Sunday, 12 January 2014

Poor woman's Beef Wellington

Life is progressing at a rather steady pace at the moment. I have been easing off on the work front after my resignation, no more 10+ hour days, I aim to get into the office as close to 9am as possible (I have made a bit of a game out of it, trying to estimate what time I should leave to arrive as close to 9am as possible) and leave as soon as the clock strikes 5pm. I think I've been consistently clocking out at 5.01pm or 5.02pm all of last week. I am thoroughly enjoying taking it easy, work is still a horrible pain but I have stopped caring about it now that I know I will be leaving soon. Six more weeks to go, that feels like an eternity, but at the same time I know the time will just flash by and soon it will be the end of February. I am enjoying sleeping late in the mornings, not having to leave the house until 8am is such a luxury. At the same time I'm trying not to get too used to it, as I know I will have to get up ridiculously early to make it to my new job, and I also know there won't be any nice 9 to 5 days. But for now I'm enjoying a relaxed pace of life and will tackle any changes as they come without worrying too much ahead of time as I have made my choice to make this change and worrying about it won't help.

I have been trying to get back to my gym routine after the Holidays and did two classes on Friday night. This resulted in a Saturday spent moaning every time I moved, not to mention being exhausted enough to actually take a two hour midday nap. I am completely against napping, it upsets the sleep rhythm and should be avoided whenever possible. But I was simply so exhausted that I thought I would lie down on the bed and just close my eyes for a second. I woke up two hours later and felt wonderful. Well, to be honest, I felt a bit groggy but also warm and relaxed. I then spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. I try to prepare as much food for the upcoming week as possible over the weekend. Often we don't get home from the gym until 9, 9.30 pm and cooking anything at that time is simply impossible. It has to be something you can just grab from the fridge and heat up in the microwave. The other day I got a craving for the type of pasty my mum used to make for us when we were kids. It sometimes had meat, sometimes salmon filling. As we had some minced meat in the freezer, and we are trying to save on food bills and use up things from the freezer, I went for a mince meat filling this time. The recipe is great, it makes two large pasties and is enough to feed an army, or two hungry people for several nights.

Mince meat pasty like my Mum used to make (makes 2 large pasties serving 6-8 ppl each):
2x320g pre-rolled puff pastry (I prefer the all butter kind)
1 cup rice (uncooked)
4 eggs
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
750 g minced meat
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of dried chilli flakes

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Cook the rice according to the instructions. Hard boil the eggs and peel. Finely chop onion and garlic. Cook onion in olive oil in a large pan until translucent, then add garlic. Cook for another minute or two, add minced meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Discard any excess fat and liquids from the cooked meat. In a big bowl, crush the eggs using a fork. Mix in the rice, meat and spices. Unroll the puff pastry onto a parchment paper lined baking tray. Take half of the filling and spread onto half of the pastry, leaving about half an inch free around the edges. Fold the other half of the pastry over the filling, and use a fork around the edges to seal the pastry. Repeat using another batch of puff pastry for the other half of the filling (or freeze the other half of the filling for use later). Brush the pastry with an egg if you like (I was running short of eggs so I didn't). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.

The verdict:
I love anything encased in puff pastry. I also get childhood flashbacks from the combination of minced meat, rice and hard boiled eggs. My mum also used to make a pasty like this with a rice, boiled egg, salmon and dill filling. Which I will try if I ever manage to find reasonably priced salmon in this country, but until then I will stick with the minced meat. This is not the most healthy of dinner options but it is delicious, filling and you can easily cook a huge batch at once and freeze in individual servings for easy lunches or dinners. 

Card of the day:
I have still been playing with the Penny Black Life's Messages stamp set after my successful scrapbook pages the other day and made this card. The colour combo is Stampin' Up Blushing Bride and Pool Party. The background is from the Fan Fair DSP. I used the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set to stamp the background. I then made a banner from Pool Party cardstock and stamped using the Fresh Vintage stamp set, which I also used for the figure in the top right corner. I used a stamp from the Life's Messages stamp set in Blushing Bride onto white cardstock, and added some Gorgeous Grunge for the background. For the finishing touches I punched a few butterflies using a Fiskars punch and added Papermania adhesive gems from the Capsule Red Hot collection.

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