My father-in-law and I were chatting about the week to come and trying to decide what else we should indulge in. I should mention that he is English and that we were watching an unreasonable number of episodes of “Come Dine With Me” (UK). This might have started our suggestion list off and affected it, just a bit.

His suggestions included; chicken paprikash

This recipe was nice but not startling good which means it is unlikely that I will make it again. The flavour just didn’t have a zing to it.

I have high hopes for the next two recipe and this is why the post’s title is such. Remember the nursery rhyme? “Little Jack Horner, sat in his corner eating his Christmas. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum…”

These aren’t Christmas pies (shiver, cringe, please no more winter!) but they are really traditional.

1) Melton Mowbray pork pie: This is another Hairy Biker recipe. They always research and test their recipes to the nth. As such, they always turn-out just they way the are advertised.

Honestly though, I think that I will not make the jelly. I just don’t like that texture in my food and tend to pick it out anyway. I seems like a lot of work for something that I am going to bin-just for the sake of authenticity.

For the pastry
150g/7oz lard
50ml/2fl oz milk
50ml/2fl oz water
450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 free-range egg, beaten, for brushing

For the pork jelly
900g/2lb pork bones
2 pig’s trotters
2 large carrots, chopped
1 onion, peeled, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 bouquet garni (bay, thyme, parsley; tied together with string)
½ tbsp black peppercorns

For the pie filling
400g/14oz shoulder of pork, finely chopped
55g/2oz pork belly, skin removed, minced
55g/2oz lean bacon, finely chopped
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
piccalilli or chutney

Preparation method
1.For the pastry, place the lard, milk and water into a small pan and gently heat until the lard has melted.

2.Sift the flour into a large bowl and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.

3.Make a well in the flour and pour in the warm lard mixture. Mix well to combine, until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Knead for a few minutes, then form into a ball and set aside.

Technique: Kneading bread .Watch technique
2:35 mins4.For the pork jelly, place all of the pork jelly ingredients into a large pan and pour in enough water to just cover. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for three hours over a low heat, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, then strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard the solids.

5.Pour the sieved stock into a clean pan and simmer over a medium heat until the liquid has reduced to approximately 500ml/1 pint.

6.For the pie filling, place all of the pie filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

7.Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

8.Dust a pork pie dolly (or a small jam jar) with plain flour to prevent the pastry from sticking.

9.Pinch off a quarter of the pastry and set aside. On a floured work surface, roll out the remaining three-quarters of pastry into a round disc about 3cm/1¼in thick. Place the pie dolly into the middle of the pastry circle and draw the edges of the pastry up around the sides of the dolly to create the pie casing. Carefully remove the dolly from the pastry once your pie casing is formed.

10.Roll the pork pie filling into a ball and carefully place into the bottom of the pastry case.

11.Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a circle large enough to cover the pastry case as a lid.

12.Brush the top inner parts of the pastry casing with some of the beaten egg and place the pastry circle on top. Pinch the edges of the pastry to seal the pie. Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the beaten egg, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the pie is golden-brown all over.

13.Remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool. Cut two small holes in the top of the pork pie and pour in the pork jelly mixture (you may need to heat it through gently to loosen the mixture for pouring). Chill in the fridge until the jelly is set.

14.To serve, cut the pie into slices and serve with piccalilli or chutney.

AND Bakewell Tart

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe (who I have rhapsodized about other times). There is a really good recipe for pastry here that I’m not going to use. I have pastry in the freezer already made which makes this recipe a lot more realistic for me to actually find the time to make. Feel free to follow the original though.

Make the pastry with 175g flour, 30g ground almonds, 65g icing sugar, 130g butter and one egg yolk. Wrap it in greaseproof paper and put it into the fridge to rest for 15 or 20 minutes.

Roll out the pastry and use it to line a deep 26cm quiche dish, prick it and put it back in the fridge while you make the filling.

Filling: 300-350g raspberries

3 tablespoons raspberry jam (optional)
3 eggs
125g ground almonds
125g butter, melted
125g caster sugar
15g flaked almonds – or so

Beat the sugar and the eggs together, add the melted butter. Stir in the ground almonds.

Spread the jam on the base of the pastry case and then cover with the raspberries. Pour the mixture over that and then scatter on the flaked almonds.

Bake in a preheated oven (gas 6/200C) for 35 to 45 minutes until the tart looks “golden and swollen” as Nigella puts it.

Serve with more raspberries and cream or crème fraîche.