Before we get started I need to apologise for the lack of food photos. It’s always tricky making stuff for dinner that I want to feature on the blog ’cause chances are people want to eat it as soon as it’s made which limits photo taking opportunities. Also the filling turned out a bit runnier than expected because I added some unnecessary water, which resulted in, what was in my opinion, an ugly pie. Don’t worry I have tweaked the recipe so you won’t end up with a sloppy pie like mine! So yes, I am sorry, but to make up for it I have lots of photos from my continuing adventures as a tourist in London!
I did something I wasn’t expecting to do last week. I went swimming in Hampstead Heath Pond! It wasn’t even cold. Honestly. The pool on holiday was colder. Also, I didn’t come out smelling like pond either! I got freaked out a few times when I felt stuff tangle round my feet. As soon as I thought of the vast murky, dark depth below, my imagination starting running wild. There could have been anything down there. Old Gregg could have been drinking baileys out of a boot! I’ll tell you what though, swimming is tiring. I really need to start exercising more. Some day I will. Don’t look at me like that, I will!!
If I had to pick a favourite day of being a tourist it would be that one time I went to the Tate, Borough Market and up Tower Bridge. Mostly it would be because we went to Borough Market, obviously. I am embarrassed/ashamed to admit it was the first time I went. Yep. After being at uni in London for 5 years. How can I call myself a food lover and not have been to Borough Market?! It’s shameful. But don’t worry, I made up for lost time. I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest. There was just so much great food on offer, and I wanted to buy it ALL!
The trip to Borough Market was particularly special because I tried my first ever Custard Doughnut. I feel like calling it a custard doughnut is like calling a double chocolate peanut butter cookie, just a biscuit. This delicious, pillowy soft doughnut was filled with creme patissiere with vanilla running through it. I urge you, no I INSIST, you go find the Bread Ahead stand if you visit Borough Market. The guy on the stand said “they are the best doughnuts in the world”. He wasn’t wrong. It’s safe to say I will be going back very soon. I plan on going there before I go for a picnic. I imagine the resulting picnic will be the best picnic everrrrr.
Did you know you can actually go up Tower Bridge? I didn’t, until last week. You have to pay a small fee but you get to go up and walk across the top bit. It is all inside but they have a little presentation on the history of the bridge and an exhibition on it all. I would recommend it if you find yourself looking for something to do in London.
In all my Borough Market excitement I nearly forgot I went to BBC Good Food Show yesterday. It was great! I have lots to tell you about it so I think I will save it for next week. But just quickly let me tell you about this grating plate we got (picture above). It basically has these little spiky bits which let you grate anything from garlic and ginger to chocolate and nuts. It works pretty well. I was left with a few chunks of garlic at the end, which I chopped up, but I much preferred using it to a garlic crusher. For some reason I just really don’t like them. I feel like a lot of garlic goes to waste. Also that tubey thing to get the skin off garlic came free with the plate and it works amazingly!
Right so Mexican Polenta Pie. I am pretty sure I have mentioned my love for Mexican food and how it always goes down well with the Bharti’s. Well I wanted to make something different for my Dad for Fathers day and he loves stuff with beans in so Mexican was an obvious option. You know what, I don’t know how I get ideas for things to make half the time. I have some sort of general idea of what I want and then before I know it I am writing a shopping list and trying to plan how I will take pictures. But let’s not talk about the pictures again!
Despite it’s appearance, this pie is actually really nice. The polenta brings something a little different to the pie instead of the usual mash or pastry. If you get the quick cook polenta it is really quick and easy to make.
1 onion (diced)
1 red pepper
1 tin pinto beans
1 small tin sweetcorn
salt & pepper
1 tsp ground coriander & cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp paprika
270g polenta (uncooked)
1.5 l water
salt & pepper
75g mozzarella cheese (grated)
Sweet potato fries
- Chop the onions, mushrooms, peppers and mince the garlic.
- Heat olive oil in saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions & garlic. Lower heat and sauté until soft for 5-7mins.
- Add seasoning (paprika, cayenne pepper, smoked garlic & ground coriander and cumin) and mix until onion is coated. Cook for 2 mins.
- Add mushrooms and peppers, stir and cook for 8-10mins until water has evaporated off mushrooms and peppers have softened.
- Add beans and sweetcorn, stir and cook for about 2 mins.
- Add tinned tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Simmer for 10mins. (If you feel like the sauce is becoming to dry add a bit of water)
- Whilst the sauce is simmering, bring to boil 1.5 l water (add salt to the water).
- Add the polenta and stir. (It will bubble & spit for a short while so you might want to half cover it until it stops)
- Once the polenta has stopped bubbling, season and continue to cook, following packet directions, stirring frequently to stop the polenta from sticking. (You may need to add more water)
- Pre-heat grill.
- Pour sauce into ovenproof dish and cover with polenta as soon as it is cooked. Top with mozzarella.
- Place under grill and grill pie until cheese has melted and is golden brown.