Monday, 27 March 2017

BrewDog DogWalk and Glen Garioch Distillery VIP Tasting

Post in collaboration with Visit Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen Festivals

Craft Beer and Malt Whisky in Aberdeenshire visiting Brewdog's DogTap and DogWalk Brewery Tour in Ellon plus a VIP Whisky Tasting at Old Meldrum's Glen Garioch Distillery. 





For three days last weekend I was a tourist in my own back yard. I must admit that when I received an invitation to a press trip in Aberdeen, initially I wasn't exactly jumping up and down with enthusiasm. However once I saw the full itinerary my attention was grabbed by what was on offer in terms of food (LOTS), drink (Craft Beer & Malt Whisky), accommodation (luxury) and entertainment (the suave and sophisticated Curtis Stigers). The trip took place during the Aberdeen Jazz Festival and profiled the city and shire's food, drink and cultural/music scene. Whilst I was familiar with all of the eateries we were visiting - all establishments that showcase the area particularly well - I'd never visited either Brewdog or Glen Garioch. Why is it that you never seem to get around to visiting places on your own home turf? Our base for the weekend was the Skene House Apartment Hotel on Rosemount Viaduct. I lived in Rosemount for almost 10 years before moving from the City to the Shire and it's location was a fantastic base. An abundance of food was consumed at Eat On The Green, Foodstory, Meldrum House, Musa and Rye and Soda but for this post I'll concentrate on the booze. The eats deserve their own 15 minutes of fame. But what about the Jazz I hear you cry? For that I refer you to my blogging colleague Elizabeth who flew down from Shetland for the trip and has written a fantastic Aberdeen Jazz Festival 2017 roundup piece on her blog. (I hereby confess to being the person who was shushed by serious Jazz fans at the Lampie and likewise also wish I'd asked for a selfie with Curtis)






I am absolutely by no means an expert in either Craft Beer or Whisky so this post is very much a tourist eye view of both operations rather than a connoisseurs and I apologise now for anything I've got factually incorrect! By the fifth nip of whisky I was struggling to remember my own name let alone what we were drinking!



First stop BrewDog DogTap and Brewery Tour. Located on the outskirts of Ellon, BrewDog is undoubtedly Scotland's most infamous beer. As well known for its stunts, provocative marketing and general controversy as its brews. Whatever your opinion of them, at the end of the day there's no denying they are a huge success story. I'm not quite sure what exactly I was expecting but suffice to say the whole operation was bigger, bolder and brasher than I could ever have imagined. Founded in Fraserburgh in 2007 by 2 men and one dog it has grown to a multinational company with 55,000 Equity Punks worldwide - and I'm one of them! 


There are 250 people (plus 50 office dogs) employed at the Ellon site which operates 24/7. Our tour was led by the affable Sydney Paulsen who was as informative as she was passionate. You don't have to be a hipster to work at Brewdog but it helps. There's almost a cult like indoctrination going on amongst the staff. If you cut them I expect they would bleed IPA. The proudly displayed brewdog charter is taken as read rather than taken as ironic. Their most recent press has on one hand been about their planned expansion to include a BrewDog Hotel being thwarted by a deluded council and on the other about the introduction of Puppy Parental Leave. When quizzed about the Paw-ternity leave Sydney couldn't confirm if a litter of eight pups would get 1 week off on full pay or 8. Either way my 12 year old now wants to go and work for BrewDog if it means I will buy her a puppy.


One we had signed a disclaimer and donned safety glasses and hi-vis vests the DogWalk could begin. First stop on the tour once you pass a rather impressive giant lego model of BrewDog HQ is the epic Site 3 Brewhouse. This is craft brewing on a truly industrial scale. Can it still actually be craft beer? Sydney assures us that it is. Moving on we see the malt room, fermentation, dry hop infuser and the quality labs full of scientific beer geeks. Time to stop for a taster in the staff canteen and learn more about the perks of working at Brewdog. In addition to puppy dog leave, staff get a case of beer a month, profit share, a gym and a subsidised canteen with rather delicious sounding food, a fridge stocked with other breweries beer and an enormous table shuffleboard on which I was desperate to have a game. Alas before you could say shuffleboard cheese we moved on past more funky artwork and four legged friends to the most recent addition to the BrewDog empire.


