Today I am going to talk about my number one cooking inspiration....my mother. I grew up cooking at her knee. I have talked on here about what fantastic entertainers my parents where and how they were both fantastic cooks. But where did it all start???
Well for my mother's part, she was not the kind to get married and have 3 kids hanging off her by the time she was 23, oh no no no. In 1954, as soon as she was old enough, she boarded a ship with her best girlfriend and headed for the UK. They landed in London in late Autumn, just in time for the cold weather to hit. In order to avoid paying rent and so as to have a comfortable warm abode for the harsh European Winter, she applied and got a job in a home in St Johns Wood London, as a mother's help. Originally her job was to do housework and look after the 4 children of the house. But one week, the Dr and his wife attended a medical conference abroad and my mum was left to look after the entire running of the house. When the head of the house and his wife returned home, it happened to be mum's half day off. She had left them a Steak and Kidney pie, which they thought was delicious and immediately offered her another 10 shillings per week to assume the role of household cook.
As Spring rolled around mum left the house to meet up with her girlfriend to hitch-hike around Europe for 6 months........which of course is a fabulous story in itself.
As the Winter rolled around again it was decided she and her girlfriend would apply for another cook's role, this time in a large country manor, so they could stay together. They ended up in a large country house with their own apartment in Aylesbury. Very English and actually very friendly. They were cooking for an old couple. One of their sons had been a fighter pilot, killed in the war and the other was the headmaster at Cheam School, later attended by Prince Charles, who ate at home occasionally. So you can imagine the standard required.
One memorable occasion mum said, was making and then handing round the fruit cake along with the whisky on the fox hunt held on the estate. Anyhoo to say my mum is a good cook is an understatement. It was a pleasure to grow up in a home where meals were almost always delicious and on many occasions an event. My father would visit the Sydney fish markets every Saturday morning and Saturday lunches were big in our family. Usually involving things like fish roe, octopus and shell fish, which was most unusual in an Australian home in the 1970's and early 80s. My parents fostered in me, a love and inquisitiveness of food and its preparation, which I hope to pass onto my children. And so today I give you my fourth instalment in the Gourmet Garden Blog Off /Cook Off Competition. Seafood and Dill Pies. Again a tasty, quick and easy weeknight wonder, to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Individual Seafood and Dill Pies
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 cup of low fat milk
1 onion diced
2 tablespoons of Gourmet Garden Dill
500g marinara mix (mixed seafood such as firm fish, prawns, mussels, scallops)
1/2 cup of white wine or rose
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry thawed
1 egg lightly beaten
Saute the onion in some peanut oil in a fry pan.
To make the white sauce use a small saucepan . Melt the butter over a moderate heat. Stir in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk until the flour is well combined with the milk. Whisking gets rid of any lumps.
Add the dill, sauted onion and white wine and allow to thicken slightly.
Add the seafood and cook for several minutes.
Once the pastry has thawed up end the pie dish and place it on the pastry. Cut around the edge of the pie dish leaving a1cm over hang.
Spoon the seafood mixture into the pie dishes. Top with the pasty cut outs. Fold down the over hanging pastry and press the edges down with a folk and cut a slit into the middle of the pie.
Brush on the egg wash and bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with garlic and rosemary potatoes and a simple green salad.
This mixture makes 4 pies in ramekin dishes or 2 pies in larger pie dishes.
Today I'm partying here