A National Treasure Teaches Nose to Tail (or Feather), a Day with Mark Hix (At Bertinets Cookery School)

2016-10-15-14-40-39If you ask anyone who has followed the TV food series ‘Great British Menu” over the years despite the 100’s of great dishes presented to the judging panel consisting of Pru Leith, Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort, there is probably ONLY ONE dish that everyone remembers, ‘Stargazy Pie’.

This dish was presented in the 2007 series by Mark Hix and went on to win the main course and was joined by another Mark Hix recipe, ‘Perry Jelly with summer fruits and elderberry ice cream’ which won the dessert section of the competition.

These dishes were to form part of a banquet hosted by the British Ambassador to France, ably joined by Richard Corrigan and Sat Bains, both extremely competent and Michelin Star holders!photo-15-10-2016-11-43-54‘Does anyone not eat meet’? started the banter as we took advantage of the Sourdough and Brioche toast prepared by Richard Bertinets’ able team, I was back at the Bertinet Cookery School in Bath for the 5th time, it’s VERY good and the range of different guest Chef’s, convivial nature of the location, and limited number of attendees make for an excellent experience. Mark Hix was our tutor for the day and everyone was bubbling with excitement as to what we were going to cook.

photo-15-10-2016-14-23-26After a demonstration of handling Partridge, removing the legs, taking the crown off, removing the thighbone from the legs and starting a game broth we quickly prepared the ‘Far Breton’, an amazing dessert made with Prunes steeped in spiced Rum, a speciality of Normandy.

I made some of these Prunes over a year ago and they are still in the sealed jar, now I have the basis for a dessert that can be made in minutes and cooked in no time at all, (It was delicious)!

photo-15-10-2016-10-58-41Dessert done, we focussed on the rest of what was going to be a very special lunch for us all. Mark explained his philosophy of using everything in his cooking method, and providing some fascinating facts as to how much produce that could be used to good effect, ends on the scrap heap.

The basis for our Partridge broth was a home made Chicken stock, as you can see above as we prepared the elements of the dish pretty much everything else went in the broth mix, including onion skins (flavour and colour), the Partridge carcass (we were going to roast the crown), the offcuts from the legs, all adding more and more flavour.

photo-15-10-2016-11-43-54Having had the demonstration earlier it was now our turn to prepare the partridge, Mark gave us a quick repeat of the process again and we all set to the task in hand, slicing and cutting within a few minutes we all proudly had our crowns prepared and more flavour in the Broth pot.

photo-15-10-2016-11-18-13Our Roasted Partridge was going to sit on ‘Yorkshire Toast’. You will have to go on the course and hope Mark shows you how to prepare it, think of Bread Sauce fried in breadcrumbs! I now have three of his books and the recipe is not in any of them so I feel kind of honoured to have learnt something that is not mainstream, and tastes seriously good.

photo-15-10-2016-11-18-03No apologies for some of the pictures, all the processes we went through ensured we wasted nothing and continually added flavour as much as possible. Remember the Partridge legs I mentioned earlier, that we removed and took out the thigh bone. They needed poaching for about 15 minutes so they also went into the Broth pot. They were then going into a mixture of Buttermilk and spices before being floured and frying to crisp up.

photo-15-10-2016-11-55-55There is always a break or two during the cookery school sessions, and the ‘Bertinet Girls’ produce some amazing delights to whet the tastebuds. As these beauties came out the oven the room filled with the smell of chocolate and fudge, and as we drank Coffee and Tea they were demolished in minutes!photo-15-10-2016-11-39-06The Partridge legs cooked and dried, then got the Buttermilk treatment with some added spices. The legs are often ignored or wasted, we were going to have them as a tasty snack, dipped in a Membrillo sauce which we made later in the session.

