Tag: England

European Comfort Food | Potato Pies

MeatandPotatoPie-lowres

Potatoes epitomise the rural relationship with food throughout northern and central Europe, but rarely are they combined with anything more than cheese, eggs, fish, meat and milk, especially in pies, which tend to be a marriage with meat and their juices or with the mountain cheese. So why wouldn’t you make a potato pie with the fruits of the forest or the fruits of the orchard?

In Terchová in Slovakia the potato pie is a cake that combines the savoury with the sweet, with berries and nuts. In the Wallis in Switzerland the potato pie contains apples and pears as well as cheese. In Lancashire in England the potato pie is a variation of the traditional Irish mutton stew encased in pastry.

 

Terchovej Zemiakový Koláč
SLOVAKIA
potato cake of Terchová

The Terchová region in Slovakia is reknown for its local produce. This potato cake makes use of indigenous ingredients, and the choice is personal. We have adapted a recipe from the 2003 book of old recipes by Cabadaj and Cross.

 

550 g flour 
400 g potatoes, boiled in skins
250 g blueberry / raspberry jamSlovakPotatoCake-lowres
150 g sugar
100 g almonds / walnuts, ground
100 g pork fat / sunflower oil
1 egg
30 g vanilla sugar
15 g yeast
Salt, large pinch
Butter, for greasing
Sugar, for finish
Water, for finish

 

Rub the potato and fat or oil into the flour. Beat the yeast into the egg, leave for 15 minutes, add to the mixture followed by the sugar and salt. Knead the dough, leave for an hour, degas, divide into two equal pieces. On a floured board roll each piece out to the size of a large round baking tin. Grease tin, place first piece of dough in the bottom, even out, and spread with jam. Sprinkle choice of ground nuts and vanilla sugar on top of jam, cover with the second piece of dough. Pierce surface of cake. Bake in a 180ºC oven for 45 minutes, until the cake is brown. Finish with water and a sprinkling of sugar. Leave to cool.

 

Zemiakový Koláč
SLOVAKIA
potato pie

This traditional cheese and potato pie has gone through so many variations it now resembles the quiche of eastern France and western Germany or the borek of the Balkans, made with the relevant cheeses. Traditionally this pie was filled with bryndza, the mountain cheese, encased in a milkly yeast dough. For a softer filling cream was used instead of butter.

 

Dough
550 g flour
300 ml milk, warmed
45 g pork fat
20 g yeast
5 g salt
5 g sugar
Pork fat / lard, for dressing
Filling
600 g potatoes, cooked, skinned, mashed
400 g bryndza, crumbled
30-60 g sour cream (45 g butter)
Black pepper, large pinch
Salt, pinch

 

Dissolve yeast in the warm milk and a teaspoon of sugar, whisk. Add salt to the flour and rub in the pork fat (or lard). Pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Knead into a smooth dough, leave to rise for an hour. Combine the cheee and potatoes with the cream or butter and seasonings. Divide dough into two equal pieces, roll out on a floured surface into thin sheet to fit choice of baking tray. Greased tray, fold in the first sheet, cover with filling, top with remaining dough sheet. Melt a tablespoon of fat or lard and brush surface of dough. Pierce surface with fork. Bake at 180°C for 45 minutes.

 

Cholera
SWITZERLAND
apple, cheese, pear, potato pie

The 1830s were difficult for the people of the hidden Swiss valleys. Cholera swept across the land, confining people to their homes, where they relied on the stable foods of the land. Out of adversity a traditional dish emerged and survives today.

 

500 g puff pastry
400 g potatoes, boiled whole, peeled, sliced 
400 g raclette cheese, sliced
250 g Gala apples, sliced
250 g Bosc pears, sliced
150 g leeks, halved, sliced, braised in butter 
Egg for glaze
Seasonings
Nutmeg, grated

 

Preheat oven to 215°C.

Cover the base and sides of a cake tin with pastry.

Prick the base lightly with a fork. Layer evenly with apple followed by the potato, leeks and onions.

Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Lay cheese on top, then a pastry lid, press edges of pastry together, prick lightly with a fork in several places.

Brush with egg and bake for an hour.

The traditional Gommer Cholera contained equal amounts of apple, cabbage and potato, half the amount of cheese, and was baked using a plain pastry dough.

