How Not To Make A Pie
Last week, I offered to cook a meal for our Sunday tea and everyone kept saying how much they were looking forward to eating it. I was definitely looking forward to cooking it as after doing a bake off challenge every week I was missing spending time in the kitchen. In the end, we had to rearrange because we got invited to a birthday meal (well, I kind of gatecrashed the meal a bit as the birthday girl is very friendly with my house-mates but doesn’t really know me all that well. Oh well, I got to go to pizza express, so I’m not complaining!). Anyway, last night was the night that I finally got to cook for everyone. I had planned to make a big puff pastry package with Quorn chicken and vegetables in a tomato sauce, but when I unrolled the ready-rolled puff pastry I found it wasn’t quite large enough. A quick change of plan and I ended up making a pie by shoving the filling in a dish and putting the puff pastry on top.
To accompany the pie, I made sweet potato chips by peeling two sweet potatoes and then chopping them up into thin chips before baking them. It took me a while to get the amount of oil right, but I’ve got it down to an art now. At first I would put a blob in the middle of the tray and then spread it around before putting the chips on, but this resulted in very soggy, oily chips. After that, I tried it with the smallest possible amount of oil, which ended up with the chips all but glued onto the tray. No amount of chiselling with my spatula would coax the bottoms of the chips off! Now I’ve learnt that if you put some oil on some kitchen roll and wipe the tray thoroughly with it, the chips don’t stick but they don’t get soggy either. I’m sure a normal person would have done this in the first place, but it took weeks of soggy chips for me to figure this out! Whether I’m making chips with sweet potatoes or normal potatoes, there’s one thing that makes them taste amazing – season all. If you haven’t heard of this before, it’s just a jar of mixed herbs and spices that seasons things like chips perfectly. And it’s so much easier having it in one jar rather than having a whole array of different spices that you have to mix yourself. I also have the cajun mixture with me at uni and I used that on the chicken pieces before adding in the vegetables. It means you get the perfect mixture every time. If you haven’t got any already, go forth and buy thee!
One of the main reasons why I decided to do chips was so I could use my rosemary plant for the first ever time. Only, I came home from lectures the other day to find it covered in some kind of mould. It had been fine in the morning, but a few hours later and it looked like it had leprosy. I’m so gutted! I was really looking forward to using it in my cooking, but apparently it was not to be. I don’t think I should be allowed to look after plants at uni, judging from my history!
I put the pie and the sweet potato chips in the oven and was set to go. Only, the oven here is a gas oven. The oven at home is a fan oven. I haven’t used a gas oven on my own before, so cooking everything took a quick check on the conversion of degrees Celcius to gas mark, a lot of praying and finger crossing, and peering through the oven door every five minutes. The chips cooked really well, but the pie for some reason burnt around the edges within about 10 minutes and took another half hour before the middle was deemed edible. I know this is usually a sign of an oven being too hot, but I checked the temperature and also the chips were absolutely fine. Oh well. We ended up eating the chips as a starter while the pie finished cooking, and then scraped off the black bits before eating it.
All in all, it wasn’t so bad. It was nice to cook again and it was also nice to sit round the table and eat a properly cooked meal (even if half of it was charcoal!). We’ve decided that we’ll take it in turns to cook a proper meal one day each week. It should be interesting to see what everyone cooks. It’s nice though, like we’re a proper little fake family. I need to think about what I want to cook for my next turn!