Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Way To A Man's Heart

I started drafting a post on Boston yesterday but then I bribed Jon to come to my house for dinner with the promise of yummy comfort food and so I decided that what you all are really missing in your lives is a few pointers on...

the way to a man's heart
which is
as it turns out
primarily but not exclusively
through his stomach

Now, I'm not an expert on this sort of thing.  I've got a boyfriend, sure, and I think he's generally pretty happy to be with me, but my other qualifications are along the lines of "I'd want this if I were a guy" and "I'd be happy to walk next to a man who had this."  If you think that these are solid credentials, keep reading!

Jon and I are saving up for a holiday in the Scottish Highlands in mid-February (yes, we're totally crazy) and so decided to keep any gifts we give each other relatively low-key and low-cost.  However, if I were to buy him real presents with my imaginary limitless checkbook, I'd respect his request to only receive useful items that he can wear.  It sounds pretty boring, but I approached it as a challenge - and I discovered that "useful" and "gorgeous" are not mutually exclusive.  Look what I found:

If your budget doesn't stretch to these sort of goodies - Lord knows mine doesn't - you can always go the DIY route and cook something delicious for your man.  For example, you could copy me (go ahead, I don't mind) and make the absolutely amazing and oh-so-easy chicken pot pie that I created last night.

image via SmittenKitchen, which also has an excellent (but more complicated) recipe

Chicken Pot Pie
makes four servings

500g chicken breast, diced
2 tbs butter
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
4 carrots, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2c frozen peas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 tsp garlic powder
puff pastry (I used a 375g piece but the size you need will depend on the dish you use)
salt, pepper, olive oil

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sauté in a little bit of olive oil until cooked through.  Set chicken aside and clean out the pan.  Melt the butter in the pan and sauté the onion until translucent; add the mushrooms, carrots, and celery and cook until soft, stirring frequently.  Mix in the peas and keep on the heat for a further two or three minutes.

In the meantime, flour a work surface as well as a rolling pin (I used a wine bottle, natch) and roll out the puff pastry until thin.  Butter the inside of a casserole dish and lay the puff pastry inside, leaving enough dough on the edges to cover the pot pie.

Pour the chicken and the vegetables into a big bowl and add the soup, combining well.  Mix in the garlic powder and add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined casserole dish and fold the edges of the dough over the top, sealing as possible.  (Possible supreme additional step: grate Manchego over the top of the pot pie.)

Cook the pot pie in the oven at 200*c for 40 minutes or until the top is golden.  Let cool a bit, then ladle into bowls and enjoy!

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