It was pretty much inevitable that BrewDog would at some point expand into spirits. Step forward Lone Wolf Distilling. The somewhat surreal copper still setup looks like a cross between a chemistry set and a brass band. A section of the brewhouse roof had to be removed to allow the installation of a colossal 19m high rectification column - to get the purest, cleanest spirit possible. The ESP of BrewDog distilling is that it's the only craft distillery in Scotland to also make its base spirit grain under the same roof (others buy in neutral spirit in bulk). Lone Wolf Gin is currently on V3 release (which is actually the 181st prototype) Time will tell if the final version merits a place on my Gin Shelf.


The penultimate part of the tour was the original Site 1 Brewhouse which also houses the packaging plant. Rolling off the production line at a rate of knots were dead ponies on their way to those who love hops and live the dream. Back to the DogTap for some final tasters and a peek at the Pilot Brewery. By this time stomachs were beginning to rumble and although the Pizza on offer looked rather tempting we had a date with Kilted Chef Craig. Only time will tell if my next visit to BrewDog HQ will include a night at a Beer Hotel.





If Brewdog is the irreverent young pup of the Aberdeenshire drinks industry, Glen Garioch (pronounced Geery) Distillery is the auld master. Located in Oldmeldrum only 10 miles from BrewDog, it is one of the oldest (and the most easterly) operating distilleries in Scotland. Official records state that whisky was first made in 1797, but there’s belief in some quarters that it’s even older. Our tour guide was Jane Cattanach who has worked at the distillery for longer than I suspect our Brewdog tour guide has been alive. Her warmth, genuine passion and knowledge really shone through and was enhanced by her doric tongue. Being a Foodie Quine (Quine is doric for a young woman, girl or daughter. A female person from Aberdeen/shire) I loved how doric translations and phrases were used on signage and display boards throughout the tour. My particular favourite was 'Ca canny fin yur crossin e road!'






There have been a lot of twists and turns in the distillery's 200 year history. It has changed hands on numerous occasions, been part of an innovative greenhouse project utilising waste heat to grow tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers in polytunnels and witnessed periods of closure and changes of style. The most recent reopening was in 1997. Prior to mothballing in 1995 the distillery’s own floor maltings were in operation. As part of our VIP tour we got to visit the the spacious malting floors where you really could feel the history surrounding you. Glen Garioch now uses unpeated malt, which is a big contributor to its unique Highland style. 
Glen Garioch is a rare find indeed, but warmly appreciated by those who like a hearty Highland malt, non chill-filtered as nature intended, with a wholesome maltiness, honeyed sweetness and delicious creamy texture to savour.


There was no production taking place on the day of our visit but Jane took us through the whole process and answered questions and explained the history throughout our tour. It was a fascinating part museum, part working distillery experience which took us through the mash tun and washback culminating with the gorgeous copper stills in the still house. The final stop was the bonded warehouse viewing gallery. For me the most fascinating part of our tour and something that I haven't experience elsewhere was the opportunity to use a rather wild looking mallet to unbung a cask of whisky. We all got to have an attempt to remove the bung and nose the contents. This forms part of the Glen Garioch Distillery Cask Bottling experience where visitors can hand fill a bottle of Highland Single Malt from one of the specially selected casks and label their own bottle. The experience carries a rather hefty price tag but I can totally see its appeal if Whisky is your thing. 


Final stop on the tour was the recently refurbished bothy tasting room. This was formerly the excise hut but is now beautifully decked out complete with a roaring fire. Confession time. I'm really not much of a whisky drinker, which I always feel a wee bitty guilty about. I love the smell of it and the flavour it gives when used in cooking. But a dram of whisky would be far from my first choice of tipple. Could Glen Garioch convert me? Apparently there is a whisky out there for everyone. Was I about to find mine?!

