This month's task for Random Recipes at Belleau Kitchen is to pick a random cutting from our saved recipes cut from magazines and newspapers. What do you mean, you don't keep recipes from magazines? In that case I don't think we can be friends...... I have half a dozen foolscap folders crammed with them, along with 10 photo albums that I used to carefully store them in back in the era when days must have had 48 hours in them, I had so much more time. Oh hang on, it wasn't longer days, it was the fact that the internet hadn't been invented AND I lived in the Far East, where I had an amah to do all the dreary stuff.
Anyway, after picking my folder via an exciting game of eeny, meeny, miny, mo, I stuck my hand in and pulled out a page at random, well, two pages actually. Two pages had got caught up together due to a bent corner, and although they were from separate publications, I thought the recipes on them looked as if they would go pretty well together.
The first had two pies on it, a beef and chestnut one and a dish called Teviotdale Pie, which originates from the Scottish borders and consists of a base made from minced lamb or beef, topped with a rather strange sounding suet batter. If you would like the recipe, it is reproduced almost word for word on the All British Food website except that they don't suggest lamb as the meat. But I had lamb, so lamb it was to be. This was from a magazine called "Country Kitchen", the January 2006 issue. I don't think the magazine was around for very long, it was rather too old-fashioned for 21st century tastes.
The second page was also from January 2006, but this time from the still-going-strong Good Food magazine. it was a suggestion for a New Year's Eve menu of braised venison, Skirlie mash and creamy savoy cabbage with carrots. I thought the mash and carrots would work well with the pie.
The pie was made by pre-cooking the lamb with onion, dark brown sugar (I replaced this with dark Sweet Freedom), Worcestershire Sauce and stock. Then a batter of self raising flour, cornflour, suet and milk was to be poured over the top. There was no thickening in the meat layer, so as soon as I poured the batter over, it sank to the bottom. I thought it was going to be a disaster, but as it cooked, the batter rose up through the meat and made a lovely light, golden topping.
Skirlie mash is mashed potato with the addition of onion and oatmeal that have been fried together in butter, and fresh parsley. The cabbage dish is simply carrots and cabbage, shredded and cooked together, and finished with cream, butter and nutmeg.
The verdict? The Teviotdale Pie was lovely - but I think some thickening in the meat would have improved it. I'd like to try this again using my normal shepherd's pie filling that has mushrooms, carrots and peas added (and sometimes a generous slug of red wine). The topping was gorgeous - not stodgy at all, very light and well risen with a lovely crispy top. I can see me using this on other dishes too.
The potato would really have been better with just the parsley, I didn't think the oats added anything to it at all, and I didn't like the cabbage and cream combination, some finely chopped fried bacon would have been even nicer. But all in all, I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint Dom by reporting that once again, my Random recipe has failed to fail!