Kiwi Pies and random national celebrations

Lorraine Heller

Lorraine HellerThink of a random activity, a like or dislike, an everyday object or a simple action – chances are, there’ll be a day or week set aside to celebrate it.

Now, I’m not normally one to take any notice of the random days to celebrate that have been haphazardly entered into our calendars – for example the National Dress Up Your Pet Day, the Walk Around Things Day, or the National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

In fact, days and weeks pass me by and I’m none the wiser for all the great activities and appreciations that I’m missing out on.

But this week is dedicated to something that I just couldn’t ignore: it’s pie week! What’s better to celebrate than the good old pie in all its comforting glory?

Pie Week

I have to admit that last March Pie Week was just one more of those celebrations that passed me by. But after a trip to New Zealand at the end of last year, my whole world view of pies has been turned on its head.

Shepherd's Pie for pie weekKiwis love pies. Kiwis live for pies. Their pies are a thing of pride and glory; you’ll find them in every bakery and every home kitchen, a piping hot pick-me-up that you just can’t resist.

In fact, pies are such an iconic national food in New Zealand that every year hundreds of bakeries from around the country send in thousands of pies to be judged in the national Supreme Pie Awards. And once the happy judges have chomped through the goods and declared their preferences, the winners and runners up proudly display the honours next to the price ticket of their pies for years afterwards.

So what better time to celebrate the glory of Kiwi pies that during, um…, British Pie Week?

Luckily, while I was in Kiwi land, I got inside information on how to make a New Zealand pie, which I will share with you today in honour of Pie Week.

How to make a Kiwi Pie

  • Line your pie dish with some pre-rolled pastry (well, that’s my modification. Kiwis make their own pastry, of course)
  • Take a look in your fridge or cupboards and pick out any ingredients that could work (pies are a great receiver of leftovers) – for example, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, and of course meat: steak is best, but anything will go
  • Pre-cook all your ingredients
  • Sprinkle on top a packet of thick soup and add a bit of water until thick and gloopy
  • If you don’t have powdered soup, use stock and thicken it with flour
  • Pour cooked ingredients on top of your pastry, then cover up with some more pastry
  • Cook on high for the first 15 minutes, then turn down to 180°C until golden and irresistible

So there you have it – a simple recipe to slap together from whatever you have available. Give it a go for Pie Week. And if it all goes pear shaped, then please feel free to panic as today is officially International Panic Day.