First to be tried was 'The Rare Pair' cheese and whisky matching with water and oatcakes if you wanted them. The cheese was from Aberdeenshire's Devenick Dairy.
15 Years Old The Renaissance paired with The Reeds Aricht
15 Years Sherry Cask Matured paired with The Coos R Oot

To follow we tried the three variations that are currently available as the Cask Bottling experience. My favourite was the final one costing £495. However this was the fifth whisky I had tasted which may have more to do me choosing it than my refined palate! Despite my reservations I very much enjoyed the whole tasting experience and came to realise that drinking whisky is as much about the people you are with and where you are. Perhaps you can never fully enjoy a dram of Glen Garioch until you have seen how and where it's made.


Tours & Prices (current as of 03/17)

Monday - Friday at 4pm and 6pm.
Saturday & Sunday at 12 pm, 2 pm and 4 pm
£15 per person, book 48hrs in advance


Glen Garioch
Founders Tour £7.50
Wee Tasting Tour £15
A Rare Pair - Whisky & Cheese Tasting £50
VIP Tour £50
To book call the distillery on +44 (0)1651 873450 or email visitor.centre@glengarioch.com


Whilst the Aberdeen Jazz Festival is all over for another year there are still eight further festivals to come in the Granite City's line up for 2017. Next up is Look Again which runs from April 27th - May 1st. Surely the perfect excuse for a visit to Aberdeen for some food, drink and cultural adventures. 


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www.foodiequine.co.uk Craft Beer and Malt Whisky in Aberdeenshire visiting Brewdog's DogTap and DogWalk Brewery Tour in Ellon plus a VIP Whisky Tasting at Old Meldrum's Glen Garioch Distillery. #VisitAberdeenshire #AberdeenFestivals

Disclosure: I stayed, jazzed, ate and drank as a guest of Visit Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen Festivals. All views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Cod, Prawn and Mussel Bouillabaisse (French Fish Stew)

Post in collaboration with Iceland Foods


A traditional French Fish Stew made with a little help from the #PowerOfFrozen. Serve your Cod, Prawn and Mussel Bouillabaisse with a crusty baguette to mop up all the deliciously flavoured juices. 





I do hope that you are remembering that this Sunday - 26th March 2017 - is Mother's Day. I've got a wee something for my Mum and I'm hoping that Foodie Boy and Foodie Girl have likewise remembered about me! Traditionally children and young people who were in service (think Downtown Abbey!) were given a day off on the forth Sunday of Lent so they could visit their families or return to their "mother" church. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the more commercialised Mother's Day gift giving as we know it today.

Iceland Foods asked me to come up with a three course meal that I would like to share with or make for my Mum for Mother's Day. Unfortunately I'm not going to see her on the 26th as she's around 120 miles away so she'll have to enjoy it in a virtual sense for now! I could have easily chosen the full three courses from the freezers in my local Iceland - but if I'd done that there wouldn't be a recipe to share! The taste, high quality and convenience of frozen food make it perfect for when you want to spend quality time with someone special and not be stuck in the kitchen.





For starters I pondered over Aromatic Crispy Duck with Pancakes and Jumbo Tempura Prawns but settled for Sticky Chicken Skewers which I served up on a simple salad sprinkled with sesame seeds and spring onions. You'll find the recipe for my main dish of Cod, Prawn and Mussel Bouillabaisse below, which needs no more alongside than a chunk of crusty bread to mop up all the delicious juices. For dessert I opted for the colourful Macaron Selection which is fantastic value at only £3 for 12 (or buy two packs for £5 and build your own Macaron tower!) However, I should confess that this was probably more for my own taste than my Mum's and she would perhaps prefer something chocolately like Iceland's Belgian Chocolate Melt in the Middle Puddings, Luxury Pot Au Chocolat or Chocolate & Hazelnut Marquise.


