Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Tag Archives: pies

Pie: A Social Meal By Design- Guest post by Michael Partridge

It’s British Pie Week and it’s Friday so I thought you might like some light entertainment in the form of a guest post by pie lover Michael Partridge. You can follow Michael on Twitter if you want to discuss your love for pies.

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Hello there, my name is Michael and I’ve decided to write about pies!  Some people, when given an opportunity to write about any food stuff would automatically go to a favourite recipe, a great place to eat…but I was asked to write about pies.  There is no escaping it, pie’s are a social meal in my life. There is some sense to this statement, but it requires a little back story…

 

Some years back, I was living in a shared house that was very close to a large supermarket on Cryws Road.  This nameless large supermarket was notorious for good deals on all sorts of “EAT ME TODAY” produce.  There was some debate about the best time to get the best deals, go in around 8ish, smaller savings, larger choice or take the risk and head in after 9 for massive savings and a real lucky dip approach to your shopping.  It wasn’t uncommon for my housemates or me to return with an eclectic bag full.  My personal favourite remains:

 

Jam doughnuts (10p for 5)

2 pints of milk (20p)

Big bag of carrots (15p)

Cat food (£1.50 instead of £4).

 

Bakery produce was always reduced, there was always something worth getting and sharing that would normally come in under 50p.  On one occasion, my housemate returned home with his shopping and an apple pie. “Apple pie anyone? It was only 20p.” A debate was had about the perfect way to eat apple pie, we agreed on piping hot with ice cream. However, we didn’t have any ice cream, “There’s choc ice’s?” and thus the institution was born. Pie with a choc ice. Seriously, its incredible.  If you doubt me, oh how I pity you! You are missing out.

 

If any of us went to the supermarket and saw pies going cheap, one was bought, taken home and everyone in the house (often more than the 3 residents) would come together in the living room for pie and choc ice.  The supermarket pies were big enough for 8 people (or 4 greedy buggers), spending under £1 cheap pie and value choc ice’s was outweighed by the bonding over pie eating.

 

A few houses later, I had really taken to the kitchen and started to feel braver, so started to experiment making my own pies. I had never made pastry from scratch before, but I quickly discovered that the recipes I found were more of a guide than a precision formula, and the amount of effort required to make enough pastry for a 2 person pie isn’t a great deal different to a 4 person pie. It’s exactly the same with fillings!

 

After my first attempt, I realised that it made sense to invite people round for dinner to enjoy the fresh out of the oven pie, because it just isn’t as nice warmed up.  It is also amazing the effect this statement has on people…

 

“Do you want to come round for dinner tonight?”

 

Pause, whilst they think….

 

“I’m making pie…”

 

“Can I bring my girlfriend as well?”

 

My original plan of dinner for 2-3 often became 3-5…and the social eating continues.  People are drawn to quality home cooked food like moths to a flame and the offer of a tasty hand made pie with a hearty helping of mash, peas and gravy will have your friends beating your door down.

 

I am grateful that I now have a reputation as a man who makes good pies. If I need a favour, I use the line, “If you help me…there could be pie in your future.” It very rarely fails.  It still comes back to a group of people eating pies!  However you look at it, if I’m making pie, I’m cooking for at least 4, so you might as well make the most of it!

 

Favourite fillings:

 

Steak and chorizo. Add some onion and finely chopped spinach to the mix and you are in heaven!

 

Lamb and mint.  Fresh mint is the key, and don’t be afraid to use plenty.

 

Sun-dried tomato, olive and feta. Again some friend onion and spinach really make this something special.

 

Chicken, sun-dried tomato and extra mature cheese. Fried onion is a must, add the other elements with some grated cheese and big chunks as well!

 

Useful advice.

 

Cooking:

 

Pastry first. Work to a recipe the first few times, then start winging it.  I always get my dough to the right consistency and then cling film it and put it in the fridge whilst I concentrate on fillings.

 

Filling. Don’t be afraid to do the majority of the cooking outside the pie! I prefer it as I feel I can control everything more closely.

 

A cake/pie tin that has a clasp/release so you can get it out easily. Trust me, it’s far more satisfy to see a finished article and cut into it.

 

Sides:

 

I am all about adding to the basics. If we are having pie, mash and gravy, I will always add a little something extra!

