For supper this evening I made festival chicken pie, named so because the meat is marinated in cider. It was rather apt given the weather was reminiscent of the first Glastonbury gathering I attended in 1998.
The previous year torrential rain had turned the event into a massive mudfest, so somewhat optimistically I reasoned it was going to bright sunshine the year I rocked up. Ignoring weather warnings, I arrived in a pair of white Adidas trainers and chinos. I had to borrow a pair of Wellington’s three sizes too big, making dancing rather difficult. I had to make do with a sort of shuffle movement while waving my arms around. Not the cool look I was hoping for.
That weekend I took my time eating my pies as they were keeping my hands warm.
Tonight’s pie was from an adapted Delia Smith recipe, the carrots and leeks should have been joined by apples, but I forgot those. And I forgot the cheese. The crust was ready roll filo pastry and the sauce a mixture of reduced cider and cream. Despite the missing fruity ingredients it tasted pretty good.
Unfortunately, I cannot help but compare all pies to what I can only describe as the crack cocaine of pastry goods. It was a steak & kidney pie encased in the fluffiest of puff pastry with a heart-shaped symbol in the centre of its delicious lid. The gravy was thick with a slight pepper kick to it and the pieces of meat, to quote a cliché, melted in the mouth. It was so moreish that I scraped every crumb from the foil tin it was served in.
Although it tasted homemade, it was a shop bought pie but frustratingly I don’t know who conjured this wonder into existence. I do know that I would happily give them my first born if they commanded it. The pie was one of many food items I was asked to taste and judge on behalf of the Guild of Fine Foods’ Great Taste Awards.
All of the food and drink placed before judges is anonymous, which was fine for the majority of the produce I snaffled during a very gluttonous two hours, including the most delightful sloe gin, but then came the pie.
I dream about that pie and indeed since we were first acquainted I have been searching for it in delis and supermarkets. I’ve also been trawling the internet, typing in ‘pie with heart-shaped symbol on crust’ into search engines like a gastronomic private detective. So far it eludes me.
Should anyone happen upon or know of the origins of this pie, please do get in touch. You will know it’s the best steak & kidney pie in the world because you too will want to relish every mouthful and then lick the tin when disappointingly the last morsel of pastry has passed your lips.