Sunday, 6 November 2016


Brrrrr - it's an extremely chilly morning again today and a frost as well.  Time to put the cotton dressing gown away and get out the fluffy one instead, I think.

Yesterday got colder and colder as the day progressed and, with quite a strong wind, it found all the nooks and crannies, making inside the house feel cooler than it should.  I guess that must have died down anyway or there wouldn't be a frost.

Yesterday was quite frustrating.  I'm blogged before about my uselessness with pastry.  Well, I made mince pies and attempted a sweet pastry with butter, sugar and egg and - let's just say it wasn't all I would have liked it to be.  The taste was fine but it was hard instead of crumbly and I really didn't overwork it!  It's very frustrating to be bad at pastry.

I froze what I made and they're not terrible.  After all, the mincemeat is delicious!  They're just not what I wanted to produce.  I shall have another go today, small amounts and try using mostly Trex instead of butter, as that seems to work best for the ordinary short crust.  I suspect my hands are too warm but I don't see what I can do about that - if you have warm hands, you have warm hands!

Today, Beth and Alex are round for dinner so I'm roasting a couple of chicken leg joints for me and Alex while Beth has a nice veggie thing.  I'll do roasties, broccoli, parsnips and maybe carrots and I do have some packet stuffing which I may roll into patties and fry.  Mince pies and custard for dessert and that's a nice dinner for not too much trouble and, with any luck, there will be vegetable leftovers for tomorrow!

I still have fridge stuff to use up so I shall concoct something out of what's left for the other meal and breakfast will be egg based.

At one point in the late afternoon, there was quite a dramatic sky, so I risked the chilly wind and snapped a few photos.

Have a great day and stay warm!


Diane said...

The only rule I know about pastry is keep it cool and touch it as little as you have too

Joy said...

I had to laugh this morning. I made a very small amount of ordinary using trex, enough to make just two mince pies. They were so short and crumbly that I had to wait until they were cold to get them out of the tin - and they weren't stuck at all. Must be the other things that make it sweet. Now I shall try just adding a little sugar and maybe about 25% butter to the trex and see. but I shall make apple pies because otherwise I will be running out of mincemeat!
J x

joanygee said...

Did you remember to let the pastry relax? It can go in the fridge before being rolled out. Also, the pies can be allowed to rest before being baked. My hands are naturally cold. Traditionally short crust was made using lard. Jx

Joy said...

Yes, I did that. :-)
I can't use lard because of the family vegetarians.
J x

Mum said...

What beautiful pics. It's cold here too.

Joy said...

I gather it is going to stay cold too. Brrrr
J x

Lyn said...

I am good at making pie crusts (flour, lard, ice water, little handling) but I HATE making it. So I started making my pies with no crusts. So much easier and even a bit healthier! I bake pie fillings and custards in pie plates and just cut into wedges and top with whipped cream. Other fillings you can bake in little custard cups and top with a nut crumble (for fruits) or just use whipped cream when baked, on little individual desserts. We don't miss the crusts :)

Veronica said...

For the warm hands thing, I use a tip I learned from Delia: instead of your hands use two table knives, one in each hand, to cut the butter into the flour, with a parallel slicing motion. You may need to finish with your fingers, but it keeps handling to a minimum. Very useful in hot weather. Another reason for hard pastry is too much water -- you really need it to only just hold together when you've mixed it.

Orange juice is nice in mince pie pastry, btw -- I think I'm going to use this pastry for this year's mince pies, as it was delicious and very crisp.

Joy said...

Interesting tip! Thanks.

J x