On Thursday night everyone in my team who lives a sensible distance from Finsbury park came over for dinner.
Matt in my team is a very bad influence, but a very good guitarist. It was around 3am when I poured them into a taxi and Matt was still playing guitar. On a school night.
I should have realised that Matt had sensibly booked Friday off as annual leave...
All said a pretty successful evening then!
I didn't take the picture above, but I did cook a chicken pie. I've just eaten the last bit of it tonight actually and it was lovely.
Needless to say we drank quite a lot.
The girls were on white and red wine. The blokes mainly drank London Pride, Betty Stoggs and some Duchy Originals ales.
To make chicken pie
This takes a while I'll warn you...
medium (1.5kg) chicken (paying for a proper organic free range bird is definitely worth it)
couple of medium onions
small box button mushrooms
couple of big carrots
butter (you'll use most of a block)
all butter puff pastry (if you make your own I'm impressed beyond words...)
a beaten egg
Remove any giblets or string, then put chicken in a big pot. Cover with chicken stock, add roughly chopped carrots for extra kudos, put lid on and bring to boil. Simmer for 45 minutes.
Take chicken out, leave to cool. While it's cooling bring the stock back up to a high temperature and leave on a rolling boil until reduced in volume by half.
Meanwhile, when your chicken is cool enough not to burn your fingers - strip all the meat off the carcass. Cut into medium pieces, put aside the skin and bones just in case you have energy to make more stock later.
Then fry your leek and onion in butter until soft (5 ish minutes on medium heat)
At the same time fry your button mushrooms separately on a high heat in butter. When browned give them a good few grinds of pepper. Put them together with the leeks and onions.
Right, now your stock should have finished reducing.
Take another pan (your washing up sink will be pretty full by now...) and melt more butter. Fry the flour for a couple of minutes.
Then add the reduced stock a ladle at a time until you have a hot, thick, creamy looking sauce.
Get the consistency right (if it's too thin leave it to reduce a bit again) and then add the chopped parsley and a good slug of cream. Then fold in the vegetables and the chicken and give it a good grind of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
By this point this should smell fantastically chickeny and you'll probably be hungry to lick the pan out. So pour the mixture into your favourite pie dish, top with pastry (remember to poke a few holes in it), brush with beaten egg and then cook in a 180º C oven for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
It's a lot of effort - but it's worth it...