I’m not going to lie, finding out this place existed pretty much sealed the deal for me on where I wanted to live in London. I’m only half joking – we’d narrowed it down to somewhere on the West-end of the District line and then this place came to my attention. Putney it was!
(The cheaper council tax also helped…)
Weirdly, I’ve only been twice – and those two visits were shamefully within six days of each other. W is yet to visit (much to his disgust). It’s a shame it’s coming up to summer time now, as pies aren’t exactly going to help me get my summer bod this year!
The first time I visited I had the Chicken & Ham Hock Pot Pie, whilst my date (the lovely Libby) enjoyed her Steak & Ale Pie. My pie was in a deep, fully-filled bowl topped with buttery short-crust pastry and served with creamy mash. The sauce was light, almost-stock like, but full of flavour. There was plenty of chunky chicken and ham, along with carrots and leeks. The mash was smooth and completely lump-free. All in all delicious!
On my next visit I enjoyed the Pork and Apple Pie. Fully encased in the same perfect pastry, it was packed full of juicy pork, bacon, apple pieces and a delicious cider sauce. The only criticism I have here is that it was a little dry – however as I was unable to have the gravy (damn you, sneaky tomatoes!) this is probably why. My mum enjoyed the Beef Bourguignon Pie with triple cooked chips. I have to say the chips were perfect!
Both times we had a side of Season Veg – normally I wouldn’t bother mentioning something like this, but it was lovely. Everything was perfectly cooked and lightly dressed in butter. Little touches but it made all the difference. On the second visit we also splurged and shared the Brownie with ice-cream – and it was a damn good brownie. Warm and gooey, rich and indulgent tempered with creamy ice-cream and a salted caramel sauce.
Coupled with some of the yummiest prosecco I’ve tried, this was a meal of pie perfection. I’m almost impatient for Autumn when it’s back to pie weather!
Are you a fan of pies? What’s your favourite filling?
I love a good sausage roll, with Gregg’s ones being my ultimate treat on a Saturday afternoon shopping as a teen. I’ve long since graduated onto ‘better’ varieties (there’s a local bakery chain in Northampton that does the best sausage rolls, though flaky pastry isn’t the most elegant of snack choices!). One thing I hadn’t tried, however, is attempting to make my own.
Until now that is! Challenged by Jus’ Rol to create an interesting ‘pie’ to celebrate National Pie Week (the best week in my opinion). I decided on creating my very own ultimate sausage roll. And it was delicious – if a bit ‘deconstructed’…
If you’re interested, to make my sausage ‘roll’ I rolled out 100g puff pastry, spread with 1tsp mustard, and topped with carmelised onions (soften half a sliced onion in a little oil until golden, then add 1/4 tsp sugar and quickly fry until sticky). I then squeezed the meat out of two sausages, rolled a little thinner, placed on top of the onions and attempted to roll the pastry round the filling before baking at 200C for around 20 minutes. Turns out that I hadn’t rolled it quite thin enough, quite wide enough. So the pastry stayed open, then came completely undone in the oven. Learn from my mistakes people! Or eat a very yummy, very messy, pastry slice and sausage meat filling…
(As a sidenote, I think I’ve finally, finallyyyyy perfected my recipe for tomato-free baked beans. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!)
Now we’ve got that disaster out of the way, let’s talk pies.
For me, the ultimate pie is sold by a local butcher here in Kent; stuffed full of chicken and ham, with a thick and creamy sauce and crisp golden pastry, it’s comfort food at its best. For those of you unable to get to my butchers, I created a super-easy cheat’s version using condensed soup and ready-rolled pastry. Whilst it’s not quite so indulgent, it definitely still hits the spot!
Speaking of chicken pies, I’ve got a huge amount of other chicken pie recipes in my go-to list. One of my little sister’s favourite meal is my Chicken & Chorizo Pie, and I have to admit it’s the perfect combination of spicy, flavourful and comforting. Will also made some amazinggg Harissa Chicken Pasties…so good!
Then there’s the no-pastry pie. As a mashed potato lover this is always a good option (though pastry would win, every time). I don’t think anything can beat a good cottage/Shepherd’s pie, and I made the absolute ultimate version back in the summer. I admit it took a good three hours (plus the Sunday roasting time) but it was absolutely, completely and utterly worth it. And of course, Jamie’s Fish Pie, packed with veg and lighter than your traditional version, is a firm favourite in my recipe list.
