Pastilla a la frigo

The children are at my mother-in-law’s and I have the kitchen to myself. This is a tantalising proposition, one I am always keen to exploit. But in the absence of small mouths to feed I seem to have omitted to buy adequate necessary sustenance for me and my husband. So I shall have to improvise. Though generally painless and actually pleasurable, I can rarely recreate the culinary successes, as I forget to write them down. I have high hopes for this particular flight of fancy given the bit of minced beef, brique pastry, and frozen spinach my fridge freezer have thrown up. The intention is to turn this lot into some sort of inauthentic pastilla.

So this first blog entry may be the start of some happy musings or may stall at my first failure.

In my enthusiasm to evoke North African and Middle Eastern flavours I shall have to restrain my desire to add too many warm spices. Namely can I put cumin, cinnamon and allspice in this pie alongside preserved lemon and raisins without ending up something that resembles pot pourri?

The verdict: Aesthetically not a beautiful specimen. The filling is uniformly mossy green and brown, thus not all that inviting. The structure held together well, but this pastilla will not be willing any beauty contests.

Taste: Rather nice, the raisins and preserved lemons add much needed sweet sour notes to the meaty earthy filling. And I managed to avoid spice overkill. The shortcoming lay in the pastry, not enough of it. I realised upon assembly that the filler to crust ratio was off, but had no desire to traipse to the shops for more (a committed yet lazy cook). At least 10 sheets, 5 below and 5 above would have been necessary for a balanced pie and more butter brushed between the layers for extra flakiness. This pastilla definately lacked crunch but was by no means a complete disappointment. An acceptable Monday night dinner derived from pot luck a la fridge/freezer.

Neither a resounding success nor outright failure, my ego withstands. And in honour of services provided I name my effort

To see the photographic result and to get the recipe go to:

Sounds like you cook like i do…! Improvisation is king in my book.