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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Post the Forty-ninth (in which we see the worst photo of the blog so far)

It really is quite bad.  Apologies in advance.  I'm staying in my mam's at the moment and my camera (as crappy as it is) is at home, so I'm stuck with phone pics for the time being.  The sad thing is that the blurry, out-of-focus, badly composed photo you're about to see is the best of the five or six pictures I took.  We're in for a rough couple of weeks on the blog, folks...

I will probably also have a battle on my hands to be let cook enough to even maintain the blog.  I've mentioned before that my mother never seems overly-keen on the idea of me cooking.  I think this is down to the fact that A) she feels like she should be minding me, and B) she is always secretly convinced that I'm going to poison everyone. Anyone who eats their steak bloody clearly can't be trusted in the kitchen...

I did, however, win the battle for the kitchen last night. It remains to be seen who will win the war...

Pork & Feta Pie - serves 4-6

500g pork mince                        500g pork chops, finely diced
250g feta cheese                        1 egg
Zest of 1 lemon                          Medium bunch fresh coriander, chopped
1 onion, diced                            1 stick of celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed              1 large red chili, finely diced
1 tsp ground cumin                     10 sheets filo pastry
Salt & pepper                             Oil for brushing

1. Place the mince, diced pork, onion, garlic, celery, egg, chili, coriander & cumin in a large bowl.  Crumble over the feta, season well and mix everything really thoroughly.

2. Brush a rectangular baking dish (preferably metal, but it's not a deal-breaker) with oil. Lay five of the filo sheets in the dish, allowing a little to hang over the edges; brushing each one with oil as you go.  Press the pork mix into the dish and smooth over. Lay the other five sheets on top, again brushing each one with oil as you go.  Fold over the overhanging edges and brush the whole lot with one more layer of oil.  Stab a little cross in the centre to allow steam to escape.

3. Bake in an oven preheated to 200C for 40 minutes.  If the pastry is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil until the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing into six pieces.  Serve with spinach salad, yoghurt and maybe some potato salad.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Post the Forty-eighth (in which our heroine continues her thrifty ways)

So, you made the pot-roasted chicken for dinner last night.  Amazing, wasn't it? And now we're going to make the second dinner from our chicken, and bask in the warm glow of our recessionist ways.  Ok, so it necessitates eating chicken two nights in a row, but for most people I know, this won't be a problem.

So, take your chicken out of the fridge and strip the bird of as much meat as you possibly can.  You'll be amazed how much there is on it.  Don't be afraid of the dark meat; it's the tastiest kind.  Put all the meat onto a large chopping board and go over it with a big knife a couple of times to dice it up a bit, then set aside.  You can chuck the skin out (or give it to your dogs, if you have any), but hang on to the bones and carcass to make stock - stick them into a sandwich bag and bung into the freezer until you have two or three chickens' worth.

Anyway, tonight's dinner is a complete change taste-wise to last night's.  You could also, of course, make the chicken & spinach lasagna from a few weeks back with the leftover chicken.  But do give this dish a try at some stage too, because it's a bit of an oul taste sensation.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole - serves 4

1 onion, diced                              Approx. 500g leftover, cooked chicken, roughly diced
1 red chili, finely diced                  3 cloves garlic, crushed
500ml natural yoghurt                   250ml creme fraiche or sour cream
Bunch coriander, chopped            100ml Frank's Red Hot Sauce
2 large flour tortillas                      100g mature cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat a little oil in a pan and saute the onion, chili & garlic until softened, but not coloured.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, sour cream/creme fraiche and Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

2.  Add the chicken, coriander and fried onions to the sauce and mix well. Spread a third of this mixture on the bottom of an ovenproof dish.  Top with one of the tortillas, tearing it to fit the dish if needs be.  Repeat with another third of the chicken, the other tortilla, then finish with the last of the chicken mix.  Top with the grated cheese, then bake in an oven preheated to 200C until golden and bubbling.  Serve with a spinach, lime & coriander salad.

Btw, if you fancy making this and don't happen to have a leftover roast chicken knocking around, just poach two large chicken fillets, chop them and carry on as above.  Or, you could use turkey mince and fry it off with the onions & garlic.