Mash with spring onions, blue cheese and milk instead of butter is incredible. I cheat with gravy and use instant all the time, but adding some extra love, makes a world of difference. Fry up some red onion, as soon as it goes soft add a few spoons of brown sugar, once the sugar has caramelised pour on some boiling water, then add some instant gravy. World of difference.

 

In conclusion…

 

Make it all yourself, fill  your house with the smell of great meals being cooked, fill your house with friends and be happy (and full) together.

Pie Lovers Heaven!- Pieminister, a pie for all seasons

I enjoy baking pies but I tend to get my recipes from all number of different sources then forget where the I found my favourite ones so I can’t replicate them. That became a thing of the past when the lovely people at Pieminister kindly sent me a copy of their book ‘ Pieminister- a pie for all seasons’  through the post so I thought I should review it for British Pie Week.

The book is nicely presented with a blue hard back cover and the Pieminister logo on the front. I love the look of the book. It’s clean and clear but very colourful inside with comical little antidotes throughout and good quality paper.

The book starts with an introduction and a brief history of Pieminister which is excellent because it is so personal. It includes photos of the founders but it is in no way formal and boring. It’s really well written in casual language which makes you feel like you know them.

Following on from this is a useful section about pastry and then the book is divided into the four seasons. This is something that I found to be very useful and each section starts with ‘seasonal highlights’ which is great for finding out what is in season and to give you ideas for your own recipes.

Each pie recipe is dedicated two pages. One page for the recipe and one for a photo. The recipe is clearly laid out with the title and brief description followed by the method with the ingredients listed down the side of the page. The photos are excellent and sometimes the page is one large photo and sometimes it is divided into lots of smaller photos. It’s very important to me that in a recipe book, there is a photo for every recipe. For me, the appeal of food is the way it looks and I find a great photo to be very influential when I’m deciding what to cook.

I love this book and I have made many of the pies. A couple of my favourites are the Courgette and Chickpea Filo Pie (my attempt is below) and the Love Bunny Pie which is absolutely divine! I have adapted the recipe slightly because the recipe has a puff pastry lid but I prefer shortcrust and I prefer my filling to be encased in pastry rather than just a lid. Once you have tried a recipe though, they are very easy to adapt and make your own.

Courgette and Chickpea Filo Pie

I highly recommend this book. For pies it is my main source now.

British Pie Week 2012 is coming!

If you love pies you will be pleased to know that next week is British Pie Week! Being a fan of the pie, I feel that this special week deserves some form of celebration and I need your contributions.

I love the versatility of pies. While I am partial to a deep meaty gravy filled pie, I equally love a sweet variety or a fruit pie. The possibilities are endless!

I need your best pie stories, pie experiences and favourite pie recipes. Let me know what you love and hate, send me your pictures and give me your opinions and I will post the best on my website.

Please email your contributions to me at nikki@yourlastmouthful.com

If you are a company that makes pies and would like to get involved, please also get in touch.

COMPETITION! Beat those January blues with a box of pies from Pieminister!

I’ve teamed up with the lovely people at Pieminister to help you get through the miserable month of January. Forget the detox! What you really need is a lovely box of hearty delicious pies!

Bristol based Pieminister is known for its award winning array of pies.  With a range that includes the Matador (british beef, chorizo, butterbeans and sherry), Chicken of Aragon (free range British chicken, bacon, roast garlic, vermouth), the new Pietanic (MSC-Certified fish pie) and the vegetarian Heidi pie (Somerset goats’ cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion) there really is a Pieminister pie for every taste.

Pieminister are kindly offering a box of 6 pies as a prize for this competition and the lucky winner can choose between a box of meat, veggie or both which will be delivered to their door so you can enter wherever you are in the UK.

There are three ways to enter this competition.

Tweet it!

Follow @urlastmouthful and tweet ‘I want those Pieminister pies! RT and follow @urlastmouthful to win’

Facebook!

Like our page and update your status to ‘I want those Pieminister Pies! Like Yourlastmouthful’s page to win-
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-Last-Mouthful-Cardiff/164656550288939′ (don’t forget the link).

Mailing List!

Join our mailing. Email Nikki@yourlastmouthful with the title ‘I want those Pieminister pies!’

Why not do all three and have triple the chance of winning!

Competition closes Friday 13th January at midnight. A winner will be chosen at random.


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