Friday, 3 February 2012

Pink soup and a not so blue Blue after all

Soup of the week is roasted beetroot without horseradish cream. I am hoping (perhaps over ambitiously) that the pink-ness of the soup will appeal to Pink and get her over her dislike of this particular root vegetable. I have to say that she enjoyed it more than the Husband and Blue when made into the beetroot variation of Hugh’s Pumpkin and Raisin tea loaf. I think I mentioned this in an  earlier post. I had over-ordered on the beetroot front and was looking for recipes to use it in. A friend had recommended the tea loaf recipe (although not the beetroot variation) so I thought I would give it a go. Hugh promises purple marbling. My version was more ‘pink flecking’, but it tasted great, and not a hint of the earthiness which I think puts Pink off. I say that it is without Horseradish cream because at the time of writing, the horseradish is still in the ground and the ground is frozen solid. Chances of extracting are virtually zero (and that’s better than the current outside temperature). That said there might be some in the freezer. I will need to investigate. The soup isn’t for eating till tomorrow so there may yet be time for horseradish cream.

I had far more success on the root veg front this week with the swede and potato pasties out of Veg Everyday. Blue is continuing to lobby for more meat back on the menu, and looked particularly cheated when I advised him that the pasty did not contain meat. I had tried to avoid actually spelling this out to him, but he likes to know where he stands so his questions became more specific as my answers became more and more vague, until he eventually pinned me down. “What is in the pasties?” (this on the way home from school) . I told him. “Oh”. Then “I thought when you said ‘pasties’ you meant like those ones you cooked with meat in them.” Oh dear.
Despite my recent saga with Sainsburys over packets of bought puff pastry, I pushed my pastry boundaries and made the rough puff for these little babies (the bought stuff is for a Hugh onion tart, culled from Sarah Raven and included in Veg Everyday). I think I have made a sweet variation of this before out of Domestic Goddess, and used it to make a lovely tarte tatin type pud. Actually, I think the other half of the pasty that I made for that is languishing somewhere, unloved and unlabeled at the bottom of the freezer. I have a vague memory that almond danishes were on the cards at one stage. I must re-investigate.

Back to the pasties, though. This pastry is really easy and I write as a pastry-phobe. I am getting better with practise, and it’s experiences like this that boost my confidence. It all worked, and rolled out brilliantly. You have to do lots of rolling because the butter starts off as cubes in the flour, and you have to roll it out, fold it over itself and then turn it a quarter-turn, and do it again - 5 times.
first rolling!

cubes of butter - the unrolled dough

I made double quantities, which gave me 4 large pasties and then 6 smaller ones to go in lunchboxes, and there was plenty of filling (just a tiny bit too much in fact).

If you’re interested, I did add the ‘optional’ cheddar. For me, cheese is never ‘optional’. But then, I am not a ‘swede-purist’, unlike Hugh (that’s what he calls himself – it’s there in print.). I was very gratified to see that Pink had eaten her pasty almost before I had sat down, faffing around as I was trying to do 100 other things. She had another half, too, Blue pronounced it ‘pretty good actually’ and they both wanted to take a cold one in to school for lunch today.

I’ve had a mad cook this evening – over the course of today (well starting last night) I have made some loaves with my newly revived sourdough starter following the River Cottage Bread Handbook’s method (‘My Sourdough’). It’s looking pretty good, although I think my starter (and so sponge) was a bit sloppy so the dough was similarly. Not good for the stress levels trying to do a first knead at the same time as you should be walking your small daughter to school with the dough showing no sign of becoming smooth and satiny. In the end I just had to say b******s and leave it to rise. Still - apparently no harm done. I retrieved the second half of the cookie dough that I’d squirreled into the freezer last week and baked some more cookies – I was interested to see if this ‘freeze half the dough’ thing would work – well what do you know, it did! And as the oven was on, I managed too roast the beetroot for the soup – or was it because I’d planned the roast beetroot that I baked the bread and the cookies. I can’t remember, but now the oven's off, the kids are in bed and it's G&T time. Happy Friday!

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