By the way, if you've never had Frank's Red Hot Sauce before, get the hell out to the shop NOW and buy some.  It is, quite frankly (pun 100% intended) the best thing in the whole wide world. Ever.  This is what they use to make the chicken wings in Tribeca and the Elephant and Castle, for those of you who didn't already know that.  Just make sure you get the Original version, not the Wings one.

And if anyone reading has a Musrgaves card and would like to have me indebted to them forever, you can get a 3 litre bottle of Frank's there for €19.  Christmas is a-coming, folks!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Post the Forty-seventh (in which our heroine vows to be more savvy with leftovers)

We don't really have a leftover culture in Ireland.  I'm not sure why this is, considering we were, as a nation, dirt poor for a long time, but it's just not something we're particularly good at. Maybe, in my family, it was to do with the fact that there was seven of us, so there didn't tend to be a whole lot left at the end of a given meal.  But since we've all moved away and there's only two of us here chez moi and three people chez maman, we don't seem to have improved a whole lot.  Oh, our intentions are good, let there be no doubt about that.  But intent seems to be all we have.  Intent, and a motley collection of mismatched tupperware in the fridge at any given time, all containing bits of food of unknown provenance and varying age.  This is particularly the case in my mother's house.  It's like she has to allow food to sojourn in the fridge for a week or two before she can throw it out guilt-free.

In my house, the food rarely makes it as far as the fridge in the first place.  It goes directly to the dogs as soon as we've finished eating.  A few weeks back, after Emmet and I had eaten the best bits off a roast chicken for dinner, I was stripping the rest of the bird and giving it to the dogs, and it was mostly gone before I realised how wasteful I was being.  Buying a whole chicken and getting one dinner for two people out of it?  Frickin' ridiculous!  So, today and tomorrow's posts will show you how to get two meals out of one chicken  Now, obviously how much meat is left on your chicken after day one will depend on how big it was in the first place, and how many people it served.  For comparison, I used a 1.4kg free-range bird, which fed Emmet and I the first night (and he wasn't sparing with his portions, as usual) and made four servings of the second-night recipe.  So, if you plan to feed four people both nights, obviously get a bigger chicken and maybe make a bit more of the veg sauce.  Or, just add a side dish or two - green beans and cauliflower cheese, maybe.

This is by far my favourite ever way of eating roast chicken.  I can quite honestly say that I will never bother "dry" roasting one again.  You will need either a cast-iron casserole or a deep metal roasting tin to do this in, as you start it on the hob and then transfer the whole lot to the oven.

Pot Roasted Chicken - serves 2

1.4kg chicken                                    2 sticks celery, diced
1 large leek, cleaned & sliced             1 large onion, diced
150g bacon lardons                            3 cloves garlic, diced
150ml white wine                               500ml chicken stock
2 potatoes, peeled & quartered          Loaf of ciabatta, sliced
Salt & pepper                                    Olive oil & a knob of butter
Sprig each of rosemary, thyme & parsley

1. Melt the butter and a splash of olive oil in your casserole or roasting tin.  Fry the chicken on all sides until evenly golden, then remove to a plate and season all over with salt & pepper.  Stuff the herb sprigs into the cavity & wash your hands.

2. Add the onion, garlic & bacon to the dish and fry briskly for 5 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 150C at this stage.  Add the leek & celery and fry for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Deglaze the dish with the white wine, making sure you stir any lovely sticky bits off the bottom of the pan.  Allow the alcohol to cook off - about five minutes.

3. Return the chicken to the dish, snuggling it down into the veg a bit.  Tuck your potato quarters in around it, then pour the chicken stock over the whole lot.  Cover with a tight-fitting lid or with a double-layer of tinfoil, pop into the oven and roast for 80 minutes.  (That's perfect for a 1.4kg bird.  Obviously increase the time for a heavier chicken.)

4. Take the dish out of the oven and put back on the hob.  Carefully remove the chicken and potatoes from the dish and leave to rest on a clean, warm plate.  (By the way, allowing it to rest upside-down will result in a lovely, juicy breast.)  Bring the veg & stock mix to a rapid boil and allow to reduce by a fifth.

