Cooking England County by County: Buckinghamshire: Buckinghamshire Stokenchurch Pie

It´s been a while in coming but finally I have got round to cooking the next county,Buckinghamshire.

Buckinghamshire is in South East England and is a largely populated county with heavy industry and rich in agriculture.I suppose that in the past farming might have been predominant in this county and this is reflected in the dishes typical of this county although I haven´t found many dishes from this county. One of the traditional recipes, I came aross is Buckinghamshire Stokenchurch Pie, which I´d never heard of nor tried and the very sound of it intrigued me. A pie filled with meat, macaroni and hard boiled egg!!Ummm, it didn´t sound very convincing to me so highly skeptical,I decided to make it.
I´m certainly glad I did though as it is surprisingly tasty!! The only complaint I had with it,is that it was slightly on the dry side....I´d have liked a bit more gravy style sauce in the pie...although that might mean risking a soggy bottom(and we can´t have that, can we?) Also, I could hardly get my daughter to try it, despite being one of the main reasons I am making dishes from the different counties in England so my daughter can experience and learn about English food & culture!!! I have to learn how to make smaller pies as well though as there was far too much for the two of us and we ended up stuffed and feeling like: Who ate all the pies?!!! This recipe is also good because it uses up leftovers and so fulfills my New Year´s Resolution of reducing food waste.

I refered to the following recipes from the Green Chronicle and The Foody and sort of amalgamated the two and came up with the following recipe:
(for shortcrust pastry):
200g plain flour
100g cold butter
1/4 tsp salt
6-8 tsp cold water
270g leftover cooked lamb(you could use any meat),minced or finely chopped (I actually found that this was too much and would probably use about half the amount if it´s only for 2!)
55g cooked macaroni (again I found this too much for just for the two of us and would use about 25g next time!)
145ml beef stock (I used an Oxo cube but you could use leftover stock or gravy from the meat)-The cooked meat soaked up the stock very quickly so I would use more next time!)
2 hard boiled eggs
salt & pepper to taste

1. Prepare the shortcrust pastry by sieving the flour and salt together, then rub in the butter till it looks like breadcrumbs, then add the water tsp by tsp and mix to form a dough(add more water if it doesn´t come together) either leave in fridge for 30 mins or use straight away.
2. Roll out pastry thinly and line a pie dish with it.
3. Add stock to minced meat and then add cooked macaroni and place in the pie.
4. Slice the hard boiled eggs and place on top of meat mixture, then cover eggs with more meat filling and season with salt & pepper.(I actually forgot to season it but it was still tasty!)
5.Roll out remaining pastry to make a lid and crimp the edges, make some holes in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 190ºC for 30 minutes until pastry is a golden brown.


Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge: Avocado: Creamed chicken & Avocado

One of my New Year´s resolutions is to eat a more varied diet,as I believe that a varied diet is healthier and also because there are many ingredients I either hardly eat or cook with or don´t like. So, I came up with this Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge to try and encourage me to eat more things I don´t like or don´t eat very often and discover recipes that use these ingredients in ways I like. I also want to encourage my daughter to try more things and also eat a more varied diet as she is quite fussy.

For letter A, the ingredient I´ve chosen is avocado.I neither dislike nor love avocado...it´s just something I don´t eat much of...in fact I only eat it in guacamole.I used to buy them for my daughter and mash them up for purees when I was weaning her and she loved them but as she got older I stopped buying them and needless to say, she stopped eating them!!

Avocados contain a lot of fat but it is "good" fat and they are also rich in B vitamins, K vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and potassium so they are a great ingredient to include in your diet.You can read more about the nutritional benefits of avocados here.

Of course, the obvious choice of recipe to make with avocado is guacamole,which I want to do one day, but I was looking for something different and more original and came across the following recipe for Creamed Chicken & Avocado, taken from Delia Smith´s Complete Cookery Course. The avocados didn´t appear to be ripe and I found this trick on the Internet about how to ripen avocados quicker by placing them in a plastic bag with a banana as the banana contains something which speeds up the ripening process, so I did this and it worked for one of the avocados but not the other.Unfortunately, I couldn´t persuade my daughter to try even the smallest bite of this dish but we thought it was absolutely delicious and my husband even went so far as to describe it as being in his top 10 of sauces so I will definitely be repeating this dish despite it not being maybe the healthiest dish!! I served it with wholemeal pasta which is great with the creamy sauce and it´d be lovely with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce!

If you´d like to join in with the Eat More Variety Alphabet Challenge all you have to do is post a comment or send me an email, write a post on your blog using this month´s ingredient: avocado and link it back to this post and at the end of the month, I will write a post linking and sharing your recipes. The recipes can either be sweet or savoury. I look forward to seeing and trying your avocado recipes!!

Ingredients:(2 people)
1 chicken breast(fried)or leftover chicken, about 250g,chopped
25g butter
25g flour
125ml milk
75ml chicken stock(I used an Oxo cube)
75ml cream
1tbsp dry sherry
lemon juice
1 ripe avocado
pinch of salt & black pepper
25g cheese,grated( I used extra mature Cheddar cheese)
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
2. Melt butter in a saucepan and then add flour to make a paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
3.Add milk, cream and chicken stock and bring to simmering point, then cook gently  for 2-3 mins, stirring all the time.
4. Remove from the heat and add chicken, sherry, salt,pepper & lemon juice.
5. Halve & quarter the avocado and remove the stone and skin, slice thinly and place in a casserole dish.
6.Spoon creamed chicken on top of the avocado and then sprinkle grated cheese on top and cook in the oven for 20-25 mins.

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