My Dad is allergic to shellfish hence Mussels and Prawns aren't something that my Mum would normally cook so I wanted to incorporate them into my recipe. Bouillabaisse is a classic French seafood stew and was traditionally made with whatever the fishermen hadn’t sold that morning. The distinctive flavours of a bouillabaisse broth include saffron, orange zest and fennel, however when it comes to the fish you can ring the changes to your own preference. I've used a trick picked up from the wonderful Nigel Slater to flavour the base of my broth using tinned anchovies. It works amazingly well and I promise you that even those who professs to dislike anchovies couldn't guess they were an ingredient but they really do add something special to the dish.

Recent advice has seen the recommendation for 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day increase to ten. I'll put my hand up and admit that this is a real struggle for me although I am trying my best and the selection of frozen veg available at Iceland are helping me along the way (even picky daughter has given the baby carrots her seal of approval!). In this dish I used onions, peppers, carrots and green beans but just like the fish you can easily ring the changes and include your own particular favourites. That's the #PowerOfFrozen. 





And now for the soppy bit... 

Happy Mothers Day Jeannette Cameron - the original Foodie Quine. You've been the number one supporter of my blog since day one when you were possibly my only reader! I'm especially proud of your strength and positivity over the last 18months since your breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. You are now significantly less Cancery and I love you lots. xxx 

(do I still need to send a card or will this suffice?!)





Cod, Prawn & Mussel Bouillabaisse (French Fish Stew)
Serves 4



30g tin of Anchovies in Oil

100g Frozen Diced Onions

2 Fat cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 Bulb Fennel, cubed
100g Frozen Sliced Mixed Peppers
Grated Zest and Juice of one Orange
400g Tin of good quality Chopped Tomatoes
4 Tbsp Tomato Puree
Pinch of Saffron threads
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
2 Star Anise
Black Pepper
100g Frozen Baby Carrots
100g Frozen Sliced Green Bean


Place a large casserole dish or heavy based pan on the hob over a medium heat. 

Pour in the oil from the tin of anchovies and once it is sizzling fry the onions, garlic and fennel for 5-7 minutes or until softened.

Tip the anchovies into the casserole and allow them to dissolve into a mushy paste before adding the peppers, orange zest and juice, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree.

Season with the saffron, cayenne, star anise and black pepper.

Put on the lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the carrots and green beans and simmer for a further 10 minutes before you add the cubed cod, prawns and mussels.
Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the cod is opaque and tender. 
Remember to remove the star anise before serving.

Serving suggestion - serve in a shallow bowl sprinkled with chopped parsley and with griddled slices of French Bread spread with the white wine and shallot butter from the Moules Mariniere.


Be sure to check out what my blogging friends have been cooking up for their Mums with the help of the #PowerOfFrozen
Janie at The Hedgecombers - Dairy Free Seafood Chowder
Kate at Veggie Desserts - Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Spinach Sauce
Bintu at Recipes from a Pantry - Jerk Fish Stew with Pepper Pineapple Fried Rice
Diana at Little Sunny Kitchen - Herb Salmon with Garlic Kale and Quinoa Prawn Salad


Disclosure: This is a commissioned recipe for Iceland Foods. As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy and promise to bring you only the cream of the crop.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Cadbury Creme Egg Scottish Tablet

A seriously sweet Easter treat. Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs are combined with traditional Scottish Tablet for a confection that is seriously naughty but nice.





