Margaret Fulton is our version of Julia Child, the woman who taught Australian housewives that there was more to cooking than 'meat and three veg', and exposed these woman to things like pizza, fried rice, curry and spaghetti! In her original cookbook, Margaret dedicates an entire page to the introduction of pasta. She writes:
"Turn spaghetti in sauce so strands are coated, using a spoon and fork. Spear a few strands with fork, then twirl fork against spoon so that spaghetti coils around the fork. When a neat package is formed, lift from the plate."
I can just picture an Australian housewife practicing this pasta-eating method in the privacy of her 1960's kitchen.
I am lucky enough to own a copy of her original cookbook "The Margaret Fulton Cookbook" which I picked up at a local thrift store many years ago. It is in remarkably good condition and contains many timeless recipes.
Unlike Julia Child, Margaret Fulton did not have her own television show. She was famous for her writing about cooking, and was a regular feature in the Australian Womans Weekly magazine. These days, Margaret Fulton has a number of cookbook publications under her belt, made countless TV guest appearances, received an OAM, and was recently formally recognised as a National Living Treasure.
Last night I cooked Margaret's 'Chicken Pie' from her most recent cookbook "Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery". It is a 750 page cooking adventure!
There is only one word that can describe this pie. Yum. I will say it again. Yum.
Photo of my pie.
Here is the recipe taken from the book:
1 large roasting chicken
1 carrot - sliced
1 brown onion - sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
6 black peppercorns
90g (3 oz) butter
6 mushrooms - sliced
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup cream
freshly ground black pepper
1x375g packet frozen puff pastry
beaten egg yolk to glaze
Put chicken in a large pan. Add carrot, onion, bay leaf, salt and peppercorns. Cover with hot water to top of thighs and bring to the boil, skimming occasionally. Simmer gently for 20 mins. Allow chicken to cool in stock for about 1 hour, then remove to a dish. Joint chicken and remove all flesh from bones. Skin and cut into large chunky pieces.
Place chicken meat into pie dish and cover with a little stock to keep flesh moist. Return bones to stock and boil for 10-15 mins to reduce it. Strain and leave to cool. Measure two cups of stock and chill so that fat will rise to the surface and settle for easy removal. (The remaining stock can be used as a base for soups or sauces).
Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a small frying pan and fry mushrooms over high heat for a few minutes. Remove and add to chicken. Melt remaining butter in a saucepan and blend in flour. Add reserved 2 cups stock, stirring to make a smooth sauce. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon sauce over chicken and mushrooms and mix gently. If you have a pie funnel, place it in the centre. Roll out pastry to size which fits pie dish. From remaining pastry, make strips to go around rim of dish and some leaf shapes to decorate the top of the pie.
Brush top of pie with egg yolk. Bake in a preheated hot oven (200c/400F) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderate (180c/350F) and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Serves 4-6 people.
(I served this pie with asparagus, green beans, and bacon fried together in a pan, and a French baguette stick to mop up pie juice - yum!).
* My tips after making this recipe:
1) You can cook chicken breast and shred it and buy ready made chicken stock,
2) Add more flour to make the sauce thicker,
3) Line the bottom of the pie dish with pastry too - makes it taste a lot nicer,
4) I added boiled carrots and peas when the recipe says to add the mushrooms to the pie,
5) Make an extra one because everybody will want seconds.