Pie in the Sky

At long last, I turn my food thoughts to pies.

So much to talk about, savoury, sweet, with a lid on or not….Or is that a flan? Maybe a another blog in the making.

Savoury. The classic English pie. Meat and potato. What’s not to like. My Mum made one, Muriel made one, who’s mother didn’t. We love Simon Hopkinsons recipe he calls it ” my mother’s meat and tattie pie” see recipe

I remember Sheila and Carol having shopping trips to France, they would have lunch, then shop, and  bring back tempting, delicious treats, and of course Lots of wine. It became the tradition on these days that John (Carol’s husband) would cook a meat and potato pie. Served with a steaming bowl of mushy peas. (The long soak variety, not the quick soak, may as well eat the box!!,) Alovely evening spent talking about the food “gifts” they’d brought from France.

Meat and Potato Pie

Beef and ale, Steak and Kidney. Delicious pies. The long slow cooking of the beef, creating a lush tasty gravy. Chicken and mushroom. The combinations are Endless.

The French don’t do “proper” pies! We now have an English butcher who delivers in our area. He does his own pork pies, and the usual pie suspects, plus a new one steak and blue cheese pie. So worry not, we do get “a pie fix” where as before, we had to wait till we visited the UK.

It is strange to think that the plain paste of flour, oil and water was used as a shield to keep the meat moist and also protected the outside from burning – it was never meant to be eaten and was subsequently discarded. It seems that the main factor holding back ancient bakers (they were not wanting for ingenuity or creativity) was the lack of butter or lard to create the richness we associate with pastry today. Which we all enjoy nibbling on,  before we even get the pie  to the table.

Sheila makes a mean cheese and onion pie which everyone enjoys. The secret is the parmesan in the pastry. Time consuming, yes, but worth the wait. No ready made pastry here. See recipe

Cheese and Onion Pie

 Dad’s favourite pie was Pork, but it had to be from Chesterfield, or at least from the North. On one coach trip to Paris . We were all set for our ” picnic” when our friend who lived in Bedford produced a plastic wrapped, mass produced pork pie.  Dad did not hold back:- ” Why did you ask her to  buy the pork pie, when these two live in Chesterfield???

Nothing beats the taste of a Kirk’s Pork pie. ( A pork butcher in Chesterfield) freshly baked, hot from the oven…..Food memories obviously before the advent of health and safety!!

One Question. At the risk of being controversial “why is it pork butchers are more popular in the north of England” ?

Gosh, been discussing the merits of a savoury pie, not even touched on the ubiquitous apple pie …watch this space.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.

Why not read up about the wines of the Loire Valley here

Chicken and Mushroom Pie

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