Throughout the day we chatted to each other and asked Mark (and Richard) questions about food, their philosophy and they also volunteered anecdotes about their life experiences, which just made the event even more fascinating. These guys have been in the industry a long time and have so much experience and knowledge to give anyone who is interested, hints and tips about pretty much anything food related.

photo-15-10-2016-11-53-30Our menu for the day was going to be;

  • Buttermilk Fried Partridge Legs, with Membrillo Sauce
  • Partridge Broth with Woodland Mushrooms
  • Roast Partridge on ‘Yorkshire Toast’ with Elderberries
  • Far Breton

Once we were happy with the seasoning of the Broth we prepared a ‘garnish’ which would add more flavour and texture to the dish, Wild Mushroom, Celery and Sea Purslane.photo-15-10-2016-13-01-51I didn’t manage to get a ‘pretty’ picture of the Partridge legs as they were gone in seconds, Richard fried them and presented them ‘chef style’ on a plate. Dipped in the Membrillo sauce they were absolutely delish, washed down with some wine which started to flow for those that wanted as we neared dinner.

photo-15-10-2016-13-33-49As we finished the various courses, the table was prepared for lunch by Richards’ team. He epitomises a ‘convivial’ lunch, long table, wine, and the result is a party like atmosphere despite the fact we had all been on our feet for several hours, listening intently to Marks wisdom as we prepared our gourmet menu.photo-15-10-2016-13-39-23The Partridge broth was completed by adding the ‘garnish’ and served by the lovely team that support Richard, Fionn and Co., who work tirelessly making coffee and tea, cakes and helping clear up and making the day go so smoothly. It was just amazing, full of flavour, texture from the Mushrooms and Celery, and supported by lots of fresh homemade Bertinet bread.

photo-15-10-2016-13-59-04Next was the Partridge on ‘Yorkshire Toast’ with Elderberries. At the start of the day we had a debate on whether Game was popular with the students, several found Game Ok, some not so keen and part of the experience was to prove that when cooked properly, it was delightful.  Guess what? It was Bl@@dy delicious both succulent and tender, lovely flavour and enhanced by the Yorkshire Toast and Elderberries, we all complemented the Chefs in the kitchen and patted ourselves on the back, the party was in full swing.

photo-15-10-2016-14-23-26The dessert, was simple but complex at the same time, the Prunes exploded with flavour, the soft brulee like batter melting in the mouth.

So another really successful trip to the Bertinet Cookery School, met and learnt from a legend, Mark Hix, learnt so much again and now looking forward to my next trip, watch the blog for the review early in 2017.

Just to be clear, I paid full price for this course and received no incentives to write this blog. It’s my own reflection of an amazing day with a great bunch of people. I left full, with a massive smile on my face, 2 more of Mark’s books which he kindly signed, and a pack of L’hirondelle live yeast which I learnt to use at the Bread making course I did a while back.

If there is one cookery school in the UK that I would give top marks, Bertinets gets 10/10 (again). Thanks Mark and Richard and the team for a fabulous day.


………………………………Until next time L8ers………………………………………………….


Flour, Yeast, Water, Salt & Some Asparagus!

File 24-04-2016, 10 42 32It was finally here! The date of a ‘Bread Baking’ course I had booked many months ago, getting in a class with Richard Bertinet seems to require at least 6 months planning, which in many ways says that this guy is in demand, and he could be very good!

Some people might call me a bit of a food snob, but I don’t think I am. I just want to eat food that does not contain anything I don’t recognise as food. When you look on the labels of sandwiches in shops, it’s like a list from a chemistry set, yuch!  This was one of the reasons for booking this course, I like bread but whenever I eat it I generally feel cr@p afterwards, so wanted to see If I could start to find a method to make my own using 4 basic ingredients.

The course was full, ladies and gents as far as Cambridge had traveled to Bath to learn from a French Master Baker, author of several books including Dough his 1st book, which is now available in 9 languages and has sold over 200,000 copies (200,001 if you include my autographed copy)!

The day was awesome, learning the history of bread making and baking, handcrafting a variety of different breads from a single starting mix.

File 24-04-2016, 10 40 56This is not a course for the fainthearted, it’s hard work but we were continually refreshed by his team of excellent helpers, on hand to make Tea/Coffee and provide nibbles during the break, which was were well received.

