Birthdays have always been a week-long celebration for me. My father’s birthday is July 27, and mine is the 29th. By the time we celebrated his, mine, and had a big party with friends, we had gone through about five cakes.
My birthday party in England in 2015
Even as a “grown up,” my birthday still somehow occupies a week. This year, we had my parent’s over to our home for dinner on the 27th. My mom cooked her homemade chicken recipe that I grew up with. We ate cake. On the 28th, I ate a birthday cupcake with friends. And on the 29th, the Englishman turned out a British feast suitable for the poshest of Sloane-y princesses (me, of course).
Birthday girl, the woman who made me, and the dog who got too excited
In Jamie We Trust, as we say. Brandon asked me to pick any recipe from any Jamie book – I looked to Jamie at Home, a classic and must-have in your kitchen. Although it is the end of July and the temperatures tip at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I wanted a pie. A steak and guinness pie. With peas. And potatoes.
Oh, boy, did Brandon deliver! The most delicious, flaky, gooey, warm savory pie you’ve ever had. If he could have wrapped his love for me in pastry dough, it would have been this pie. In exchange for this beautiful token of affection in the form of beef, beer, and cheese, I settled for a store bought cake – although it was gorgeous and delicious, made with love at Whole Foods. Sponge cake with strawberry jam and buttercream, for those interested.
I wore a floor length silk-chiffon pink dress and carried balloons around with me all evening, as one should do on their birthday. Sometimes, I think we feel a little too humble on our birthdays. We are only surrounded by those who loves us and know us best. Why shouldn’t we bask in the glow of that love? Why shouldn’t we wear a fancy gown? Why shouldn’t we splash out on pink champagne and toast to another year of being wonderful?
We spent the rest of the weekend having lunch, playing croquet, riding my new bike – but mostly eating, eating, eating. Especially cake. There were plenty of yummy treats, but that pie was the real showstopper of the evening. Here’s the recipe:
Birthday Steak and Guiness Pie
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home
- 3 medium red onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 4 medium mushrooms
- 2 pounds of quality stewing beef or steak, cut into cubes
- a few sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 can of Guinness
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- About 8oz of sharp cheddar cheese – sharp, sharp, sharp! – shredded
- 2 square sheets of ready-made all-butter puff pastry
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. In a large ovenproof pan, heat a good splash of oliver oil, fry the onions until translucent, and then add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Stir for about 1-2 minutes, then add the beef, rosemary, and some salt and pepper.
- Fry for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the Guinness, flour, and enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer then pop into the over for about 90 minutes. Stir, then return to the oven for another hour. Lengthy, but worth it. The liquid should thicken and the beef should fall to pieces. Stir in half the cheese.
- Line a pie dish or baking dish (we used an oval Le Creuset dish) with the first sheet of pastry dough. Leave some dough hanging over the edges. Pour the stew into the dish and top with the remaining cheese.
- Place the second piece of dough over the stew. Pinch and roll the two pieces together to seal them up. Using a sharp knife, store a little criss-cross pattern into the top and then brush with a beaten egg. Bake on the bottom rack for 45 minutes until golden and glowing.
Read more at http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/steak-guinness-and-cheese-pie-with-a-puff-pastry-lid/#ILQqw2ODHwGyXx0d.99