Best known for her lavish buffets, Luke’s mum throws an annual party on New Year’s Eve for which we all get involved in making and baking our favourite chow. 2017 was no exception and I decided to take on a bit of both.
Plate meat pie has always reminded me of my mum. She taught me how to make it and her mum taught her. My sisters and I joke that our family never argue in the presence of pie. We all have hearty appetites (we’re pigs, the lot of us) and the only time we’re quiet is when our mouths are full. And as it turns out, it’s not just my family that enjoy a plate meat pie. I’ve made dozens and the reaction is always the same. Pie = Happiness. What better way to enter the new year?
Worried about intoxicated guests handling knives, I decided that mini pies were a safer option. Whilst the meat got drunk on beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and red wine (an amount of which I’m not proud), I started making and shaping the shortcrust pastry. Once the juices had almost fully soaked into the meat, I thickened it up with gravy granules and was pretty happy with the result. Why does wine make everything taste so good? I then ate a few just to see if they were alright and instead of finishing with 40 pies I finished with around 30 and secretly hoped that few would turn up to the party.
Alas, everyone turned up and there was less for me. Luckily, more than eating I love feeding and everyone loved them. They even got branded ‘the best of the buffet’ which is a massive achievement because Luke’s mum is the real Queen B – the Beyoncé of Buffets.
This wasn’t as successful. In fact, it wasn’t successful at all. I attempted poppy-seed macaroons, inspired by my trip to France last year.
I’ve made macaroons once before. They were coffee flavoured with a chocolate filling and they went down a treat. I should have gone with a safer option again but decided to take the risky road and fill them with smoked salmon and creme fraiche instead.
You’d think that a foodie like myself would own piping bags, wouldn’t you? Nope. I had to make one out of baking parchment which resulted in macaroons the size of pavlovas, dirty hair and a very, very messy kitchen. I sprinkled them with poppy-seeds and hoped for the best. They’re all going to look the same in our tummies, right?
The final result: as it turns out smoked salmon and creme fraiche doesn’t actually go with meringue so they never met any bellies that night. Ah well, maybe next year I’ll just stick to making pie.