Tag Archives: Thanks

A “British” contribution to Thanksgiving Dinner!

Today my post will be a Fussy One first… I am going to give you a FOOD recipe! As everyone in the United States should be aware, yesterday was Thanksgiving.  This means there was probably a lot of drinking and even more eating across the country. As most of my readers know, I myself am not from the US, however I have been living here in Los Angeles for 5 years in January (is it already that long??!!) and have plenty to be thankful for.

I live with my Beverage Consultant boyfriend, (known on this blog as FutureGreg or FG) and his wonderful family.  Every year on thanksgiving we have a big sit down dinner with extended family and friends, and although FGs Dad does the majority of the cooking, most of the guests bring a dish as part of the meal.  For the past few years I have been contributing the following dish and it’s proved so successful I thought I would document it for the blog this time.  So here you go, the first cooking recipe on the fussy one…

STEAK AND GUINNESS PIE

This recipe is a variation of one originally created by British Chef Jamie Oliver.  I admit, it does take a little while to make this one (a good 2.5 hrs in the oven stewing the ingredients) but it is well worth the effort because the pie itself is delicious.  Jamie calls for mushrooms in his recipe, but considering I can’t stand the texture of mushrooms when they’re hidden in food I have chosen not to include them.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

  • 2.2 lb.. (1kg) Brisket of Beef
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 30g of Butter
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary (leaves picked and chopped)
  • 2 Sticks Celery
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 Medium Red Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 can of Guinness (440ml)
  • 2 Heaped tbsp of Flour
  • 200g Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 large Organic Egg (beaten)
  • Pastry Sheets (pre rolled) or 500g ready-made all-butter puff pastry

Making the filling

  1. Ok, first off lay out all your ingredients and equipment to check you have everything you need. I don’t cook often so when I do I get pretty frustrated when I realize half way through I don’t have the correct pan or am missing a vital herb!! This recipe calls for a pan that can transfer from the stove top to the oven, so double check you can do that. I have had issues before when I realized the pan i’m using will not last in the oven.
  2. Pre-heat your oven  375ºF/190ºC/gas 5.
  3. Next start chopping the ingredients.  Bare in mind that 3 medium red onions looks like a lot when chopped up and I always worry it’s too much, but it reduces completely in the stew so don’t be put off by how much there is.  I personally think it’s a good idea to finely chop the celery and carrots (mainly because I hate the texture of ‘bits’ in my food) but you can chop them larger if you prefer.
  4. Cut the meat in to 1 inch thick cubes.
  5. Pour a ‘glug’ of olive oil in to the pan. A glug is the ‘technical term’ Jamie Oliver gives, I take it to be about a tablespoon or so…just to get the onions frying without burning. Add the onions and on a low heat start to reduce them, stir for about 10 mins.
  6. Add the garlic, butter, celery and carrots once the onions start to go clear (but don’t let them burn).
  7. Mix everything together before adding the rosemary and then the chopped beef. Season with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. (You will season more later.)
  8. Fry fast for 3 to 4 minutes then pour in the Guinness, the flour and just enough water to cover all the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan then place in the preheated Oven for 1 1/2hours.
  9. After an hour and a half take the stew out the oven, give it a stir and place it back in for another hour. The house will start to smell so yummy by this point, but don’t be deceived…still a long way to go!!!
  10. When the time is up and you take it out, the meat should be tender and the stew  should be rich, dark and thick.  If there still seems to be a lot of liquid (almost always is with mine) then reduce it on the stove for a little longer. A good filling needs to be robust. At this point stir in half the grated cheese too. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you want to stop at this point you can cool the mixture and place in the fridge over night until you’re ready to fill the pie. I always make my mixture the night before, then cook it in to the pie an hour before I plan to serve it the next day.

