Why does the Meat Pie taste so good?

Why does the Meat Pie taste so good?

What is I with junk food that makes it so appealing? I’m not just talking about those international fast food chains which the term junk food is most associated with, I mean low quality products that you cook at home…like the meat pie. Let’s take the humble meat pie. Pies and pasties have been enjoyed by all throughout the ages, but they do end to have more of an association with the ‘working classes’, pie and mash shops, the miners Cornish pasty, meet pie and chips from the local chippy, pie on the stands at a football match, etc. This means they were never meant to be a luxury food more a way to make something delicious from cheap cuts of meat. Strange that now we would rather seek out a ‘better’ version of the classic pie, free range, organic, high meat content, gluten free, lower fat or snappier brand. The thing about the pie is that it is comfort food. A hot and tasty convenience food which contains something you can’t simply make better…memories. That’s right it’s the taste of those old low quality pies that you hold dear to your heart. Like an old friend, reliable and always there. I popped down to my local supermarket and picked up the cheapest mince beef and onion pie I could find. For just 60p (on offer) I had my prize! I must admit I haven’t eaten a pie like this in quite some time, but I was surprised at my air of excitement as the aroma wafted from the oven…a bit like finding an old childhood toy…great memories. It...
Baxter’s Hearty Soup Review

Baxter’s Hearty Soup Review

Although like the rest of the UK I’m very familiar with the brand, I hadn’t tried any of Baxter’s Hearty Soup before. So when Baxter’s got in touch with me to sample a selection from the range, and taking into consideration the weather, I jumped at the chance. Yes at this time of year as the dark, cold and damp take over, I think I’m right in saying we all like to have a stock of tinned soups in the store cupboard for a quick warming lunch or even as a snack. With a long shelf life and super convenience it’s no wonder canned products have been with us for over a century and it doesn’t look like they are going to leave us anytime soon. Baxter’s Hearty Soup range has been around for a while, sold as a little more chunky and substantial than the regular kind, they sort of fill a gap between soup and stew. Containing 2 to 3 portions of your 5-a-day it’s more of a meal in a can. So what did I think of the flavours I got to try? Read on! Chicken & Country Vegetable It was a pleasant surprise to find the chunky vegetables that had good bite and texture, not like a lot of soups which have hunks of  veggies that instantly turn to mush in your mouth. It was pleasant tasting but the chicken flavour seemed to be lost somewhere. Even though the ingredients don’t mention tomato I could swear I got that flavour coming through. Whatever it was something was knocking the balance out of kilter. Tuscan Style...
Empanada – The Spanish for Pasty

Empanada – The Spanish for Pasty

As you know I have been living in Spain for the last couple of years and one thing I realised I was missing was the fish empanada (Empanada de Atún), a flavoursome pasty like creation available at every good bakery. It’s a lunchtime favourite for me when in Spain, quick and easy when on the hop. Being back in Blighty and having a lunchtime hankering for one I decided to create one that could stand up to any of the traditional versions I had tried before. Looking online at recipes it appeared they have the basic ingredients right, but none of the recipes I found were technically correct based on my extensive experience. You see just throwing the ingredients in to a pastry envelope just won’t cut it for me. Also I wanted to put my twist on this classic bringing a British touch to this Spanish classic. I have options for the old school style but try it my way…trust me it’s good 🙂 This delicious snack is best prepared with a little time, so get your aprons on, prepare to get a little messy and let’s get on with my recipe. You’re gonna love it! Empanada de ‘addock Serves 3 Ingredients 180g x Fresh Smoked Haddock* 1 x Medium Onion 1 x Medium Green Bell Pepper** 3 x Regular Fresh Tomatoes 1 x Teaspoon Smoked Paprika 2 x Tablespoons Good Olive Oil 1 x Good Pinch of Sea Salt 1 x Good Pinch of Black Pepper 1 x Pack of Shortcrust Pastry 1 x Egg * You can use any white fish or tuna fresh or canned (the...
Thanks Sarsons, I now pickle!

