My love of puff pastry is well documented on this blog (here, here, here, here… to name a few). I can’t help it- it’s so versatile, so easy! Well… easy if you buy frozen, which I almost always do. Don’t get me wrong, fresh puff pastry is magical. It’s also a lot of work. And, frankly, unless I’m making something where the pastry is the star, I probably won’t notice the difference.
Yes, puff pastry is one thing I almost always compromise on- frozen is my jam.
For example, a few of my kitchen never-compromises:
- real butter only
- full-fat cream cheese always (low-fat is spreadable plastic, in my opinion)
- excellent cuts of steak (if I’m going to splurge on a steak, it must be amazing)
And then, some of my typical kitchen compromises:
- using plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream (always in the fridge, a little healthier)
- buying half-fat mayo (this must be surprising given my feelings on butter and cream cheese above. I dunno, I more or less can’t tell the difference unless I’m doing a lateral tasting)
- frozen pastry
Sure, I’ll throw together a pâte brisée or a simple tart crust on occasion (here, here and here, in case you were interested). 90% of the time, however, I will take the short cut- especially when it comes to somewhat finicky puff pastry. Heck, a lot of top restaurants don’t make their own!
Frozen puff pastry is also excellent if, like me, life has decided to kick you around a bit this week. Top it, stuff it, use it as a crust. Pretty much anything + puff pastry is a guaranteed pass into comfort food territory. It won’t solve your problems but I guarantee that a few bites of flaky, buttery crust will at least soften the blow.
This week I was reminded- yet again- that life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to. Sometimes this is a welcome thing, other times it can be a harder pill to swallow…
A good friend of mine recently separated from their spouse- one of them wanted children, the other did not. At the end of the day, they both had to ask themselves- were they willing to compromise over something they both felt so strongly about? The answer was no. After much soul searching, they both decided the dream of children or no-children was important enough to each of them that it was worth going back to the beginning. Starting over when so many of their friends were moving on.
In Cheryl Strayed’s book, Tiny Beautiful Things, she wrote: “Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”
OOF. Right in the guts.
I have found that the name of the game when you’re having a tough week, or faced with some soul-searching decisions, is to avoid comparison- avoid social media, because no one on the Internet is living the life you think they are.
Paul Jarvis wrote an article aptly titled this just last week. I highly recommend reading the entire piece, it’s a quick read, and a good one. It’s nothing we don’t already sort of know, but it is a good reminder every once in a while- and Jarvis puts it all so eloquently.
Jarvis writes, “…we pick which bits and bytes we share. In doing so, we’re only showing a curated view of ourselves with the world.” We know we do that ourselves, but we don’t filter what we see from others the same way. We’re comparing our reality to everyone else’s highlight reel. “We assume everyone is smarter, more successful, more interesting and so much happier than we are.”
As a food blogger who occasionally lucks out and takes cute-as-f*ck curated pictures, I know that I personally perpetuate this lie here and there. I am part of the Pinterest problem! Of course, we all do it… I just use my Nikon and a pantry full of spices.
Back to Jarvis. “…No one is living a perfect life. I’m not, you’re not, no one is. And that’s totally ok! Everyone’s got their own ups and downs. Everyone’s life is filled with f*ck-ups, mistakes, disasters but also amazing beauty. The bad stuff, the boring stuff, the stuff not worth mentioning, makes us value and hold precious the bits and bytes that are worth experiencing and sharing. Choose to be good with your life without comparing it to anyone else’s — which is hard, but necessary. It’s never apples to apples. Since you’re never seeing their whole story, it’s more like apples to elephants.”
So yeah, when I see my social media newsfeeds flood with ultra-hip weddings… beautiful house purchases… constant round-the-world adventures… teeth-gnashingly twee pregnancy photos… glamorous party snaps of beautiful people and their equally beautiful friends… and people who- inexplicably- have all of those plus an amazing job that looks fun to go to every single day… it’s time to put the laptop down.
To quote that old adage people love to circulate around the internet, Photoshopped onto hip photographs and sassed up with minimalist typography… “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Everyone’s got something that bothers them. We’re all doing the best we can. Most days, anyway. And remember, no one on the internet is living the life you think they are.
A braid of flaky, buttery, warming samosa… how wonderful. I like to take slices of this for lunch as it doesn’t even really need warming up to satisfy me (helpful when you’re pretty much tied to your desk for 12 hours a day).
That zippy gif at the top shows the braiding process in all it’s simple glory, but I imagine it might move a little fast to follow, so scroll to thevery bottom of the page- I have included a static step-by-step process of the braiding process there as well.
Last word of wisdom- don’t skip the tamarind sauce! It’s a little sweet, a little sour, a little pop of flavour that really puts this snack on the top shelf. Tamarind concentrate can be found in most Indian grocers or the Indian food section of any well-stocked supermarket.
|Vegetarian Samosa Braid with Tamarind Sauce|| |
- 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed in fridge overnight
- Flour, to dust
- 1 egg, lightly beaten + 1 tsp water
- Sesame seeds
- Samosa Filling:
- 3 medium potatoes, quartered
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- ½ inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 red chilli, chopped (optional)
- 1½ tsp Garam Masala
- ¼ tsp Indian chili powder (or ½ tsp chili flakes if unavailable)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Tamarind Sauce:
- 4 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft. Add peas and cook for 2 minutes to thaw. Strain potatoes and peas. Using a potato masher, give the mixture a handful of little mashes- we want to keep the mixture fairly chunky.
- Heat grapeseed oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add ginger and cook until the scent softened, roughly 2-3 minutes. Add the red chili (if using) and all the spices and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently to ensure the spices don't burn. Add potatoes and peas and toss to coat. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Taste to season, adding more salt if needed (this will depend on the size of your potatoes and how salty the boiling water is so it's always good to check again).
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Lay the pastry on the parchment paper then, using the method below, add notches into the top and bottom of the pastry then cut diagonal strips down the sides.
- Spoon the samosa filling out along the middle of the pastry. Fold up the top and bottom then, alternating sides, fold in each of the side strips. Once you get to the end, tuck the last two strips under the bottom.
- Brush the pastry braid with egg wash and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
- To make the tamarind sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer until thickened- roughly 30 minutes.
- Serve pastry braid in slices, drizzled with a good amount of tamarind sauce.