Tag Archives: pies

Over The Rainbow Picnic Pie

Since the end of May/beginning of June when social distancing relaxed to the point we were allowed to have outdoor social gatherings with a limited number of people (which to me spelt PICNICS) I have had a few. Picnics that is! How awesome to have lots of chance to make picnic creations that could be used for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020 SUMMER PICNIC!!!

But to me…of all my picnic creations, this is the pièce de résistance. It is a Rainbow Picnic Pie that I made back in May for the first picnic I had with friends since the social distancing restrictions came into place in March. The photograph directly below is not my pie. This is what I was aiming for. You will have to scroll down to the bottom to see how my pie turned out.

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I followed the recipe below from the BBC Good Food website, although I toll a couple of liberties.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/veggie-rainbow-picnic-pie

Here is a step-by-step run through of my Rainbow Picnic Pie journey!!! Could there be anything more fabulous than a Rainbow Picnic Pie I ask you!!!???

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So to start with, here are the ingredients I used (….oh I forgot to add you need a little flour for dusting when you roll the pastry)

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  • 450g butternut squash, peeled, sliced and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion sliced (I used two because I love onions)
  • 550g small waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 x 375g blocks all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 x 320g ready-rolled sheet all-butter puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 300g pack cooked beetroot sliced (I used a jar of already sliced beetroot)
  • 450g jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 200g block feta cheese
  • 150g frozen peas
  • small bunch each parsley  and mint, chopped
  • 10 eggs (yes, I know that is a lot of eggs!!!)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

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First of all pre-heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

The butternut squash has to be sliced….I sliced all my vegetables so they were roughly the same thickness…no more than half a centimeter.

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I then drizzled the slices of butternut squash in 1 tbsp oil and some seasoning and roasted them for 20 mins until they were softened.

Then the potatoes were peeled and I sliced them to half centimeter slices and boiled them for eight minutes.

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The sliced onions I genty fried in olive oil for just over ten minutes until they were soft

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Then the butternut squash, onion and potatoes need to cool before they can be used to fill the pie.

Now….I didn’t take a photograph, but it is important to line the baking tin (I used a 20x30cm deep pie tin) with at least two layers of baking parchment/greaseproof paper. It will be so much easier to remove if you do this. If you forget to do this…well…just don’t forget!!!

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So….now we come to the pastry section. I rolled out the two blocks of puff pastry into one large rectangle. The pastry should  not be too thin. Aim for around the thickness of a pound coin. Drape it into the pie tin leaving an overhang of pastry over the rim.

Then the rainbow filling process. I filled the pies pastry with the following layers:

  • breadcrumbs
  • beetroot
  • roasted red peppers
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • feta cheese
  • potatoes
  • frozen peas
  • herbs

I completely to forgot to season each layer, which the recipe says to do so. I think I was distracted by taking photographs. The pie still tasted great but I gave it a twist of salt and pepper over the top.

Then I took those ten eggs and beat them up before pouring them slowly over the vegetable layers. The egg manages to find it’s way through all the gaps. I left a tiny bit of egg to use on the pastry.

I also used some of the egg to brush the overhanging pastry.

Then I unrolled the sheet of puff pastry to create a lid for the pie. I pinched the edged together and with a sharp knife I removed the excess pastry.

I used the remaining egg to brush the pastry lid and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Then the pie went into the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and it baked for an entire one hour and twenty minutes (while I did all the washing up, sipped a Martini and lemonade and watched an episode of Pride & Prejudice).

After one hour and twenty minutes, this beauty came out of the oven:

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Then I had to wait anxiously for the pie to cool before I could remove it from the tin and slice into it.

When I did slice into it, I had the joy of seeing exactly what I hoped….a rainbow!!!

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Cool hey!!!!

I made it just on time for the social distancing rules to slightly ease. I chilled the pie and it was perfect for a Sunday picnic with a few friends, which was the first social event I had enjoyed in almost three months!

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That pie was demolished very quickly. Everyone thought it was fabulous! I hope you did too!!!

I Have Been Neglecting Pies

Pies. They are kind of awesome really. But they are one of those delicious culinary creations that I have to reserve as an occasional treat. I don’t want to eat so many that I end up looking like a pie.

These colder months are definitely a great excuse for a pie though. I have not made a pie for some time (last pie I made was a vegetarian pie with chestnuts, mushrooms and beer – which was uber-yummy), but I do occasionally wander around to the chilled aisle at the supermarket to look at the Higgidy Pie range to see if there is anything new. Within the past fortnight I found this limited edition pie:

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It was like eating a yummy roast dinner in a pastry casing. The surprise for me was the layer of red cabbage underneath the parsnips (and I think there may have been some brussel sprouts going on in there somewhere). It was a treat.

I have published another post in the past about what a fan of Higgidy Pies I am:

Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!

Although, I would always applaud a home-made pie over a shop-bought pie, I am going to admit, I would rarely make a pie nowadays. Pastry is rather a neglected area in my baking repertoire  of late. When I invite friends over for dinner I always make something like a curry, cannelloni or lasagne, or moussaka – and then I make sure there is lots of rice or veggies/salad and some kind of bready accompaniment. That way the hungrier guests can always leave satisfied.

There are some delicious sweet pies I love – pecan pie, custard pies, citrus tarts and many others. But in all honesty, when I make a dessert, I usually go for something without pastry. Something more along the lines of a roulade or a cheesecake.

