This is one of those dishes I would normally look at and think, ‘That looks yummy,’ and then click right on past it. The fact that I didn’t own a pie dish (until yesterday, when I procured one for this recipe) may have had something to do with it. I don’t know... Whenever pastry is involved, I tend to feel a little nervous and inadequate.
But I had a whole roast butternut in my fridge (more on that later), and three kinds of cheese (keep reading), and I knew, I just KNEW, that if I didn’t take action right now, they would be unearthed in three weeks’ time at the back of the fridge — mouldy, rotten and inedible — and then I would be visited by that special kind of shame that plants images of hungry children in my mind as I scrape hitherto perfectly edible food into the bin.
I am trying desperately, and failing often, not to waste food. In a fit of industry the other day, I threw two elderly sweet potatoes and a large butternut into the oven, thinking, ‘Hey presto, work lunches for the coming week, sorted.’ But after two days of buttered sweet potato, I couldn’t really look at the butternut. Too much moosh.
I also had some Edam, feta and creamy blue cheese left over from a drinks/snacks get-together that, hmph, never happened (you know who you are).
What to do?
I Googled ‘cheese + butternut’, and my favourite food blog, The Wednesday Chef, came to the rescue with this gorgeous recipe.
She used pre-made pie crust, and I fully intended to follow her lead and use Woolies ready-made butter pastry. Except, when I got to the appropriate isle, the shelf was empty. The revolting cheap stuff was there alright, but I can’t bring myself to touch it. It’s made with ‘vegetable fat’, whatever that means, and tastes like sawdust. I was so enraged that Woolworths had fucked up my dinner plans that I actually stamped my foot: not once, not twice, but three times. I stopped when I noticed a security guard edging towards me.
I had no choice but to make my own pastry. I was NOT going to flake out (sorry), because some part of me knew that if I didn’t use that bloody butternut and cheese tonight, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I went home and MADE PASTRY.
FOR THE FIRST TIME.
WITHOUT A FOOD PROCESSOR.
(A Jamie recipe, you can find it here — it's not on his website for some reason.)
I mean, who gets home after a long day at work and sets to making pastry? Well, me, because I am disturbed. I’d like to say it was worth it — and it WAS a gorgeous pie, rich and silky and satisfying, with a simple green salad — but really, I have better things to do with my time. We ate at 10pm for god’s sake, so thanks a lot, Woolworths.
I will definitely make it again, though — using ready-made butter pastry, of course. It’s quick-sticks that way, and a great meat-free, weeknight option.