Picnic Recipes


Makes 6


1½ lb strong white flour

6 oz lard

6 oz butter


1 onion, chopped

approx. 2 oz sliced swede

approx. 2 oz sliced parsnip

6 – 12 oz skirt of beef, trimmed and diced

8 oz potatoes (peeled weight) cut into small dice/slices

To make the pastry, put the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl.  Cut off about a quarter of the lard and rub it into the flour, then grate in the remaining lard and the butter.  Pour in 250 ml of cold water and stir until absorbed, adding a little more water if required to incorporate all of the flour.  Knead briefly until smooth, then chill for 30 minutes before using.

Heat the oven to 220°C (200°C for fan ovens) gas mark 7.

Flour your work surface.  Divide the pastry into six and roll each piece out to a circle of about 8″ in diameter.  Use an upturned plate to cut around to form neat circles.

Divide half the swede, parsnip and all of the onion between the pastry rounds, putting it across the centre.  Season well.  Put a quarter of the meat on top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle with salt.  Top with most of the potato and the rest of the swede/parsnip.  Season again and then add the rest of the potato.

Dampen one side of the pasty all round with a little water, then fold over to cover the filling and press to seal.  Fold over the edge to make it slightly thicker, then squeeze tightly between thumb and forefinger along the edge to crimp.  Tuck in the end and seal well.  Make a slit in the top with a knife and patch any holes with dampened pieces of rolled out pastry.

Put the pasties on a greased tray, brush with milk and bake at the high heat for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them and turning the oven down to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas mark 3 if they start browning too much.  Cook at the lower temperature until they have had 50 minutes in total, then turn off the oven and leave the pasties in with the door shut for a further 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before eating.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie

The following quantities will make a 6-inch diameter pie.  Although to be traditional this should be hand-raised, you can, if you prefer, use a loose-bottomed deep cake tin.

For the hot water crust pastry:

¾ lb plain flour

4½ oz lard

¼ tsp salt

7-8 fl oz boiling water


2 lb coarsely minced pork (two-thirds lean to one third fat)

2 teaspoons salt

freshly milled black pepper

1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage

beaten egg for glazing

Grease the mould (if using) with lard and then lightly dust with flour.

Mix the meat with the seasoning and sage.

To make the pastry, sieve together the flour and salt.  Rub in the lard.  Add enough boiling water to make a soft dough.  Knead gently until smooth.

Use three-quarters of the dough to line the mould (or raise around a jar).  Keep the remaining dough covered whilst you pack the filling into the pie.

Roll out the remaining pastry into a circle to form the lid.  Brush the rim on pastry around the sides of the tin with beaten egg.  Place the lid on top and seal the edges with a fork.  Brush the top with beaten egg.  Make a large hole in the centre for the steam to escape.

Bake in a hot oven (220°C/Gas Mark 7) for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for a further 45 minutes.  Remove the pie from the oven and, very carefully so as not to burn yourself or break the pastry, slide the sides of the cake tin down, having first supported the whole on a tin.  Brush all over the pastry with beaten egg, taking care not to seal up the hole on the top, then return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

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