 

Meat and Potato Pie with Peppered Hot Pastry Crust
ENGLAND

Meat and potato pies are a traditional dish of northern England, especially the counties of Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire, where the combination has always formed the basis for a hearty meal. Packed in a pastry it becomes portable.

These pies have never been a home-baked product, largely because they have always been ubiquitous in the cafe and chip shop culture of north-west England, Holland’s version being the most popular of the mass-produced brands.

Made with beef, potato and yeast extract in a shortcrust pastry, Holland’s meat and potato pies are also synonymous with sporting events.

Meat and potato pies, as they are known today, began as a workhouse product, are probably related to Irish mutton pies, and were hardly known as a recipe in cookbooks.

 

Filling
1 kg potatoes, peeled, quartered
750 g lamb, cut into 2 cubes
750 g onions, chopped
30 g black pepper, freshly ground
25 g salt
Water

 

This is essentially an Irish stew recipe. The quantity is much more than you will need for the filling.

Arrange lamb in the bottom of a large pot, turn heat to medium and allow fat to run out of the bones.

Stack potatoes on top of the lamb, then the onions and seasoning, more pepper than salt.

Fill the pot with water, three-quarters up to the level of the onions, bring to the boil.

Cover, turn heat to lowest setting and cook for three hours.

The result should be a thick meat and potato stew, with the onions completely melted.

 

Dough
450 g strong white flour
150 ml water
125 g lard
10 g pepper
10 g salt
5 g icing sugar

 

Bring the lard and water to the boil.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add pepper and sugar.

Pour the hot liquid into a well in the centre of the flour, and using a sturdy wooden spoon quickly form into a soft dough.

Divide dough into eight equal pieces (approximately 90 g each), cut again – two thirds for the base, one third for the lid.

Push the dough into the bottom and sides of small deep pie tins, diameter 8 cms.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Pack the tins with the filling, roll the remaining dough out, place over the top of the filling, crimping the edges. Pierce a hole in the centre of the lid.

Reduce oven temperature to 180°C, bake for 90 minutes.

 

Fish and Potato Pie
ENGLAND SCOTLAND

Always thought of as a fish pie rather than a potato pie, this traditional dish combined ingredients that have always come together. Baking the fish in a cheese sauce topped with mashed potato and grated cheese made this dish a meal instead of a snack.

 

1 kg assorted smoked and unsmoked fish fillets, 
fresh or frozen, cut into bite sized pieces
1 kg potatoes, cooked, riced
600 ml milk
200 g mature melting cheese, grated
40 g butter
40 g flour
25 g parsley, chopped
15 g black pepper, freshly ground

 

Make a light roux. Remove pan from heat, whisk milk a little at a time into the mixture. Back on the heat bring to the boil stirring constantly. Turn heat to low, stir in half the cheese.

Add parsley and pepper, allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Arrange fish in ovenproof dish, pour sauce over fish and finish with potato and remaining cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until crisp and golden, and piping hot in the middle.

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Legendary Dishes | Cornish Pasty

ENGLAND

Distinguished by its crimped edge and D-shape, its association with working life, primarily farming and mining, and its indigenous contents, beef, onions, potatoes and swedes, the Cornish pasty is the quintessential traditional food.

Designed to be both portable and disposable, the durable casing and crimped crust were practical elements.

The casing allowed for safe carrying, and the crimped edge allowed for robust handling without fear of contamination (the tin mines of Cornwall were saturated with arsenic). The edge was always discarded.

Crimping is a quick folding action, bringing the edges together to form a thick set of round ridges. Hold the pasty edge in one hand and use the fingers of the other hand to twist the edges together in a neat continuous motion.

Although the crimped edge is no longer necessary, its continuing appearance is an integral aspect of the pasty’s attraction and romance.

 

Cornish Pasty

 

Dough
600 g strong white flour
300 g lard
100 ml water
Salt, pinch
Filling
500 g beef, cubed small
500 g potatoes, cubed small
300 g swede, cubed small
250 g onion, chopped finely
10 g pepper, fresh ground
5 g salt
Egg, beaten, for glazing
Milk, for glazing

 

Crumble butter and lard into flour, add water to form a pliable dough, about ten minutes. Leave to rest in fridge for an hour.

Chop meat and vegetables into equal sized pieces. Mix vegetables together, season, divide into eight equal portions. Divide meat into eight equal portions.

Cut pastry into eight equal pieces, roll each into rounds no less than 22cm in diameter.

