When I cannot be in the studio painting I become desperate to find a creative outlet. I have to say, some days I'm really thankful for cooking - because it can be just the right outlet to experiment.
Well experiment I did the other day when I decided to dabble in some British national dishes...because my 1/2 British self can't resist the occasional roast beast with Yorkshire pudding - or better yet, a fantastic curry.
So I dove in not thinking about the availability of the ingredients in the house. On the menu was Steak and Ale pie, roasted sweet potatoes, with green beans and a nicely prepared Sticky Toffee Pudding.....because sticky toffee pudding - that's why.
I pulled a beef shank out of the fridge and added some stew meat to the mix. I used a combination of Jamie Oliver's recipe (see link) and uh...one other (see link) and as I began I suddenly realized that I didn't have everything I needed to get the job done.
So I did a bodge job on the silly thing. I added carrots to the "pie" to make up for the lack of meat I had on hand, but that's not a big deal - it's a stew with a crust so, why not? Right?
And it didn't stop there. Reaching into the fridge I grabbed a pint of good British Ale....ummmm - no, sorry, ------ sorry sorry sorry.....
I grabbed the only thing I had in the fridge close to ale: A German Lager....
did I say sorry? Don't be writing me with your comments, please - at least I didn't use a Miller Light. Yes, it truly could have been that desperate.
What was I to do? I have a 3yo and there's no such thing as just running an errand when the little one is sound asleep at nap time. I was stuck - and stuck HARD. I grabbed the can gave the tab a pull and dumped it into the pot. Put the pot in the oven and forgot about it for two hours.
I had to say, it smelled fantastic coming out of the oven. That 1/4 teaspoon of MARMITE for additional flavoring I used really upped it's British street "cred" and gave those Germans another big fat "what for" kind of thing. This baby had flavor. Serious flavor.
So into the pie dish it went and when I looked at the clock - it was late. Way too late to concoct the proper pie crust and dinner was to be in a quick 30 minutes. The pudding had just come out of the oven and the oven itself was complaining about having to work all day so I needed a quick solution.
And there it is. American biscuits in a can.
Or as the Brits might call it: scones in a tin.
Yes, Im sure Elizabeth WAS NOT AMUSED, but there I was taking the down and dirty Yankee way out of the situation and making do.
Keep calm and carry on, mate, lets get that thing back in the oven.
So if you make this Steak and Lager (ummmm Ale) pie I recommend that you cook the biscuits 1/2 way before putting them on top of the pie or they will not cook on the bottom and you just get soupy yuck bread slime underneath the biscuits - which will ruin that delicious rich filling. Do try to class it up as best as you can, if you're going to bandage it up with a lot of American style, at least do it some justice.
So there it was, cooked and beautiful.
On to the finishing of the Sticky Toffee Pudding and golly look at the time. People are sitting down at the table and digging into the pie and there's no time for a proper toffee sauce. So, one last insult to my English half cousins out there and I whipped out a jar of Smucker's Butterscotch Ice cream topping.
Yessss, problem solved.
Despite my half-hearted attempt at honest English cuisine, I have to say it was really tasty. I'd make it again this way if I need to, tho the real miss on the flavors was the lack of a good Guiness Stout in the stew filling, but I got by and enjoyed it tremendously. Nobody complained - but they're American, so there ya go.
Here are the links to the recipes I almost followed.
Jamie Oliver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6BHiiuyXCs
America's Test Kitchen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVZCQeynCmU
Till next time – Cheers.
Artist Laura Swink lives in a little flat with her hubby, her 3yo and a crazy dog. Her daytime job is usually mother of one and when she can she is painting large canvases into abstract landscapes and posting them all over social media. Sometimes, she actually sells one.
Visit her online via the links above. Thanks for stopping by.