Easter. Time for chicks, eggs, lambs, flowers, bunnies, chocolate and CREME EGG BAKES! They seem to have become a real 'thing' in recent years and I've watched my fellow food bloggers create some absolute masterpieces incorporating them. Last year I jumped on the bandwagon for the first time with my Creme Egg Pancakes. This year I'm taking the sweetness even further with Creme Egg Scottish Tablet. Tablet conjures up many childhood memories for me. My Grandma Corntown was a prolific maker of it for sales of work but hers came with an unexpected added ingredient. The unmistakable stench of cigarette smoke (Embassy No. 1 as I recall). Tablet is a particular Scottish Confectionery, not to be confused with fudge or toffee (although sometimes it's know as Swiss Milk Toffee) It has a crumbly medium hard slightly grainy texture and should be consumed strictly in moderation. 



You do need to be a serious sugar junkie to enjoy Tablet. Even moreso this Easter version. It's a fund raising staple of School Fairs and Cake and Candy Stalls up and down Scotland where it's sold wrapped in greaseproof paper. Unless you are an expert maker of tablet I'd recommend that you use a thermometer to gauge the exact temperature required. My first batch went a wee bit over and was already setting as I poured it out of the pan. The recipe below is based on one from an old Young Farmers cookbook which I've converted to metric, swapped out margarine for butter and vanilla essence for extract. To ensure perfect tablet here are my top tips... 

Top Tablet Tips 
  • Use a deep heavy based pan - the mixture doubles in volume when boiling 
  • Ensure the sugar is FULLY dissolved before you bring the mixture up to the boil 
  • Stir CONSTANTLY with a wooden spoon throughout the whole process 
  • Don't boil too severely - a light rolling boil is better than a fierce one 
  • Temperature to aim for is 116c - soft ball stage 
  • Don't leave it too long before scoring the tablet otherwise it will be difficult to cut 
  • Cut into SMALL pieces - it's super sweet! 

Creme Egg Scottish Tablet 

250ml Milk 
110g Salted Butter (plus extra to grease) 
2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
900g Granulated Sugar 
397g Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk 
2 x 89g Packs of Cadbury Mini Creme Eggs 

Grease a Swiss Roll Tin with the extra Butter. 
Cut one pack of the Mini Creme Eggs into halves and the second pack into quarters. 
Put the Milk and Butter into a large heavy based saucepan (mixture will double in quantity as it heats) and warm through until the butter has melted. 
Add the vanilla extract and granulated sugar and heat until the sugar is FULLY DISSOLVED. 
Turn up the heat and Boil for 10 minutes (rolling boil) stirring CONSTANTLY with a wooden spoon. 
Add the condensed milk, bring back up to the boil continuing to stir CONSTANTLY for approximately 10 minutes or until the temperature reaches 116c (soft ball stage) 
Beat for 2-3 minutes with a wooden spoon and pour into the buttered tin. 
Work quickly to carefully place the pieces of creme egg into the tablet. 
Leave to set, scoring squares after about 5 minutes. 


Fancy some more slightly weird yet wonderful Creme Egg Creations? I've got you covered!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Preview of the Taste of Angus Festival 19-26th March 2017

Post in collaboration with Angus Council
Preview of the Taste of Angus Festival (featuring The Food Life) 19-26th March 2017. A celebration of local, fresh, seasonal produce featuring lots of opportunities to sample delicious Angus food and drink, as well as talks and demos from local experts and an exciting new indoor foodie market.




I was delighted to recently be approached by Angus Council and asked to be the Official Blogger for the Taste of Angus Festival. Living in south Aberdeenshire my adjacent county is Angus so I am well aware of the fantastic bounty of produce and innovative producers in the area. I was super pleased to see that the week long festival also featured The Food Life. I'd attended their inaugural Beach Pop-up event last July and had been seriously impressed with everything that was on offer from this Angus based real food collective.


From Sunday 19th to Sunday 26th March the Taste of Angus Festival will be tempting taste buds across Angus with its programme of mouthwatering foodie events. There really is something for everyone in this celebration of local, fresh and seasonal produce. Plenty of opportunities to sample delicious Angus food and drink, as well as talks and demos from local experts, an indoor foodie market and a distillery tour with a difference. Highlight are below and you can access the full programme at visitangus.com I've already signed up for the Vodka Distillery Tour (sorry - it's already sold out!), Coffee and Pizza Night and of course will be spending Mother's Day at the Market and Moveable Feast. You'll find me next to Tipple in a Tuk Tuk!






