Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Heartbroken and WIP Wednesday (way at the bottom)

Well, it happened. Last night, I was just looking at like I do, always looking for that other perfect homestead (other than this one that we already found and so desperately want) and I decided to check on the one we've been looking at---and it's gone. Someone has made an offer on it. I was stunned, this house has been on the market for a year now and barely anyone has looked at it---but when they considerably lowered the price of it, I knew someone else would see what we see in it and snatch it up--and that has happened. You know what the worst part is? We got pre-approved for a loan, and we'll have our certificate on Thursday. We missed it by 3 days. The realtor is going to look into the offer and see what is going on, if there is a chance for us to make an offer of our own or something. In the meantime, I've been spending hours looking at properties for sale, I can't find anything that is even close to perfect, or as perfect as that property was for us. C'est la vie.

No progress on the quilts as of yet. Seamus is SO active nowadays that I can't even read email without him getting into something. I have to be right on top of him at all times, which leaves little time for anything else. I was going to work on it last night, but after seeing our "home" was sold, I was overcome with sadness and I didn't do a thing. I just can't believe it is gone, I've dreamed of this property, we've drawn up plans on how we'd fix up the house, I had my gardens planned out in the yard and plans for someday building a log cabin in the woods over by the river. I knew there was a chance someone could get it and purchase it before we did, but since it hadn't happened in a year, I never imagined it would happen 3 days before we were ready to make an offer. Wow.

I did have a productive day in the kitchen, though! I made two loaves of white and 2 loaves of rye bread. The boys and I made 2 batches of soft pretzels. I made an Amazon cake (chocolate, eggless cake.) I also made sausage rolls, like the ones we used to buy at Gaelic Imports, where I used to go to buy Scottish meat pies. When I was a teenager, my mom was dating this Scottish man (who was only 6 years older than me---that kinda creeped me out, but he was really nice and cool AND he gave me his electric guitar!) ANYWAY....... He used to bring over these Scottish meat pies for us and he said they were just like the ones he would eat back home. Needless to say we loved them and every once in a while my mom would make a trip to Gaelic Imports to get some for us. When I got married and had kids of my own, I decided to find out where this place was (my mom couldn't remember) and get the meat pies for my own kids. After searching around Cleveland (we didn't even have the name of the place, she couldn't remember that, either) I finally found Gaelic Imports and we became regulars there. Every few months or so, I'd buy 2 dozen meat pies at a time to keep stocked up. Over the years, they have gotten to be very expensive. I used to get 24 for around $15, now they are $1.25 a piece and I just can't justify spending that kind of money on them. SO, I decided to learn how to make them myself. I searched the internet for meat pie recipes. I would find recipes but the meat inside would be different, or it would call for mutton, or it wouldn't be the right type of shell. I found and it was chock full of traditional Scottish recipes but nothing for the meat pies I was craving. I needed to find a recipe for the meat inside the pie, and a recipe for the pie shells. I spoke to someone at the Irish food booth at the West Side Market, and she told me that they stuff the pies with seasoned ground beef and they have a special press that makes the pie shells. Well, that didn't worry me, I just used a tuna can as a mold and then made a lid to fit it. I tried using her suggestions and the pies I made were good, but the meat still wasn't right. It was too coarse and the flavor wasn't quite right yet. The pie shell is made from a basic hot water pastry recipe, very simple to make. I got the pastry down immediately and while my shells aren't as perfect or as pretty as the ones in the store (they are made with a press) they taste exactly the same! Now, I still haven't found the correct meat recipe. I didn't want to use mutton, as most traditional recipes called for, because the pies I've always had were made with ground beef, so I was told. I kept trying, changing the spices I used in the meat and we'd keep getting closer, but never exact. So, this past weekend when we went shopping, I had picked up a 5 pound bag of ground pork to make my own sausages. I had made Irish sausages for St. Patricks' Day so I was thinking of trying to make some Italian or breakfast sausages. As I was busy baking everything yesterday, I got a craving for the sausage rolls we used to get at Gaelic Imports, so I decided to try to make those. I got on Google and stated searching for Scottish sausage recipes, I had the ones I had tried for the meat pies, but I knew those weren't quite right as well. I came across a recipe for what is called Lorne sausage. This is a common and well loved sausage eaten in Scotland, it was certainly simple---a combo of pork and beef, mixed with oatmeal, fresh breadcrumbs, salt, white and black pepper, ground coriander and freshly grated nutmeg. I mixed some up, cooked up a little bit to see how it tasted and everyone said it was good. So, I figured this would work for the sausage rolls. I had some puff pastry in the freezer, so I just used that and wrapped up the sausages in the puff pastry and tossed them in the oven. I figured even if they didn't taste exactly right, they'd still be good. In the meantime, I grabbed the bowl of leftover mashed potatoes, mixed in a couple eggs, some flour and some sauted onions and scallions and made up some tasty potato pancakes to go with the sausage rolls. As we're all sitting at the dinner table, and I am handing out sausage rolls to everyone, my 11 year old son takes a bite and loudly proclaims---MOM, this meat takes JUST LIKE the meat from the Scottish meat pies that you buy! I look at him, look at DH and grabbed my sausage roll and take a bite---and he was right! It was perfect! I had considered that they possibly used the same meat in the sausage rolls as they used in the meat pies, but since I could never get anyone to actually tell me what was what, I never pressed for answers. But I've now found it and I am very pleased! The funny thing is, Lorne sausage is traditionally made in a loaf pan, they put it raw into the pan, freeze it slightly and then slice it into easy to cook slices that can be tossed on a slice of bread. It never occurred to me that this would be the same stuff that goes into the meat pies.

