Remember when I said there was new home for cooking is messy? That was a little misleading as I’m going back to Virginia tomorrow for a bit. I’m blue about it. I’ve started to feel comfortable here, the apartment is starting to feel like home, and Ryan and I have been having some wonderful adventures. And I feel heartsick about being away from him for so long. We joked about putting the blog on hiatus because my chief taste taster wouldn’t be trying the food. But I’ll keep posting, though I think there will be more vegetable dinners (what I eat when I’m alone) and rich chocolate desserts (what I like to eat for a pick me up).
But, going back was something I wanted to do. From the time Ryan got the job offer to our move, it was only about six weeks. We needed more time to pack, store, sell, ship, and cancel everything we own. I wanted to stay at my job a bit longer and get to finish the school year. I’ll also get to go to some weddings and baby showers that I would have missed otherwise. There are lots of good reasons to go back, but separation is hard and I’m bad with change.
To send me off right, Ryan and I had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday was epic. We took the bus to Notting Hill and looked at the colorful row houses. We walked through Portobello Market, which was really impressive. There was so many cute silver dishware, flowery teapots, and tons of other knickknacks. The food also looked amazing and the smells were alluring. There was fresh baked pies, huge pots of paella, and Mediterranean feasts. And on top of all that, tons of beautiful fragrant flowers. The only drawback was how incredibly crowded it was. The whole time we walked at a really slow pace and were constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with other people. It made it difficult to browse, so all we bought was one delicious cherry pie.
While in Notting Hill, we also went to Books for Cooks. It’s a bookshop that exclusively sells cookbook! JUST COOKBOOKS. I was in love and there were many things I wanted. Ryan and I settled on a book called Pies and Tarts, and that’s where today’s recipe comes from. It’s a book both of use were excited about and it’s full of sweet and savory pie recipes and three pastry recipes. For the dough recipes, I loved that there were step by step how-to pictures. Some of the recipes seems like a challenge but there are many I want to try. I want to make everything in the cheese chapter. Cheese pies?! How great is that.
Anyway, we left Notting Hill and got fish and chips for take out. We took our food, walked to Hyde Park, and made ourselves a picnic. It was glorious! We ate and people and dog watched. After lunch we strolled around the park and passed by a few other beautiful buildings and monuments.
We then went to the Science Museum which had a lot of exhibits that made me go “whoa.” We also saw a special exhibit on the Large Hadron Collider. The exhibit was pretty good and very interesting. From my perspective as a museum professional, I thought the exhibit was so well put together and they made some really great and engaging choices. If you’re in the area check it out.
After, we crossed the street and went through a small part of the Victoria & Albert Museum. This museum is amazing because every corner we turned there was something else jaw dropping. I wish we could have done more but we were probably there for an hour.
Finally, we went home, watched the Arsenal match and cooked this dish.
Exhausting right? We did a ton, but it was an amazing day.
A few pieces of advice on this dish. The recipe for the pastry makes more than you need. If you use all of it you’ll have a lot of pastry on your pie and it will be very thick. Don’t feel like you have to use it all. Also, Ryan and I improvised on the ingredients based on what we could find at the store. The bacon was a nice addition, but I think it would still be delicious without. Anyway, here’s my adaptation based on Pies and Tarts by Stephane Reynaud.
9oz cold butter
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 egg yolks
3 1/2 oz cold water
4 medium sized sausages
4 oz soft-rind goat cheese (I asked the cheesemonger at the grocery store for help, you can use more cheese if you like)
basil leaves (about 16 or more, one bunch will be more than enough)
8 slices of bacon
1. Cut the butter into cubes and leave out to soften a little bit.
2. In a bowl, or on the counter, mix the flour and salt.
3. Add the butter. Work the butter in with your fingers. Break it up until it looks sandy.
4. Make a well in the middle of your mixture. Put the egg and water in the well. If you do this on the counter, be careful! Water will try and run away and make a big mess on your counter.
5. Using your hands, mix it all together. Mix until you can make the dough into a smooth ball.
6. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minues.
7. In a medium pot, boil salted water. Add the sausages and cook for 30 minutes.
8. Remove sausages from water, let cool a bit, then cut in half lengthwise.
9. Heat oven to 350°.
10. On one half of the sausage, place basil leaves (I used 2), then slices of cheese, then more basil leaves. Put the other side of the sausage on top. Now you have a little sandwich.
12. Wrap the sausage sandwich with bacon. I used 2 slices per sausage roll.
13. Whisk the egg
14. Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, that’s about 1 inch longer than the sausage.
15. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg. This will help keep the dough stuck together.
16. Put the sausage on the edge of the dough and roll up. Press firmly where the pastry ends, and try to make it smooth as possible. Pinch and fold the ends to keep it together.
17. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet. Place the sausage rolls on top. Brush the rolls with the egg. Cut a criss-cross pattern into the pastry. Don’t cut all the way through the pastry.
18. Sprinkle top with pepper.
19. Bake for 30 minutes.
20. Cut and enjoy!
Messy level: This was severely messy! The dough got all over the floor, the apron, and my hands. I probably should have done it in a bowl, but I followed the book and used the counter. It was a dangerous idea because the water got loose and spread everywhere. It was not so easy to keep my mess container. Also, wrapping the sausage with bacon is a bit messy. It took two of us to do it neatly. Not a clean recipe, but not too difficult either. Just make sure you give yourself time to do this.