Ah, Autumn. Yes, the sudden drop in temperature has been a bit of a shock, and no-one likes getting up in the morning while it's still dark - but there's still much to be welcomed in a season that allows you to pop the heating on, open a bottle of red and bring a blanket downstairs to put over your knees while you watch Strictly. You may have noticed from the lack of blog posts recently that it takes quite a lot to get me out the house at this time of year, but there are a few occasions looming on the horizon that I will make an exception for: Didsbury Beer Festival (more of which next week), Hallowe'en (if only to avoid the constant knocking on by trick or treaters) and Bonfire Night (the cat has assured me that if I pour him a small brandy before I go out he'll be fine on his own).
To celebrate two of these three auspicious occasions (I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before they create a special pie for Didsbury Beer Festival), Holland's Pies have sent out some recipes to promote their new limited edition seasonal creation. Now last time I wrote about this famous Lancashire firm I got some stick from certain quarters, but I care not - I love a pie, and as I generally can't be bothered to make my own I'm more than happy to eat one that I've located in the freezer. The new one sounds good, too - the ‘Ghoul-ash Pie’ has been created exclusively for Holland’s by celebrity chef Tom Bridge from The Great British Bake Off and features beef and paprika. For Bonfire Night they recommend the good old Potato and Meat pie and suggest you serve it with mushy peas - recipe below. You can even share your Hallowe'en or Bonfire Night photos on their Facebook page or Twitter feed for the chance to win either a Ghoul-ash Pie or a Bonfire Night party pack containing a Holland’s pie cosy to keep your pies warm (this is not normally an issue for me), hand crafted Holland’s mittens (I need these desperately) and a batch of Holland’s Potato & Meat Pies (ditto).
So, I'm happy to pretend that I'm off to some glamorous bar launch, but in reality I'm here in my pyjamas, eating a dish of mushy peas and planning which real ales I'll be going for first next week - and all the happier for it.
500g/1lb 2oz dried marrowfat peas
1 tbsp sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the dried marrowfat peas the night before cooking in a bowl of cold water. The next day, rinse the peas under cold running water and place into a large saucepan. Add boiling water to cover the sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Boil gently for about 20-30 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the peas have turned into mush.