Contrary to what you might think, I don’t spend all of my days cooking and eating. I also have a day job, to pay the bills. And I happen to have quite a nice job, and I’m not just saying that because I know some of my colleagues are regular visitors of the blog (hi!!). I work in PR for retail, which can be summed up as doing a lot of talking and I visit shopping centres for a living, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
One thing I love about the office are my colleagues (and again, not saying that because they might read it!), I have a whole bunch of great and fun co-workers. You know that moment when the alarm goes off in the morning, and you’re dragging your behind out of bed to get into the shower (hoping that might wake you up)? Oh, how you’d wish you could stay in bed forever! But you can’t, and so you commute to the office, get a coffee (strong black tea, in my case) and turn on the computer. And as you talk to your colleagues (who always back you up while you complain about horrible traffic, even if this time you just got out of bad too late and traffic is not to blame), you wonder why you resent getting up in the first place. Colleagues make work fun, actually.
When I’m in Paris, I work from home, which sounds great but can be pretty lonely. You miss out on all the smalltalk, and no, chatting with the checkout girl at the supermarché doesn’t count (not that our conversations go any further than ‘Do you have a loyalty-card?’ and ‘Bon journée’).
Luckily, over here I have a neighbour who always lets me know I’m not alone. Oh yes, he likes to make that loud and clear. He’ll scream at the top of his lungs: ‘Putain, merde, connard, fait chier!’ And all of those other colourful French words they didn’t teach me in school.
The show usually starts around 15.00 PM, but to keep things interesting, he sometimes randomly changes the hour, and I’ll hear him at 11.00 AM or late in the afternoon. Yes, never a dull moment! And to make things worse (or maybe it’s for the best, I haven’t decided yet), I have no idea which neighbour is the screamer. I know all of them, but I can’t imagine any of them yelling every day. But it must be one of the people I greet in the hallway, amongst us is one who is pretty angry all the time. If I knew who it was, I could bring him some of these pork, apple and leek pies, that would keep him from screaming for at least one afternoon!
I was inspired by an episode of the Great British Bake Off, in which the candidates had to make a hot water pastry. I had to try this for myself, and what a great dough that is! A joy to work with, and so easy to roll out (no cracking!). Still, you can tell that fine decoration isn’t my thing, I did an attempt but I think I’m better of settling for a rustic style, don’t you agree? To stay in the British theme, I filled my mini pies with sausage meat, apple and leek. Perfect for fall, I’d say! I
u]Hot water crust pastry[/u]
- Water, 100 ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp)
- Butter, 100 gr (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp)
- Salt, ½ tsp
- Flour, 250 gr (2 + ½ cup)
- Butter, ½ tbsp
- Pork sausages, 300 gr (2/3 pound)
- Leek, 110 gr (1/4 pound), in rings
- Apple, 1, peeled and cut into cubes
- Mustard, 2 tbsp
- White wine, splash
- Salt & pepper
- Egg, 1, beaten, for brushing
- Hot water crust pastry
Bring the water, with the butter and salt, to a boil
- Add the hot water mixture to the flour and use a spoon to stir until it's combined
- Cover and leave to rest for an hour
- After an hour, take the dough out of the bowl, and flatten to a rectangular shape on a floured surface
- Fold, and shape into a rectangle again, repeat this several times
- Wrap in cling/plastic film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
- After that it's ready to roll!
- Heat the butter in a pan and push the meat out of the sausages (this is easy, try it!)
- Bake the meat until it has browned, than add the leek
- Bake until the leek has softened and add the apple, the mustard and wine
- Season with salt & pepper
- Once the wine has evaporated (a wet filling will make the pastry wet too), turn off the heat and leave to cool
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 390 F
- Grease a muffin tin and roll out the dough until about ½ cm (1/4 inch) thick
- Use a serving ring or glass with a diameter of about 10 cm (4 inches) to cut out 5 circles, and a smaller one to cut out 5 circles of about 5 cm (2 inches)
- Place a big circle in a hole in the tin and fill with the sausage mix, use a smaller circle to cover it
- Brush with egg and bake for 30 minutes