bring it on, all of it, at once! I find myself, all through the British Summertime (what little of it we get up here), wishing the leaves would hurry themselves up and change from green to yellow, all the while pacifying myself on boring sandwiches and dull salads. But, as soon as the very first leaf flutters gently to the floor, the rolling pin is out, the potato masher is liberated and I'm ready to tackle the mountains of winter veg coming my way. I'm all about the comfort food and I live by the moto, bigger is always better, especially when it comes to food!
This January has been the coldest month so far and has left me craving one thing, pie! A steak and ale pie to be precise. I was originally going to use Newcastle Brown Ale as the base but Kris was adamant that Brown gives you a horribly bad tummy if consumed warm. I later discovered that Brown Ale is beautiful in pies and the bad tummy only occurs if drinking it below the recommended temperature, or if the lil star on the bottle hasn't yet turned blue.
I used the recipe from an episode of Jamie at Home I found on the Sky+
Jamie's Steak and Ale Pie:
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 handful of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic
800g Stewing steak, diced
1 pint of Guinness (I used locally produced ale)
1 heaped tablespoon of flour
300ml vegetable stock (I found this to be too much so I only used about 150g of it)
500g puff pastry
100g cheddar cheese (I used mature)
Peal and slice the carrots and put them aside for later.
Chop the onions and fry them in a large pan with the olive oil.
Finely chop the rosemary and crush the garlic. Add these to the onions.
Add the carrots, beef, ale and flour to the pan.
Add salt and pepper then pour over the stock, but only add enough so that the meat is not quite covered.
Put on the lid on and put into the oven for 2 hours.
Grate the cheese and after the 2 hours take the pan out of the oven and stir in the grated cheese.
Roll out a third of the puff pastry and use it to line a pie dish.
Pour in the mixture. You can also add a bit of extra cheese on the top.
Roll out the remaining puff pastry for the lid. Carefully score it and brush with the beaten egg before putting on the pie.
Put back in the oven for another 40 mins, or until golden and bubbling.