On All Week...




Breakfast featuring delicious local produce. 


Daily specials showcasing the wonderful food of Angus. 

Daily specials using the farm’s own pork as part of the all-day menu. 

Taster plates of speciality smokie dishes.
Grilled smokie with lemon, smokie crepe and smokie-cakes with chilli jam. 

Handmade chocolates made using Angus berries, gin and beer.

Newton Farm
Sunday 19th March

From 11am - Free but booking essential 
Self guided walk up Balkello Hill with amazing views of Dundee and beyond over to Fife. Enjoy home-made cakes and refreshments in the farmhouse and a chance to view the Hideaways – the perfect retreat for couples. 

Tuesday 21 March

Afternoon with Cliff Bertram, Local Butcher, Gateway to the Glens Museum, Kirriemuir
1-2pm - Free but booking essential
Cliff Bertram has been the local Kirriemuir butcher for many years. Join him for amusing tales a demonstration of his butchery skills and learn about the art and craft of a Master Butcher




Wednesday 22 March


7-9pm

John Leatherbarrow and Andy Donald founded Park Brew in 2016 in a shed. Join them to learn about their journey and sample their range of craft ales.


Thursday 23 March

‘Down on the Farm’ experience, Newton Farm Holidays, Inverarity

2pm - 4pm, includes refreshments and home baking
Adults £10, Children Free - booking essential quote promo code TASTE

Join Louise Nicoll and her family on their farm to meet the animals including new spring arrivals and unusual residents such as Boer Goats, Alpacas and Lucy the Micropig! As well as getting up close to the livestock, you can learn about modern farming practices, where your food comes from and what life is like on a working farm.




 

Friday 24 March 



Sacred Grounds Coffee have joined forces with Muckle Backit Oven to bring a relaxed and sociable evening of pizza and coffee. Sacred Grounds roasts delicious seasonal ranges of ethically sourced coffee beans whilst Muckle Backit produces amazing hand thrown pizzas using locally produced toppings in a mobile oven. Come along and enjoy the craic or take your pizza and coffee away to enjoy at home.


Saturday 25 March

Hospitalfield Garden Café Preview, Hospitalfield House, Arbroath

11am–4pm

A great opportunity to sample a taste of what is to come from Hospitalfield's new Garden Café, which opens on Wednesday 5 April. Hospitalfield Chef Gillian Veal has created a delicious menu inspired by ingredients from Angus, with several items being grown in the garden. 




2-4pm
A second chance to meet John and Andy of Park Brew to learn about their journey and sample their range of craft ales.

‘Down on the Farm’ experience, Newton Farm Holidays, Inverarity

2pm - 4pm, includes refreshments and home baking

Adults £10, Children Free - booking essential quote promo code TASTE
A further opportunity to visit Newton Farm and its inhabitants


Sunday 26 March - Mother's Day

Remember the clocks spring forward!



The Food Life Market & Moveable Feast, Strathmore Hall, Forfar

10am–6pm FREE Entry & Parking

Join The Food Life for a celebration of all things local with a whole host of foodie treats at their Market and Moveable Feast. There will be a farmer’s market area where young farmers will be selling produce grown locally, market stalls featuring goodies from a wide range of local food and drinks businesses plus entertainment for the whole family. The feasting will be by means of a wide range of food from local premium food vendors plus a pop up restaurant and stunning dining area. A fantastic day out for all the family and a great treat for Mother’s Day. An excellent way to support local small businesses!




