The click of the seasons. “Love the look of that pie!”

“There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you feel the seasons click. The air is crisp, the summer is gone. For the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed. It brings up other needs as well.”

Carrie Bradshaw

… in my case comfort food.

Last week we returned from a warm & sunny South of France to a rather cooler, darker home. In just one day I could feel the seasons “click”. I love the Autumn. It’s a little neglected as it is often wished away in favour of the countdown of “sleeps” until Christmas, but you get Halloween, bonfire night, kicking through the leaves in wellies. Magical! Oh, & a new series of Bake Off.

After a Spring & Summer of baking mainly sweet treats it was time to start the Sunday comfort cooking. They say the family that eats together stays together so we have started a tradition in the Hart household of trying to eat a homemade Sunday lunch together every week.  Not that we’ve ever had any trouble getting her to eat anything, but, Mabel enjoys her meals so much more when we all sit down together.

This week hubby requested a pie – a chicken pie. I made Nigel Slater’s chicken & leek pie..

Nige uses shop-bought puff pastry (which is perfectly adequate). The extra effort & taste comes in from the use of chicken thighs & legs. The darker meat from the bone is a cheaper cut, but it’s also a lot more moist & tasty than the breast. Win-win.

The meat is poached in milk infused with peppercorns, a bay leaf & half an onion. The cooking liquor is then strained & used as the basis of the sauce in the pie. The addition of streaky bacon turns up the volume.

Now I’m not sure if it had a soggy bottom as it all melded into one when we cut it. Hollywood would shirk with horror I’m sure, but we loved it nonetheless.

As we sat down to eat I was very pleased to learn Arsenal had continued their excellent start to the season by beating Stoke 3-1, which was in no small part down to our new super signing Mesut Özil. I’m so excited for this guy at the Arsenal – there is a real buzz around the club not experienced by the fans for some time – let’s see if we can convert that optimism into silverware this season. So I called this my celebratory Özil pie.

As it was a run of the mill pie I didn’t think it worthy of its own blog post. I often Tweet my efforts to Nigel Slater in the vain hope that he might one day respond. This pie was no different. But on this occasion Nigel took notice & replied to me with; “Love the look of that pie!” *smug*!!!

I agree with NS – but it tasted even better. Happy Autumn!

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Bex

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