This evening I cooked a cracker of a pie.
My lovely husband gave me the Hairy Bikers Pie Book for Christmas. What a fabulous read. It really does tell you everything there is to know about pies. And has every recipe possible from the fancy to the family favourites; savoury to sickly sweet. A delightful collection.
I probably started off with a rather strange choice, but upon receiving the book on Christmas morning, I was instructed to cook this pie: Corn Beef and Onion.
I’ve never had this before. But I must say I was presently surprised. I don’t know how to describe it really. Working class food – of which I am anyway! But tinned meat and veg with ketchup – it was dead tasty. Not dry as I expected. I prepared some gravy just in case but it went in the bin! So in conclusion: It was nice – would do it again.
I took me over 2 hours to knock together though. Longer than I expected. But. I made my own short crust pastry by hand. I feel there’s something exceedingly satisfying about making your own pastry. I love that there’s a bit of science to it. I love the challenge of trying to get it just right. Making sure the butter’s cold. The water’s cold. Your hands are cold.
Brilliant thing about the hairy bikers book is all the little tips they give. Here are my top three:
1. Especially when using puff pastry, ensure your filling is cool before you fit your pastry lid or it could become very sticky (this happened to me at Christmas and I blamed Jus Roll – turns out its because my filling was piping hot!)
2. Left over homemade pastry – keep the cuttings in the freezer either in muffin tins already rolled and ready to make into jam tarts or in strips to make fancy fruit pies.
3. (My favourite as I hate waste) leftover egg used for glazing, pour into ice cube trays and keep for another pie. It only takes about 15min to defrost. So you can save whole eggs for something more important – chocolate cake!
Back to the pie. The filling was … Interesting. Quite old fashioned. Carrots, onion, potato, celery (why does everything always have 2 sticks of celery and you can never buy just 2 sticks so unless you have dips the other sticks end up going mouldy in the bottom of the fridge a week later?), corn beef and tomato ketchup. How retro?
But I must say it was rather tasty. Andy’s mum used to make this pie, but apparently minus half the ingredients. However he also approved this version. Which is lucky as there’s loads leftover!
Apart from that today, I had a lovely 30minute potter in Leigh. popped into the little kitchen shop to find a pie plate and discovered a treasure trove of cake decorating accessories and tools including edible glitter for only £3. Bargain. When I’ve lost a few more pounds and can treat myself I’m definitely heading for a shopping spree.
Anyway. Today’s point being: buy the hairy bikers pie book. You’ll be the better housewife for it.
Or, if you can’t wait, you can see the recipe online on the bbc website.