I have been working on a really fun and exciting life changing new project with my two friends – Lucy Dahl and Emma Cheney. Lots more to share about this in the coming weeks and months but today I wanted to start by telling you about one item in particular on our weekly checklist of five: the challenge. Each week we decide on five things we have to do the following week – the aim of the game is to make life as fun as possible and full to the brim with enjoyable times. It’s only been three weeks and I’ve never felt happier, more positive and more grateful for everything that is happening right now. Our to do list consists of a variety of things – physical, mental, silly, obvious and obscure. One item on our to do list is making something – it’s not necessarily food, but so far this had been the main focus.
The first week we tackled jam making. I sourced Seville oranges from Karen Beverlin at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and made marmalade (I promise to post the new updated recipe for Seville marmalade sometime soon). My most lasting memory of this challenge was carrying 20lbs of oranges around in the hot February sun – 20lbs is a lot of weight – imagine how light I will be when I lose 20lbs in the coming months – seriously, I will float around the market. Emma set out to find apricots to make her first batch of jam- five supermarkets later she changed fruits to blueberries – her hand delivered little pot of jam (tied with a pretty ribbon) has been enjoyed on hot buttered toast for breakfast and I’ve made a note to let her know as soon as the stone fruit start arriving at the market.
Then I came up with the challenge of baking a cake and giving it to someone. Nigel Slater talked about how baking a cake for someone was the ultimate gesture of love – why didn’t I factor in a small trip to Hawaii for my Made in America event at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai? But along with many cartwheels (another item on the to do list that week) I proudly made my hubby a cake for his birthday during my cooking class with a big helping hand from the wonderful pastry chef and owner of fonuts, Waylynn Lucas. She taught us how to make strawberry buttermilk fonuts which uses a great buttermilk cake batter recipe. I promise, promise, promise to post this and much more from Made in America, but today I want to share my experience making Emma’s suggestion for The Famous Australian Meat Pie.
I’m not a big pie/pastry girl – and especially not savory pies – think pasties, chicken pot pie or samosas – but I was willing to give myself over to the challenge and make it for dinner for the family. Australians are potty for their meat pies – usually eaten with a side of mashed potatoes or fries?!? I have taken the liberty to adapt the classic Australian recipe – most importantly I used bison rather than beef. Given the amount of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and stock used to flavor the filling I would challenge any Aussie Meat Pie aficionado to detect a difference!
Australians are known to slather on even more ketchup with their pie but this recipe really has enough sugar, salt and vinegar baked inside the crust! When Ara took her first bite she said “It tastes like HP!” [HP Sauce from England]. Whatever you do don’t add salt – and you may want to use less and/or a low sodium beef stock, a tad less ketchup and even, dare I say low sodium Worcestershire sauce.
Australian Meat Pie Recipe
Adapted from Australian Food.com
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
500 g minced bison (or minced beef)
1 cup water, divided
2 teaspoons Au Jus Better than Bouillon or 2 beef stock cubes
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 puff pastry sheets
What to do
1 Pre-heat oven at 425 F.
3 Add 3/4 cup of the water, bouillon cubes, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, pepper, oregano, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine all the ingredients and scrape off all the brown bits on the side of the pan.
8 Brush edges of pastry with milk and put the pastry top on. Crimp edges with a fork. I added little figures cut out of the left over pastry but next time I wouldn’t do this – the pastry was just too thick and didn’t cook evenly in these places.