But of course, any pie is always a good shout!
*Post in collaboration with Jus Rol, all opinions are my own as always. I just really, really love pie.
Are you a fan of pies? What’s your favourite pie filling?
Sorry, you can take a girl away from her maths lectures, but she’ll always be a maths geek at heart. Seriously though, I do love pies. They are filling, comforting, relatively healthy (I serve them with loads of veg and nothing else – hence they are superhealthy), freeze well and aren’t as time consuming as you’d first think. I do admit to grabbing ready-made pastry most of the time (I’m sorry, I don’t have time to make puff pastry!), but even whipping up a quick shortcrust isn’t too horrendous.
This recipe was originally inspired by a recipe in GoodFood. I’ve simplified it, making it quicker, and a lot cheaper. It would also be a great use of leftover roast chicken, and you could up the veg content by throwing in peppers if you felt like it. Either way, it’s a summery switch up of the classic pie.
Ingredients (serves 4, including two greedy men)
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 onion, finely diced
around 15cm chorizo sausage, casing removed, chopped into slices then halved
3-4 chicken breasts (5oog-ish)
2 tablespoons flour
1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons of cream
Fry the onion in a little oil until softened, then add the chorizo. Fry until it smells yummy and has released plenty of its oils.
Tip in the chicken, and seal quickly until golden brown. Stir in the flour, cook (stirring all the time) for around two minutes, then gradually add the stock. Stir to avoid the sauce going lumpy.
Simmer and reduce for about 15 minutes, until thickened. Stir through the cream.
Tip into a pie dish, and top with your pastry. Bake at 200C for about 30 minutes. Serve with plenty of green vegetables.
Sunshine flavours under a crisp pastry crust, just enough cream to be comforting, but light enough not to need a nap afterwards. Perfect in my book! And a great excuse to use up Stanley Pie Bird* from Cath Kidston too!
Another Sunday Lunch post from me this week, I’m clearly missing them this year! I’m actually living in a vegetarian’s house and feel a little uncomfortable eating me so jumped at the chance to have Sunday Lunch with my Nan for her birthday a few weeks ago. After scouring online menus I decided on The Windhover; a five minutes drive from parents house, with a lovely walk on its doorstep. It’s also priced excellently; not so cheap you get suspicious; not so expensive that you need to remortgage over a lunch.
The pub was completely full when we arrived; this is definitely a place where booking is needed! We were ‘squeezed’ into a corner, which actually suited us fine for a cosy catch up (just to note, the interior photo is taken from their website). On an allergy point of view I was really disappointed to find out I couldn’t actually have a Sunday Lunch, as the gravies had tomato-puree in them. On the plus side, this generally mean its a properly made gravy, so bonus points there!
I plumped for a massive portion of Chicken, Ham and Leek pie, with chips and peas. My nan had the Roast Beef; I got lucky ‘cos they brought out enough vegetables for two. Both mains were beautifully cooked; the pie was stunning with a crispy yet soggy underneath crust, a rich sauce, and massive pieces of chicken. Chips were average oven chips; a little dry, but perfect as a vehicle for pie filling. The roast dinner certainly looked beautiful, there were no complaints, and all of the vegetables were freshly cooked.
Normally I’m a starter-kinda-gal, but I’d spied the pudding menu as we walked in and deliberately saved room. I ordered a favourite with a twist; Creme Brulee, with raspberries. It was delicious, although the top was possibly verging on burnt, with the raspberries adding a tart and refreshing edge. Nan went for a St Clements tart; I sneaked a piece and it was delightful; zingy, crunchy base and a wonderful smooth filling.
Best of all was the bill; £35 for two courses, and drinks. For the quality it was superb. In fact, it was so good that my whole family is going back this Sunday to celebrate my parents 25th Wedding Anniversary…though I will be taking my own gravy!
Another pie-related post for National Pie Week! If you missed my recipe for Shortcrust pastry then you can read it here. This post is a review of the pie I ate a few weeks ago, when I finally visited the Goods Shed in Canterbury. I’ve been aiming to visit the place since I moved here nearly 18 months ago and finally went for a cute ‘date’ on Valentine’s Weekend (prior to going to the Lego Movie in which everything is awesome…)
We were immediately out-priced by the main restaurant, though we’re definitely aiming to go back there for a proper date before I graduate in 2016. After a nice wander round (its not as big as I imagined, but definitely enough to keep my eyes occupied for far longer than the hour we spent there in total!) we decided to give Patrick’s Kitchen a try.
