Over the weekend, hubbie and I went to the Pie Fest 2017 in Melton Mowbray – home of the pork pie. There were many suppliers on display (both from Melton Mowbray and other areas) and of course it was a taste fest. Below are a couple of pictures of pork pie producers which I thought were delicious. Sorry for those that are not based in the U.K. One wonderful discovery is we found a vegetarian pork pie option. So in true veggieandi fashion, both of us were able to enjoy ourselves.
The pork pie, or shall I say the famous Melton Mowbray pork pie, has an interesting history. If you want to read more about the history, please see link here. In a nutshell, the Melton Mowbray pork pie came about as a by-product of a thriving dairy industry in the 1700s where the whey from cheese making made it conducive to raise pigs on dairy farms. This then led to the development of the pork pie to help use up surplus pork meat. This pie pie became popular for foxhunting in the Melton area where fox hunters could carry these delicious pies with them whilst out and about chasing the foxes and the pie remained intact and easy to transport.
In order to be a proper Melton Mowbray pork pie, it must meet certain criteria, such as the pork pie must be made within a 10.8 square mile zone around Melton Mowbray, it must use uncured British reared pork, and cooked without any support (e.g. not in a baking tray). It must also have certain ingredients in the pie and cannot use artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
My personal favourite pork pie is Mrs Kings pork pie but it is a family debate. My father in law insists Nelsons pork pies are the best. I think the only thing for you to decide is to try them all…
Lately I’ve been inspired by American magazines in my cooking philosophy – namely Saveur and bon appétit.
One of the new things launched recently by bon appétit is their new healthyish range of recipes and insights. Now you may wonder, what on earth does healthyish mean, is it some new form of marketing jargon to deal with yuppies and health freaks who frequent Whole Foods (by the way I have to admit I am a Whole Foods fan so please don’t judge me). The principle about it is really about knowing where our food comes from and who made it and what ingredients go into the food. It’s also a philosophy about eating healthily most of the time with tasty food and not feeling bad if you do indulge – i.e. if you had a massive meal one night then have a salad for lunch the next day. Don’t count calories and obsess about health effects. Sounds sensible, no?
I began to think a lot about this concept with a few other things. A Japanese family friend of mine once said that you should only eat until you are 80% full and that your meal should have colours – red, white and green. I understood this to be rice, a bit of meat and vegetables. Again, common sense, a balanced diet sounds about right. My husband is also an amazing cook and will do everything from scratch and it often has led to us having a late dinner or lunch in his pursuit for perfection. I reflect back to my memories of my grandmother who would tirelessly prepare her cantonese-Malaysia style of miss en place – chopping the garlic, ginger and raw ingredients to then spend 5 minutes at the end making a perfect stir fry or cooking a Chinese herbal soup for 4-6 hours for 3 gulps of pure delight. Then I reflect on today when hubby and I decided to go to the garden centre to buy some plants to make our balcony look nice but also to buy some veggie plants so we have our mini interpretation of ‘urban farm to table’ as we enjoy our evening meals on the balcony as the weather gets warmer in London.
It has made me realise I want to have my own interpretation of what I want with my life and food and this blog – I want to celebrate food, from different ingredients stemming from different cultures, I want to make things that are accessible to the every day, but create things that are spectacular when I just feel like it. I also want people to feel that it doesn’t matter what kind of cook or foodie you are and I want to be healthyish – I want to be good most of the time with a structure in my weekly work life but enjoy my food with full fat cream, ghee and pork crackling when the occasion calls for it. But most importantly, I want to write about food that tastes good and I’m not interested in food fads and diets. My two cents.