5. While this is happening, toast your ciabatta slices very lightly under the grill.  You don't really want to colour them at all, just crisp them up enough so they don't fall to soggy pieces in the sauce.  Take your roasting tin/casserole off the hob, place the ciabatta slices on top and bring the whole thing to the table along with the chicken on its plate. Assign one person to carve the chicken.

6. Give everyone a warmed plate and allow them to serve themselves -  a big dollop of the veg sauce on top of the ciabatta is HEAVEN!

When you're done eating, cover the remains of the chicken with foil, allow to cool to room temperature, then stick in the fridge until tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Post the Forty-sixth (in which our heroine gets herself stuck in a dress)

Yep, right in there.  Anyone who has ever got their hand or head stuck in a small space will be familiar with the rising sense of panic as I realised that it simply wasn't coming off.

Allow me to give you a bit of background.  My mum is approaching the end of her year as Lady Captain of her golf club and has a celebratory dinner tomorrow which yours truly is attending.  I thought I might buy myself a new gĂșna deas to wear to it, so off I toddled on Monday to one of the few shops I actually like the clothes in to try some on.  Unfortunately, said shop has apparently decided to buck the trend of vanity sizing and adopt a policy of "take you down a peg or two" sizing instead.  Having had to buy size ten trousers and shorts in the last few places I bought clothes; I thought I'd be whistling dixie by opting for size 12 dresses.  This was not the case.  Think of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in a sparkly frock and you'll be some way towards visualising how I looked.  Deflated (in spirit, anyway, clearly not in body), I left the dressing room and trudged towards the exit.  However, just at the door, I spotted another dress that looked like it might be cut a bit more, generously, shall we say.  I grabbed it and returned to the dressing room.  Pulling it over my head, I will admit that the thought that it was a bit tight across the chest crossed my mind.  I got it on though, and stood back to have a look.  It was rotten.  Baggy and saggy around the hips, and absolutely bet onto me around my chest.  "Bleurgh," said I, and went to take it off.  It came as far as my rib-cage, and stopped.  "Ah for Jaysis sake," says I, and tried again.  It went maybe an inch further, then stuck fast again.  I'm starting to panic a bit at this stage.  Not only is the dress apparently spot-welded to my skin, it's made entirely of sequins and the bastards are taking the back off me.  I pull it back down.  I take a few deep breaths.  I tell myself that if I got the dress on, I can get it back off.  I exhale as deeply as I can in an attempt to shrink my ribcage a few millimetres and try one last attempt.  I nearly get my elbows trapped inside it this time. I realise that the only way I'm getting out of this dress is by standing with my arms straight up over my head while someone else pulls it off.

I should mention at this juncture that I had taken off my bra so I could properly see how the dress, a racerback, would look.


Let this be a warning to you ladies: never shop alone lest you fall afoul of a recalcitrant dress and have to flash your boobs to a complete stranger who is probably being paid minimum wage.

Thankfully, the dressing room assistant was one of those middle-aged, salt-of-the-earth Dublin mammies who has probably seen far worse in her time.  I called her in, sheepishly explained the situation and asked her to help me.  Thus commenced a frenzied kind of tug-of-war with her at one end, pulling like bejaysis and me at the other like the back end of a panto horse.  "I don't want to hurt you!" says she.  "I don't care, just get the shaggin' thing off me!" says I.  "Jaysis, but this is a terrible cut," says she.  "Who are you telling?" says I.  Then, like the cork coming out of a particularly stubborn bottle of champagne, out I popped.  The relief!  She legged it, probably to get on to head office and tell them they needed to recall such a faulty item, while I got dressed in a hurry and hung the dress back on its hanger.  Where I spotted the hidden zip running the full length of the side seam.  The. Full. Length.

Not one of my prouder moments, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway, I'm sure there's some kind of "who ate all the pies?" joke I could use here to segue into the recipe, but I just can't think of one, so sue me.

