Celebrate British Pie Week with your own pie party for 12 people

pie party 2

Win a Higgidy Pie Party

There is something quintessentially British about the pie. In any poll of favourite British foods, some form of pie is sure to be near the top of the list.

I am a sucker for a tasty pie as much as the next person. From a no-nonsense steak and kidney pie with a huge puff pastry crown to a traditional Melton Mowbray pork pie in hot water crust pastry; from a comforting cottage pie with its topping of creamy mash to an autumnal blackberry and apple pie smothered in lashings of rich custard, the perfect British pie in all its guises is like a warm hug in a dish.

In celebration of British Pie Week (3-9 March), West Sussex based pie-makers Higgidy are hosting a Pie Party and you are invited! I have one special Higgidy Pie Party pack to give away, with everything you need for a pie-themed party.

I am rather partial to a Higgidy pie – I reckon they taste as good as homemade, if not better. They freshly bake their pies by hand every day, and fill them with delicious ingredients just like you or I would use in our own kitchens.

To win a Higgidy Pie Party pack, simply leave a comment below by Tuesday 25 February, letting me know your all-time favourite pie.

The party pack contains party hats, balloons, place cards, and of course, enough meat and vegetarian pies for 12 to enjoy for dinner (or lunch if you’d prefer). What better excuse to get some friends round to share a home-cooked meal, and celebrate the humble but oh so heavenly pie?

pie party

Terms and Conditions

By taking part in this competition all participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by these terms and conditions:

  • This prize draw is only open to residents of the UK.
  • Closing date is Tuesday 25 February 2014.
  • No responsibility is taken for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt.
  • Each winner will receive a pack containing party accessories for 12 and 12 pies. Higgidy accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
  • The prize pies will be a mix of meat and vegetarian products.
  • The winners will be notified by email, and sent their prize from Higgidy via courier.
  • All prizes will be delivered on Thursday 6 March.
  • Prizes will be delivered to the address given on prize draw entry, unless an alternative is agreed in writing with Higgidy.
  • The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
  • Higgidy retains the right to substitute the prize, or any of its contents, with another prize of similar value in the event the original prize offered is not available.
  • The winners names may be promoted on Higgidy’s website or social media websites.
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Higgidy accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by you as a result of entering the prize draw or accepting the prize. Higgidy further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the prize draw.
  • Higgidy reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this prize draw with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of Higgidy in all matters under its control is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.

Chilli beef pie with spicy potato wedges

chilli beef pie

This chilli beef ticks all the right boxes for me. It’s a proper winter warmer, pretty much all cooked in one pot. The beef is slow cooked so it practically falls apart in your mouth and is flavoured with delicious cumin, chilli, cinnamon and oregano. It’s topped off with crispy, spicy potato wedges. Oh and it’s got melted cheese on top too. Really, what’s not to like?

It’s the first dish I’ve tried from the Higgidy Cookbook and I’m now looking forward to working my way through the rest of the book. The lamb shank pie is another I’ve got my eye on.

chilli beef

Chilli beef pie with spicy potato wedges

Serves 6

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano
750g braising beef, cut into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated and chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
400ml beef stock
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp black treacle
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper

For the wedges

4 large baking potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
good pinch of smoked paprika
large handful of grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.

Crush the cumin seeds and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar and then pour into a large bowl. Stir in the cinnamon, oregano and 1 teaspoonful of salt. Add the chunks of beef and toss well to completely coat the meat.

Place your casserole dish over a medium heat and add a tablespoonful of the oil. Brown the beef all over in batches. Don’t let the spices burn or they will turn bitter. Put the browned meat in a bowl.

Pour a little water into the pan, scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen all those lovely tasty bits, and then pour this over the beef.

In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil and then gently fry the onion, garlic, coriander stalks (reserve the leaves) and chillies until soft. Add the puree, stock, tomatoes and hot stock, and give it all a good stir. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the beef and bring to the boil. When the stew comes to the boil, remove from the heat and cover tightly with the lid. Cook in the oven for two hours.

Add the pepper and black beans, stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then return to the oven with the lid back on for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the coriander leaves. Keep to one side with the lid on to keep warm.

Increase the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.

Cut the potatoes into chunky wedges and boil in salted water for around 8 minutes until just tender. Drain well and put into a roasting tin. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with paprika and salt and bake for half an hour until crisp and golden.

Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Scatter the wedges over the top of the stew, top with grated cheese and pop it under the grill until the cheese has melted.

Serve with soured cream. Enjoy!

chilli beef pie

As this stew-slash-pie features my favourite chilli, I’m entering it into The Spice Trail challenge, which has chilli as this month’s theme.

spice trail badge square

And as this pie-slash-stew is cooked almost entirely in one pot, I’m entering it into the Four Season’s Food challenge, hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux, where the theme this month is Soups, Stews & One Pot Wonders. If you’re looking for more winter-warmers, head over there for some great inspiration.


Review: Higgidy quiches

Higgidy Collage

Now while I’m a firm advocate of home cooking with fresh ingredients from scratch as much as possible, there are some days when reaching into the fridge for something ready-made is just what I need. Particularly at the moment. Life is busy. My husband, who was doing most of the childcare, has got himself a new job, which is of course excellent news but does mean our routines have had to change big time now we’re both working, and easy meals are warmly welcomed.

So when Higgidy invited me to review some of their quiches I practically bit their hand off. Shop-bought quiches can often be a bit of a disappointment with soggy pastry and bland fillings. But having tried Higgidy pies in the past, I was pretty sure their quiches would be a bit more interesting.

And I wasn’t wrong. Higgidy quiches are good, really good, in a great range of flavours with that home-cooked look and taste, and light, crisp pastry. I tried out three different varieties on the family for tea the other evening: crustless spinach, feta and roasted red pepper, crustless smoked bacon and mature Cheddar, and a little Balsamic onion and Cheddar quiche. There were no leftovers and they got a big thumbs up all round. Not surprisingly, our resident carnivore, Mia’s favourite was the smoked bacon and Cheddar one, but the rest of us decided we liked the spinach, feta and red pepper best. But to be honest wouldn’t say no to any of them.

I’ll definitely be stocking my fridge with a few of these in the coming weeks and months, I reckon. They might be a little more expensive than the supermarket own-brand variety, but I think they are worth it once in a while.


Disclosure: Higgidy provided complimentary quiches for review purposes. No money exchanged hands and all opinions are totally my own.