January is one of those months which seems to have it’s very own characteristics.
For example, you begin to realise that the nights are getting lighter, you start to see snowdrops, crocuses and other wild flowers push their way through the ground, and you also begin to feel the post Christmas pinch on your purse. Or I do anyway.
Every year I try and be organised, buy throughout the year, make presents, live within our present buying means, but then the season begins and all of a sudden I am compelled to splash out with the enduring ‘well it is Christmas’ rhetoric ringing through my ears like some tuneless Church bells.
This year, although we have become more competent, has still left our resources in strong disagreement with the amount of month left.
However, it is nothing that we haven’t experienced before and so it is at this point that my whole 1940’s make do and mend philosophy comes to the fore as I think creatively of how we can utilise all the bits of food we have.
I do realise that this ‘waste not want not’ ideology is a lifestyle we should, for the goodness of home, community, planet etc, be living as a constant, and as much as I would love to say that we creatively find a use for everything that has come from something, I cannot.
Moreover, I am not going to try and justify why not. Instead, I’m going to share with you what I did today, which I have been meaning to so for a while, and eventually accomplished.
We had some mince in the fridge that had been made in bulk for Shepherd’s – well actually Cottage – Pie, and not yet used up.
Did you know Shepherd’s Pie is so called because it uses lamb’s meat, and Cottage Pie because it uses beef? You did? Oh.
So, I bought some ready rolled short crust pastry (why have a dog and bark yourself is my motto on this one), and boiled up a potato, diced into little cubes maybe 1cm if that, and added some peas. These were then drained and added to my already cooked with carrots and onions, mince.
Coarse black pepper came next. To be honest, having tasted the pasties, they could have taken a little more black pepper, which I will try and remember for next time.
I then unleashed the pastry from it’s packaging – I know, this knocks off some halo shining points – cut some circles into it, filled the pastry circles with my mixture, damped the edges, pulled them together and folded them over each other, placed on a tray, egg washed them and cooked them, gas mark 5, until they were done.
I have to say, in order to get as many pasties out of my pastry as I could, I rolled it out a bit further which did mean that in a couple of places the pastry exploded a little and the gravy oozed out, but I like to refer to that as giving it the authentic touch. Also, I did try and overfill the pasties which meant I couldn’t, initially, get the thing to close. But hey, you live and learn.
Most importantly of all, himself said they tasted good, and his is the king of all things pasty.
I am now feeling ever so slightly smug. One small step, and all that…