Monthly archives "April 2012"

Why I Don’t Cook with Bread

I should have known from the moment Jeff tipped the chopped ham into the sink that my ham, cheese and potato stuffed loaf was doomed.

I’m quite an accomplished cook but two things defeat me. The first is rice pudding; what should be the simplest of desserts seems to be beyond the realms of my capabilities. I have tried more times than I care to remember to bake a mix of pudding rice, milk and sugar to a soft, creamy consistency reminiscent of my childhood but to no avail. Eventually I have had to accept that a can of ambrosia creamed rice is as near as I’m ever going to get.

My second nemesis is cooking with bread dough and, knowing this, I decided to make aforementioned stuffed loaf on Saturday and thought I’d share the recipe with you:

  • Make up the bread dough as per packet instructions (yes, it’s from a packet because mixing flour and yeast together is incredibly difficult and much cheaper than buying it ready mixed….. oh). Leave the dough to rise in your airing cupboard for about an hour.
  • Boil around 500 grams of new potatoes until tender – easy. How hard can this be?
  • Chop up 400 grams of thick ham and slice a bunch of spring onions. This is going to work!
  • Mix 500ml of creme fraiche with around 200g cheese. Use the cheap grater your husband bought at a jumble sale which is only slightly more useful than using a piece of tin foil with holes cut in it.
  • Season to taste. Your taste, sod everyone else.
  • Roll out just under half the dough until it’s around 25 cms round leaving the imprint of a line of ink from the side of the ruler. Place onto a baking sheet which is just slightly too small but the biggest one you have.
  • Halfway through rolling the dough ask your husband to tip the ham into the sink. Scream at your husband that he’s an idiot and attempt to fish the ham out from among knives, lumps of wet dough and a bowl you’re soaking.
  • Rinse ham in a colander (you’re not an animal!)
  • Chop the potatoes and pile them onto the base which has started to rise again due to ham incident. Decide there are too many potatoes and discard a third of them. Repeat with the ham freezing the leftovers for future use since the recipe clearly doesn’t know anything about ‘correct quantities’.
  • Dollop the creme fraiche and cheese mixture on top. Wonder how exactly you’re going to dollop it since it is the consistency of milk but carry on anyway.
  • Use five pieces of kitchen roll to soak up the ‘milk’ which is running off the sides of the base and garnish the whole sorry mess with a flourish of spring onions.
  • Roll out the remaining dough so it will cover the piled up ingredients using your growing desperation to help force it into shape.
  • There’s no need to moisten the outside of the base with water because it’s now swimming in milky creme fraiche. Simply plop the top over the prepared contents.
  • At the speed of light, due to the ever advancing milk-come-lava-flow, fold the edges of the base over the edges of the top. Use a fork to ensure it’s completely sealed. Feel convinced it’s not completely sealed.
  • Paint all over with beaten egg and transfer the baking sheet to the oven.
  • After five minutes, check the oven to make sure that part of the seal has indeed broken and liquid is seeping out onto the baking tray.
  • Inform your husband that dinner will be ready in an hour, it may be a bit dry and he’d better eat it without any comment.
  • Pour a large glass of wine and ignore anyone who says ‘is it ready yet?’. Pretend you are Nigella Lawson which means it will miraculously look gorgeous once cooked.
  • Take pie out of oven and compare it with the picture in Good Food Magazine

Just Like the Picture!

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(It was actually very tasty)