This is the 3rd course I have taken at Richards’ cookery school, it met all expectations and the knowledge and skills that everyone gained surpassed the cost in bounds, like the previous courses what you learn with experts in their craft does NOT appear in books, it has to been seen, heard, felt and smelt!

File 24-04-2016, 10 43 32If you want to learn the techniques of a master and fancy bread then book this course, it’s a must do for anyone keen on understanding and practising how to produce awesome loaves, time after time. I am looking forward to my next time at Richards’ cookery school, with my nine year old at a class for youngsters.

AND Now!!!!!! (Drum Roll) Asparagus Done Differently!!20160423_200050-1I wasn’t going to blog this dish, I was battling with it, as maybe it was too simple. After the taste test it had to be done, it was delicious and involves a few techniques and VERY good timing.

This weeks organic veg box delivery included a bunch of Asparagus, I’ve had this vegetable before, but the missus and junior opp had not so maybe a chance to introduce a new taste into the repertoire. Also in the box was Purple Sprouting Broccoli which I also wanted to incorporate into the dish.

20160423_193413The ingredients are for two hungry adults (and a spare spear or two for junior opp to try!). Thinking of presentation, having a triangular pattern on the plate seemed a nice idea, so 3 bundles of 3 asparagus spears, tightly wrapped in Pancetta started this feast off.

Previously I had roasted 6 (organic) tomatoes, quartered and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper at 100 deg for about 2 hours, and left to cool. These would get 10-15 minutes with the Asparagus seasoned with pepper only.

Researching Hollandaise both in the cookery books on the shelf, and on the internet, produced lots of options. I thought I would gamble and try an ‘all in one’ method, 2 egg yolks, 125grm butter 1/4 lemon juice is needed for 2 people along with 2 tbs of water, just chuck it all into a saucepan and get your whisk ready.

So TIMING…..  The Hollandaise will take 12-15 minutes from scratch, the Asparagus about the same at 180 deg (fan oven) depending on thickness, the Broccoli about 2 mins in a pot of boiling lightly salted water.

To add some texture and another flavour punch you can also pre-prepare some crispy crumb. Take a couple of handfuls of PANKO breadcrumbs, in a frying pan with butter and Oil. Grate in a clove of garlic and keep stirring until the crumb is brown and crispy.

Add some picked fresh Thyme leaves (about 2 tsp) leaving the woody stalks behind. Put into a bowl to cool and grate in (small Microban works well) some Parmesan cheese, about 50 grms in my case. This is the seasoning for the crumb texture.

20160423_201834_001-1Earlier in the afternoon I had made some Dough with my son, and although it had not worked out quite as planned, we got it into the oven and baked some bread, this was to go with the Asparagus, it’s a French passion, bread is part of the meal not a course to start things off!! (it was delicious ;-))

If you have a Split oven, put your plates in to warm, along with the crumb mixture. Put your main oven onto 180 deg (fan). Bring a pan of water to the boil, add some salt and keep ready for the Broccoli.

Here we go…. Oven is hot at 180 Deg, in goes the Asparagus, Hollandaise ingredients on a low heat to melt the butter, whisk, whisk and keep whisking. When the butter has melted, turn the heat up a bit (not too hot, I never went above 3.5 on a scale of 1-9 on my hob) and keep whisking. After 10 minutes (quickly) check Asparagus, keep whisking the Hollandaise. If you see steam coming off the Hollandaise mixture at any time, turn down slightly, keep whisking.

When the Hollandaise starts to thicken, turn the water up to boil and add the Purple Sprouting Broccoli, keep whisking the Hollandaise.

You get the message I hope. The Hollandaise turned out perfectly, but you have to focus, and KEEP whisking all the time, I did almost solid for about 12 minutes.  When the lovely silky sauce starts to thicken you can start to taste and season. Its needs some salt, keep tasting and adding small amounts until it seems right (and keep whisking!). The consistency was in between single and double cream.