Layer a portion of meat on one side of the round, leaving a clear 3cm edge. Place a portion of vegetables on top. Brush entire edge of the round, fold over and crimp.

Preheat oven to 185°C.

Grease a baking tray. Mix egg with a little milk, and brush each pasty.

Bake for 40 mins, until the pasties have taken a golden shine.

LEGENDARY DISHES


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Euro Snacks | Manningtree

Breakfast breads come in all shapes and sizes, long like baguettes, short like buns, round like rolls, flat like baps. Every region has its colloquial name for this bread, but generally its purpose is the same.

It acts as a container for a hearty breakfast.

The breakfast bap is claimed by the Scots, but they are not alone.

In the south-east of England, railway station buffets and cafes offer a selection of grilled bacon and sausages in large round flat breads called huffa to hurried travellers and early workers.

One such cafe sits to the back of the London platform at Manningtree station in Essex, a stone’s throw from the county border with Suffolk. Here they serve a soft flat bread called a huffa, which the customer orders with a choice of breakfast foods, to eat in or take away.

This is the huffa, one of its kind!

 

Huffa

 

450 g strong white flour, warmed
280 ml milk, warmed
25 g yeast
15 ml milk, for glazing
15 g salt

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, dry whisk and put in a warm place for a couple of hours.

Heat milk to 38°C.

Dissolve yeast in two tablespoons of the milk.

Pour remaining milk and yeast liquid into the flour, form into a ball of dough, fold out onto a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes.

Leave for an hour, degas, leave for another hour, cut into 12 equal pieces, shape into flat rounds and place on two warmed baking trays dusted with flour. Leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Desired dough temperature 25°C.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Place on a wire rack, brush surface with milk. When the milk has dried on the surface, dust lightly with a sprinkling of flour.


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Culinary Connections | France Switzerland England Ireland Italy

Hot Sandwiches

Croque-Monsieur

This Parisien snack has travelled to the four corners of Europe since it appeared in 1910.

The buffet car on the TGVs between Paris and Geneva serve grilled croque-monsieur as good as any Parisien café, proving the maxim that quality ingredients make the dish!

These being artisan bread, Gruyère cheese and cured ham.

The deluxe version contains a Gruyère béchamel topping.

A baked or poached egg on top turns monsieur into madame!

16 slices (8cm x 8cm) Gruyère
8 slices (10cm x 10cm) white bread, 
crusts removed
8 slices (8cm x 8cm) ham
4 baked/poached eggs (optional)
60g béchamel (optional - see Spain)
Butter, for spreading

Place a slice of ham between two slices of Gruyère, then between slices of buttered bread, grill for five minutes each side until the bread takes on a light toast.

For a richer croque-monsieur, spread béchamel made with Gruyère on top after grilling one side, grill until a brown skin forms.

Bookies Sandwich

The bookies sandwich got its name a long time after it was established as a packed lunch eaten by workers in various labouring jobs and people involved with hunt and race meetings.

In England it was a thick seasoned sirloin steak grilled, sometimes fried, and placed between thick loaf crusts spread with horseradish and mustard condiments.

In Ireland it was a thick seasoned rump steak grilled and placed between white soda farls spread with carmelised onions.

The English version was wrapped in paper and cold pressed for 30 minutes.

By the middle of the 20th century the ‘bookmakers sandwich’ was a pub food in Britain and Ireland, and in Irish pubs across Europe and America.

The Vienna loaf replaced the batch loaf crusts and soda bread, then the ciabatta replaced the Vienna.

In Ireland the Waterford blaa is used to hold the steak, because it is seen as the ideal bread bun for soaking up the juices from the meat and the flavourings from the condiments and seasonings

Elsewhere the condiments betray its origins, and the meat will be beef or veal tenderloins, the latter in continental Europe.

Bookies Sandwich – (Batch loaf version)

700 g (4 x 175 g beef sirloin steaks, thick)
8 (4 cm) thick bread crusts
100 g creamed horseradish 
100 g English smooth mustard
15 g black pepper, freshly ground
10 g salt

Spread four crusts with horseradish and four with mustard, according to taste.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices between each set of crusts, wrap in greaseproof paper, leave each sandwich under a heavy weight for an hour.

Eat cold.