But I still love eating pies. And although they are an occasional treat for me…Higgidy are my pies of choice. Their pie creations are delightful. In the summer I could happily put one of their pies on a plate, with a huge helping of salad on the side to make me feel more virtuous. Winter time – well it has to be some warm veggies, maybe potatoes (mashed or roasted) to go with a scrummy pie – a splash of vegetarian gravy would not go amiss.

Higgidy Pie 7

If you did take a look at the other pie post I linked in above…you will know I grew up near a town famous for pies. Have you heard of a butter pie? I remember one freezing cold winter buying one and thinking it was the most tasty morsel that had ever passed my lips! Just don’t tell anyone from Wigan – that I hardly ever eat pies now I have left home.

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This was my response to the writing prompt from Sarah Elizabeth Moore:

https://sarahelizabethmoore.org/2019/11/10/writing-prompt-45/

Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!

My day out today (which was in Madchester – sorry Manchester) took me through a town I used to frequent frequently.

Wigan – what can I say about Wigan?  Apparently, it is famous for pies.  For years I have seen a dark blue van drive around with the phrase: “Ay Ay It’s Wigan Pie!” on the side of it.  In this sweltering heat, the last thing I could face right now is a pie.  However, normally, they are quite a favourite of mine.  Although a rare treat nowadays due to the calories in the pastry. These days if I was going to tuck into a pie it would be on a bed of green leaves, not the pie, mash (or chippy chips) and mushy peas (with gravy) that I remember buying as a teenager from Wigan pie shops.  It has been a very long time since I allowed myself that kind of indulgence – my hips will not allow me to even imagine it now.

But to cheer myself up over my lost svelte figure, I will allow myself the occasional treat as a reminder of the good old days when I could eat anything because I easily burnt off twice the calories during a hockey match or an eight mile run, or a basketball game, or several hours of thrashing up and down a swimming pool.  My pies of choice nowadays are the scrumptious Higgidy range:

Good grief – they are yummy!  My sister says they are posh pies.  Perhaps they are, I don’t know.  But they taste great, no matter where they went to school.

But getting back to Wigan.  If you are genuinely interested in exploring the town, then I will take the liberty of recommending a visit to Wigan Pier to learn all about how this town was built up.

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To be honest, I am no expert on the town.  It is actually a place that has a lot of interesting history, if you are interested in the industrial and social history of England.  I studied Modern World History (wars and politics and treaties) instead of Social and Economic History where I would have had the opportunity to learn more about the mills and factories and trade routes that shaped England,  So I am afraid to venture my limited and foggy understanding of the role that Wigan played in the cotton industry.

wigan rugby clubAlso, I remember Wigan being a very popular rugby town.  Rugby League that is, which I have been told is significantly different from Rugby Union – don’t ask me to explain the differences. But I recall that Wigan were very successful all the way through my high school years.  I went to a school that was near to Wigan.  Our home town was sandwiched between Wigan and St Helens, which are two big rugby towns.  Either side are the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, which have very popular football teams.

My main memory of Wigan is the old Olympic style Swimming Pool.  It has to be an outstanding memory in my mind because I won so many races there during swimming galas.  So it was a very special place to me.

This is how I remember the pool:wigan swimming pool

However, I am sad to say it no longer exists. Which is a strange feeling.  Any location that used to be your beloved playground, your sacred ground, your moment of victory is dear to your heart.  So to hear it has been demolished is saddening indeed.

That is one of the lessons you have to learn as you are growing up, growing older.  Things will change.  Especially man-made things!  I mean there are so many things that are reliable, the sun rising each morning, the spring arriving at long last to bring back colour and life everywhere, the moon drawing the tides steadily in and letting them ebb out again.

But bricks and mortar…there is no point becoming overly sentimental about those losses.  But the memories will last long long after the bulldozers have had their way.  I have already done a little reminiscing about the golden days of school in another post.  I am embarrassed to say, only one person (besides myself) “liked” this post.  I guess I can understand it is hard to read about someone else’s first days at school when the only school days most people can bear to think about are there own!  But here is a little passage from that post which will explain my love of the old Wigan Olypic-Sized Swimming Pool:

Life at school became a bit more interesting when I was asked to leave the rest of my class one morning each week and join the children in their last year of primary school who had weekly swimming lessons.  My sisters and I were part of our town swimming club so the headmaster wanted to see whether I swimmingcould keep up with the children three years older than me. Sure enough they entered me, in my first year of juniors (Year 3) into a couple of the races in the county swimming gala. I was swimming for the school competitively with the Year 6 kids.  Our school won so many races in the county swimming gala and I remember winning mine. The headmaster was delighted with me. We had a number of awards on display in the school lobby after that swimming gala.  Ours was a small school, so it seemed quite a victory that we had won so much.

During the six-week school holiday I had been allowed to borrow a book from the school library.  It was Heidi.  The headmaster had told me that I must be sure not to lose it, I must bring it back at the end of the holidays or else I would not be allowed to borrow a book again.  Can you imagine how devastated I was when my Dad broke the news one morning….our school (which by now I had grown to love) had been burnt down by three boys?  Two were fourteen years of age and the other had just finished year 6 – he must have been eleven. 

https://crushedcaramel.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/first-day-of-school/

So, it was actually at quite a young age, the age of seven that I learnt that places that are special to you can be destroyed.  I must not allow myself to be overly weepie because the old Wigan Olympic Sized Swimming Pool is no more.

I need to cheer myself up though….maybe I could face a pie afterall!

Ooooooooh – look what I found at the supermarket on the way home!  It even says on the box they are “Rather Cheerful” – how could I go wrong with these?

Higgidy Pie 7