Pickling Spice

Pickling Spice is a commercially prepared combination of spices used, as the name suggests, to flavour various pickles.

The basic recipe varies but most com-mercial pickling spice contains black and white peppercorns, allspice berries, mus- tard seed and bay leaves. Celery seed, garlic cloves, dried chillis and dill seed are also often included. Whole spices are usually bruised to release their flavour.

Picnic Patties

As their name suggests, these tasty little savoury patties are ideal for taking away on picnics. You may, of course, also serve them hot from the oven zoith green vegetables and a hot tomato. sauce for a light meal at home.

12 PATTIES

12- oz. butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

4 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

4 fl. oz. single cream

8 oz. lean cooked chicken, diced

4 oz. lean ham, in one piece, diced

10 oz. flour

½ teaspoon salt

10 oz. butter

6 to

7 tablespoons iced water

1 egg yolk, well beaten with

2 tablespoons milk

First, make the filling. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 1 ounce of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the shallot and fry, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is soft and translucent but not brown.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook them, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are just tender.

With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside on a plate. Add the remaining butter to the pan and melt it over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, stir the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, oregano and Tabasco sauce into the pan to make a smooth paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the cream, stirring constantly and being careful to avoid lumps. Return the pan to the heat and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until it is smooth and very thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked vegetables, the chicken and ham. Combine the mixture well and set it aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Add 2 ounces of the butter and cut it into small pieces with a table knife. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add 6 tablespoons of the water and lightly knead the dough until it is smooth. Add a little more water if the dough looks too dry.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in greaseproof or waxed paper and chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Place the remaining butter between two sheets of greaseproof or waxed paper and beat it with the back of a wooden spoon or mallet until it forms a flat oblong approximately J-inch thick.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and remove and discard the paper. Place the dough on a lightly floured working surface and roll it out into an oblong approximately {–inch thick. Carefully peel off and discard the paper on the butter and place the butter in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough over in half to enclose the butter. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Picnic Salad as good to eat now as when it left the kitchen! Serve it with crusty bread for a sustaining and refreshing picnic meal.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on the working surface with the open ends facing you. Roll the dough out into an oblong and fold the oblong in three, turning it so that the open ends face you. Roll the dough out again into an oblong and fold it in three. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, and then repeat the rolling and folding process twice more.

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220 ‘C). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick silicone paper and set it aside.

Roll out the dough into a large circle approximately J -inch thick. Using a

5-inch round pastry cutter, cut the dough into

12 circles. Spoon equal amounts of the chicken and mushroom filling on to one half of each dough circle, to within l-inch of the edges. Moisten the edges of the circles with a little cold water and fold the circles in half to enclose the filling. Crimp the edges of the dough together to seal the patties.

Using a fish slice or a spatula, carefully transfer the patties to the prepared baking sheer, spacing them apart slightly.

With a pastry brush, brush the patties with the egg yolk and milk mixture.

Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven and bake the patties for 20 to 25 minutes or until they are puffed up and golden.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. With a fish slice or spatula, transfer the patties to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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