Hello, thank you for dropping by. The Mathematician has come home from university today, just for a few days so that we can all celebrate her birthday. I wanted to cook something special, something to remind her that there's no place like home, something to let her know how much we love her. I have wanted to make a Shropshire Fidget Pie for ages, it's probably our county dish, although you don't see it very often and I've never actually seen one, but it requires 250g of ham which is beyond our budget for one dinner. However, last week I was given a significant piece of ham so this seemed like the perfect situation in which to use it. Who wouldn't want to be welcomed home with a pie when it's cold, dark and raining?
I found a likely looking recipe here. A scout around the kitchen revealed that I had the requisite potatoes, onions, apples and ham so I just needed to buy cream and cider for the sauce. Oh yes, and there was the pastry. The Pastry. Da, da, daaaaah! You see, I don't make pastry. In fact, what I usually say is, "I can't make pastry, my hands are too warm." It's not that I don't know how to make it, but rather that I made it at school and it wasn't very good, so I haven't made it since. That was 35 years ago. And I don't have a food processor, so I can't do the almost-hands-free method. However, today my determination has overcome my fears. It was cold here, so that played in my favour - I know that everything has to be cool to make pastry. And I had a secret weapon: Delia Smith.
I was given a copy of Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course for my eighteenth birthday and have sworn by it ever since. Truly, Delia taught me to cook. So today I turned to the unthumbed chapter about pastry where Delia told me that there is "a sort of psychology involved" and that I should be "bold and assertive". So I was very assertive with that flour and that butter as I gently rubbed it in. I sang a little song to keep myself calm. I took pauses when I needed to. I maintained "a confident attitude". And do you know what? I MADE A PIE. Now I know that plenty of other people make pies every day and that this is nothing to write home about but for me, this is a Very Big Deal. Would you like to see it?
It's not a very glamorous pie, I know that it's very rustic, but I made it all by myself. We ate it with steamed greens and it was absolutely scrummy. The Best Beloved had seconds and he and The Mathematician both agreed that the pastry was excellent. The next time a piece of ham comes my way I shall make it again. Thanks to Kath and to Delia, a whole new world may be opening up to me...
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x