Sally Webb sets out to prove Paul Hollywood is just as much of a pro as we all hope…
Can the Lord of the Loaf, the Brigadier of Bread, the Sour Dough Supremo deliver when it comes to recipes that stray from his usual floury fare? The answer is a resounding yes, oh yes.
In his latest publication, Bread, Paul Hollywood offers, in addition to each fantastic bread recipe, a recipe that will put that bread to good use and make a full meal of it. I tackled the beef cobbler with cheese scones on Saturday night.
My way is to get absolutely everything I need out of the fridge and cupboard before I start; therefore surrounding myself with ingredients and making a mess, even before the first puff of flour makes its way onto the floor. But it means I’m prepared and poised in a Ready Steady Cook fashion; so out came the stewing steak, flour, onions, carrots, celery, leek, tomato puree, red wine, beef stock, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper (for the stew) and the self-raising white and wholemeal flour, malted bread flour, salt, fresh rosemary, Cheddar, full-fat milk and beaten egg for the scones. This dish is no quick cook – it means more than a couple of hours in the kitchen. But the result and intermittent glasses of wine mean that it’s well worth the effort.
Patience is required when batch sealing the beef, but take pains and follow the instructions to a tee – Mr Hollywood knows what he’s talking about. Said instructions are easy to follow and laid out in a clear step-by-step manner, that meant everything was chopped, peeled and diced at the necessary moment. The scones can be made very quickly (messily) while the beef is bubbling away in the oven, and there is a nice half hour’s lull that allows you to set the table, pour (more) wine and lose the apron. When you’re ready, avoid the temptation to get the dish out of the oven ahead of schedule. Leave it! The result is a meltingly tender pot of rich beef and fluffy scones that’s incredibly filling and absolutely delicious.
Two fussy feeders – they would argue the contrary – and a pregnant woman all agreed that this dish was absolutely first-class: the perfect winter warmer. I felt rather proud, and just a little smug, that my mate Paul and I had managed to pull it off.