Here is a recipe for square sliced sausage - often called Lorne sausage.

2 lbs Ground/minced Beef
2 lbs Groun
d Pork
3 Cups Fine Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Pepper

2 tsp Nutmeg
3 tsp Coriander
3 tsp Salt
1 Cup of water.

The beef and pork should not be too lean or the sausage may be too dry.
Mix really well by hand then place in an oblong pan about 10" x 4" x 3". You might need two pans. Place in the freezer for a little while till it's just starting to set. Remove it and cut them to the thicknes you like and put them into freezer bags and put them back in the freezer. When required, defrost and fry in a little fat or oil until brown and cooked through.

For the sausage rolls, I made the Lorne Sausage recipe above and I used Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry.
After mixing the sausage meat and letting it sit for 30 minutes to mix the flavors, I took a sheet of thawed out puff pastry and rolled it out to be around 9 X 9 inches. I cut it in half, across the 2 folds. I took some of the sausage meat, rolled it into a long roll, the same length as the pastry and set it on the half sheet of pastry. I took some milk and brushed it on the edges and pulled the two long edges together over the sausage and pinched them together. I layed them down on an ungreased cookie sheet, seam side down. I baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees and then 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until golden brown.

I did not use all the Lorne Sausage recipe for the rolls, so I lined a loaf pan with plastic wrap and put the rest in the pan, covered it with plastic wrap and froze it. I'll just slice it, fry it and put it on bread for breakfast, just like they do in Scotland! YUM!

Here is a recipe for the meat pies, I have made it like it is (with beef instead of mutton) and it was good, but in the future I will use the Lorne sausage for the meat since that tastes exactly like the meat pies I have eaten.

Traditional Scottish Recipes
- Scotch Pie
Granny Black's, Candleriggs, Glasgow Large numbers of Scotch Pies are sold in Scotland every day - they are an original "fast food" and are often sold at the half-time interval at football (soccer) matches. The pies are made in special straight-sided moulds, roughly 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter and about 1½ inches (4cm) deep. A pastry lid, inside the pie, covers the meat about ½ inch (1cm) below the rim. This leaves a space at the top of the pie which can be filled, if required - with hot gravy, baked beans, mashed (creamed) potatoes etc. The meat is usually mutton (sometimes of varying quality). Many bakers have their own recipes and add spices to give additional flavour - there is now an annual competition for the best Scotch Pie.
Grannie Black, in Candleriggs in Glasgow, was a character who had such a reputation for such good mutton pies that people came from far and wide - the pub named after her (pictured here) has, unfortunately, been demolished.
The quantities below should make roughly 8/10 pies.
Ingredients for the Meat Filling:
1 pound (500g or two cups) lean lamb, minced (ground)
Pinch of mace or nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Quarter pint (150ml) gravy

Ingredients for the Hot Water Pastry:
1 pound (50
0g or four cups) plain flour
6 ounces (175g or ¾ cup) lard
6 fluid ounces (225ml or ¾ cup) approximately of water

