Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hearty (and home cooked) food

The temperature has been warmer recently, but I still feel a chill in the evening that makes me want to eat hearty comfort food. It is the case every autumn: I crave fish and chips (I had some more yesterday), cookies and tea, macaroni and cheese, etc. The last month I had broccoli and cheese, which was delicious, grilled cheese sandwiches and about a dozen different sorts of vegetarian cottage or shepherd's pies. We call them "pâté chinois" in Québec, which differs from the cottage pie as it has cream corn between the mince meat and the mashed potatoes. We have it with beetroots. I used to find little interest in it as a child, for me it was a very common, bland dish. Now, of course, I crave it, as a nostalgic and homesick man, as someone who now enjoys plain food and as it is oh so very hearty.

But in the absence of a pâté chinois, the local cottage pies will do. I don't even mind that they are vegetarian, some of my favourite shepherd's pies are actually vegetarian now. Well, my favourite is: it's this one, the mash being made of Bramley apples and parnsip (very autumnal), the rest is veggie chicken Quorn, peas, carrots and other things. Like many pies, it tastes better when reheated.

Of course, hearty food tastes better when it is home cooked. This pie is easy enough to make and I want to cook it more often. I want to try myself at fish pies, which should be easy enough to do: I know how to make béchamel (although I haven't done so in years), which I did very often in Montreal, where I poured salmon flavoured béchamel on vol-au-vent, another hearty dish that made me survive through many autumns and winters in Montreal. I have limited cooking skills, so the little I know I try to make the most of it: béchamel, mayonnaise, grilled cheese sandwiches and... Well, that's it really. That sums up how much I know about cooking.


The Artful Gypsy aka Wendy the Very Good Witch said...

Oooh...Shepard's Mom makes the yummiest shepard's pie and she hasn't made it for us in a LONG time, now that I think about it. I am calling her tomorrow and demanding she make us some very soon....ha! Thanks for reminding me! :o)

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh I am salivating. That pie looks so good, sounds delicious. My Dad maintains that the ratio of
mashed potato, to the mince is critical to a shepards pie's success:-)All I know is that I am now hungry, and it's a very long time until dinner!