Next up for the picnic – Rolls Filled with Cheese and Tomato Paste. A perfect thing to take out on trips etc., reckons the Grigson; and she is correct! Looking at the recipe, I though it was a bit of a faff to prepare, when you could just have a cheese and tomato buttie. Jane suggests using bridge rolls – I have no idea what they are, but small baguettes seem to do the same job.
Greg sneaking in sarnie before dinner
For six: Slice 6 small baguettes in half longways and scoop out as much of the bread from inside as possible without creating any holes in the bread; breadcrumb the scooped-out bread in a food processor. Next, chop a small onion very finely, and soften gently in 2 ounces of butter. Chop up three skinned tomatoes and add to the mixture – you may want to add a tablespoon of tomato puree and some sugar at this point, unless you grow your own tomatoes, or live in Spain. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, until all is quite thick. Whisk in the egg and keep stirring until the sauce thickens even more – don’t let it boil or the eggs will scramble. Take off the heat and stir in 2 ounces of grated Cheddar cheese, and the breadcrumbs – don’t add them all at once, you may not need them all. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Fill the rolls with the paste along with a layer of something green – lettuce, watercress, or whatever.
#71 Rolls Filled with Cheese and Tomato Paste – 6.5/10. They are certainly bizarre but very good, at first I wasn’t sure if I liked them, but as I scoffed away as I walked about, I decided that I did. Though I’m not sure if a ‘normal’ cheese and tomato sarnie is better. They went oddly well with lagers that Jono brought along.
Start off by making the pastry. Cornish pasty pastry should be made with lard as the only fat, apparently. Grigson doesn’t give much instruction on how to make pastry other than, fat and flour are to be used in a ratio of 1:2. To make two large pasties I used a pound of flour and 8 ounces of chilled, cubed lard. It sounds a lot, but these are big pasties! Start off by rubbing the flour into the fat, along with a pinch of salt. Use the tips of your fingers, or the appropriate attachment on your food mixer. I usually go for the mixer as it doesn’t make the fat warm up like fingertips do. Don’t be tempted to put the mixer on a high speed; use the lowest setting possible (see review, below). Let the pastry rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, chop up a pound of beef – use skirt, chuck, or as I did, top rib. Make sure all the fat and gristle is cut off. Chop a four-ounce onion, and thinly slice 3 ounces of turnip and 8 ounces of potato. Mix the vegetables and meat in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper – do not skimp – plus a pinch of fresh or dried thyme.
Divide the pastry into two and roll one half to the size of a large dinner plate, pile in half the mixture in a line down the centre of the pastry circle, pull up the sides and crimp them together using water as glue. Place it on a baking tray and brush with egg. Repeat with the other half. Bake for 20 minutes at 200ºC, then turn down the oven to 180ºC for a further 40 minutes.
#70 Cornish Pasty – 2/10. The first disaster of the project! I’ve given the recipe because I know what I did wrong – because I was making such a large amount of pastry, I tried to hurry it along by turning the speed of my mixer too high. The result of this is the fat doesn’t form ‘breadcrumbs’, it softens too early and doesn’t get incorporated properly. If you are making it, heed my advice! It would perhaps make two lots of pastry, using half the required amounts of fat and flour. The filling was delicious , but the pastry turned into dust, I couldn’t even get them of the baking tray without them collapsing. Instead I ate the filling with a spoon, and threw the rest in the bin. I am going to try them again next week.
Off me and Greg went along with Joff to see Sarah, Jono and the Georgeling, plus Ben and Katy in Barnton. The idea being that Jono, Joff and I would go off birding and everyone else would go to the outdoor pool. We would eat picnic food and then a meze tea. This being August and the North of England did mean that it pissed it down. Rubbish. We still got a chance to do a bit of birding, but it was all a bit grim, though a sandpiper was spotted, and you don’t one of those everyday in the centre of Manchester.
I thought that I would do a trinity of Grigson recipes: Cornish pasties, cheese and tomato paste rolls and a Madeira cake. Of course, I made all these in advance didn’t know the weather would be pants, also I turned up sans Cornish pasty, as they turned out to be a total disaster!
Luckily, Sarah’s meze food was not a disaster, but brilliant. She’s been doing loads of cooking, much more than me and we’re thinking of starting up a dinner club where we all make a course each. Also, we watched You’ve Been Framed and pissed our pants, whilst it was pissing it down outside.
Anyways, the recipes…