Men's Pie ManualWith great fanfare and a hot water crust my new book, the Men’s Pie Manual was launched in October, just in time for those that like to get their Christmas shopping done early. It’s been a joy to write, though things did get a little tricky when trying to make and photograph a gala pie in the sweltering heat of late July. As well as loads of recipes for meat pies, veggie pies, sweet pies, and things that are almost pies, there’s also a large portion of the book devoted to good kitchen practice, and that all starts with a good knife. As I say in the book:-

“Everything starts with a knife, and I cannot stress the importance of buying a really good one. Your knife is your kitchen Excalibur, your Glamdring, your Sword of Omens. You’re nothing without it – a king without a sword, a kitchen without a king! – so take good care of it.
It should be the first thing you wash up (don’t put it in the dishwasher), dry up, and put back in its box. Yes that’s right. Buy a knife that comes in a box and keep it there. The quickest way to ruin a knife is to leave it rattling around at the bottom of a sink full of dirty dishes or loose in a cutlery drawer. It’ll just get damaged and blunt.”

From there we explore the art and mystery of correct oven temperature, hob use, pans and tins, before moving onto hygiene and handling raw meat. Now duly instructed in proper kitchen etiquette, our humble pie man can crack on with making pies. I’ve been asked in interviews which pie is my favourite, and I’d have to say, the steak and ale. It’s a classic, time-tested flavour that can’t be beaten in my book, and this is my book. The technique to make the filling was actually given to me by my butcher. It used two different cuts of meat to achieve a truly amazing filling. You start with the skirt cut, which breaks down to form lovely strands of meat, only when this has reduced do you add the braising steak. The result is a meaty filling and an amazing gravy.

ItIMG_3715 was this filling that I made for Vanessa Feltz’s BBC London 94.9 show, encased in a Britain-shapped hot water crust case (I kid you not). Both her, and indeed Robert Elms couldn’t get enough of it. I also took a thermos of hot gravy to boot. Magic.

 

Shooting Men's Pie Manual

Shooting Men’s Pie Manual

Shooting Men's Pie Manual

Shooting Men’s Pie Manual

And now, time for some thanks; to my wife and daughter for being willing pie testers, to Tom Kerridge for the cover quote, to Stefan for the photography, and to all at Haynes for baking me in the first place.

And finally, to you, for buying the book simply by clicking this ☞ link ☜, go on, everyone loves pie…