I'm in the sitting room watching the rain pour down outside. It's the kind of rain that hits the window like a child throwing gravel. It's a foul day. The waves are rolling in off the Atlantic and are hitting the west coast of the island making a noise like a creaking ship. Last night the wind gusted up to 90mph. It's the perfect day to be inside, to watch Scilly at it's most exposed and at its most perfect.
We've been decorating the house. Using masking tape to cover the light switches and skirting boards and using big rollers to cover the smudges and scrapes from our guests suitcases as they came and went. Painting over 2012 and creating afresh for 2013. We've got another three weeks until our first guests arrive and it all starts again. We can't wait to share our house with people. To meet new faces and to welcome back some from 2012. But for now we are wrapped up warm, enjoying our solitude.
Chicken and vegetable pie (serves 4)....
1x 500g packet of puff pastry
a little flour
2 small chicken breasts
1 small leek
a little olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic
1 good handful of a green leafy vegetable (I used pak choi)
1 good handful of a sturdier vegetable (cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms etc)
10g plain flour
salt and pepper
20g parmesan cheese
egg for glazing
Cut the pastry block in half and roll both out to about the size of an A4 piece of paper (one should be slightly bigger than the other.)
In a pan gently fry the chicken and chopped leek in the olive oil until the chicken is cooked through. Add the other vegetables, stir and take off the heat. Grate in a clove of garlic. In another pan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir for around a minute. Add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened a little. Add salt and pepper and stir into the chicken and leek mix. It should create a shiny wet glaze rather than a creamy sauce.
Put the smaller pastry half on a greased baking tray. Spoon the chicken mix on top leaving any remaining sauce in the pan. Grate half of the parmesan over the top and season.
Lay the bigger pastry half over the top and seal around the edges using a fork. Glaze with the beaten egg and the rest of the parmesan and make a small snip in the top.
Pop in the oven for around 20-30 minutes.
Serve with vegetables.
* I actually made a lower dairy version of this pie substituting the butter and milk for soya spread and soya milk and the parmesan for pecorino. The pastry of course is still full of butter but it justified it to me!