February 10, 2015

Baking Pies and Planting Herbs

This weekend the weather gods sure weren't looking out for us poor fundraisers, that much I know. Between 10 and 20cm fell Saturday (the day of the benefit dinner and dance), but that didn't slow our locals down! Over 200 people turned out to join in supporting the affected family and I was reminded again why I love living where I do. My pies were well received and I enjoyed mingling with locals (incidentally I ended up sitting with some Quibell residents and the man who's 120 acres I helped mow this past August!) and trying my hand at a penny auction (and the losing streak continues!).
Pecan (at the back) and Chocolate Pecan Pies ready for a good cause!

But of course my heart is still aching for some soil so Saturday morning while the pies were in the oven I hauled out the bed sheet and did some February gardening. I helped my mum transplant a couple houseplants to bigger pots and moved some herbs into pots from their peat plugs.
Mum's houseplants, my herbs
My dill has fluffy little dills!! (well ok, you know what I mean)
My little garden experiment is taking up a lot of room on that sill...
My current inventory is (starting with the pot at the bottom of that last photo, working my way up): Dill, Basil, Catnip, half a pot of Parsley (the Thyme is taking its time (har, har, har...) and is spending a couple more days in the peat plug before joining the parsley), a whole pot of Spinach and in that last pot I have five different kinds of lettuce!! But I didn't label them so it'll be a surprise to everyone if they sprout!

And of course what would indoor gardening be without the watchful eye of our guard dog (read snoozer)?
Really, Chihuahuas are best left in warm chairs when there's soil on the floor nearby.

I fully intended on leaving you hanging for a couple of days before sharing my stellar pie crust recipe (I don't want anyone thinking this is one of those recipe blogs) but a great recipe like this is meant to be shared! So here goes, help yourself and please share with your friends, family and favourites! (and if you actually read this, please do put a little hello in the comments! I see those hits but no one's been brave enough to introduce themselves yet!)

I like using vanilla (or in this case, cinnamon sugar) flavoured vodka
Pie Crust
Makes enough for a 9" pie tin and a lid (or bake the extra and eat dusted with cinnamon sugar!!)
(adapted from Food52)

  • 1 3/4 to 2 cup Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 9 tablespoon cold butter (1/2 cup +1 tbsp)
  • 1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 3 tablespoon vodka
  1. Combine shortening and butter and place in fridge for a couple of hours until cold and solid
  2. Combine vodka and water in a measuring cup and place in fridge or freezer to cool while combining remaining ingredients.
  3. In a food processor combine 1 cup flour with sugar and salt (a couple of quick pulses) 
  4. Add cold fats and process for approximately 10 seconds or until a dough begins to collect in uneven clumps.
  5. Add remaining 3/4 to 1 cup flour (depending on how dry or humid your kitchen is) and pulse approximately 5 quick pulses until dough is broken up and flour is distributed. Empty into a mixing bowl.
  6. Sprinkle chilled liquid over flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and chill for a couple hours or overnight. 
  8. Roll dough out on a floured surface.
  9. Line dish and chill until ready to use.
  10. Fill and bake according to your pie recipe.