• 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 50mls water
  • 40g butter
  • 35g plain flour
  • 220mls whole milk
  • 30g strong cheddar
  • 500g all butter puff pastry
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

I’m making friends again, in that mode where making connections feels all important. I did it when pregnant with my first son. With my second, born just  two years later, I couldn’t do it. I hadn’t the energy and the first lot of post natal pals were all consuming. Hence son #2 has very few friends of his own and for this, yes, I feel guilt.

So here I am trying to pave the way by sending emails to new hypno birthing friends, with a sense of trepidation and a hopeful glance at my phone, refreshing my emails to see if they’re replied. It’s like the first day of school again.

Here’s a recipe that reminds me a bit of being at school, though this pie’s not served with soggy cabbage this time.

One year ago: Love cupcakes and White chocolate, lemon and macadamia cake and Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soupand My lightest Yorkshire puddings

Two years ago: Bake me not chocolate cake and Jelly and ice-cream meringue roulade and Good flapjack and Banana, butterscotch and fig traybake

Three years ago: Treasure hunt ice-cream and Rhubarb and ginger chutney and Carrot cake

Chicken & mushroom pie

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, quartered
  • 50mls water
  • 40g butter
  • 35g plain flour
  • 220mls whole milk
  • 30g strong cheddar, grated
  • 500g all butter puff pastry
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cold and shredded
  • Black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk, mixed with a pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, celery, mushrooms and water. Fry on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the water has all evaporated and the vegetables have browned a little. Remove from the frying pan and pour into a bowl.

Make the cheese sauce by heating the butter in a saucepan until melted then adding the flour and whisking vigorously until smooth. Leave on a medium heat for about 1 minute to cook the flour off, then add the milk gradually, whisking all the time. You will have a very thick white sauce. (The thick quality is important, otherwise you might end up with a soggy bottomed pie.) Remove from the heat and add the cheese and black pepper. Mix well and pour over the vegetables in the bowl. Stir, cover and refrigerate until completely cold.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Roll the puff pastry out into a large rectangle, about 3mm thick, using a well floured rolling pin. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with non stick baking parchment. Mix the cold chicken into the vegetable and cheese mixture and place onto one side of the rectangle, leaving a 2cm edge free of mixture at the sides. Sprinkle with black pepper. Paint the sides of the rectangle with egg yolk and then fold the pastry without any mixture on, over, on top of the filled side, as if closing a book. Press the edges down.

Paint the top of the pie with egg yolk and bake for about 40 minutes until the pie is golden all over. Serve hot with green beans or peas. This is also delicious for lunch cold the next day.

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