Saturday 27th November

A monumental day. I am attempting to make puff pastry. Hold the front page! I have avoided pastry up until today, Saturday 27th 2010. It is beyond my comfort zone and my culinary comfort zone is the size of a postage stamp. I buy a packet of ready-made pasty in case disaster should befall me. The objective is a steak and ale pie, something homely to combat the dropping temperatures outside. As usual, I ban Mrs M. from the kitchen, although she offers within view, one beady eye watching like a vulture to pick the bones of my impending gastronomic catastrophe.

But against my expections, success! I am quite amazed how flour and butter coalesces into dough into my hands. I almost feel like using the pre-packed pastry so that I can keep the ball of dough as a memento, as proof in case people do not believe me.

Part of the recalcitrant ale sauce makes an attempt to escape through the thick pastry in the oven, but I threaten it with…well…not much I can threaten it with, since it is being slowly baked to death at 180 degrees. But I plead with the pie to not explode all over the oven because a) this is my first pie and b) I will have to clean it.

The eventual steak and ale pie is an outstanding success. The accompanying wines are fine, a few samples from Rhone and Pomerol opened and assessed, most of them either over oaked or over-extracted…unlike my rough puff pastry (100-points).

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