Great British Blog Off 2017



So I did not take place in the Great British Blog Off last week with Bake Off on account of being on me holidays (a long term yearning to go to Spinalonga off Crete finally realised).  But there was this earlier this week too for Mr Timothy’s birthday, it’s a unicow!


So bit of a busy weekend then as, was per usual I could not decided on which bake to do, so I have done 2; pastry is my thing and I have been making it since I was about 8 years old, so I reckon I have perfected if by now!  Mr Timothy is happy too, as he is rather partial to pie. Good job I was short of time though or I would have made all 3.


This challenge was 4 individual pies decorated differently within a theme, so as I was doing beef mince and onions (with some home grown cow) it had to be cow pie, so one is the cows head, the second has the ‘spots’ and horns.  Next we have the tails and then milk products (I totally intended to do udders on one and forgot!) Apologies for the youngsters reading this recipe, it was a long time ago that I was 8 so I learnt pastry in ounces.  I use a little maize (yellow corn flour) in my shortcrust pastry as it not only gives a nice golden colour, but also makes it much crumblier.


 12oz plain flour
 2oz maize flour
 3½oz lard
 3½oz butter
 pinch of salt
 1 egg
 1lb lean beef mince
 1 medium/large onion
 1 beefy stock cube plus a cup of water
 squeeze of tomato paste
 good pinch of pepper
 good pinch of oregano or rosemary

1.  Using a food processor, add the flours and fat, cut into small cubes, and give it a quick blitz.  Add the salt and approx 1/3 cup water, blitz again to form the pastry dough.  Tip it out onto a floured surface and gently knead to a smooth dough that is neither sticky nor dry.IMG_2094
2.  Cover it and place in a cool place to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.  IMG_2096

Meanwhile make the mince.  Gently fry the chopped onion until just translucent, add the mince, water, paste and seasonings, and cook for a further minute or 2.  The mince does not need to be fully cooked as it will cook further in the oven.  Just ensure that there is not too much or too little juice, it should just show on the pan when you move the meat to one side. Take off the heat and leave to cool.


3.  Preheat the oven to 200ºC.  Take half the pastry and line your pie dishes; fill well with the beef mince.  Use most of the other pastry to make the lids, stick these down with beaten egg and cover the pies with a tea towel to prevent drying out whilst you make the decoration.  IMG_2100
4.  Once you have finished making the adornments, glaze the pie with egg, stick on the trimmings and glaze them with egg.  Put the pies on baking tray and pop in the oven for roughly 40 minutes until golden and crisp.  Eat piping hot.







300g plain flour
300g white strong flour
200g white fat (e.g. lard, dripping etc)
25g butter
250ml water
good pinch of salt
1 large onion
500g low fat pork mince
1 inch black pudding
squeeze of tomato puree
2 cloves garlic
small bunch sage (finely chopped)
good pinch of salt and pepper
5-6 large mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons of dry semolina
1 pack sausages
150g chorizo
5 rashers air dried ham
5 slices smoked ham
1 egg - beaten

1. Make the pastry. In a pan, gently heat the water and fats (I used 100g lard, 50g dripping and 50g coconut oil for flavour and to reduce the animal cholesterol) and stir until it has all melted. The water will be hot, but should not be boiling.  Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the hot water.  Quickly stir together with a wooden spoon until well mixed.  As soon as you are able, on account of it being hot, get your hands in and bring it together to form a smooth dough. (I love the feel of hot water crust it’s like warm play dough).
2.  Take roughly ¼ of the dough, set aside and cover.  Cover a cake tin (approx 21cm) with cling film – upside down and on the outside! Roll your large piece of pastry out to a wee bit larger than the base of the tin; carefully place this over the cake tin and work the pastry down to around 3/4 of the way down.  Don’t worry if you get any small holes you can patch these with this very forgiving pastry at any stage.  Place this in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the fats.
3.  Fry the chopped onion; chop the mushrooms up to small pieces.  Mince the black pudding up and if needed, chop the chorizo.  In a large bowl put the mince, black pudding, garlic, tomato paste, herbs and seasoning and mix well.  Stir in the onions once cooled.  Put the oven on to preheat to 180ºC.IMG_2104
4.  Remove the pie case from the fridge and wrap it in baking paper tied with a piece of string then carefully take it off the cake tin.  Trim the top neatly and use the off cuts to patch any holes or thin bit in the pie case.
5.  Sprinkle the bottom of the case with semolina, add roughly 3/4 of the mushrooms in next (this will help soak up any excess liquid) and then cover with ½ the mince mix, smooth and press down.


Neatly arrange the sausages next and fill in the gaps with the remaining mushrooms.  Cover with the rest of the mince and again smooth and press down.  Scatter the chorizo over this then cover with a layer of one of the hams, followed by the other ham.  IMG_2120
6.  Take the retained pastry and roll out for the lid, seal the edges with beaten egg and pinch the top to the sides to seal.  Cover the top with foil and put in the oven for 40 mins. Turn the pie around for even colouring and bake for a further 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn heat down to 160ºC.


7.  Remove the baking parchment and foil and liberally coat the whole shell with egg wash and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.  You will have to take the internal temperature of the pie to ensure it is fully cooked, it must exceed 74º.   If it does not, simply leave for longer in the oven.  Enjoy piping hot with veggies or beans.



Ohh my goodness, this pie is gorgeous, though I dread to think what the calorie content of it would be!  Crispy outer shell, soft inner, juicy and full of texture; has to be one of the best pies I think I have ever made. and there’s plenty of it, with spuds and veggies it would easily feed 8 hungry people.  Hahahaha, just realised after we had eaten half of the pie, that I had completely forgotten to put the fruit topping on the top.  So here is a pic of the home-made cranberry jelly and the apple that were going to be on the top (I think my brain blocked it out on purpose as I am not a fan of sweet and savoury together!).IMG_2126

Not really got any of my usual ‘top tips’ this week, I think the bakes are self explanatory the only thing you could do to make things easier on yourself would be to do the pie in the ‘inside’ of the cake tin and bake it that way for the first hour.

So, if you want to check out the other bakers vying for star baker this week, click on this link to Jenny Paulins’ site, the lovely lady who hosts the Great British Blog Off for us.
















One thought on “Great British Blog Off 2017

  1. Welcome back! I hope you had an amazing holiday.Firstly, what a fantastic Uni-Cow Cake – its so fabulous!
    Secondly – your pies. you have been busy. There all look so delicious and homemade and well delicious! That Piggy Pie is is jam packed with so many succulent meats and flavours.
    thank you for linking to GBBOBloggers2017 xx


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