Fish Pie - serves 4

300g salmon fillet                            300g smoked white fish fillet
1kg potatoes                                   1 large carrot
2 sticks celery                                 150g good cheddar cheese
1 red chili                                        1 lemon                                          
4 sprigs flat parsley, chopped           2 good handfuls baby spinach leaves
Olive oil                                          Salt & pepper

1. Peel and cube your potatoes and bung into a large pot of boiling, salted water for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through.  Drain and allow to steam-dry in the colander.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, stand a box-grater in a casserole dish and grate the carrot, celery and cheese on the rough side, then zest the lemon and grate the chili on the fine side.  Cut the fish into chunks and add to the casserole with the parsley & spinach.  Juice the zested lemon and add this to the dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with lots of salt & pepper, then mix the whole lot together with your hands until it's all evenly distributed.

3. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash with another glug of olive oil and a bit more salt & pepper.  Spread on top of your fish mixture and bake at 200C for about 40 minutes, or until lovely and golden and crispy on top.  Serve with green beans or a salad.

I will admit, this was right at the upper limits of my fishy tolerance, but Emmet absolutely demolished it.  I might try it with just fresh white fish instead of the salmon next time, because I really loved all the other flavours.  This is a really nice change from the usual "white sauce" fish pies.  Thank you, Jamie Oliver.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Post the Forty-fifth (in which Leinster begin their defence of the Heineken Cup)

It was an away match, so we weren't there.  Our budget unfortunately doesn't stretch to travelling for the pool stages.  So down to the pub it was, because our budget also doesn't stretch to Sky Sports.  Our budget doesn't stretch to much at all, truth be told...

So our opening game was against Montpellier.  French teams are perennially accused of being more interested in their domestic league than the Heineken Cup, but that doesn't matter when you're playing them at home.  An outbreak of mumps in the Montpellier camp had seen them miss their match the previous week and there was some expectation that they might be a bit rusty as a result; but by God, that was not the case.  Despite the fact that you can never expect to easily beat French teams at home, Leinster were still expected to battle out a victory in the end.  As it happened, we were extremely lucky to come away with a draw. Montpellier were completely dominant at the breakdown, their defence was nigh-on impenetrable and their discipline was good enough that they conceded very few penalties.  It was only in the final twenty minutes or so that Leinster were able to build any kind of momentum, and even that was more down to the Montpellier pack getting tired than any improvement in our play. The ref. awarded a rather suspect penalty and Johnny Sexton equalised with the very last kick of the game.  Two points in the bag, and I suspect that the team were more than happy with that, given the way Montpellier played.  Onwards and upwards from here, hopefully.

The plan was to watch the match, which kicked-off at 1.30pm, come home, have a bath while Emmet did some work on his car and then make a fish pie for dinner.  However, we ended up getting into a bit of an impromptu session in the pub, and staggered home at about 11pm with a bag of chips each.  Ah well.  I'm going to do the fish pie today instead.  It's just as well, really, seeing as the pheasant I was hoping to get today appears to be unforthcoming.  (Hint hint, Chris!)

The recipe I'm about to give you, I made on Wednesday.  One of the great things about this blog is that it has forced me to widen my repertoire a bit - nobody wants to read five chicken recipes a week. This recipe uses pork mince and it was so delicious.  Really fresh flavours, and a nice way to get away from the chicken-fillet-or-beef-mince rut we all find ourselves in from time to time.  I served them with pitta bread, Greek salad and homemade hummous.

Sheftalia - serves two

450g pork mince                      1 large onion, very finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed             Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon                        25g feta, cut into 6 cubes
6 black olives, chopped            1 fresh green chili, finely diced
Pinch of ground cumin               Salt & pepper

1.  Put half the chopped onion into a large bowl and add the mince, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and season to taste.  Mix well until everything is evenly distributed.  Divide into 6 rough balls, push a cube of feta into each and then mould into tight ovals.  Pop back into the fridge for half an hour to firm up.

2. Heat a couple of glugs of veg or sunflower oil in a large pan.  Cook the sheftalia on all sides until evenly golden-brown all over - this will take about 15 or 20 minutes.  Drain on kitchen towels and keep warm.

