Pie: The Book and the Reader Offer

piecover

I have a confession to make … I’m a recipe hoarder.

pastrycase

I have bookshelves full of cookbooks, boxes full of cookbooks, folders full of recipes on loose sheets of paper and photos of recipes on my phone. I even carry a small notebook in my handbag so that I can jot down any stray recipes I might happen to meet when I’m out and about. It’s probably safe to say that I’ve collected a few recipes since I started food blogging.

eggs

Perhaps inevitably therefore, I’ve become very fussy about which recipe books I consider buying. I’m no longer interested in rehashes of the same old spotted dicks and chicken chasseurs, while my three rapidly-growing children don’t leave me with either the time or the energy to recreate Michelin 3-star classics. In short, the cookbooks that appeal to me now are full of interesting recipes that inspire me to make them at home and use ingredients that inspire my family to eat them.

I don’t buy many cookbooks these days. I’m very fussy.

filling

It was lovely therefore to receive a copy of PIE: Delicious Sweet and Savoury Pies and Pastries from Steak and Onion Pie to Pecan Tart by Dean Brettschneider and discover a brand new recipe book that I’m more than happy to add to my bookshelves. The pies on these pages just sing out to be eaten.

pie

Sausage, Sun-dried Tomato and Potato Tart. Bacon, Curried Egg and Ricotta Pie. Chicken, Sweet Potato and Stilton Pot Pies. Chicken, Cranberry and Camembert Pies. Fish Pie with Leek and Chorizo. Tomato and Thyme Tarte Tatin. Dark Chocolate Banoffee Slab. Hazelnut and Coconut Shortbread with Strawberries and Blueberries. If you tell me you’re not drooling, then honestly, you’re lying.

pieslice

In this book, Dean gives us more than eighty recipes for pastry classics and innovations using flavours from around the world. Chapters include meat, seafood, vegetarian and sweet pies, plus a chapter on ‘not-quite-a-pie’ – pastry treats such as flapjacks and sausage rolls. There’s even a recipe for traditional Cornish Pasties (although, as everyone knows, the pasty was invented here in Devon …).

All in all, this book gets a big thumbs-up from me. Perhaps the best praise I can give is to tell you that my own copy is already looking used and dog-eared. And as I said, I’m very fussy.

*READER OFFER*

To order Pie at the discounted price of £20.00 including p&p* (RRP: £25.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG18.

Alternatively, send a cheque made payable to:

Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department,
Littlehampton Book Services,
PO Box 4264,
Worthing, West Sussex
BN13 3RB.

Please quote the offer code APG18 and include your name and address details.

*UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Mud Pies and Other Recipes Giveaway

Every child should have this recipe book.

I don’t often say things like that, so it must be true. I’d even go so far as to claim that every child needs to have this recipe book.

The book that has so totally captured my children’s imaginations is Mud Pies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow. It was originally published in 1961 but has fortunately been reprinted more recently, which means you don’t have to pay bucket-loads for it on Amazon. And no, I’m not being paid, blackmailed or otherwise encouraged to say wonderful things about it – the publishers don’t even know I exist. I do have a copy of this book that I’d like to give away, but it isn’t some freebie sample or review copy from anywhere. I bought it myself.

So – what’s so good about this book, anyway? Although its contents are divided into Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Main Dishes, Pastries, Desserts and Beverages, and although there is even a section on Suggested Menus, it doesn’t contain any recipes that you would actually want to eat. Unless you were a doll, that is – or perhaps a garden sprite or an imaginary friend.

And that’s exactly where the power of this book lies. Using ingredients found easily in a backyard or on the seashore, children learn skills of  food preparation and serving that would be worthy of any Michelin-starred chef or restaurant.

I have watched my children sieving, stirring, pouring, seasoning, baking, spreading, sprinkling, skewering and cutting their ingredients. They have arranged their meals on serving platters, plates and in bowls, and carried everything carefully to the pass. Whether as Chef de Cuisine,  Sous-Chef, Commis or General Dogsbody, they have negotiated their roles and responsibilities in the industries of Food and Beverage Production, Service and Kitchen Stewarding. And they have done all of this themselves in a world entirely of their own making.

Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake, Crabgrass Gumbo, Dandelion Soufflé, Leaves en Brochette …

And Mud Pies, of course …

To a coffee can filled 3/4 full of rich dirt, add just enough water to make a very firm mud. Pack this mud into the cups in the bottom half of a heavy cardboard egg carton. Set in the sun to dry slightly, then turn the carton over and unmold on a sunny terrace or sidewalk. When the pies are hard, they are done. Serves 12.

These mud pies keep indefinitely and are good to have on hand for impromptu entertaining.

This is exactly the sort of book that I would have spent hours poring over as a child. Heck, I’d love to have more free hours to spend poring over it even now as an adult! It’s charming, whimsical and dated, yes. But it’s also creative, sophisticated, inspirational, magical and timeless. My only regret is that I didn’t come across it sooner in the lives of my children.

I haven’t forgotten that I mentioned a Giveaway …

I have a spare copy of Mudpies and Other Recipes by Marjorie Winslow that I will send to someone who promises to let it get a bit muddy in the name of creativity. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in the space below this post. You don’t have to say anything much – a quick ‘Hi’ will do. Just something to let me know you’d like to enter the draw. Random.org will choose the lucky winner (make sure you leave a valid email address so I can contact you – it won’t be published, but I’ll need to contact you to find out your mailing address if you win).

The deadline for entry to the giveaway is at midnight (BST) on the day that my children break up from school for their summer holidays – Wednesday 11th July 2012. 

Good luck 🙂