Then I went along to a breakfast talk this morning run by our Church. It's part of a mission week that's going on, designed to offer people the opportunity to find out more about being a Christian in a non-threatening environment. This basically involves inviting people to eat with you and this morning, coffee, croissants and marmalade was about as unthreatening as it could possibly get.
I hadn't been planning to go to the thing this morning (I'm involved with a coffee morning on Friday as part of the week already) but I went along as a spur of the moment thing. I didn't have anyone who might have wanted to go to take along with me this morning, and in fact I was setting off for my dog walk having dropped the kids at school. The dog was most put out that he got short walk rations - and having gone in thinking I was just bolstering numbers, I ended up being faced with a big issue that I have sort of known that I need to deal with for a long time but keep pushing away. That's how it seems to be with God - when you least expect it, something comes bam out of no where and hits you between the eyes, and you know you have to deal with it. Mysterious ways and all that.
So I'm wrestling with tired children and how best to keep them going for the next couple of weeks, my own inner turmoil (it's not that interesting, I won't go into it, just don't think I'm keeping something juicy and interesting from you), and other bits and pieces like how I shape the next few years of my working life, whether I will ever actually sit down and write the books I start in my head when I'm walking the dog, what to get the Husband for his 40th birthday (we might have had the party, but his actual birthday is looming in December), the looming issue of secondary school for Blue, and more besides. Probably the standard stuff everyone else is dealing with - I know it's nothing earth shattering - it just seems very loud at the moment. Plus, I seem to have gone into hibernation mode. This happens every year about this time - the desire to eat peanut butter on toast moves from being something I succumb to for the occasional breakfast the morning after a night where too much wine was consumed, to something I crave almost constantly.
Faced with all that, comfort food was definitely on the cards tonight. Pie. Unfortunately, the pack of ready rolled puff pastry that was handily in the freezer defrosted into a sticky unusable mess (cue inner screaming and foot stamping), so I had to do a quick re-think and slice up some potatoes as the topping instead. Not ideal as I was up against it timewise to get Pink fed and to a ballet class, but it all worked out rather well in the end. And do note how I've helpfully specified cooking the potatoes first rather than in a mad panic at the end...
Broccoli leek & bacon potato pie
3-4 large waxy potatoes
2 tbsp cornflour
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
4 slices smoked streaky bacon, derinded and chopped up quite small
4 small-ish leeks, thinly sliced & washed
300ml warm vegetable stock
80g low fat garlic & herbs cream cheese type stuff (I used Philadelphia*)
large handful of parsely, finely chopped
butter, salt & pepper
Slice your potatoes into fairly thin slices and cook in boiling, salted water till they are cooked but not falling apart. If you have a steamer pan, steam the broccoli over the potatoes for 5-6 mins or until just tender.
When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and pop them on a tea towel or piece of kitchen roll to dry off.
Mix the cornflour in a small pot/bowl etc with 2 tbsp water and set aside.
If you haven't done so already, cook or steam the broccoli till tender.
Heat a frying pan and start cooking the bacon. I used a non-stick pan so didn't add any oil, and then once the bacon fat had started to run, through in the leeks and cook till softened. If you need a bit of liquid, you can always chuck in a ladleful of hot water - I used the broccoli water...
Mix the broccoli and leeks and bacon into an oven proof dish.
Pre heat your grill.
In a small pan, mix the slaked cornflour into the stock and bring gently to simmering, stirring pretty much constantly till the mixture thickens, then stir in the cream cheese and then the chopped parsley. Season if necessary, then stir the sauce through the veg & bacon.
Layer the potato slices on top of the veg mixture, season with salt & pepper and drop a few small pieces of butter over it all.
Pop under the grill till the top layer of potatoes is golden and possibly a little crunchy too.
Know that for a brief moment, or two, life will be uncomplicated while you eat dinner. And enjoy.
*but this isn't a sponsored post or anything, its just what we had in the fridge...