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Sunday, 13 January 2008

A good old English pie 'n' mash - Linda's way

I just realised that I haven't seen sunlight for four days. And you know what the temperature is in my home town right now? 42 degrees! Man o man - I should be frolicking in the sea and complaining about the heat, not trudging back and forth to work in the freezing wind under the cover of darkness like it's some covert operation.
Homesickness. It's a cruel thing this time of year - and when it feels like it'll never stop raining, only two words make it all A-OK...comfort food.
This is by no means gourmet (it involves frozen goods AND instant gravy) but the beauty of it is that it is fast and the key components are sitting there ready for when you need that comfort fix.

Linda's Pies with mash, peas and mushroom gravy

What you need

(Serves 2)
Linda McCartney vegetarian pies or any other vegetarian pie you can get your mitts on
greens (I used Curly kale)
2 small handfuls of frozen petit pois peas
Potatoes for mashing (approx 1 medium sized potato per person)
handful of thinly sliced chestnut mushrooms
1 finely diced celery stalk
gravy granules, mixed according to instructions (I used a vegan one from Holland and Barrett)
a few sprigs of thyme
soy milk
olive oil

The do
Preheat oven and baking tray.
Place potatoes in a big pot and cover with cold water. If you are impatient like me, cut potatoes into quarters so they cook faster. Add a little salt and boil until you can stick a skewer through without any resistance.

Get out your Linda's pies and stab a knife into the top a few times (this will prevent the pies from spewing out their insides once they get hot) and brush with some soy milk. Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds. Throw the pies onto the hot tray and bake at about 180 degrees for about 30-45 mins or until the crust is golden and crunchy and the filling heated through.

While the potatoes and pies are cooking, get out a small saucepan and on a medium heat, fry the celery and mushrooms and thyme in a splash of oil. Add a handful of peas per person. After a few minutes, add the gravy mixture then turn down to the lowest heat setting.

When the potatoes are done, mash in the pot on the lowest heat setting with lots of good olive oil, pepper and salt. Add hot soy milk until you achieve your desired consistency. Take off the heat and cover until needed.

In another pot bring some water to the boil and throw in the chopped greens briefly, be careful not to overcook them. Drain.

Arrange it all on a warmed plate, making a crater in centre of the potato for a pea/gravy lake.

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