3. Add the rest of the onion, the chili and the chopped olives to the pan.  Sprinkle over the ground cumin and cook gently until the onion is soft but not browned.  Squeeze over a little extra lemon juice if you fancy.  Serve the sheftalia on warmed plates, topped with the onion mixture.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Post the Forty-fourth (in which there's something fishy going on)

Ok, so we have discussed my aversion to fish and my desire to address said aversion in previous posts.  I've decided that the best way to include more fish in my diet is to disguise it.  Fishcakes and fish pies are the friend of the reluctant pescetarian.  Hopefully, at some stage, my tastebuds will give up the fight and I'll eventually be able to enjoy fish in its own right.

The plan at the moment is to have one fishy night a week in addition to our veggie night.  I'll be the picture of health, I'm telling you.  Although I may have to revise that after a couple of weeks; my grand total of two fish recipes could well get a bit boring on constant rotation, but sure we'll see.  I should point out that for the purposes of this trial, I'm discounting tuna, cause I always ate that.

If you're lucky enough to have a fishmonger nearby, then obviously get your fish there.  I, sadly, am limited to whatever is in the supermarket.  As an aside, there's a deadly little fish shop around the corner from my mum's, which has been there for at least ten years.  I have driven/walked past it on an extremely regular basis in those ten years.  And I only copped last week that it is not, in fact, called J.J. Fitzsimons at all, but is actually J.L. Fitzsimons.  And this, friends and family, is why eyewitness testimony should never be relied upon.  Although I also thought for years that there was a pub in Newbridge called Jon Bon's.  It's Johnson's.  So maybe I'm just thick.

Anyway, the Great Fish Experiment of 2011 began last week with "Bolinho de Bacalhau", which are a Portuguese fishcake traditionally made with salted cod.  I was using smoked as well as fresh fish, so I tweaked the recipe a bit to make sure none of the ingredients clashed with the smokey flavour.  This was the end result and they were absolutely delicious.  This will give you six very large cakes, and to be honest, two per person is plenty for dinner, so we had them again the next day for lunch and they were even nicer again after a night in the fridge, so don't feel that you need to cook the entire batch at once.

Portuguese-style Fishcakes - makes 6

250g smoked coley fillets             250g fresh coley fillets (or any other white fish)
140ml milk                                  2 bay leaves
500g peeled, cubed spuds           large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon                           1 red chili, finely chopped
1 egg                                          half tsp fennel seeds, ground up
Salt & pepper                             flour for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 190C.  Pop the fish into a deep baking tray (I find a loaf tin is perfect) with the milk and the bay leaves.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Have your potatoes cooking at the same time.

2. Remove the fish from the milk and go over it quickly to remove any bones - there should be very few if you've used fillets.  Whiz it in the blender to chop, or flake it with a fork.  Put it into a large bowl with the parsley, lemon zest, chili, ground fennel seeds, egg and salt & pepper to taste.

3. Drain your cooked potatoes, return them to the pot and mash.  Add a little of the poaching milk from the fish if they're a bit hard to mash.  Bung into the bowl with the fish and give everything a really good mix.  Have a taste and correct the seasoning, if needs be. Shape into 6 cakes and pop into the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up.

4. When you're ready to cook them, heat an inch of oil in a good, heavy bottomed pan up until a cube of bread browns in about 2 minutes.  Give each fishcake a generous dusting of flour and fry in batches for about 3 minutes on each side until golden and crispy.  If you need to top up the oil between batches, give it a minute or two to come back up to heat.  Drain on kitchen towel and serve with a lovely big salad and extra lemon wedges for squazzing.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Post the Forty-third (in which our heroine reflects on some of life's little truisms)

There are certain universal truths out there.  Gravity, for one.  The passing of time.  The theory of relativity, that sort of thing.  Things which govern all of our lives and which everyone learns about in school.  There are, however, other, lesser-known truths which no-one ever warns you about in advance, but which are none the less true for all that.  Someone should teach them in a class.  You know, kind of like Moe's "Funk Dancing for Self Defence".

One or two of these I've been emailed as jokes over the years, most of them are things I've discovered for myself.  All of them prove one thing - if there is a God/Goddess/Omnipresence out there, he/she/it has a very wry sense of humour.