I was really tempted by the Short-Rib Beef Stew (something about short ribs is really, really appealing to me!) but as it contained tomato puree it was a no-go for me! In the end we both went for the chicken pie…
It ended up being an amazing chicken pie – rivalling the one from my local butchers (which is a pie I really MUST review for you sometime!). Our pies came with a generous portion of mustard mash, and the most thick and flavoursome gravy I personally have ever eaten. I’d happily eat a bowl of that gravy with some bread!
Now the pie itself! The pastry was very crisp and flaky, but without being dry. It was also spectacularly flavoured, being buttery and well-seasoned. The filling was wonderful. Great big bits of chicken (you can see them in the photo!) in a herby sauce that was creamy but light. Again well-seasoned – just a fabulous pie. Although the portion looked a little stingy for the (ouch!) £7 each it was deceptively huge, and there were definite “I’m full” groans from both of us afterwards.
I’m planning on going back to the Goods Shed very soon to try out the Jonny Sandwich stall (pork belly, onion and caramelised pear sounds good to me!) so please let me know if you want a dedicated post. And if you do visit there at any point, I recommend the pie!
It’s national Pie Week this week (as I found out walking into Tesco’s to shelves of special buy pastry) and I couldn’t be more excited. I love pies, they form some of my favourite meals. They are just so filling, so versatile, and also pretty quick to make – they freeze really well, so whether you make your own or buy them in you can just throw one in the oven, then come back in a hour and cook some veg. Delicious meal with very little effort.
I prefer to make my own pie (although the Chicken & Ham Pie from the butchers nearby is hard to beat!) filling and then top with ready-rolled puff pastry. I’ve never had the time to make puff pastry from scratch, although I aim to give rough puff a go in the next few weeks. I can, however, make a pretty decent shortcrust. As most students will know, I suffer from a lack of freezer space and often its impossible to freeze fully made-up pies. Its easier and more space-efficient to spoon the filling into a bag, seal, and squeeze in the tiny gaps available. When I do this I really need to make my own pastry, and that’s where this recipe comes in!
I’ve managed to devise the perfect amount to cover my ‘individual pie dish’ – ie the smallest rectangle dish Le Creuset make (I buy mine discounted – and couldn’t recommend the brand enough!). It covers the filling, and leaves just enough to double round the edges to make a thicker, crunchier crust. Not only this but it is extremely quick to make (I can make it in five minutes, before a 9am lectures, then just roll out, cover and bake when I get in) but it is relatively flaky and buttery, and extremely flavoursome from the seasoning. Not quite as good as puff pastry, but a good second-best!
Pastry Ingredients (for a big one-person pie – I am greedy, and I also like lots of pie and no other carbs!)
How to Make Pastry (also, it’s easy to double/triple/quadruple the quantities if you’re feeding more than yourself – just keep the ratio of half-fat-to-flour!)
Add the flour to a mixing bowl, and season well. My preferred seasoning is a little salt, plenty of ground pepper and a little dried thyme. Tip the butter into the flour. The butter should be cubed, and straight from the fridge.
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until its all breadcrumby. No, that’s not a word, but its a good description of what you’re aiming for!
Now get some cold water in a glass, and add a drop at a tip to the mix. Stir vigorously with a knife to combine, and only add enough water so that the pastry just comes together.
Tip the pastry onto clingfilm, and put in the fridge for at least an hour, or until its nearly dinner time! Then you want to roll it out until it’s about the thickness of a £1 coin.
Typically the day I make this pastry for photographing is the day it fails and decides to stick to my marble surface, and then sink into my pie filling. It was still lovely and crisp though!
You want to bake your pie for about 45 minutes at 180C, until it’s crisp and golden. Brush with melted butter, milk or egg if you want it shiny, though I don’t usually bother.
This pie filling was something quick I knocked up – I sweated down an onion and some garlic, added chicken breast and sealed, then fried some mushrooms off. I then added half (soya) cream and half chicken stock, some lemon juice and seasoning, then simmered for a bit. I find this kind of sauce freezes really well and is so adaptable!
