Of course we will be bowling this afternoon but we will be having a quiet evening ending it with a glass of bubbly for me at midnight. Not sure if Matt will drink beer or gin. How come I married a man who doesn't like champagne? My family all drank it at the drop of a hat. Although one time, my mother was presented with a couple of bottles of one of the world's top champagnes by the well known owner of the vineyard. She saved one for when we joined them in Malta and, sad to say, I didn't enjoy it. She was given a case of red wine as well and that was wonderful. Maybe my palate isn't sufficiently well educated.
Anyway, I do hope you all have a wonderful New Year and that it will be both healthy and happy. I expect you all to make this recipe for tonight of course.
I nearly forgot, to those of you who have been
I couldn't resist posting this recipe. I only ever tried making a raised pork pie. It was moderately successful although we did have a bit of trouble with the jellied stock leaking through a hole near the top and had to keep topping it up when it cooled and jelled. It was delicious. These raised pies with hot water crusts are/were very popular in England. One of the classics being the Melton Mowbray Pie. We can buy these in Canada although they lack something. This recipe attracted me because of the cranberry topping. It looks so attractive.
Cranberry-topped raised pie
By John Torode BBC Good Food
Prep: 1 hr Cook: 2 hrs, 20 mins plus resting and at least 3 hrs chilling
For the keen cook
Serves 12 - 15
This raised pork, chicken and bacon pie, topped with festive fruit, makes for a magnificent centrepiece for a Christmas or Boxing Day buffet
For the filling
- 500g boneless pork shoulder, skin removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces (ask your butcher for 300g/11oz pork bones if you want to make your own stock)
- 250g pork belly, skin removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces
- 650g chicken drumsticks and thighs, skin and bones removed, chopped into 2cm/¾ in pieces – you should have about 375g/13oz (save the bones to make stock, if you like)
- 100g smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
- ½ tsp ground mace
- 2 pinches of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 fresh bay leaf, very finely chopped
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- ½ bunch parsley finely chopped
- 4 sage leaves, finely chopped
For the hot water pastry
- 140g lard, chopped into small pieces
- 550g plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
For the jellied stock
- 300ml good-quality chicken stock
- 2 gelatine leaves
For the topping (optional)
- 50g granulated sugar
- 100ml dry sherry
- 200g fresh or frozen cranberry
- Mix together all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and season with 1.5 tsp salt.
- Now make the pastry. Pour 150 ml water into a saucepan, add the lard and 1/2 tsp salt, and bring to the boil. Once the lard has melted, remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, sift the flour and 1 tsp salt together into a large bowl. Pour over the hot liquid and stir vigorously to form a dough.
- Tip onto your work surface and knead for a couple of mins to develop the gluten slightly and create an even-textured pastry. (Once made, keep covered with cling film – see tips.)
- Remove roughly one-third of the pastry and set aside to make the lid later. Roll the remaining pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin (3.5 mm). You’ll need a 20 cm-deep springform cake tin to assemble the pie in.
- Line the cake tin with the pastry, pushing it well into the corners and up the sides of the tin (use a small ball of dough to do this). Leave any excess hanging over the top of the tin.
- Add the filling to the pie, packing it tightly – this will expel any air pockets and create a nice flat top for the cranberries to sit on later.
- Roll out the reserved pastry to the same thickness and lift it onto the pie to create a lid. Press into the pastry around the edges and trim off any excess. Crimp with 2 fingers if you like. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. Cut a hole in the centre to let the steam out as it cooks. You can now chill it for up to 24 hrs or cook straight away. Heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
- Bake for 30 mins, then reduce heat to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2 and bake for another 1 hr 45 mins. If you have a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the pie should be 75°C. If not, insert the end of a spoon into the centre of the pie and hold it there for 10 secs – it should be hot to the touch.
- Place the tin on a wire rack to cool, then remove the pie (see tips). Warm the stock and put the gelatine in a bowl of cold water to soften for 5 mins. Squeeze out any drops of water, then add the gelatine to the stock, stir in until dissolved, and season well. Transfer to a jug.
- If there is no gap between the pastry and meat, you'll need to poke a skewer into the hole and wiggle it around to create space for the stock. Pour two-thirds of the stock into the central hole (use a piping nozzle as a funnel, if you have one), or as much as you can, but reserve about 4 tbsp for the topping. Chill for at least 2 hrs.
- Dissolve the sugar with the Sherry over a low heat. Once dissolved, bring to the boil and add the cranberries. Cook for 1-2 mins, but remove from the heat before the cranberries burst. Leave to cool. Once the stock in the pie has set to a jelly, top with the cranberries. Melt your remaining jellied stock in a saucepan over a low heat, then use it to brush the cranberries generously. Return to the fridge for 1 hr to set the topping. Enjoy within 3 days.
Have a great New Year.