It is cold and I want to get warm. Me and three year old Otto have had a busy day. Trampolining. Playing Octonauts. And moving logs in our wheelbarrows. Him one log at a time. Me a barrowload at a time. And we both have colds. So after the gym pick up for Monty (6), by the time I got home I was hungry as a hunter but achy in the back region and with a very dull head. To be honest, I was tempted by temptation itself and called in at Asda (also looking for MaMade for my mum) where I was momentarily seduced by Linda McCartney pies. They even morphed into my basket, as if by magic. Then I read the label and muttered ‘No Dawn. Walk away from the pies’. Such a wholesome image. So many ‘safe’ additives.
So when I got home I was determined there would be pie. I needed pie. It had to be made.
Turn the oven on to 190C.
First the pastry. Four tablespoons of plain wholemeal flour, one of plain white flour and two of fine oatmeal. A little salt. Rub in about 40g mararine. Don‘t shout! I know. But it was avocado oil margarine. With no canola or palm oil. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil. Bring it together with a little water then leave it to rest while you do the rest. Why, you might ask, why the oatmeal. I have done a lot of experiments with wholemeal flour in order to get the right ‘feel’. As with so many things re vegan and vegetarian, you really have to adjust a lifetime of eating habits. And that includes tasting habits too. The oatmeal gives the pastry a more open texture without adding more fat. And in my opinion it solves the age-old wholemeal pastry problem which is that it tends to be hard as bullets unless you load it with fat. However, if you add about 10% oatmeal it will be softer.
Next, wash and quarter some average sized potatoes (unpeeled). Put in a bowl with black pepper and two teaspoons of turmeric, a slug of oil and a tablespoon of coarse semolina. And a sprinkle of seasalt flakes before they go in the oven.
Sweat chopped onion, garlic, celery, celeriac and squash in a shallow wide pan in some rapeseed oil, or similar. I only use a little oil, so keep an eye on it then add half a glass of water when it looks like its just beginning to stick. This saves you using more oil than is necessary. Season with sea salt, black pepper and thyme – fresh if you have it. Cook for another five minutes with the lid on, till the vegetables are on the firm side of soft.
Meanwhile open a jar of Seitan. Now I’ve talked about this before in other posts – essentially it is the total protein of wheat grain and it comes in a jar in chunks. It looks disgusting and the last time I posted about it I couldn’t bear to expose it for public scrutiny! Or derision! I used about a third of a jar, sliced it into smaller chunks and marinaded it in light soy sauce and a grated clove of garlic for a few minutes. Then I added the seitan and the marinade to the vegetables, stirred them round, put the lid on and started a quick and easy sauce.
Put one teaspoon mustard powder in a bowl with two teaspoons of tomato purée, half a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes and about 150ml water. Mix it round then add to the veg and seitan in the pan. Heat gently till it thickens. Take off the heat. Allow to cool with the lid off for about 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust if you need to. Then pour it into a dish and pop the little singing bird in the middle to stop the middle bit of the pastry dipping. Top with the pastry and brush with oil. Put the pie in the oven on the bottom shelf and the potatoes on a hot baking tray on the top shelf. Swap them over after 20 minutes and cook for a further 20.
Yummy. Ready in 5 minutes starting from……… NOW!