Thanks Sarsons, I now pickle!

I must confess that I have pickled chillies in the past after growing a glut of them one year, and it was pretty successful even if I say so myself. Yet making pickle is not something I practice or would claim to be an expert at, so when I was invited to a pickling workshop with Sarsons I thought it would be good for me to go along and share my experience with you dear reader. As a novice I paid full attention to our instructions as we were split into teams and given different ingredients to pickle. My team was in charge of the Asian style pickled carrot and radish (mooli/daikon), and I must say it was all pretty straight forward. Wash and slice your ingredients then add with your pickling spice and vinegar to a sterilised Kilner jar, seal and wait for a week or two until the pickling magic is complete. Can it really be this simple? Yes it can! Not only was it straightforward, it was fun. I suggest you grab your partner, kids, granny or anyone else who likes to play in the kitchen and get them involved. This time of year there is a lot of vegetables out there that lend themselves to pickling and what a gift to give at Christmas for very little outlay and not a lot of effort… But oh the pickle is good! So now at home armed with an array of vinegars courtesy of Sarsons, I decided to make one my favourite pickles – dill cucumbers. Another lucky team got to make these at the workshop where they...
Pasta Remoli AperiPasta & the Big Cheese!

Pasta Remoli AperiPasta & the Big Cheese!

I had the pleasure of being invited to Pasta Remoli to sample their fresh made pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma ham. Pasta Remoli is an interesting concept as it is a primarily a bar/restaurant but it also sells its pasta as cook at home take out. On arrival I hit the buffet for a selection of Parma ham themed canapes, grabbing a beer I sat outside to soak up their archetypically Italian relaxed café culture atmosphere. Munching through the little tasty morsels of food the Parma ham was melt in the mouth, a nice contrast to the Iberico ham I have been used to down in Southern Spain. Parma ham is just so very well suited to a variety of starters and canapes as it adds a nice hit of porky umami along with enough saltiness per bite to season up anything it’s paired with. I was soon nudged and told the main event (and main course) was about to happen. Back inside a hollowed out half block of Parmigiano Reggiano was being attacked by a man with a blow torch…I did pity that cheese as its insides were taken to melting point and that smell of cheese on toast taken to the edge of destruction filled the air. After the inside of the cheese had been sufficiently brutalised, a huge pan of carbonara was poured into it and stirred round and round with great vigour to get that cheesy deliciousness right into the sauce. Delicious it was too…Pasta Remoli’s penne was cooked (for me) perfect al dente and had a rich wonderful flavour. I later had a chat to with the...
Would you kill it to eat it?

Would you kill it to eat it?

Quite a question right? It’s one that divides even the most avid meat eaters, go on ask some meat eating friends ‘Would you kill it to eat it?’ You will find some saying ‘Yes, probably’ and some will reply in shock ‘No, never!’ I find this kind of strange. Being a meat eater myself I have no moral dilemma, as I understand that the meat I buy was once a living breathing animal…and for me to eat it someone had to kill it. If there was a situation where that person had to be me, then so be it. Maybe it’s an age thing. In boy scouts I was show with enthusiasm how to trap, skin and cook a rabbit over the fire. Not the best culinary experience granted, but I didn’t have or see a problem with it. Funny that these days people find rabbit hard to swallow, as they are more often than not seen more as pets here in the UK. It’s also strange to me that fishing doesn’t have that same moral impact. The image of catching fish or seafood from the sea and cooking it over a driftwood fire has a certain romanticism. It is easily forgotten that that poor little fishy had as much right to live as a cow, sheep or pig. So is it the size of the animal which puts people off? Or because they look cute and it’s hard to kill an animal that may once have been your childhood toy companion? I don’t agree with hunting purely for sport, or the killing of animals for trophies or mumbo-jumbo...