Cafe Salvation : Pimp Up Your Pies

We’re very excited to have the deliciously clever Helen Creese from Cafe Salvation contributing to ANTW. She will be sharing some of her most popular recipes from their wonderful menu and to start we have everyone’s favourite Winter warmer…..PIES!

“I may well regret saying this but at last, it’s cold enough to get some winter warmers on the menu!  The woodburners arrival in the café is imminent, so to keep us toastie in the run up to its installation, last week we cooked up our tasty Punjabi Pie.

This dish reminds me of my childhood.  My Dad is a fantastic cook and I spent most evenings as a kid whiling away an evening in the kitchen,  chatting to my Pops whilst subconsciously absorbing everything he was doing.  Pops is a fan of spice and loves to experiment with food, adapting recipes to better suit his tastes, and this dish is a prime example of that.

Based on our British Classic, Cottage Pie, the secret to Punjabi Pie lies in the spice mix added to the onion and garlic during the first stages of cooking.  For 500g of beef, start by frying one red onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic (depending on size of cloves and how much you enjoy the flavour).  Add one stick of chopped celery and one diced carrot.  When the onion and veg are soft, add a healthy palm-full (sorry, I don’t use measured devices, but if you cup your fingers to create a well in your palm, you’ll have the right amount) of ground cumin, coriander and half a palm-full of turmeric.  Stir until aromatic, then add your beef to the onion and spice mix.  Season well, add some tomato puree and fresh red chilli (quantity dependent on how hot you like it), and once the beef is browned, add a tin of chopped tomatoes.  Half-fill your tin with water and add this to your mixture.  Taste and alter your seasoning to suit.  Wack in the oven for 30-40 minutes and crack on with your mash topping.

Pops would use a mixture of potatoes and swede; I opted for pots and sweet potato (mainly because I like the colour and I eat with my eyes).  Boil both veg – about 3 good sized potatoes and one sweet potato for 500g beef – in salted water until soft, drain and mash with plenty of salt and pepper and a generous knob of butter.  We like to throw in some grated cheddar (again, it gives the mash a glorious golden colour as well as tasting yummy).  Take the beef mixture out of the oven and pop in to your serving dish, spread the mash over the top (make it nice and thick, there’s nothing worse than an anorexic pie topping), and sprinkle on a bit more grated cheddar.  Pop the dish back in the oven for about 25-30 mins (depending on your oven:  I use an Aga, so in a conventional oven I’d have it on 190 for 25-30 mins).  Once your topping is golden and smelling amazing, your pie is ready!

Why not Pimp Up your Pies?!  You can add a twist to most run-of-the-mill recipes, turning wet, weekday suppers in to dramatic delights, just with the addition of a few spices, fresh herbs, lemon or lime juice….it really can be that simple.  I’m looking forward to taking the Punjabi Pie in to another realm:  Sherpa’s Pie will involve lamb, fresh ginger, chilli, toasted cumin and coriander seeds, maybe some lentils and spinach…I’m undecided on my mash topping – any suggestions?

 Our lovely customers enjoyed their slices of Punjabi with some Glorious Green Beans (Granny Smith’s runners always have been, and always will be, the sweetest runner beans I’ve ever tasted) and a delicious dollop of spicy red lentils.  Hungry, anyone?”

 

Find Salvation here……
Our opening hours are:
Thursday: 0930 – 1500
Friday: 0930 – 1700
Saturday: 1000 – 1700
Lower Mitchell Barn, Nr Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1EG
T: 01531 636380
cafesalvation@gmail.com



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