Hello! I would like to open this post with an apology for the lack of posts. As a token of my remorse, I have decided to give you not one, but two culinary explorations of mine. One of them is actually something I did back in November, but completely forgot to write about. It’s odd, since I was extremely excited to write about it (you will see why later on).
First off is cold brew coffee. I had read about it about a year ago and had always been curious about it. Mainly because it would save me the trouble of buying a coffee maker. The post was on WordPress; I would post a link, but some glitch on WordPress made me lose all my liked posts. At some point over Winter, I decided to try it. Why have cold coffee in Winter? I don’t know; perhaps it would fool my brain and spirit into thinking Summer was actually close (silly brain and spirit, I live in England; there is no Summer!).
As usual, I attempted to make something without prior research. After I got started with the whole thing did I actually get round to performing a quick search on the matter. That’s when I found this beauty of a post. As it goes, cold brewing your coffee means that your concoction will not be as bitter as hot brewed coffee. This is because heat is responsible for extracting the bitterness from the grounds. It is also responsible for extracting flavour and aroma, so cold brews will inevitably taste “lighter”.
The process is simple: you mix your coffee grinds with water and let it sit for 24 hours in the corner. Then, you filter it out et voilá, café! It’s straight forward, doesn’t require that much planning, allows you to make bigger batches of coffee than your coffee maker, and is actually nicer to the environment—it doesn’t require that you “put the kettle on”, which is an energetically inefficient method.
I had some ground Vietnamese coffee beans waiting to be used (the kind that has to be “processed” by weasels).I mixed 3 tablespoons of coffee with 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and 600 ml of water. This was then left in the fridge overnight. The sugar was probably unnecessary, given that cold brewing gives us less bitterness and that this specific coffee is not as bitter as most.
I then used a square piece of muslin (the same one I used when making jams) in a sieve to filter it off and transferred it to my beautiful glass bottle (as seen here). The verdict? Delicious! It tasted great with and without milk and kept in the fridge for quite a few days: something I wouldn’t be comfortable doing with hot brew coffee. This means I would be able to make myself a large sum in Summer and consume it over a week instead of hot brewing a batch each day and then feeling like I was wasting coffee. There’s a reason why they call it black gold!
And now for item number two! This was done back in November, when I first started experimenting with pastry. Instead of using the pie crust (shortcrust?) I had used before (more than once!), I used pastry typically used for Cornish Pasties. The two differ by the addition of egg yolks and baking powder in the pasty pastry.
The idea behind this one was to use up some leftover ragù sauce. Instead of taking Occam’s route (didn’t want to cut myself with the razor), I decided to make pastry and use that to bag some ragù. I had never heard of this being done and so took it upon myself to name such a dish. And who could pass up an opportunity to give something an inappropriate name? I decided to coin this…
I made the pasty pastry (recipe at the end of the post), unevenly separated it and rolled it out in circles. Then, I added a dollop of ragù to the centre.
The pastry was then all gathered up at the top to make a bag. Now, let’s all look back at how consistent I can be and build expectations on the shapes of these bags… exactly.
Why have a bunch of sacks (there are six of them, which is a majority, so not bad), when you can have meat candy, or a mini pseudo-pasty?
These were egg washed and baked for 45-50 minutes in a low heat (180ºC).
The best thing about meat sacks is that they can go hipster and be vegetarian, thus making their name ironic. I would know this because I’m just as hipster as Absolut Vodka mixed with Coca-Cola (I drink it ironically, duh!). Nevertheless, if you make a few meat sacks, along with some veggie sacks, you have yourselves an easily portable, fairly balanced meal! Kind of like a normal pasty…
I hope you enjoyed the coffee and meat sacks (though I doubt they’d be good in conjunction). As promised, here’s a recipe for pasty pastry.
- 450g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 125g unsalted butter
- 2 egg yolks + one egg for the egg wash
- 125 ml cold water
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Cut the butter into cubes and add to the dry mix.
Fork/use the the food processor until it all resembles bread crumbs.
Add the egg yolks and mix.
Slowly add the water and fork/blitz just until it forms a ball of dough. Wrap it in cling film and let it set in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Flour your surface, separate the dough in small balls, if necessary, and roll out to the necessary size.
Fill it, wet the edges, fold and crimp.
Bake for 45-50 minutes at 180ºC.