I put the Asparagus Spears in a triangle, the Purple Sprouting Broccoli was drizzled with Olive Oil, mixed through and placed in the centre and the roast tomatoes around the outside. Add the Hollandaise liberally and then sprinkle the punchy crumb on top.

It was superb, the crumb adds a real punch, the tomatoes are sweet and acidic which cut through the rich Hollandaise sauce.

Have a go at this one, you won’t be disappointed.

…………………..Until next time, L8ers…………………

Its Mustard! Sausages, Fennel, Spiced Crispy Apple, Baked Jersey’s and a Wicked Sauce

WP_20150425_18_47_13_ProThis was going to be a simple recipe, but ended up more complex as my brain chewed (sorry!!) over the options.

I had popped into the local Deli (Cook & Butcher, Thatcham), its recently moved to a larger location and was checking on my whether they had expanded on their range of Fox’s Gourmet products. A quick look around the shelves and yes, they had, my eyes drawn to a Tarragon & Champagne Mustard which looked interesting.

There were some freshly made sausages in the chilled counter, and I was soon walking out of the Deli, my brain whirring away with ideas on various recipes and thoughts on what I could prepare to delight the taste buds, Sausages & Mustard!

This isn’t a 30 minute meal, we are going to make a Chicken Stock from scratch which needs 2 hours simmering so read the whole post first, the stock can be made in advance and the leftover frozen for future use.

There is one picture in this post you might find a bit distressing, you have been warned…………………………

So as the dish developed there was a common theme developing, Aniseed. Linking flavour profiles and textures makes what might seem a boring meal that bit special, and I wanted to take the humble sausage (I am an addict of this British favourite), to the next level.

So if you fancy having a go, you will need the following;

  1. 1.5 Kgs Chicken Wing Tips
  2. 1 Calfs Foot, Split!
  3. 1 Carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  4. 1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. 1 or 2 Sticks Celery roughly chopped
  6. 5 Cloves Garlic
  7. 1 Tsb Tomato Puree (Double Concentrate)
  8. 1 Glass White Wine
  9. Olive Oil
  10. 6 Litres of Water
  11. 1 Jar Fox’s Gourmet Tarragon and Champagne Mustard
  12. 6 Pork Sausages (the BEST you can get, don’t skimp!), 3 per person!
  13. Jersey Royal potatoes
  14. 1 Apple (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored and cut into 10mm approx. slices
  15. 1 Lemon
  16. 1 Fennel Bulb (sliced 5mm thick)
  17. 300 Ml Double Cream
  18. Butter
  19. 1 Egg
  20. Plain Flour for dredging the apples
  21. Panko Bread Crumbs for coating the apples
  22. 2 -3 Star Anise
  23. Ghee (clarified Butter)
  24. Salt
  25. 10 White Peppercorns
  26. Pepper

Making the Chicken Stock from Scratch

File 26-04-2015 12 01 32Yep, this is what 1.5kgs of Chicken Wing tips and a split Calfs foot looks like, drizzle with Olive Oil, mix well and roast in the oven at 180-200 deg, until browned 20 – 30 minutes.

WP_20150425_14_50_31_ProOnce you have roasted off the Chicken etc. place in a very large saucepan add 5 litres of water and slowly bring the boil.

Using the baking tray for the meat, place on the stove top, add the vegetables, 5 roughly chopped Cloves of Garlic, and start to scrape the bottom of the tray, releasing any sticky meaty bits.

WP_20150425_14_56_19_ProAfter about 5-10 minutes, as you can start to smell the aromas, add the Tomato Paste to cook out the raw bitterness, then add the Wine and cook for a further 5 minutes to burn of the alcohol.

WP_20150425_15_02_18_ProThen, add the remaining litre of water, add to the Stock Pot and start to skim off any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. The Stock needs to gently simmer for 2 hours, Chicken does contain quite  bit of fat, so keep checking the surface and remove as the delicious broth develops its deep rich flavour.

