Tag Archives: classic

Matador steak and kidney pie with chorizo

The perfect winter warmer

The New Year finds me as usual in a flurry of new resolutions, new projects, new hobbies! It is a challenging but exciting time of the year and I always try to get everybody involved in resolution making and list writing: The family devised a new challenge for the first week after Christmas- to give me a rest from cooking, said my youngest!

They each chose a day, devised their menu, sourced the right recipes with my help and shopped and cooked a full meal from scratch. The rule was not to buy anything pre-made but to make it all from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Normally, A. does not partake in our cooking challenges but this year he did, to my utter surprise – my husband is only interested in the “tasting” aspect of food- and produced the most magnificent savoury pie ! It had to be a British classic, of course. But I had suggested a Spanish twist on the Steak and kidney filling and it worked well with the extra chorizo.

I absolutely adored the flavours and really thick, meaty sauce of this recipe ! And the fact I did not have to cook. I really could get used to that sort of treatment… Being a man, he misjudged the quantities big time and made two large pies for the 6 of us- not that we complained!

 Dad’s pie:

Ingredients list: You will need a pie dish and a pot that goes in the oven and stands the hob.

For the pastry:

  • Plain flour 250g
  • Goose fat 80g ( replaces suet, with health benefits!)
  • Rapeseed oil 50g
  • Cold water 80ml
  • pinch of ground pepper and salt
  • Beaten egg to glaze

For the filling:

  • Good marbled steak 500g (diced)
  • Lamb kidney 100g, cut in twos
  • Corn or potato flour 2 Tbsp
  • Onion, 1 large one
  • Water 500ml
  • Knorr or Maggi 1 cube
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Mild chorizo 100g
  • Sliced brown mushrooms 100g
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • Fresh or dry oregano 1 Tbsp
  • Ground cloves 1 tsp
  • All spice 1 Tbsp
  • Dry shiitake and porcini mix 10g (pre-soaked)

Choose a nice streaky piece of beef, with flavour – so sirloin better than fillet or a cheaper cut and with enough fat to sustain the cooking without going as hard as a boot.

Pat the meat dry with a kitchen towel and shake it into a bowl with a dusting of corn or potato flour. Each chunk must be nicely coated.

Heat some oil into a deep oven friendly ceramic pot and fry the sliced onion until soft, then add the meat and brown all sides.

Pour in the stock and seasoning and bring to a slow boil. Throw in the pre-soaked mushrooms and chorizo.

Leave to simmer for 10/15 min. then put the dish into the oven (160) for two hours.

Don’t forget to add the sliced mushrooms half hour before the end.

Make the pastry by mixing all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then adding the cold water slowly. Stop adding when it starts making a ball, as you mix.

Pat it to gather all the crumbs and drop it into a plastic bag.

This will now rest in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the pie.

Check the meat is falling apart and the juices have reduced. Put on the stove on high heat for a few minutes if not.

Adjust the seasoning at this point because this dish needs to be full-flavoured…

Brush the pie dish with a beaten egg, all around the rim.

Pour the filling inside the pie dish.

Make a long coil with a chunk of pastry and stick it to the top of the rim.

Then roll out a cercle of pastry and position it on top of the pie. Prick it all around with the flat end of a fork so the top will be properly sealed and make a small hole in the middle for the vapour to come out.

Brush with the rest of the egg.

Put in the oven (220) for 15 min. then turn down to 160 for a further 20.

The pies arrived piping hot on the table, with a golden and moist crust like a nice tight tummy and a perfect belly button in the middle, oozing with sauce! The pastry was crusty and flaky, with just enough bite and melting on the tongue. The inside was dark and fragrant … and here I get lyrical again! Truly the food of love…  And so we drank a Burgundy St Amour (Domaine des Pins).

PS:Don’t get turn off by the long ingredients list, it is worth it.

As for the rest of the contenders for this challenge:

C. produced homemade spaghetti with Carbonara sauce then a Far Breton with prunes

S. made burgers with home made tomato and parmesan buns and a fruit salad

Lovely with the St Amour!

E. baked Toads in a hole and an apple and quince crumble with coconut  and oats topping

Bourride de baudroie


Bouillabaisse comes from Marseille but this fish soup is rooted somewhere between Arles and Sète, the beautiful fishing port where Paul Valéry asked to be buried in the most heavenly cemetery on earth : “the marine cemetery”.

A sun-baked location on the sloppy hills that overlooks the sea below, it is inhabited by slender cypresses and seagulls.

Here I break my resolution to only post recipes that take under half an hour to produce! But this soup is so rich in flavours and images, so laden with the finest from the sea and the freshest from the fields, that it would be a great shame to leave it out when I’ve just made it. It is in fact very unfussy and almost impossible too mess up… All you need is a great fishmonger and you’re off!

Ingredients list:
Baking potatoes 2
Leek 1
Carrott 1
1 garlic clove
zest of one orange
Fennel bulb 1
Bay leaves 3
Fresh thyme 1 small bunch
Parsley 1 small bunch
Fish stock 1 1/2 litres
White wine 500ml
Monk fish tail (1 large one)
Small white fish such as brim or whiting 2 whole
A few fresh prawns (if you can)
For the aïoli:
6 fresh garlic cloves
Egg yolks 2
olive oil 25cl
Salt and pepper
First fry your small fish (whole but gutted) in a cast-iron pan with the herbs and seasoning. When it is nice and brown, add some water. You need to cover the fish and let it simmer a bit. If the broth is too bland, add a Maggi cube to strengthen it up.
Leave to rest while you prepare your main pot: Slice the fennel, chop the leek, the carrot and potatoes. Add to it the garlic, finely grated, bay leaves, and wine. Put on a medium heat and add the monkfish when it is bubbling.
Strain your pan with the small fish into a sieve, then with a fork take out all the flesh and the prawns if you use them. Put the juice and the flesh into a blender and blitz away. Add seasoning to taste: it must be full of flavours and rich enough to stand up to the Aïoli- that’s next!
Pour into the pot and cover. Leave the soup to simmer but not reduce to much.
For the Aïoli, I use the upside-down attachment that came with my blender and is supposedly dedicated to coffee or spices: that way, I find I seem to always get it to “gel” – though I always do cross my fingers! This is almost a mayonnaise but full of the smoothness of garlic so – unlike mayonnaise- I find it pretty easy to get right!
Put a little mustard in the blender to start it up, then the garlic and salt. Pour the olive oil very slowly and steadily. The mix needs to start becoming creamy and smooth straight away, then you build it up slowly with the oil, until you get the right quantity. It is pungent and raw!
Keep aside in a bowl and serve with the soup and thick slices of toasted bread to spread on…