Savory Saturday – Steak Pie Secret

Wow – now this is special.

My boyfriend has agreed to give away a very secret and special recipe that has been passed down from his father’s father’s father…you get the point (born and raised in Glastonbury, England).

Steak Pie for Two (or three to four normal people – we are pigs).

Wake up at 8:30 for a dinner ready around 6:30 (ouch). The earlier you start it and the late you leave it to savour in its deliciousness, the better.

2 lbs stewing beef

1 onion, cut into chunks

1 garlic head, all cloves minced

2 packages of beef oxo

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

a few hits of hot sauce

pinch of dill

pinch of sage

pinch of thyme

1 tbsp-ish basil

4 bay leaves

1 tbsp-ish parsley

1 tbsp-ish oregano

a few pinches of chili pepper flakes

fresh ground pepper, to taste

package of puff pastry

asparagus

potatoes

Place beef in large pot and fill with water until just covering beef. Cut onion into large chunks and place into pot. Put in as many cloves of minced garlic as you can stand. We use a whole head of garlic, phew! Pour in the two packages of beef oxo, along with the worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Throw in all the spices too!

Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and simmer it for as long as you can. Keep checking throughout the day that it doesn’t dry out. If so, add more water.

Three hours before you would like to eat, add a cup or 2 or 3 of wine in the mix. The more wine you add, the longer you should let it simmer.

Get two large bowls and 2 hard boiled egg holders and place the holders in the centre of the bowls. Get package of tenderflake (packaged puff pastry), roll out both pieces in flour, to fit over top of the bowls. Before you put the dough on top of the bowls, evenly divide the simmering stew between the two bowls. Once it’s in, place to pastry on top of the bowls. Make sure there are no holes in the dough, and that each piece of dough covers the bowl.

Place the bowls in a preheated oven, set at 400F. Monitor pastry and cook until pastry is golden brown, usually 15-20 minutes.

To serve, cut puff pastry in half, place on plate, pour stewing beef over pastry. We like to serve with baked potatoes and broiled asparagus in olive oil, salt and pepper.

YUM!!!!

Fantasy Friday – Can’t wait for Kent

Back by popular request (aka my boyfriend), it’s time to start daydreaming of places I can’t wait to experience.

Wikipedia

First daydream comes from a sisterly inspiration, as she visited England twice in the past two years.

Welcome to Kent, a place I chose while perusing the tourism England site. A place where HIKING and NATURE popped up out of the corner of my eye immediately.

Here’s the blurb that inspired me:

“Castles, cathedrals, countryside and coast – is there anything that Kent doesn’t have? Well, no actually. From Dover’s white cliffs to the cathedrals of Rochester and Canterbury, there’s so much to see and do in the Garden of England. You can shop on cobbled streets, explore maritime history along coastal paths, tuck into fresher than fresh fish and admire brightly-coloured orchards, beautiful countryside and mighty castles. What are you waiting for?

Scotney Castle

Leeds Castle

Must See Attractions
If you like castles and cathedrals then you’re in luck. Kent is blessed with the best in military might at Hever, Dover, Rochester and Leeds, whereas the cathedrals at Rochester and Canterbury are simply awe-inspiring. And for something a little different, Dungeness has the fascinating and slightly odd combination of nuclear power stations, fishermen’s huts, and the largest expanse of shingle in Europe.”

Ok – what?

I can seriously go to Kent to see the special attraction of a NUCLEAR POWER PLANT?! Sign me up! Kidding, it sounds quite unique actually – and I love unique.

Nuclear power plant by a golf course, ohhhh yeah!!!

Mmmm nature

Quote – England in Spring

Oh, to be in England now that April’s there.

Robert Browning

Savory Saturday – Jolly ol’ England

I am having flashbacks of some English food I was “forced” to eat growing up. One included Shepherd’s Pie and I remember absolutely haaaating it! But now I feel like my tastebuds have ‘grown-up’ and that I should give this traditional English dish another try.

Wish me luck:

Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

Method

1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).

2 While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan.

3 Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.

4 Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.

5 Mash potatoes in bowl with remainder of butter, season to taste.

6 Place beef and onions in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.

7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Yield: Serves four.

 

Enjoy!!

Fantasy Friday – England the quirky route

I’ve always wanted to visit England. My parents and sister went in September and fell in love with the place!

At the same time, I love the randomness and silliness that a place has to offer me, and I think this article from Lonely Planet is perfect for my fantasy today:

Ten of England’s oddest sights

  • Anita Isalska

England: seat of the royals, replete with cream teas and pastures green? Not quite. When you venture beyond England’s noble heritage and classic sights, there’s a motley crew of eccentric, unexpected and even raunchy attractions – if you know where to look. Choosing a mere ten is a challenge, but here are some delightful eyebrow-raisers of the sceptered isle.