WP_20150425_15_11_59_ProAfter 2 hours, remove any remaining fat on the surface, and put to one side to cool down. You will only need about 1/2 Litre for the recipe, but now you have an amazing base for sauces and gravies which will be so much nicer than anything you get in the shops.

To cook the main event is quite straightforward. Bake the Sausages in the Oven, mine took about 35-40 Minutes at 180 deg. The Fennel once sliced, is placed in a baking dish and almost covered with some of the freshly prepared stock, add a decent knob of butter, season with Pepper, and squeeze 1/2 Lemon over the top. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about the same time as the Sausages.

I boiled the Jersey Royals, let them cool and they also got the oven treatment to crisp up in some clarified butter, and seasoned with Sea Salt when served at the end.

WP_20150425_19_26_27_Pro With everything doing its cooking in the oven, you can prepare the Apples, which need dunking in well seasoned flour ( I only used Black Pepper, no Salt), beaten Egg and then Panko Breadcrumbs as in the picture above. At this time, you might want to stick some plates in the oven to warm up, ready for serving.

To cook, add a decent amount of Butter in a frying pan, then 3 – 4 Star Anise, you don’t want the Butter too hot or the solids will Burn.

WP_20150425_19_41_37_ProYou will start to see the Aniseed theme, in the Mustard, in the Apples, and of course, the Fennel. Once cooked to crisp on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, they can rest for a few minutes in the warm over whilst you finish the final stage, the amazing sauce.

When everything is cooked,  we are ready to get the sauce done and serve up. Take a frying pan, place on the heat and add about 300 mls of the Chicken Stock and boil vigorously, reducing by at least 1/2, then add a ‘glug’ of white wine, and continue to do the same.

WP_20150425_19_50_45_ProTake the dish with the Fennel in, and take about 2 Tbls of the cooking Liquor and add to the frying pan, this enables the Fennel theme to travel further through the dish, and the Lemon Juice in the cooking liquor, adds a further lift, finally add about 150 mls of Double Cream and continue to reduce.

This part of the process requires YOU to estimate, based on taste and consistency, every Pan and Hob is different so use YOUR judgement to adjust and you will be rewarded with a sauce of beauty.

The last stage is too add the Fox’s Gourmet Mustard, I used about 2 Tsp’s, again adjust and taste to get to your preferred flavour, finally season with salt after tasting again, if needed. If you are happy with the consistency, then serve up, if not reduce or add more cream, whatever you feel is needed.

WP_20150425_20_03_29_ProThat’s it, Sausages, Fennel, Jersey Royals, Crispy Star Anise Apples and an amazing sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

Yes, preparing the stock takes some time, but its really well worth it as now you have the base for further cooking with all the major prep done.

Hope you have a go at this and get the same satisfaction that I did. I am off to France in the next few days to learn some more cooking skills at The French House Party, I will be posting if I get the time and a full review will get posted after.

Until next time……………………L8ers…………..


3 Interesting months and Braised Red Cabbage

WP_20141120_11_54_42_ProA series of unforseen circumstances and events, and its been 3 months since my last post. Acute Bronchitis, infected leg after an amazing trip to Tunisia, and a health scare with the Mrs knocked my mojo for six. Things started to get better after a work event in late November, driving tanks in wet muddy fields, it was awesome, the antibiotics also had started to do their thing!

WP_20141224_11_28_29_ProSo my last post of 2014 is a twist on the Christmas staple of Braised Red Cabbage.  This is a dish I always cook at least one day in advance as the flavours develop when left to rest in the fridge, well covered in cling film and foil. This year, I added some more unusual additions in the form of Ras Al Hanut spice mix (I use the Steenbergs variant which is awesome), some Ginger, and Pomegranate Molasses, along with some Kirsch soaked Barberries at the end, which definitely added an extra ‘Christmas’ element to the dish and Middle Eastern influence.