1. The juice of any lemon squeezed by hand will make an immediate and direct trajectory towards your eye.

2. You will remember something important you've left at home at the exact point in your journey where it's too late to make turning back worth it.

3. You will realise only after jumping in that the hot water ran out halfway through filling the bath.

4. The one time you go to the pub in saggy tracksuit bottoms and no make-up will be the one time every good-looking person in the vicinity decides to go there for a drink.

5. "Peel & reseal" deli packets do neither of these things.

6. You will like pretty much all the songs on your iPod until it's on shuffle, at which point you will discover that you like approximately 1 song in 30.

7. You will wave back at someone who wasn't actually waving at you in the first place at least seven times in your lifetime.

8. On entering an empty lift in which there is a bad smell not of your making, you can guarantee that someone will get on at the next floor and think it was you.

9. That person will tell everyone in the office what a smell-hound you are.

10. U.S Immigration officials will always succeed in making you feel like you're lying, even when you're telling the truth.

11. There is no dignified way to eat a banana.

12. You are officially old the day you no longer find farts funny.

13. A toasted cheese sandwich is infinitely superior to cheese on toast.

15. Lego is a bastard to stand on in your bare feet.

16. There are few things more awkward than somehow managing to get into the same section of a small revolving door with a complete stranger.

17. The washing machine will eat a significant proportion of your socks.

18.  The greater your aversion to children, the more people will insist their offspring kiss you, and the snottier said offspring will be.

19. Mimes can smell fear.

20. Falling up the stairs is worse than falling down it.

Recipes are back tomorrow.  Til then, suckahs.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Post the Forty-second (in which our heroine plays catch-up a bit)

There's been a bit of a deafening silence around here lately.  Sorry about that.  I had last week off work and tried to get a set amount of college work done every day.  Unfortunately our crappy mobile broadband also decided to take the week off, so by the time I had my assignment quota done, my patience with t'interweb was pretty much spent.  Hopefully we'll be back to normal this week, though.

So, in my last post I was about to embark on a pot-pie making journey with the leeks and carrots we had harvested from the garden.  Kristin at Edible Ireland had a totally drool-tastic recipe that I had been dying to try, so all in all, I was terribly excited to give them a bash.

Now, before we start, I will happily admit to using shop-bought pastry.  And before you get all judgemental on me, have you ever actually seen what's involved in making puff pastry?  Go and Google it there.  Now, tell me who in God's name has a) the time, or b) the inclination to do that?  Just buy it.  You're keeping someone in a job.  Good for you.

Oh, and Kristin, not only did I copy your recipe, I also stole your presentation idea of writing on the pies.  Please don't sue me.  It was just too cute.  Even though my crappy photo is actually just embarrassing.

Beef, Stout & Blue Cheese Pot Pies - makes 4 individual pies

2 carrots, peeled and chopped                     2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped                          1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped                              1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 kg stewing beef, diced                              2 tablespoons flour
500ml stout                                                 150g crumbled blue cheese
2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry                  1 large egg, beaten

1) In a large oven-proof casserole dish, heat a good splash of olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion and leek along with a pinch of salt so the onions don’t brown. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, thyme and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Stir in the beef, then add in the flour. Stir well to coat the beef and vegetables with the flour and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Pour in the stout, give everything a stir and bring to a boil.

2) Cover the pot with a lid and place in an 180C for 2 1/2 hours, giving it a stir now and then, until the meat is tender.  When the beef is cooked and the stew has a nice, thick, silky consistency, stir in the blue cheese, taste and correct the seasoning if necessary.

3) Place one large ovenproof pie dish or individual gratin dishes on a baking tray just in case any filling bubbles up and over the sides, then spoon the stew into the dish(es). Cut the ready-rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish (or individual dishes), rolling it out a little on a lightly floured countertop with a rolling pin if you need to in order for it to cover your dish. Brush the edges of the dish(es) with some of the beaten egg to help the pastry stick in place, then carefully place the pastry lid on top. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

I really can't thank Kristin enough for this recipe; it is really, really good.  Go on and give it a try - you know you want to.  Beef, cheese and booze - what's not to like?