Steak & Ale Pie.

Courtesy of the Wick at Both Ends / Grace Tebbutt.
Serves 3-4.

Pies can be a great way to make a simple stew into an impressive meal, and the simple stews to fill them can be a great way to make a delicious, warming, winter meal from the cheaper cuts of meat. A fantastic local ale adds richness, colour and flavour. Why not buy a couple and drink one alongside?

500g plain flour
250g butter
2 eggs
Splash of milk

500g diced beef (stewing steak)
1 onion (diced)
Baby mushrooms
Maris Piper potatoes
Ale of your choice, dark (350-400ml)
Plain flour
Garlic (crushed)
Butter (one knob)
A little oil Cream (2 tbsp)
Milk (a splash)
Beef stock
Salt and black pepper

Rub butter and flour together with salt using your finger tips and make into breadcrumbs. Add the eggs one at a time. Add milk, mix through until moisture is gone, then take it out of the bowl and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Check by putting your thumb in - if the dough is smooth (not cracked) but also not too moist, stick it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the flour to the beef and season well. Fry in a splash of oil until brown and sealed and put to one side. Now fry the onions, garlic, baby mushrooms and a handful of thyme in a mix of oil and butter. Drain the fat from the pan and use a small amount of ale to it. Add the beef and ale, put in a roasting tray and just cover with beef stock. Season well. Cover with foil and cook at 160-180°C until the meat is tender (ideally 2-3 hours). Check every half hour. Remove foil, move into a large pan and reduce the mixture until it's a thick gravy.

Roll out the pastry to about 1cm thick. Use a bowl or deep plate (or a pie ring if you have one). Cover the outer rim with a thin layer of pastry, lightly brush milk onto the top of the pastry, add the filling and then cover with a carefully rolled lid. Cut off excess around the rim gently and then use a fork or thumb to press down around the rim. Make a hole in the top and decorate however you want. Cover with a beaten egg and stick it in the oven at 180°C until the lid goes a lovely golden brown.

Boil your potatoes and season generously with salt, black pepper, butter and a dash of cream before mashing. Serve with boiled garden peas.

Pine/Apple Upside Down Cake.

Cassie Kill.

200g butter, room temperature
140g golden caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
25g light brown sugar
2 tsps baking powder
15 ml gin
2 sprigs rosemary
3 eggs
2/3 granny smith apples, peeled and cored

200ml Indian Pale Ale
100g sugar
65g honey

1 sweet potato
500ml double cream
35g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 drops pine essential oil

Garnish with mixed berries, rosemary and toasted pine nuts to taste.

Use a standard 20cm (8-inch) cake tin. Heat oven to 170ºC. Cream 30g of butter with the brown sugar until smooth and light, and use this mixture to grease a baking pan. Cream together caster sugar and remaining butter, then sift in flour and baking powder and mix in gin and eggs.

Slice the apples into rings about 7mm thick and distribute along the bottom of the pan. Finely chop the rosemary and scatter over the apple slices, then pour over the cake batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, then rest for five minutes before turning out and slicing.

For the syrup, heat the IPA along with the sugar and honey very gently, so that the sugar dissolves and a thick syrup forms. Drizzle this syrup over the cake before serving.

For the cream, peel and chop the potato into 2cm chunks, then boil and drain well. Blend into a very smooth puree with half the cream, the sugar and the vanilla, then pass through a fine sieve. Beat the remaining cream along with the pine oil to soft peaks.

Ensuring the potato mixture is cool, fold into the whipped cream. Serve alongside the cake and garnish with berries, pine nuts and fresh rosemary.