So that’s how to make my version of a simple shortcrust pastry. Let me know if you try it out! Its also a pretty cheap recipe too – far cheaper than buying ready made pastry.
I don’t think that much beats a good pie. I like making my own, I really do, but sometimes you just don’t have the time. I also don’t have the patience to fully encase my filling in pastry and sometimes I just want the stodge. Sometimes you just want to buy a ready made pie and devour it.
Chicken pies are all very well and good, but steak pie is just better. Unfortunately I’m really limited on the steak pies I can buy being allergic to tomatoes. Reliably I can buy Waitrose’s and Pukka’s, although I’m told Morrison’s are me-safe too. When I noticed Pukka All Steak Pies were reduced to £1 in Tesco over the weekend I simply had to buy one. It ended up photographing quite well, so thought I’d review it too!
After 30 minutes in the oven (from chilled) you have what is to me a perfect pie. Crispy pastry on top, but stodgy and almost soggy underneath. Filled with a thick gravy and properly big chunks of meat. Served with plenty of veg and a little extra gravy, its my perfect meal. Normally I wouldn’t serve mash with it, but I had potatoes to use up.
I personally think that, although people frown on them (they are sold in chip shops after all!), Pukka pies are really good quality. I’ve never had any fatty or grisly meat in there, just decent chunks of what actually looks and tastes like steak. The pastry isn’t crisp all the way round, but I kinda like that. Its comforting! I can’t say I’d necessarily spend more than £1 on one of these, but I’m happy to treat myself if I spy these on offer. I’m a girl who likes pie, and this girl says that a Pukka Pie is a pie worth the buy!
It was recently my turn to cook dinner for my housemates; I wanted something warming and comforting so pie was the obvious choice. But I also didn’t want to spend forever cooking! I mean, I do have work to do, and Simulation homework doesn’t do itself (though I wish it would!). In the end I decided to experiment with a quick version of a Chicken & Ham Pie, using a few cheat ingredients.
It turned out to be just what I wanted. The sauce was thick, creamy and full of flavour, the pastry crisp, and enough meat to feel like a good meal without it costing the earth. Served with some mash and plenty of green veg it was certainly a success! Admittedly not the cheapest recipe, but very nice for an occasional treat – I’m sure you could make it thriftier buy roasting a whole chicken breast, making your own pastry/sauce but that really isn’t the point with this cheat’s version!
3 chicken breasts
1/2 packet shredded ham hock (I got mine from Waitrose)
Can of condensed chicken soup
Can of condensed mushroom soup
1 small onion
Seasoning – I used plenty of pepper, onion and garlic powder, a little parmesan and around 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
This made enough for two large pies (easily feeding four), one large portion of filling leftover, and 4 pretty sizeable sausage rolls with the leftover pastry.
Finely dice some onions (I have a confession to make – I recently started using a mini food processor to do this for me, and am wondering why I didn’t start sooner!), then soften in a little butter over a low heat.
Meanwhile chop the chicken into relatively big chunks, and fry on a high heat in some oil until sealed. Then add in the onions.
Pour in the two cans of soup, adding around half a tin of water to each one to ensure everything is out.
Stir gently until lump-free, and season with your chosen seasonings.
Gently stir in half of the ham – it will break up slightly.
Divide between pie dishes, topping with the remaining ham.
Top with pastry. If you want a nice shiny top, brush with milk, beaten egg or melted butter.
Bake for around 20-30 minutes at 180C, or until puffed up and golden.
Serve with plenty of vegetables and mashed potatoes, if you like.
Now I’m not saying this is the most impressive of dinners, the most refined of meals. It was just damn tasty and easy to do, and is great for feeding a larger number of people. If you want to make a meal for housemates during a busy period this is just what is needed, and I reckon it would be perfect for busy mums to – its quick enough to prepare after work, or you could even assemble it all in advance and just bung it in the oven.
I also adapted a crumble recipe to make a savoury topping for the leftover filling – for one serving rub 80g of flour in 50g of butter, add plenty of ground pepper and a little parmesan cheese, scatter over the filling, and cake until the filling is very hot, and the topping golden and crispy. Yum yum!