The Ingredients

  • 1 Red Cabbage thinly sliced
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 Apples (Cox’s work well), randomly cut to form different sized pieces!
  • 30g butter
  • 1 Orange (or 2 Satsumas), juiced
  • 150 ml Port
  • 3 Tbsp Moscatel Vinegar (Red wine will do but its sharper)
  • 3 Star Anise
  • 1 5cm Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 2 Tsp Ral Al Hanut
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Ginger
  • 1/4 Grated Fresh Nutmeg
  • 50 g Barberries steeped in Kirsh for 24 Hours
  • 2 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses

Thinly shred the Cabbage, Onion and slice the Apple into pieces about 3-4 mm thick, we want them to retain some texture during the cooking process and not break up and go mushy.

Put some butter and Oil into a Dutch Oven or decent sized oven proof pot, and heat on the hob, adding the Onion first, then the Cabbage and stir for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the Barberries and Kirsch),  and keep stirring ensuring all the ingredients are well mixed.

I put a layer of foil on the Dutch oven before adding the lid and placing in a pre-heated oven at approximately 130 degrees (fan). Cook for about 2 hours, stirring every 1/2 hour.

After the 2 hours, remove from the oven, stir once more, replace the lid and let cool, before transferring to a dish that will fit in your fridge, covered with cling film, and then tin foil.

The dish just needs to be reheated on Christmas day (or whenever you decide to have a go!), and add the soaked Barberries for the last ten minutes, which add the occasional ‘zing’ of Christmas spice.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and Happy New Year.

See you in 2015…………..L8ers……………..

π, No not that one, Pie! My take on an Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age food!

Hi peeps, it’s Sunday, I’ve finished work until the 6th January and don’t need an excuse to get in the kitchen. We had planned to have Chicken on Saturday night, but instead went for a Cheese Fondue as I wanted to do something a little special, and Roast Chicken and all the trimmings so close to Christmas just didn’t seem right.


I absolutely love a good Pie, but getting one is really challenging, I believe the best are ones made with love and care in your own home, by your own hands and fresh as a daisy!  I am sure there are good Pie’s available but quite often my eating habits change within the space of five minutes, so here is my take on something that first surfaced in 9500BC!


For me a good Pie is made of the best ingredients you can get (or afford), in this case an excellent Free Range Chicken from our favourite supplier, no added ANYTHING! You also need a quality stock to make a sauce, the carcass of the Chicken is the base of this, with some aromatics such as Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Peppercorns and a Star Anise.


I roasted the Chicken on the Saturday evening,  put half a head of Garlic in the cavity along with a halved Clementine, rubbed Olive Oil all over the skin and seasoned with Salt and Pepper. Roasting took 1 hour 20 minutes in my case, I then covered the beast with a couple of layers of foil, and a towel and let cool for a good couple of hours. Transfer the Chicken to the fridge, covering with greaseproof paper and foil to keep all those flavours where they need to be! DON’T clean the roasting dish, you are going to use it in the morning so cover with some foil to keep any nasties out.

The stock is simmering as I am writing this blog entry.

Earlier this morning I stripped the carcass of its meat and put the carcass back in the same roasting dish I used last night, adding to the flavour with the juices and crispy bits. Also in the dish went a stick of celery and a carrot, cut into chunks, and two onions cut in half with their skins still on, then into a 180deg oven (160 deg fan) for 1 hour.

Once roasted put into a stock pot if you have one, or a large saucepan along with about 4 pints of water, a bunch of Parsley, 2 sprigs of Thyme, a sprig of Rosemary, 10 Black Peppercorns (Lampung in my case), 5 White Peppercorns (I used Muntok) and one Star Anise. The Stock needs to gently simmer for 4 hours, skimming any impurities of the surface as you go.WP_20131222_15_07_42_Pro

After 4 hours, remove the stock from the heat and filter through a sieve, the aromas filling the kitchen were….CHICKEN! You can see a small amount of fat on the surface, this can be removed when the stock has cooled down if you want too.


Whilst the stock is simmering, you can attack the Pâte Feuilletée or Puff Pastry. I know the shop bought stuff is apparently good, but this was to be a special pie and so an excuse to have a go myself. I followed the instructions of the well renowned Richard Bertinet, in his book Pastry, which I mentioned in the last blog.

