Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The First Recipe

So here it, is my first post. I'll start by describing our great heritage - we are a traditional working class north eastern family who have clawed our way into the middle class over the past couple of decades. My grandma (who supplied many of these recipes) was a cook in a large house in Darlington for many years, she was the mother of five and amazing at quizzes. My mum is a radiographer and passionate family cook. We love eating and our inspiration comes not just from standard northern fare (of which there is plenty) but also family trips to Northern France. These recipes tell the story of our family.

So on with the first recipe, the first I've picked for you is a stone cold classic. Corned Beef Pie. Now I know that corned beef is deeply unfashionable (and unhealthy) but this pie so is worth overcoming any of these apprehensions. My boyfriend loves it. I've seen him try and eat a whole one.

Corned Beef Pie
1 Tin corned beef (you can get fresh stuff as well but a tin will do)
1 large onion
mashed potatoes
salt and pepper
short crust pastry - how much depends on the size of the pie dish - usually 12oz flour, 3 oz butter. 3oz lard (yeah lard - told you it was unhealthy)
N.B. Always remember with short crust pastry you need half weight of flour in fat (thanks mum - I often forget)

Make Filling
  1. in a large frying pan, fry chopped onion slowly until browned
  2. open tin of c/b and cut into large chunks or slices
  3. add onion and cook down mashing it up as you go
  4. remove from heat and add enough mashed potato to bind mixture together - the amount you use is up to you but if you use too much you can't taste the meat
  5. season well to taste (not sure that makes sense mum) the mixture should be soft
  6. make pastry while mixture cools
  7. as always with pastry, keep hands and implements cool and handle as little as possible. Make into a ball
  8. cut ball of pastry in half. Roll out one half into on floured surface until big enough to line the pie dish with some hanging over the edges
  9. add corned beef mixture and smooth
  10. roll out other half of pastry until large enough to cover dish
  11. wet edges of pastry around the edge of pie dish
  12. add pastry lid and seal edges together. Cut off excess and keep to one side
  13. make hole in the top of the pile for the steam to escape
  14. pinch off edges of pie with finger tips
  15. roll out left over pastry and make 'leaves' for the top of the pie. Roll out strips and cut into diamonds and mark with knife (see diagram)
  16. Put on baking tray and cook in mod oven (180 degrees) for about 30-40 mins
Brush top with beaten egg or milk so pastry goes nice and golden
(This is extremely nice with picked beetroot (my mum thinks everything is nice with picked beetroot though - she even uses the vinegar from this on chips!))