NOTE: This recipe forms an entry to the Co-Op Electrical Shop’s Winter Warmer competition, the details of which can be found here. In short, bloggers are challenged to create a recipe of their favourite winter warmer, be it stew, pie or pudding. I love winter recipes, as I’m just a lover of cosying up by the fire with something comforting, so I’m hoping the organisers will share all the entries in one place!
This seems like a bit of a strange recipe to write on a student blog, as it seems so expensive – and I must admit the price did make me wince slightly when buying ingredients. But actually it makes a huge amount, and the cost spreads out. Each portion of pie is roughly £1.50, and whilst that’s not the cheapest meal around, its far cheaper than buying a ready meal.
Pies are so fun to make too! There’s so many different stages, but none are complicated (unless you are attempting to make your own pastry, with a cling-film roll instead of a proper rolling pin), and you can tailor the flavours to your own tastes completely. They are perfect for crowds – I made this when it was my turn to cook the house Sunday dinner and it was very well received. Not only did I make enough to feed four hungry girls, I made four individual pies for my freezer too – 2 hours work (and a lot of washing up) but I filled my freezer, relaxed from revision, and generally made a mess in the kitchen. Something I recommend!
And who wouldn’t want a dinner like that?! Served with plenty of mash and veg, this would have actually served at least another person, so I got at minimum nine servings out of this recipe, and I can’t wait to eat some of the ones I have stashed away in the freezer! I originally made a similar recipe from a Times magazine – I no longer have that recipe, so improvised with what was in my cupboard and what I remembered!
Four chicken breast (£7 from Tesco)
6 sausages (I bought 16 for £5, also in Tesco, working out at £1.88)
1 slice of bread, this recipe is perfect for using the ‘end bit no-one wants’ (5p)
Two regular onions (40p)
A large knob of butter (20p)
A handful of the cheapest mushrooms, optional (20p)
2 chicken stock cubes (10p)
Two tablespoons of flour (5p)
Some herbs and seasoning (5p)
1-2 packs of ready-rolled puff pastry (£2 from Sainsburys)
Splitting the recipe into eight servings, this works out at £1.49 per serving.
Let’s make pie!
First of all, cook your chicken – preheat the oven to 200C, and get four large squares of tin foil ready. Spread each with a little oil, place a chicken breast in the centre, and season with salt and pepper (I also added a bit of thyme). Wrap the foil into a parcel, it should look a little like a Cornish pasty in shape. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then leave to cool.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, and sweat down with the butter until soft.
And while that is going on (see, we’re multi-tasking here!) remove the sausages from their skins. Pulse the bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs, and mix this into the sausage meat – a kneading movement works well here. If you want, add a bit of lemon juice to this mixture – but don’t worry as it’s far from essential. Shape the mixture into balls – it makes lots, the picture below shows half of mine…
By now your onions should have sweated down. Make the stock up (you need 1.5-2 litres). Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux, then slowly add the stock whilst stirring. Once it’s all in the pan, add some herbs, salt and plenty of pepper, and your mushrooms (if using). You could also add vegetables at this point, I imagine some chopped carrot would work well.
Leave your sauce to simmer on a low heat for a bit, whilst you brown the sausage balls in a little oil. Make sure the pan is hot when they go in, or the bread will absorb oil and the final result will be greasy.
Back to the chicken. Remove it from it’s foil parcels, and drain any grease on a piece of kitchen towel. Cut up into bite sized pieces.
Once all of your elements are prepared, put some chicken and sausage in the bottom of your chosen dish.
Ladle in the sauce until it is roughly this full…
And bake for around 30-45 mins at 160C. If you are making a day in advance, keep the filling in the fridge, top with pastry when ready to cook, and bake covered with foil for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for 30 minutes. If freezing, use pastry that has NOT already been frozen (I made my own for my individual ones), defrost fully before cooking, cover and bake for 40 minutes, and then uncovered for 30 minutes. Remember to only use my timings as a guide – everything should be fully cooked and piping hot.
If you want, you could get fancy with your pastry and make some pretty shapes on top…mine was a little rough looking though! Serve with plenty of green vegetables and mash, and you have a filling dinner for under £2.
Having made this, I’ve been inspired to make more pies – I’m planning on making some steak ones over my Christmas holidays! Does anyone else make double portions and freeze meals to save time?