1. Angel of the North

Is it a bird, is it an angel, is it an eyesore? This steel sculpture by celebrated Brit artist Antony Gormley has been inspiring drivers to mutter, ‘what the…?’ since its completion in 1998. Its majestic 54-metre wingspan is an edifying landmark for northeast England – although many see lewd potential in a male nude with arms outstretched, dubbing it the ‘Gateshead Flasher’. Take a peep at the Angel from the A167 road exit towards Gateshead South (www.gateshead.gov.uk).

2. Whitby

The craggy silhouette of Whitby Abbey, perched precariously above this seaside town, inspired Bram Stoker, the tortured soul behind Dracula. And today, it calls to Brits with dark tastes in music to descend in flocks for Whitby Goth Weekend. If timing your visit for the festival, book accommodation well in advance – your reward will be sharing fish n’ chips with amiable alternative rockers wearing frills, furbelows and enough black eyeliner to blot out the sun. Sink your fangs into more info on www.whitbygothweekend.co.uk.

© Robert Slassor

3. The Blowing Stone

Amid the green fields of Oxfordshire near the small town of Wantage lies an unassuming rock with a big history. According to legend, King Alfred blew through a hole in this very boulder to summon a Saxon army against the Vikings with a trumpeting call. Re-enact this historic moment yourself, but don’t be surprised if you get little more than a low fart: the myths say that anyone who succeeds in sounding a pure note is sure to ascend the throne. Console yourself with some other local sights, like the graceful outline of the Uffington White Horse, carved into the rolling hillsides, and a few drinks in local boozers the White Horse pub or The Plough in Eastbury. Learn more here.

4. A philosopher’s mummy

Jeremy Bentham, one of England’s greatest thinkers, so loved the University College London that he wanted to hang around long after his death. While his voting rights were revoked post mortem, his preserved body remains proudly on display. For a walking tour to see the stuffed icon (the original head now sadly replaced with a wax model), check UCL’s website.

5. Cerne Abbas Giant and Long Man of Wilmington

These two enormous figures are carved into the chalk bedrock of the English hills. The Giant, just north of Dorset village Cerne Abbas, has a phallus that can be seen for miles (snap your NSFW photos from a viewing point off the A352 road). Not to be outdone by this priapic monument, some cheeky residents of Wilmington in East Sussex, home of another gargantuan carving, drew some crown jewels on their own chalk figure – amusement (and offence) spread like wildfire. See the (now castrated) Long Man of Wilmington on a short drive northwest from Eastbourne. There’s a short walk (sign-posted) to the best viewing areas.

6. Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Quaint, eccentric and bursting with intellectual treasures, the Pitt Rivers Museum captures the spirit of England’s most famous university city. Make a beeline for the shrunken heads, but take the time to dawdle amid anthropological treasures like porcupine-quill shirts and Japanese masks. Get started on www.prm.ox.ac.uk.

7. Brighton’s West Pier

Sad emblem of dereliction, or alternative icon for England’s sauciest seaside town? Locals of Brighton are divided on the ghostly wreck of the West Pier. A rusted metal skeleton of a coastal pavilion, the brooding beauty of the West Pier attracts as many camera flashes as its functioning neighbour, the Brighton Pier. Stay in town for the quirky cafe culture, bracing sea air and raucous nightlife.

8. Wookey Hole

Where can you combine cackling witches with England’s tastiest cheese? If you squint a bit, one of the rock formations in these dramatic southwestern caves vaguely resembles an ossified witch. From this gnarly stone a tourist mecca was born in the heart of an impressive system of subterranean caverns. A real-life witch (in tasteful black lipstick) leads children’s tours into the caves, but superstition-free visitors can simply admire the awe-inspiring stalactites. Toast your visit with cheese from the nearby Cheddar Gorge.

9. Shitterton

The eyebrow-raising name of this town inspires a small stream of visitors to detour from the fossil riches of Dorset’s Jurassic coast. Some just want to pose by the chortle-inducing road sign, others have been moved to steal it. Shittertonians even clubbed together for a thoroughly immovable stone road sign to scupper the thieves.

10. Cross Bones graveyard

Excavations confirmed this site in London as a medieval prostitute graveyard, but the area has gathered pace as a focal point for remembering London’s ‘outcast dead’. Ribbons, candles and curious offerings are strewn around the site. Time your visit for the monthly candlelit vigil or annual Halloween procession. Learn the history on www.crossbones.org.uk.

But there are so many more oddities: Cambridge’s insect clock, the chalk Kiwi, the Museum of Celebrity Leftovers

Fantasy Friday – Happy birthday to my sister!

It’s my fabulous sisters birthday, so I am dedicating my Fantasy Friday destinations to a few of her favorite places:

Her favs:

Grand Floridian Resort at Disney World

Brugge, Belgium

London, England

Las Vegas

Cuba!

Jasper, Alberta

Waterton, Alberta

New York City

Some places I think would be her favs some day:

Vancouver, B.C.

Yellowstone

Chicago

Rome