Pinch of salt
Milk for glazing
You will also need glasses or jars, approximately 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter to shape the pie.
Create the filling by mixing the minced (ground) lamb, spice and seasoning.
Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a warm bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Melt the lard in a scant measure of water and, when it is bubbling, add to the flour and mix thoroughly. Take a small amount (remember the mixture should make 8/10 pies, with their tops) and form into a ball and keep the rest warm while making each pastry case. This is done by rolling a suitable amount for each pie and shaping the crust round the base of a glass or jar approximately 3-3½ inches (7.5-8.5cm) in diameter. Make sure there are no cracks in the pastry -
you can trim round the top of the case to make it even. As the pastry cools and gets cool, remove the glass and continue until you have about a quarter of the pastry left to make the lids.
Fill the cases with the meat and add the gravy to make the meat moist.
Roll the remaining pastry and use the glass to cut the lids. Wet the edges of t
he lids, place over the meat and press down lightly over the filling. Pinch the edges and trim. Cut a small hole or vent in the centre of the lid (to allow the steam to escape).
Glaze with milk and bake for about 45 minutes at 275F/140C/Gas mark 1. If the pies are not eaten immediately, they can be stored in the 'fridge but always ensure they are properly reheated before being eaten.

All the recipes I have posted are from
Make sure you have some HP sauce to go with your meat pies and sausage rolls! It's like A-1 but sweeter, it tastes better on Scottish food than A-1!

Yes, I am of Scottish blood, actually Scotch-Irish on my mothers' side (with a touch of German in there) and Mexican and Mescalero Apache on my fathers' side. And I do make a lot of Mexican dishes as well, LOL!

UPDATE: DH talked again to the realtor, he said that nothing is even in writing as of yet for the people who made an offer on our dream house, so we could possibly wait a few weeks before doing anything to see if the deal goes through. I asked DH if he asked if we could make an offer of our own, but he didn't ask---so I expect him to call the realtor tomorrow to find out. I'll post any updates. I did find some other houses to look at, not as appealing all around as the other house, but I did find a really nice Amish house that is for sale with a kitchen that is as big as the whole first floor of my current house! I want that one, LOL! I am not as depressed as I was last night, I know that we will get the house we are meant to get and it'll happen when it's supposed to happen. I've just been dreaming about living at that other house for so long now, I had already thought of it as mine! I am extremely excited that we finally got approval for financing, that is WONDERFUL news! It was overshadowed by the loss of the house we never had, LOL, but it really is time to get excited! We may still yet get the other house, who knows.

I'm in the mood to sew now, so for my WIP Wednesday, I am going to be putting the black and white borders on the Daisy quilt and then I will start appliquing the daisies on the top.

I am involved in a 30's strip swap from my Ohio Quilters group, I found some cute 30's reproduction fabrics at my LQS and most of them were 1/2 off! I was only going to get 6 different fabrics, but with the sale going on and all, I had to add 3 more. I just can't pass up a good sale!
Here are the fabrics I found, cute, huh?
They are all cut into 3, 3" strips so I am sending 27 strips and will get 27 different ones back. Then, with the strips I have leftover, I should have enough to make a full/queen sized log cabin or strip quilt! That's exciting!

Ok, that's it for me today! Have a good week and I'll post any news about the house hunt business!


Melzie said...

I'm so sorry about your house, but I am glad you are still looking :) You will find the one you're meant to have :) xoxo melzie

Rose said...

So sorry about the house....i can almost smell the aromas of ur kitchen, those meat pies look devine!!!!

Gina said...

The same thing happened to DH and me back when we were looking for a place in the country. We eventully found our place, but I still drive by the other one and wish we had gotten it. The people who did get it have done termendous things to it. It was a former Amish farmstead.

You'll find one you are meant to have and I can't wait to read about it!!

The meat pies do sound yummy!

Marsaili said...

Thanks Melzie and cross your fingers for us, I think we're gonna find it this week! I have a good feeling!

Thanks Rose! As good as the meat pies look, they taste a thousand times better! I wish I had one now, LOL!

Thanks Gina! We were going to look at that Amish homestead, it was a newer one that was even wired and plumbed (building codes require it even though they don't use it) but we found out that it was on a family compound and there wasn't enough land. It did have a wonderful barn and workshop though and the size of the kitchen was almost worth giving up the land, LOL! Hopefully we're gonna find our homestead this week!

Bethane said...

What a difference a few years make and yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I so enjoyed your story! Thanks for sharing your recipe and process for the meat pies so colorfully. Any chance of your making a vegetarian version? A combination of imported oats may add both flavor and a variety of textures. A wee dram will do too. Slainte!