There are a number of stages to go through, with chilling between each so allow yourself enough time (you could go and buy some but it won’t be the same!)


This is my attempt after I had added ice cold water to the flour, and knocked ten tons of, no, only joking, flattened the butter between two sheets of cling film. After another chill in the fridge, the butter will be incorporated into the flour mix in layers.


There a two ways of folding to create Puff Pastry, Double Book and Single. Double Book is where you take each end and fold it into the middle. Single is where you fold ONE end in, and the other overlaps.  Just for a challenge I went for single, which requires 6 folds and 1/2 hour resting in the fridge after each (Its not a fast process!). This is mine after fold three, the finger dimples are intentional to enable you to remember where you are!


In between the puff pastry process you can start to prepare the filling. You need Onions, Garlic, Button Mushrooms, Butter, Flour, Stock, Roast Chicken (chopped) and frozen Peas; Salt and Pepper to taste, Herbs de Provence or whatever flavourings you fancy. I included a small amount of Chilli to provide a background warmth.

Chop the Onions and fry gently in some Butter and Olive Oil until translucent, then add the Garlic (crushed or chopped) and continue to cook. Quarter the button Mushrooms and add, cooking for at least 5 minutes then the Roast Chicken and a tablespoon or so of Flour, and continue to cook, then about 300 ml of the freshly prepared Chicken Stock. Gently simmer for about 15 mins and towards the end, chuck in about 3 handfuls of frozen peas and remove from the heat. It should look like the above.


To accompany ‘The Pie’ was going to be one of my all time favourite potato dishes, Gratin Dauphinoise. Layers of Potato, Garlic, Salt & Pepper and grated Nutmeg, filled with double cream and cooked slowly until golden and bubbling. Its a very rich and flavoursome dish that can be a meal in its own right.


I topped mine with grated Grana Padano Italian hard Cheese which i deemed acceptable as the dish is from the Dauphiné area of France, near the Italian border, you could also use Gruyere as an alternative.

Back to the Pastry and we are almost done. We are now at turn six of the single turn method.


When you cut the Pastry you can see the thin wafer like layers of Butter, we are going to make a Flat Pie and you need to make the lid slightly larger than the base to cover the filling.


Once you have the base rolled out to a thickness of a slightly less than a pound coin, brush egg wash  about an inch around the edge, pile in the chilled filling and place the lid on top. To seal the edges I used the thumb and two finger method to crimp the edge, and then rolled like a Cornish Pasty edge, nothing was escaping this bad boy!


Brush the lid with egg wash and put in the fridge to relax for 10 mins. The take it out the fridge, egg  wash it again (this will help it go a deep brown colour) and using the BACK of a sharp knife, gently make curve patterns from the centre to the edge. If you don’t do this after the egg wash, you will loose the pattern. You can also make an incision in the centre to let some of the steam out during cooking.


Approximately 45 minutes in a 180deg oven and you should end up with something like the above, be brave and turn the heat up a little during the last 10-15 mins, you want a deep brown and nearly caramelised colour and finish. The pastry should be flaky and crispy, the filling succulent and flavoursome.


I also fancied another favourite, Green Beans & Pancetta, cooked beans, rolled in the salty Italian Bacon and fried quickly for a few minutes to crisp up.

The Boss is generally not to fussed about pies, until she tried this one, it was stunning, tasty and there is plenty left over for tea on Monday. So here it is, my take on a Pie, you could use Beef or Pork if you don’t like Chicken, just make the appropriate Stock base to match the filling.

As an aside, I use a Camera Phone for the pictures on my Blog. Those very kind people at Nokia gave me the Lumia 1020 last week, a 41 Megapixel beast with Carl Zeiss lense, the pictures on this entry were taken on the new Nokia.

Previous entries were on either the Nokia 920, BlackBerry Z10 or Samsung S4. (Maybe you can guess what my day job might be?) Maybe you can see the difference, i’m not the best photographer or stylist but try to make the images ‘real’.

Hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.