All Christmas I couldn’t stop thinking about food out of greed and now I can’t stop thinking about it out of fear. I live on the top of a mountain in West Wicklow and I’m snowed in – alone. I did make provisions last week and got copious amounts of food including an auxiliary ham but stocks seem to be dwindling.
Over Christmas, we lost power for five days and were reduced to baking spuds in our wood burner and reheating stew on the top which was fairly romantic by candle light. Day two was less congenial – warm spaghetti hoops out of the can. We tried to fancy them up by adding chorizo and tabasco sauce but there’s no getting away from those horrible hoops.
Well those heady days of sharing such misery are gone and although I do have power and the luxury of running water, my food situation is starting to get drastic and I’m having to stretch what I have.
What I have rediscovered is the mighty potato and how generous this little fellow is. I have been having the humble spud for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spanish omelette in the morning – very tasty with some chorizo added, potato soup for lunch using Jeans delicious Potato and broccoli recipe and for dinner I used up the last of my auxiliary ham and made a Ham, Leek and Potato pie by Jane Hornby of the Good Food Magazine. This recipe serves 4-6.
Do you have any interesting spud ideas?
Ham, Leek and Potato Pie
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 leeks, finely sliced
- 2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp plain flour , plus extra for dusting
- 300ml chicken or ham stock
- 100ml pot crème fraîche (I used leftover cream)
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 200g cooked ham, shredded
- 4 bay leaves , optional
- 375g pack puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten, to glaze (or use milk)
- Heat a large frying pan, melt the butter, then add the onion and leeks. Cover, then very gently cook for 15 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes after 5 minutes cooking.
- Stir in the flour, turn up the heat, then add the stock, stirring until the mix thickens a little. Take off the heat, then stir in the cream or crème fraîche, mustard and ham. Season to taste, then cool, if you have time. Spoon the mix into a large pie dish, adding a couple of bay leaves. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut a pastry strip the same width as the lip of the dish, wet the edge of the dish with egg, then fix the strip around it. Brush the top with egg, then lay over the remaining pastry.
- Trim pastry to the edge of the dish, then ruffle the cut edges with the knife blade to help the layers rise. Cut a few slits to let the steam escape, decorate with bay leaves, if you like, then brush all over the top with egg. Can be done up to a day ahead, keep chilled. Bake for 30 minutes until risen.