Very often it is the ancillaries which really make life special. Sure it’s nice to wear a quality suit, but the effect is ruined if you don’t top it off with a fine pair of leather shoes and a matching belt. Ditto ties, pocket squares and sunglasses. Continue reading
Do you like pork pie? If the answer is no, then you have never sampled a home made pork pie. In the world of baking, a pork pie is something that an amateur baker can make easily, with a little help from some decent ingredients and a pie tin.
Select a pie tin with loose base, which helps you to push the pie out of the tin when cooked. Hot water crust pastry is robust, but even so, it is worth having all the help you can get to release your delicious pie after baking.
Once you have your pie tin, you will need to decide whether you use lard or butter to make your shortcrust pastry. If you’re not sure, start with half and half, butter and lard.
For the filling, you will need some pork (a mixture of shoulder / loin and belly), and some back bacon rashers.
Before are you start, grease your 5″ diameter pie tin well with butter or lard to prevent the pastry sticking.
For the Jelly you will need:
- Two sheets of leaf gelatine
- Half a stock cube
- 1/2 pint of boiling water
For the filling you will need:
- 1 hard boiled egg, peeled
- 1/2 small onion finely chopped
- 250g pork, finely chopped
- 4 rashers of smoked bacon, cubed
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Few springs thyme finely chopped
- Few leaves sage finely chopped
Chop the pork and bacon to a coarse pâté texture, and mix the rest of the ingredients (except the egg) in a bowl and leave to marinade while you make the pastry.
For the hot water crust pastry you will need:
- 3fl oz / 100ml of milk
- 4oz / 125g fat (butter, lard or half and half)
- 8oz / 250g plain flour
- Pinch salt
- Beaten egg to brush
Hot water crust is a very robust pastry. If while assembling your pastry, you need to start again or add a bit of pastry here and there to reinforce your structure, go for it.
- Set the oven to 180C/160C fan
- Heat the milk and half the fat in a saucepan until the fat has melted, set it aside to cool slightly.
- Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub the fat into the flour until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs.
- Once the milk/fat has cooled a little, add it to the flour and mix well with a spoon, you shouldn’t need to add any more liquid, but add some water if the mixture is dry. It should come off the sides of the bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Once the pastry is cool enough to handle, ensure it is properly mixed and divide into two balls, a large and a small (for the case and the lid), and roll each out into a circle.
- Line the greased tin with pastry
- Add the pork mixture half way up, pressing in into the corners. Leave room for the egg and fill in around the egg with additional pork mixture.
- Roll out the smaller ball and cut a 5 pence / dime shaped hole in the centre. Place lid on top of the pie and crimp down the edges to seal.
- Trim the edges, brush with beaten egg and pop in the oven
- After 1hr, drop the oven temperature to 160C / 140C fan and cover with baking parchment to prevent it burning, and cook for one further hour.
Once the pie is cooked remove it and allow it to cool fully.
as it is cooling, you can make the jelly. Take the leaf gelatine and soak in cold water for 5 minutes. Boil 250ml of water in a saucepan and add the half stock cube (you can buy ham stock cubes, or chicken works equally well). Wring out the excess water from the leaf gelatine and add it to the stock.
Once the stock is cool, using a funnel, a syringe or a small pouring jug, pour the cooled liquid stock into the hole in the top of the pie until no further liquid can be added. Place the pie into the fridge overnight for the jelly to set. If you add the jelly before the pie is cool it will be absorbed into the pastry case.
Serve your delicious pie with Colman’s English mustard, a hunk of sourdough, some mature cheddar cheese, a nice chutney, and a green salad for a delicious Ploughman’s.
When your neighbours see you in the garden in the middle of winter fiddling with the Weber Kettle barbecue, and you tell them that you are smoking your own salmon, they may look at you funnily. They may even ask you why you bother to go to the lengths of doing something that you can easily buy in the supermarket. It’s a good question. Continue reading
Here are some top tips to make sure your sourdough loaves are delivered in shape, on time, and taste just right: Continue reading
We’re all so busy, aren’t we? We work, work, work to earn the money so that we can have enough cash to live a fun life at the weekend. But a period of time ago, not too far in the distant past, people lived their lives at a much slower pace, more spread out geographically, and they were still in touch with the earth that nourishes them. Continue reading
I have just made Ottolenghi’s hummus recipe, as can be found in his recipe book Jerusalem. Oh My God, it’s amazing.
But then, who better to show you how to make hummus, than someone from Jerusalem. It is different to the normal recipe I’ve used (no olive oil and loads of tahini), but I’m really pleasantly surprised. Continue reading
Made yourself a delicious loaf or two of sourdough? Just woken up on a Saturday and are feeling a little peckish after a morning’s lie in? How about a bit of Sourdough French Toast with bacon and maple syrup? Continue reading
There is no denying the deliciousness of Sourdough bread. Luckily it is also pretty easy to make at home, as long as you have a little patience and a well-cared-for starter culture; think of it as a pet and feed it every day. Many aspiring bakers, having forked out for a pair of fancy cane bannetons, immediately have problems handling the often high hydration sourdough. Continue reading
Ever wondered how easy it is to smoke your own salmon? My darling girlfriend bought me a wonderful book, it’s called Food DIY, it’s written by Tim Hayward, and it’s right up my street. For someone like me who enjoys the art and the craft of life, it is a really fun, yet practical book, teaching you how to make your own food, from sausages to smoked salmon, sourdough to sloe gin, this book explains not only the how, but also, importantly for me the why.