Friday 15th December 2017.
In the run up to Christmas my head was all over the place and I was so disorganised. I was trying to be organised but it just didn’t happen. I planned to cook a steak and ale pie for Mr SmartCookieSam, our son and I but I completely forgot to switch on the slow cooker. And I was feeling pretty smug as I put the meat into the slow cooker thinking here goes, we’ll have a delicious pie filling! No way! I wondered why I’d got to 5pm and realised the cooker was stone cold and the meat inside was raw! It serves me right. So we ended up with a takeaway that night and the beef filling went in the fridge overnight.
Instead of putting the filling into a casserole dish and cooking it in the oven I usually find my slow cooker does it for me when I’m out leaving the meat deliciously tender. This I did on Saturday morning, keeping the meat on the low setting throughout the day as I was going around doing all my chores. I put browned braising steak, a chopped onion, bacon lardons, some ale, some beef stock, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, rosemary, button mushrooms and a bay leaf into the slow cooker and left it to do all the work.
Just before the pie was ready to go into the oven I transferred the meat to a pie dish and then made a shortcrust pastry lid for our meat pie. The recipe in The Great British Bake Off Christmas book also has a shortcrust pastry lid but uses beef suet in the ingredients. I hadn’t got any so I had to make my pastry with all butter and plain flour. It didn’t change the taste or the effect though. I decorated the top of the pie with leftover cut out pastry stars and then brushed the pie top with some beaten egg. It was baked in the oven for about 45 minutes until the top was golden and the filling was piping hot.
On Saturday we became a family of four again as my daughter came back from uni for the Chrismas holidays. We had a perfect first night back dinner as she loves steak and ale pie. I served it with some mashed potato, carrots and cabbage, along with a jug of extra gravy. It was so delicious there were clean plates all round!
Love Sam xx