Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lord of the Pies

Open any newspaper or magazine at the 'Lifestyle' page, and there'll inevitably some article about diet. It'll go on and on about healthy eating, explaining how to avoid those excruciatingly addictive chocolates, cream buns, doughnuts and Coca-Cola. Apparently it's impossible only to have one chocolate. "Just say no," the mantra goes in its attempt to steer the yoof away from addictive substances, or you'll clear the shelves of Dairy Milk, Ferrero Rocher or Quality Street.

Now I enjoy a chocolate as much as the next Goat, but I personally can't see a good reason for troughing an entire box of Black Magic - both layers, and even the Coffee Cremes - while watching the telly.

My weakness, for we all have at least one, is savouries. Pasties, flans, quiche and best of all: Pies.

Keefieboy is a fan of steak and kidney pies, and I'm pretty much in agreement with him. A 'proper' pie consists of a lower layer of pastry, a delicious moist meaty filling and a pastry crust on top. So-called cottage pie doesn't really count because there's no bottom pastry at all and the top is mashed potato. What use is a pie that you can't pick up in your hand if necessary? I think those individual hot, ready-to-eat pies from Spinneys et al are excellent. Wrapped in alumininium foil and perched somewhere in the engine bay, after a couple of hours of desert driving a hot steak and kidney pie is a gastronomic delight.

Fruit pies are a little different. I feel that a shallow pastry-lined dish full of fruit is more of a flan, or even a tart. However, I still refer to one of these full of cherries and covered with a pastry lattice a pie. By my definition, I suppose Beef Wellington (one of my favourite things, along with raindrops on roses and bright copper kettles) is a sort of pie. Check out The Fat Expat for a recipe.

Although they fit my description, I feel that fish pie is some curious travesty. I'm biased because I'm allergic to seafood, but cracking open a pastry crust to reveal a piscatorial filling makes me feel as if some great blasphemy has been committed. The Stargazey Pie, in which herring heads poke out of the rim, is nevertheless a Cornish tradition.

And this provides a slick segue into the Cornish Pasty. It's not made in a dish or tin, but nevertheless fits my rather arbitrary definition of a proper pie. Nanny Goat was born and bred Oop North, or at least in the English Midlands just north o't'River Trent and should in theory not be able to produce a decent pasty. But she learned how from her mother-in-law who was dyed-in-the-wool authentic Cornish. Until at last, imagining a kind of Cornish Yoda: "Arrr! Maaarrster the Apprentice has become."

Nanny Goat has now left the Land of the Sand for the more temperate Mundane Kingdom. Evidence of her visit remains: a freezer full of pastiferous delights.

]}:-{>

10 comments:

nzm said...

Don't eat them all at once!

Duffy said...

It looks like something is trying to escape from your pie

Mars said...

i'm hungry for pie now...

Gnomad said...

As chance would have it, the Gnomad's have just been partaking of some pie, of both the steak and kidney and Cornish pasty varieties.

The Gnomadette, a Filipina and until very recently a stranger to all things pastiferous is now, however, an avid fan of the Cornish Pasty.

Is that image one of the famous Desperate Dan Cow Pies so much adored in the Little Pub chain? it looks so familiar....

dubaibilly said...

Interestingly, GG, our definition of pies coincides exactly even down to our views of fish pie! Spooky.

Keefieboy said...

A freezer full of pies: she is good to you!

i*maginate said...

I love a good ole' steak and kidney pie - and anything from Cornwall is fine with me, esp. the accent! I'm hooked on "Doc Martin"...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, GG, it looks as though mmecyn has a better m-i-l, than you. No, delectable food specialties are in my resume...or as my 50 year live in recently told me "you never were very domestic." Would Nanny Goat like to come and cook for him? the m-i-l.

Jayne said...

I've always found that the best pies are either home-made, or come from small privately owned bakeries. Reading your post has made me remember scooping out the filling of a Fray Bentos steak & kidney pie (cos I don't eat meat) & savouring every mouthful of the pastry.....yummy!

Mme Cyn said...

Anon, Dear --
I disagree. MmeCyn's m-i-l's lovely, but so is the Goat's. And what's all this about your "50 year live in"?? "Lawfully wedded HUSBAND" (and my FATHER) are NOT dirty words!!
Look at it this way -- because you don't cook, I learned to, and the Goat is pretty well fed even when Nanny Goat isn't around. Sounds oike you are the perfect m-i-l.

 

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