Filling the pie

  1. The next stage varies from person to person. The original recipe calls for “Puff Pastry” but I have established that most Americans don’t know what this is and certainly don’t sell it pre-made in Los Angeles.  You can choose to make your own puff pastry or buy a pre-rolled regular  pastry.  Puff Pastry, for those that don’t know, is a deliciously flaky pastry used in pies in England. It is buttery and divine, but don’t be disheartened if you struggle to find a recipe because regular pastry works fine too…it’s the filling that makes this pie in my opinion!
  2. Roll out your pastry (if needs be) to make sure it will fit a deep dish pan.
  3. Line a deep dish pan with the first sheet of pastry and make sure the edges are dangling over the sides so you can fold them together at the end.
  4. Pour or spoon the mixture in to the lined pan and even it out.
  5. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheddar on top.
  6. Roll the second sheet of pastry over the top. I like to twist the overlapping pastry together to make it look pretty, but you can simply crush it with a fork and cut off the excess if you like.  Poke some holes in the top and brush with a little beaten egg.
  7. Place the whole pie in the oven on the bottom shelf for 45 minutes at 375ºF/190ºC/gas 5.  
  8. When the top is golden, take it out and serve. DELICIOUS!!!

I hope you like this recipe, it’s very British to have a pie on a cold day and although it never gets THAT cold here in LA, it still is a great dish to make once in a while.  If it’s not a holiday you can serve it simply with mash potatoes and peas, always goes down a treat. 🙂

Thanksgiving is a day when we get to say what we’re thankful for, and so I want to say “I am thankful for my American family.”  My loving boyfriend and his wonderful parents have always made me feel so welcome in their home and I appreciate them so much…his brother and grandparents, Aunties and cousins have done the same and made me feel part of the family every year.  I am also thankful to my parents in England, and this British pie is a representation of them too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

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Drink of the Week

Make yourself a celebratory drink. ‘The Fussy One’ website has been up for 1 month today!

The Bellini

  • 2oz White Peach purée
  • Fill with Prosecco

Garnish: A peach slice (if desired)

Serve in a Champagne flute (original at Harry’s bar is served in a small tumbler – see picture)

You can buy peach purée or frozen peaches year round, however if you have the time it is easy to make your own.  Remove the skin and pits from ripe small white peaches, cut and blend them in a blender on medium until your smooth purée is formed.

This classic is refreshing, sweet and simple.  A celebratory drink that almost everyone has heard of, but for some reason gets ignored or forgotten about and plain champagne is used for toasts instead.  I like this so much more because it has that extra layer of sweetness from the addition of peach as well as the prosecco (sweeter with smaller bubbles than champagne.)

It is said to have been created by bartender Giuseppe Cipriano of Harry’s Bar in Venice Italy.  I have not yet found a book or historian to dispute these origins so am going to write about this version of history and hope it is correct. Harry’s Bar opened in 1931 and was a popular hang out for Ernest Hemingway who had his own table in the corner. Hemingway loved the bar so much he wrote about it in his famous novel “Across the River and into the Trees.” (Copyright 1950) I quote;

“Then he was pulling open the door at Harry’s Bar and was inside and he had made it again, he was home‘ (page 72)

Giuseppe’s son Arigo Cipriani wrote about his father’s drink invention at this bar in his book ‘Harry’s Bar- The Life and Times of the Legendary Venice Landmark’ (Copyright 1996) and claims the Bellini was officially created in 1948. He goes on to explain how Giuseppe’s love for the 15th Century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini and in particular the pink hue of one of Bellini’s paintings inspired him to create the beverage.  Peaches are in abundance in Italy between June and September, and Giuseppe wanted to create something that captured their essence and transformed their beautiful fragrance in to a drink.  He pureed small white peaches and added prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).  Those who tried it raved about how tasty it was and so it became the new drink at Harry’s Bar (but only for the months the fruit was in season.)

In 1990 Arigo licensed the rights to the drink name to a Mr.Canella and was appalled when he came out with a ‘pre-mixed’ version of his fathers creation, adding raspberry juice to make it pinker.  In 1995 Cipriano won an arbitration against Canella saying it was desecrating the drink origins, his father and Harry’s Bar. Many publications still list this variation (with raspberry juice) as the original recipe, however Arigo argues it is not.

Having tried both, the recipe I have provided is the best in my opinion. Classic and simple.

Make it on a hot summers day and enjoy!

Thank you to all my readers for following me this first month, I have many reviews coming in the next few days as I have been out and about all week to tastings, events, restaurants and mixology bars. Oh the things I have to do for you all! 😉

Keep reading and bottoms up!

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Filed under Drink of the Week