Friday, July 13, 2007

Pies and not smoking.


Now and then - probably every couple of months - a pack of something frosted and mysterious emerges from the freezer. Pheasant, partridge or rabbit perhaps. We look at it from all angles, this unprepossessing lump of frozen flesh - and inevitably decide: 'Pie? We'll make a pie.'

Not just any old pie though: a hot-water crust pie, stuffed with spicy pork, game, fruit and nuts.
Not a true raised pie - this one's made in a tin lined with the soft warm pastry, stuffed with meat and then, when cooked, topped up with stock which jellies on cooling. With tomato chutney or pickle and salad leaves from the garden it will be a tasty lunch.

The game sits defrosting on the side and Alan is sent hunting in Welshpool for the other meaty ingredients: belly pork and bacon. If he stalks the butcher on a Wednesday, pigs' trotters - the basis of a gelatinous stock - can be had for free.

Into a pastry case goes minced and seasoned meat - layered with strips of game and apricots or prunes, hazelnuts or pistachios. Moisten the edge, put the lid on and crimp neatly. Make a neat hole in the top to let the steam out. Reach for cigarette packet..........

Stop. What?

The hole in the top is kept open by inserting a tube of thin card - and when I first made a pie manymanymany years ago, a handy fag packet made the perfect 'bristol' (for that is the name given to this hole-keeper-opener). A smoker no longer, I still cast around for that perfect piece of card - the Silk Cut carton - which is no longer in my gift. Regretfully I substitute something snipped from the recycling and bung all into the oven.

Probably that's the only thing I miss about smoking....

My reference to 'bristols' comes from Jane Grigson's 'Good Things' - an excellent book from many points of view. So good that the dog ate it. I must get another copy asap.

15 comments:

Pondside said...

Where do you live - I'm on my way over! That pie looks scrumptious!! If it weren't 10 at night I might be tempted to see what's in the freezer and get cooking!
Just read your new-to-you car blog. I hope all goes well! We have terrible luck with cars, but so far the little toy car is still parp-parping along.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

Hello..its me here from over the valley...have just been into car blog as well. My mum used to make pies with hot water crust pastry...I wouldn't know where or how to start!! Should learn though...we've got a freezer with all sorts of things in foil...pheasant, trout, rabbit.
If you are going in Perkins level (mine)make sure you have got wellies and a torch! Is Nick Southwick taking you? He's my neighbour (nice one)have a good trip ...it is fascinating.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

My mum used to eat rabbit pie which doesn't go down well with Amy! That pie looks delish!!

Unfortunately, I suffer terribly from heartburn and I just need to look at pastry and need a bottle of gaviscon!
Crystal xx

lampworkbeader said...

Yum Yum! I loved your blog. I could almost smell your pie. Any left over?

Wipso said...

Hmmm now that pie looks amazing. Make sure next time you need adjustments to your attire you bring me a copy of the recipe please. I have lots of mysterious bags of meat in my freezer that I'm certain would do nicely for fillers.

PG said...

Wonderful looking pie, quite scrumptious. If i could just reach a knife into my pc monitor and cut myself a (large) slice...

Mopsa said...

That is one seriously beautiful pie. I should send you over some of my tomato chilli relish to adorn its beauty.

Cait O'Connor said...

My husband would adore your pie. I bet it is delicious.
Caitx

mutterings and meanderings said...

Yum yum!

I too was a Silk Cut girl ...

Yorkshire Pudding said...

From this blogpost I take it that you are not vegetarian then?

mountainear said...

No, no vegetarians here. I was brought up to eat most bits of most animals and never got out of the habit.

And this year - looking at what the weather has done to my veggies - I would be a very thin vegetarian indeed. Actually that would be 'an ill wind' for you Wipso - as I'd need the entire wardrobe altering.

muddyboots said...

nothing beats a good home made game pie raised or otherwise. l do think jane grigson's books are first class! proper english food!

LittleBrownDog said...

I remember learning to make hot-water-crust pies long, long ago, and they were so delicious, I can't understand why I haven't made any since, but somehow they've never really entered my regular cooking repertoire. Must dig out that recipe...

Mopsa said...

I can't resist your blog so you have been awarded a Schmoozer - go and check it out and plan your next move at:
mopsa.blogspot.com/2007/07/reading-meter.html

rilly super said...

the absence of intonation in blog comments means that saying 'now that is a pie' doesn't quite carry all the meaning as hopefully it would if I was there in person. Can't beat a good game pie although because it's probably for the best that we don't have firearms in our household we have to rely on buying them from the market, sigh