Bookies Sandwich (Vienna/Ciabatta bread version)

700 g (4 x 175 g beef/veal tenderloin steaks, thick)
2 breads, side cut along length, halved
100 g Dijon coarse mustard
25 g soft butter
15 g black pepper, freshly ground
10 g salt

Spread four pieces of bread with mustard, and four with butter, according to taste.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices on buttered breads, top with mustard breads, wrap in greaseproof paper, leave each sandwich under a heavy weight for an hour.

Eat cold.

Bookies Sandwich (Soda farl version)

700 g (4 x 175 g beef rump steaks, thick)
4 farls, side cut along length
500 g onions, halved, sliced
25 g soft butter
15 g black pepper, freshly ground
10 g salt
Oil, for frying

Sauté onions in oil over a low heat for an hour, until they are brown and almost crispy.

Spread four farl halves with butter, four with onions.

Season steaks, heavy with pepper for a spicy flavouring, grill or fry according to preference.

Place a steak and juices on onion farls, top with buttered farls, press down with hands, leave to cool.

Eat cold.

Focaccia Panino/Focaccia Farcite

Cafes in Italy have offered focaccia filled with cheese, meat, vegetables and sauces for so long now it seemed inevitable that someone would think of baking the filling inside the flat bread – a tradition that is not new, especially in Asian Europe.

Stuffed focaccia is unlikely to rival the Napolese pizza anymore than the Genoese pizza did when their fates were shared. Technically focaccia farcite is not a sandwich but its popularity is increasing, especially among the young, so you never know.

Focaccia fillings include brie, emmental, fontina, gorgonzola, grana padano, gruyère, mortadella, mozzarella, pancetta, pecorino, porcini, prosiutto, ricotta, salami, spinach and whatever vegetable is available.

Therefore stuffed foccacia – made with potato dough, sweetened egg dough and plain dough, and hardly ever with olive oil drenched dough or traditional sweet dough – is a meal in itself.

Perfect for lunch!

Focaccia Farcite – 1

400 g 00 flour 
300 g potatoes, cubed, cooked, cooled
125 ml water, tepid
30 g olive oil
30 g olive oil, for greasing
25 g yeast
Sugar, large pinch
Salt, large pinch
Milk, for brushing

This potato dough focaccia will take any filling you care to put in it, suggestions below.

Dissolve yeast in sugar in water, leave for 15 minutes.

Sieve flour into a large bowl, add salt and potatoes, and gradually work them into the flour with a tablespoon of oil.

Pour in the yeast liquid, mix and knead, add another tablespoon of oil.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for ten minutes until the dough is smooth, add more water if necessary.

Cover and leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Roll into a large rectangular to cover the base of baking tray, greased, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Place fillings on one half, fold the other half on top, seal with milk, leave to rise for 15 minutes.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, turning the tray once.

Suggested fillings and quantities:

125 g mozzarella/ricotta

90 g emmental/gruyère

90 g prosiutto/mortadella

75 g spinach/tomatoes

Focaccia Farcite – 2

This version produces a lighter bread, suitable for a thick cheese and ham filling.

230 ml water, tepid
200 g strong white flour
200 g flour 
180 g prosciutto
45 g brie
45 g fontina
45 g gorgonzola
45 g grana padano/pecorino, grated
30 g olive oil, for greasing
25 g yeast
15 g sugar
1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in sugar in water, leave for 15 minutes.

Sieve flours into a large bowl, add salt and work in the yeast mixture.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth.

Cover and leave to rise for an hour, degas, rise for a second hour, degas again.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Roll into a large rectangular to cover the base of baking tray, greased, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Place fillings on one half, fold the other half on top, seal with milk, leave to rise for 15 minutes.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, turning the tray once.

Focaccia Farcite – 3

For sweet tooths.

500 g 00 flour
5 eggs (250 g), 1 separated
250 g sugar
150 g apricots, dried, chopped small 
90 ml date syrup
50 g vanilla sugar
25 ml grappa
15 g baking powder
2 lemons, zest, grated
2 oranges, zest, grated

Sieve flour and baking powder into a large bowl, stir in the plain sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon and orange zest, add the grappa and eggs (leaving the white of one egg aside), mix and leave to rest for an hour.

Preheat to 180°C.

Fold out onto a clean surface, knead for five minutes into a smooth dough.

Divide into two equal pieces, shape each into a rectangular shape, place on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, brush surface with egg white.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Spread date syrup across the surface of each focaccia, stopping short at the edges, sprinkle apricot pieces on top, cut into squares, sandwich!


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