Tag Archives: pies

Pies for the People

I spent last weekend in Leeds with the Wunderkind. Great city, loved it. Lively and yet down-to-earth, with a fantastic industrial heritage. It was quite disappointing not to be able to cook – we were staying in the Travelodge in Vicar Lane, just up the roLeeds Bread Stallad from the food market. Would have been great to trundle into the market with a tartan trolley-bag and load up with all their magnificent fruit and veg and fish and meat and bread. But hey, you can’t always have it all.

I arrived in Leeds before my laddie, on Friday, and found a great lunch in Pieminister – a chain which hasn’t yet reached Scotland. Below is a picture of my Kate and Sidney (steak and kidney) – hearty and wholesome, and a bit nostalgic – we don’t often get kidney nowadays. The sausage-looking things on the skewer and fork are actually deep-fried courgettes, nice touch. As you all know, I’m a pie aficionado and have considered the merits of starting up a pie business. But I think Pieminister has done everything I’d want to do in a pie shop.

We had to go back the next day as WK was jealous of my pie (I’d texted him a photo) – this time, his was called Deer and Beer – rich and gamey. Great pastry. For myself, I’m sorry to say I couldn’t manage a pie two days running – I must be getting old – I had a CKate and Sidneyaesar Salad with chicken and ham and astonished myself by not being able to finish it. Not finish a salad? Was I ill or something? No, it was just a very substantial salad. Who’d have thunk it?

Pieminister, according to my waitress, originated in Bristol, and has a number of branches round the country. It has a brick-and-steel, industrial kind of interior but manages to be warm and cheery. Or maybe that was just the couple at the next table who were happy to exchange pie reminiscences. Theyre’s a cookbook – ‘A Pie for All Seasons’ – and I had to buy it and am glad I did because it’s full of brilliant recipes including a good number of vegetarian wonders. The waitress came back with my change and a free gift of a jar of Pieminister ‘pie chutney’, very kind. Will share my own Pieminister pie efforts in due course.


People Need Pies

That was the thinking behind a potential business idea. I thought I might be the pie lady and bury myself in flour and lard and tote my offerings round the farmers’ markets. My friend Jude sighed, mid-swallow, one day and opined that people NEED pies. It seemed like a great slogan.

I had a birthday the other day and prepared a great picnic (though I say it myself – 59 is not the age for false modesty!) and ten of us, plus four dogs, had a lovely time at Tentsmuir Forest. I made a raised pork and egg pie – sometimes known hereabouts as ‘Gala Pie’ – loaf-shaped, porky mixture with hard-boiled eggs tucked inside. (The eggBirthday 59s also were Jude’s; not hers personally of course but from her hens. She has a commendable pie commitment.)

Well the pie was very good. But the crust kept falling off. As my  brother pointed out, this also happens with bought Gala Pies. It’s a bit of a nuisance but gives you another excuse for licking your fingers. This was a Paul Hollywood recipe and it’s not really difficult. I had a sticky moment (due to kitchen not being sufficiently spacious – okay then, due to kitchen not being sufficiently tidy) when one of the loaf tins fell off the worktop. The pastry didn’t fall on the floor, I promise, not even for the permitted three seconds, but it sort of collapsed in on itself and had to be re-rolled. Bit of a footer but I guess my skills (and tidiness) will improve through time.

No, there’s another reason that I have scrawled ‘NEVER AGAIN’ across the recipe in the book. It’s the usual reason: saturated fat. I am very desirous of acquiring a free bus pass such as our wonderful Scottish government hands out to citizens of this great country on their 60th birthdays. And I don’t want to curtail my free travel years. So it’s back to the cookery books and the search is on for a nice low-fat pie with great flavour and lots of good healthy life-affirming vits and mins. Suggestions welcome.