PULITZER PIES: CHICKEN, BACON AND MUSHROOM PIE

Dear Amelia,
I know.
Another Chocolate Malteser Cake.
But in my defence:
1. You LOVED it.
2. It seemed fitting that your second birthday should be celebrated with the same cake I baked for your Great Grandma’s 80th.
3 (and more to the point). I paid $10 for the Horlicks malted milk powder that was listed in the recipe and, according to the stamp on the bottom of the Horlicks tin, I’ve only got until August 2013 to use up the absolute shitload that’s left.
Luckily for you, every cloud has a silver lining.
As in, whatever is left in the tin by the time your third birthday rolls around will have already gone to Horlicks Heaven.
So Nanna will be forced to make something different.
Something like this maybe (we’d have to change your name to Jayden but I think it would be worth it).

Picture source here

It was a lovely birthday weekend – lots of kisses, lots of cuddles and lots of games (my favourite being the running-in-circles one called “round and round and round and round and round and round and JUMP” – if only all of life was that simple).
And even though it says in “Advice After Abdominal Surgery” that you shouldn’t pick up anything heavier than a kettle of water, Nanna decided to live on the edge and managed to pick you up a dozen times without anything nasty exploding out of her belly button.
Speaking of which, after you’d gone to bed and we’d eaten our body weight in cake, your Mum, Dad, Grandpa and I settled down to watch TV and it was at this point that your Mum started to shout, “Ooh, ooh, ooh.”
At first we thought her vital signs were shutting down due to Malteser overload but it turned out she’d come across one of her favourite programmes and was very excited.


This programme is called Embarrassing Bodies and it is truly wonderful.
Three minutes in and I was like iron filings to a magnet.
I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before – in the OMG stakes it knocks Bethenny and the Real Housewives (except maybe for crazy-eyes Ramona) into a cocked hat.
Here’s what happens: a bunch of doctors get in a van and drive around England looking for people who have things wrong with them that are so embarrassing, they can’t discuss them with anybody else.
For example, there was this lady who wouldn’t take her clothes off in front of a bloke on account her unfortunate hoo hoo (as they say in the classics).
So she took all her clothes off IN FRONT OF THE TV CAMERA and sure enough her labia were practically grazing her knees and now every bloke in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia and, for all I know, Ecuador and the Democratic Republic of Congo, knows about it.
When I say “every bloke” I actually mean every bloke except for your Dad, who suddenly became engrossed in his iPhone, and your Grandpa, who said, “I’m not watching this crap,” and went to bed.
Not that your mother and I noticed for a while because by then we were captivated by an anal skin tag on another lady’s bottom.
Anyway, long story short, I had to make it up to your Grandpa with one of his favourite pies.
This pie is based on a recipe by my friend Margaret Johnson (restaurant consultant, food writer for The West Australian newspaper and all-round good sort) and it’s pretty yummy.

CHICKEN, BACON AND MUSHROOM PIE

Serves 4

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted for 5-10 minutes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 500g), diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 rashers bacon, cut into small pieces
12 button mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp dried thyme
½ cup white wine
small carton chicken stock OR 3 tsps Gravox gravy mix dissolved in a mug of boiling water (don’t tell anyone about the Gravox or all your cooking credibility will go down the gurgler)
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a big frying pan over med-high heat, brown the diced chicken, then remove it to a casserole dish or saucepan.
Cook the onion, bacon and mushrooms in the frying pan until the onion and mushrooms have softened.
Put with the chicken in the casserole.
Pour over the wine and enough stock to just cover.
Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper and partly cover with a lid.
Bring to a simmer on a medium heat.
Turn the heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes.
Let the mixture cool then pour into a pie dish.
Cover with puff pastry, brush with beaten egg and poke a couple of holes in the top to let the steam escape.
Bake in a preheated 200C oven until puffed and golden brown (about 30 minutes).

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GETTING CLUCKY

Dear Amelia,
I was lying in bed this morning thinking about Beyonce’s pelvic floor.
It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I was thinking that if I had never been a mother, I would never have ended up with you.
Then it occurred to me that if I had never been a mother I also wouldn’t wet myself when I sneeze.
Then I wondered if Beyonce is doing her pelvic floor exercises on a regular basis.
Let’s hope so or she’ll end up like me.
It’s Beyonce’s first Mother’s Day this year.
I wonder if she’ll get a cup of tea in bed.
If she does, it won’t be made by her daughter, Blue Ivy, because Blue Ivy is only four months old.
Plus, Blue Ivy is too busy getting her feet photographed.
She has the most photographed feet in the world.


I often wonder what celebrities do on days like Mother’s Day.
Take the Real Housewives of Orange County for example, whose real hair colour can only be discerned by looking at their pubes.

Do they put on a big communal barbecue down at the park so their kids don’t have to go through the trauma of trying to tell them apart?
Or do they think, “Mmmm, I wouldn’t say no to Nigella’s One-Pan Sage and Onion Chicken and Sausage for dinner.”
Which is what I would think, so here’s the recipe.

ONE-PAN SAGE-AND-ONION CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE

Serves 4-6

1 lemon
1 lge onion, cut into eighths
one-third of a cup of olive oil
2 tsp English mustard
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (save the backs for stock or chuck them out)
or
8 chicken pieces (must have bone in and skin on)
8 chipolata sausages

Cut the lemon in half, squeeze out the juice, then cut each half into quarters.
Put the lemon juice and the 8 pieces of rind into a big zip-lock freezer bag with the onion, olive oil, mustard, dried sage, Worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of black pepper.
Squelch everything around in the bag until it’s well mixed.
Add the chicken pieces and squelch it around a bit more.
Seal the bag and put it in the fridge to marinate (overnight is best but four hours is enough).
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Put the chicken in a big roasting pan, skin-side up, and tip the remaining contents of the bag evenly over the top.
Roast for 30 mins then add the chipolata sausages, tucking them around the chicken pieces.
Cook for another 45 minutes, turning the chipolatas over after 20 minutes so they brown evenly.
Serve on a big platter (chuck out the roasted lemon rinds if you want but they actually taste really nice).
This recipe is cooked at a lower temperature and has less oil and sage than the original recipe, which you’ll find at nigella.com or in her book, Feast.
I also use chicken pieces (thighs and/or drumsticks and/or wings) because I find the chicken breasts from the whole chook get too dry.
Thighs are the best, as Beyonce would no doubt agree.