I realise I haven't reported on progress on the mill for a while. That's because - erm - there hasn't been any. Although we've been having beautiful sunny weather ...
... (first picture of snow on the new roof), it's been well below freezing - minus 10 today - and according to BB, (ahem) the tools stick to his hands! But here are our new doors and windows ...
So, in the absence of any building work, it's back to cooking.
I was a vegetarian for many years a while back and whenever the subject of what we missed from our carnivore days came up, my fellow veggies and I were unanimous that we would sell our souls for a bacon roll - or a steak pie. A steak pie can make you do crazy things you know. My sister the journo likes to remind me of the time (in my veggie days) when I cracked and bought a steak pie supper from the chip shop, devouring it like a wild animal before practically holding her at knife point until she promised not to tell anyone. More recently I've been known to drag unwilling friends round more than a dozen pubs in Edinburgh at lunchtime in search of a pie and a pint. And it featured in the weirdest reply to caution and charge I've ever heard; a client, arrested outside a chip shop for illegally possessing a gun, told police officers: "It wasn't a gun. It was a steak pie"!
I'm surprised I haven't attempted to make one before. I think the pastry puts me off - I'm intimidated by pastry - but when I saw a recipe for steak and kidney pudding on Delia's website the other day (endearingly subtitled "Kate and Sidney", if you can Adam and Eve it from the earnest Delia) I thought it was high time I tried. (Actually, Delia directed by Guy Ritchie might be a good bobble hat and scarf.)
I ended up not using Delia's recipe because it required steaming for five hours and I only had two hours before BB got in a right old two and eight from hunger, so the pastry recipe - which was lemon squeezy and turned out so well I couldn't believe my mince pies - is from Good Food magazine and the filling I just cobbled together. Jurassic.
560 g/1 lb 4 oz chuck steak
2 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
2 onions, chopped roughly
2 tbsp plain flour
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
570 ml/1 pint beef stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
8-9 tbsp water
1 beaten egg, to glaze
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan and fry the onions for 3-4 minutes. Add the meat and fry until it loses its pink colour. Stir in the flour and tomato purée then add the herbs and stock and season. Stir until thickened and coming to the boil. Cover and place in the oven at 350°F/180°C for 2 hours until the meat is tender.
Make the pastry. Place the butter in the freezer for 45 minutes. In a bowl, mix the flour with ¼ tsp of salt. Dip the butter in the flour and grate coarsely into the bowl. Keep dipping it in the flour as you grate. Mix in the butter with a knife until evenly coated with flour. Stir in the water to form a dough and form into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
When the meat is cooked, remove bay leaves and cool slightly. Take half the pastry and roll out on a floured surface to 5 mm/¼ in thick. Line a 1.2 Litre/2 pint pie dish with the pastry, stir the parsley in to the meat and add to the dish. Roll out the rest of the pastry and place on top of the meat and seal to make a lid. Brush with egg and make a couple of holes in the lid with a knife. Bake in the oven at 400°F/200°C for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden.