Thursday, 8 March 2018


Good Morning to you,

This week we celebrate British Pie Week, so I could not let today go by without sharing a pie recipe with you.

.... and when it comes to pie, George is a connoisseur.... as he loves a good pie, especially a savoury pie.

I have mentioned before, that George comes from very humble beginnings. During the 1950's, when George was a little boy, there was not a lot of money around in the north east of England, so Bob, George's father, who was also the chief cook for the family, had to find ingenious ways to feed his growing children.... and pie was the perfect thing, simply because a little went a long way.

Meat and potato pie was a favourite.  A few potatoes would be cooked in a pan, then sliced. A very small amount of meat,  would be added to a sliced onion.... if it was available. Water would then be added and the meat would gently cook. When the meat was cooked, it would be seasoned with a little salt and white pepper. Finally  an Oxo cube (beef extract) would be added to enrich the flavour. The sliced potatoes would then be added to bulk out the meat.

The pastry would be made with lard and certainly not butter, then rolled out. Half the pastry would be placed onto a plate, the cooked meat and potato would be piled on top of the pastry. The pastry lid would then be placed on top of the meat and potato. Using a knife Bob would make two slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape.  Depending on whether there was any milk left over, this would be sparingly brushed over the pastry, if not, the pie baked just as it was. During those days, people could not afford to use a whole egg to egg wash pastry, it would have been deemed as too wasteful. Far better to fill the stomach by eating the egg.

The pie would then be placed in the oven to cook and George said, they all loved the smell of pie, baking in the oven.

Now I don't mean for this to sound Dickensian, but George's childhood was not easy, it is fair to say it was very harsh.  He wore wellington boots to school, even in the summer time and he remembers having red welts around his legs, where the wellington boots rubbed. When the soles of his wellington boots wore out, his granddad would cut out cardboard and place the cardboard inside his wellington boots, to help keep his feet dry.  Nine times out of ten, he did not wear socks, because the money was simply not available to buy them.  In the winter time he often wore shorts to school, because his parents could not afford long trousers for him .... and this, in the bitterly cold north east winters. So as you can see, his childhood, was not an easy one.

The interesting thing is, George never complains about his childhood, as he has often told me, when he was living the life, he never felt that anything was wrong. He didn't feel the odd one out, because everyone in his neighbourhood lived the same way.  There was the odd family who appeared to have a little more, but certainly not very much more. No one had a car and no one had money to spare, everyone was in the same boat.

It was only when he left home and made a different life for himself, that he realised how harsh his young life had been, but as he always says, 'It was, what it was' so why complain.  It wasn't his parents fault, they did the best they could for their children, but if money was not available, it was not available and you had to cope the best way you could.

George could so easily have carried a chip on his shoulder and blamed his childhood for anything that went wrong in his adult life, but in 47 years of marriage, he has never once complained.  If anything he talks lovingly about his childhood, about the love he received and the fun he had playing with his brothers. He certainly is a 'glass half full' kind of man and that is something we both have in common.

So when I mentioned to George that it was British Pie Week, well, that made him very happy and he started talking about the pies his dad cooked.

My heart did sink a little, as I hoped he wasn't expecting a meat and potato pie. The reason is we are eating much more plant based food and I didn't want to break our routine. Having said that, of course I would have made him his favourite pie if he had asked.

.... but when I explained what would be in the pie, well, he was not disappointed he appeared to be very happy. I feel sure it was the word 'pie' that made him happy.

I don't know about you, but I do buy a lot of vegetables, so it was very easy for me to find the right combination.

So without further ado, it's on with the pinnie and time to organise my ingredients.


50g butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 large carrots ~ chopped into small pieces
2 large leeks ~ trimmed and sliced
1 large sweet pepper ~ deseeded and sliced
1 red onion ~ sliced
1 level tablespoon of paprika
125 ml water
560g tinned potatoes ~ cut into chunks
250g tub mascarpone cheese
2 cloves of garlic ~ crushed
1/2 medium sized savoy cabbage ~ sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


4-5 sheets of filo pastry
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds


1 medium sized enamel dish or casserole dish

Oven temperature: Pre-heat the oven to 180C


1.  Melt 25g of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
in a large wide pan.

2.   Add the leeks, red onion, carrots and sweet pepper and cook for 10 minutes. 

3.   Add the paprika and stir ingredients.

4.   Add the water, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

5.   Add the sliced potatoes and stir the ingredients together. Remove the pan from the heat.

6.   Add the mascarpone and stir well, the heat from the vegetables will turn the mascarpone into a sauce.

7.  In a separate frying pan melt 25g of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

8.   Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

9.   Add the savoy cabbage and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Make sure you do not overcook the cabbage.

10.   Remove from the heat.

11.  Add the savoy cabbage to the first pan and again, stir the ingredients together.

As you can see the savoy cabbage is still quite crisp.

12.  Season with salt and pepper.

13.  Spoon the mixture into an enamel dish or a casserole dish.

14.    Cut each sheet of filo pastry into quarters and scrunch them in your hands.

and place each one over the vegetables. I am hoping you can see what I mean by scrunching, when you look at the photograph. 

Do not worry if you need more filo pastry, this is not an exact science. You just need to ensure that the vegetables are covered with the filo pastry.

15.  Randomly brush the filo pastry with the remaining olive oil.

15. Finally sprinkle with sesame seeds.

16.  Place in a pre-heated 180C oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the filo pastry turns brown.  

You will need to keep a watchful eye, because the filo pastry can turn brown very quickly.

Then all you need to do, is to spoon yourself a healthy amount of vegetable filo pie



I think with this vegetable pie, you will certainly be on the road to eating your 5 a day.

A couple of things I wanted to mention.  Firstly, you really do not have to use tinned potatoes.  I tend to have tinned potatoes in my store cupboard, which cost only 15p from Lidl supermarket,   I use them for this pie and also if I want to bulk up a soup.  

Secondly, I do change the vegetables to whatever I have available. So if you do not have 3 carrots, then use 2 and add another vegetable. This type of pie does not need exact amounts.

Oh yes and before I leave you, I was respectful, I asked George if I could mention his childhood to you and he said he really didn't mind, because there was nothing to be ashamed of.  During the 1950s many families struggled to make ends meet. 

As George says, 'It was, what it was'.

So take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always,

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