I despise seeing perfectly good food tossed in the bin because I've let it go to waste. This happens more often than I'd care to admit. Tuesday is bin night and Matty stands at the fridge, ruthlessly chucking brown herbs, smelly meat and furry cheese. Funnily enough, it coincides with his grumpiest night of the week.
My wastefulness is my biggest shame. Even more than my standing-in-front-of-the-open-fridge-eating-leftovers-by-the-moonlight binges. It's cause by my magpie-like attention span. I get distracted by new shiny foods and can't get the picture out of my head until it's in my belly. This would be fine if I didn't cook enough for a family of seventeen, leaving leftovers for a week.
A couple of weeks ago, in the grip of football fever, I whipped up some meat pies. Whilst they were crackers in themselves, there were the leftover scraps of pastry sitting forlornly on the bench. Am I the only cook who thinks pastry has a personality and can, in fact, look forlorn?
I was also a bit stuffed after standing in front of the oven for the entire day. It needed to be quick and simple - that's normally the tastiest approach anyway. A quick fossick in the pantry and I emerged with some fennel seeds and sugar. An egg wash brushed over the pastry, and ground fennel and sugar liberally sprinkled over, they were thrown in the hot oven for 15 minutes.
What emerged was a total revelation. I now have a perfectly excellent use for leftover pastry. In fact, I may even skip the pies next time, and head straight for these little tidbits.
Note: it's incredibly important that, when describing these cookies to your friends over email, you emphasise the grammar. They're Pie Scrap cookies. Not Pie's Crap. Matty may have pointed out how useful a hyphen is in these situation.
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 200º and grease pie dishes.
To make pastry, combine flour, butter, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add eggs and milk and pulse until pastry just comes together. Press dough together and wrap in plastic. Chill for 20 minutes.
Heat the fennel seeds in a small saucepan over low heat until they become fragrant. Grind with a mortar and pestle and combine with sugar.
Roll pastry until around 3mm thick. Cut out shapes as you choose and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle the sugar and fennel over liberally. Bake for 15 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Cool on a baking rack.