Homemade Decadence and Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

I cannot express my excitement at receiving a package from Amazon this week – it was there waiting for me on the doorstep when I returned from a weekend break in Christchurch, which I must mention was super fun and quite an interesting place to be right now with so much post-earthquake development.

We packed our weekend full of eating excursions (Pomeroys – great food, and extensive craft beer selection; Mexicanos – the Barbacoa beef is highly recommended, melt in your mouth spicy/smoky deliciousness; The Tannery – steam punk styled Victorian shopping mall with plenty of eating opportunities) and have probably come back 5 kgs heavier…

But anyway, I digress, and have more pressing issues – which recipe to make first from my brand new cookbooks?? I splashed out and purchased two gorgeous new cookbooks this week. The first, Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence, and second Four and Twenty Blackbird’s Pie Book. Now… the dilemma of which recipe to choose to make first is a wonderful one to have, and I will have some tough choices to make this weekend – can’t wait!



The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book and Homemade Decadence – in my clutches at last!

Do you have either of these cookbooks? Can you suggest an amazing recipe to try? Do you get as excited about new cookbooks as I do…?


The perfect mince pie (or mince pie perfection)

My perfect mince pie ready to cook

I have an ideal in mind when I talk about the perfect mince pie… the pastry for starters should be flaky, but not too flaky – you want a good mouthful of pastry when you bite into the pie, it shouldn’t just flake everywhere and leave crumbs all over your chin. The exterior colour of the pie should be a soft and mellow golden colour – overcook the pie and you can taste the burnt pastry, and that’s when things start getting overly flaky.

As far as the mince filling goes, there are just about as many versions as there are pie eaters, but to my mind there should be plenty of mince (beef of course!) so that the filling just about reaches the top of the pastry case. I like my filling a little bit ‘wet’, so there should definitely be a sauce/gravy element to the filling, but I hate those pies that are mostly gravy with very little meat – that’s just cheap and nasty!  The flavour of the filling should be rich and ‘meaty’ with plenty of seasoning. Onion and garlic, along with herbs and beef stock, should simmer slowly with the meat for at least an hour until the onion has broken down and become part of the sauce. When it comes to mince pies I’m a bit of a purist… no peas, carrots or corn as fillers for me!!

I made a mince pie for dinner last night (see above), and was all ready to take a photo of it when it came out of the oven – it really did look beautiful! But I got kind of side tracked, and forgot to take the photo before tucking into the pie… so you’ll just have to take my word for it 🙂

What’s your idea of pie perfection?