I Made This
I was at last able to pick up the Snook’s super-secret birthday surprise tonight – two beer mugs that I made him in my Ceramics class! (He didn’t mind that they were late; I couldn’t get them out of the kiln any sooner.) I had a lot of help from my tutor Peter. They have extruded handles and I finished them with a hand-painted pewter glaze. They turned out pretty much exactly as I’d hoped. They’re pleasantly heavy without being too chunky; they’re slightly wonky and obviously handmade; they look rather medieval and masculine. The photo makes the one on the left look chipped, but that’s actually water from where I’d just rinsed them out. Snookums only had them out of the wrapper for about two seconds before he’d filled the big one with beer!
And yes, that is a football-sized ball of Silk Garden. I pulled my cardigan apart. It’s a long story.
That last picture is my dinner creation for tonight – Chicken Pot Pie. Yes, I decorated it with a bird made from puff pastry. It was delicious! Read on for the recipe.Okay, this is just a slightly-modified version of the Chicken Pot Pie recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New American Cookbook, which is my all-time number-one go-to cookbook for just about everything.
First, you’re gonna need some cooked chicken. (The recipe calls for three cups.) You can either pull it off a roast chicken, or you can poach your own. Poaching’s pretty easy so I go with that. Just whack a couple breasts in a skillet and fill it with water. Cover and simmer until they’re cooked through. Sometimes if they’re really thick I cut them in half so they cook faster in the middle. Once they’re done, fish out the chicken and set it aside to cool.
Now get out a pot and fry up a chopped onion in a quarter-cup of butter. (Mmmm.) When the onion is soft, you’re going to dump in one-third of a cup of all-purpose flour, half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of dried thyme, and a good grind of pepper. Stir it around a bit so the flour soaks up the butter and cooks a little. (This is what makes the sauce thick.) Now you’re going to dump in two cups of chicken stock and three-quarters of a cup of milk. Stir it around and cook until thickened and bubbly. Now throw in your vegetables. Tonight I felt like using a lot so I put in carrots, potatoes, peas, broccoli, and green beans. While that’s cooking, go back to your now-cool chicken and tear it up into chunks. Add that to the pot. You’re nearly done!
All you have to do now is pour your mixture (basically a thick chicken stew) into a big Pyrex baking dish (or you can be fancy and put it in little individual dishes). Cover it up with some puff pastry (buy it frozen but let it thaw first) and cut a few slits to let the steam escape. If you’ve got some left over, you can go nuts with the decoration (a la my bird). Pop the whole thing in the oven on a fairly high heat (at least 180C if not more) and let it bake for 15 minutes or so, basically until the pastry goes flaky and golden. Pull out and eat!