Food Vendors


Artisana - Vintage Mobile Patisserie

Tipple in a Tuk Tuk - Prosecco Van & Gin Bar


Hamish Hogs Hog Rolls with all the trimmings
Cav & Co Street Kitchen - Awesome Wraps



Food Stalls Include...
88 Degrees Chocolates, Arbroath Quality Fish (Arbroath Smokies) Fresh Food Express, Highland Drovers, Baked by Belle, Louise's Farm Kitchen, A Portugeuse Deli, Dundee Cheesecakes, James MacLaren Bakery, Galloway Chillies, Strathearn Cheese


Drink Stalls Include...
Sacred Grounds Coffee, Ogilvy's Spirits, Bouvrage, 71 Brewery, Shed 35 Brewery, Redcastle Brewery, The Gin Bothy

Entertainment from...
Hamespun Tales, Oor Wullie, Put on a Happy Face, RHET, Sattava Yoga

1


Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Angus Council. As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to only ever bring you the cream of the crop.

Friday, 10 March 2017

10 Perfectly Peculiar Pies for British Pie Week

Post in collaboration with British Gas

A roundup of 10 Perfectly Peculiar Pie Recipes for British Pie Week, the nations Smartest Pie from GBBO's John Whaite and top energy saving cooking tips from British Gas.






6th to 12th March 2017 is British Pie Week. Time to say aye tae a pie! Although if truth be told I'd say aye pretty much any day of any week and pretty much any time of day. But what actually makes a pie a pie? This is a conundrum I encountered as soon as I started to write this post. Does a pastry lid count as a pie? Is a pastry lid enough, or does the filling need to be encased? What about potato topped pies. Is Shepherds Pie actually a pie?! Then it all starts to get a bit blurry around the edges and we veer into quiche and tart territory. Whatever the definition, it's clear to see that in Britain we simply can't get enough of pies whether they be at the football with Bovril or homemade Steak and Kidney. 


To celebrate British Pie Week, Great British Bake Off champion John Whaite has created the nation’s ‘Smartest Pie’. This masterpiece celebrates the UK's official top five favourite fillings and is baked using energy efficient tips, teaming up with British Gas to inspire households to renew their knowledge of home economics and be smarter with energy use in the kitchen. I'm guessing that they didn't ask many Scots about their favourite pie filling as alas there is no macaroni cheese and instead the favourite pie flavours are Steak, Vegetable, Chicken, Pork and Apple. Take a look at the video below to see his one off culinary delight cooked using energy-saving techniques.





Many more years ago than I would care to remember I studied Home Economics at school, although my particular course was called Food & Nutrition. I even got an A for my Higher! It would seem that the UK as a whole could be doing with a refresher on basic Home Economy skills as 58% admit to burning their bakes. Seems that Smart Home Economics is still important to avoid ruined pies and unexpected energy bills. 


Top Tips for Smart Pies from British Gas
  • Keep the oven door closed while baking. As tempting as it is to take a peek at your pie, opening the oven door causes the heat to drop and use extra energy to get back up to temperature. 
  • Turn the oven off 5-10 minutes before the pie is done. It will retain plenty of heat during this time and will continue to cook your pie to perfection. 
  • Keep the oven clean. Grease and little pieces of burnt food in the oven can absorb the heat and make the oven less efficient. Keeping the glass clear also gives you a sneak peek while baking. 
  • Bake in batches. Cooking a number of pies to cater to different family favourites? Try cooking them all in one go – an already heated oven will use less. 


Without further ado it's time for the round up of those 10 perfectly peculiar pies that I promised you at the start of the post. The pies below break the rules as to what a pie should be. But rules are made to be broken and if that includes bacon lattice topping, potato pie crust, leftovers, pies in Yorkshire puddings and kale and lemon pastry then I'm all for it! Who ate all the pies? Yup that would be me! 












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www.foodiequine.co.uk  A roundup of 10 Perfectly Peculiar Pie Recipes for British Pie Week

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for British Gas. As always, all views expressed are my own. 
Thank you for supporting the brands who make it possible for me to continue to share my Edible Scottish Adventures with you. I’m super choosy who I work with and promise to only ever bring you the cream of the crop.