Posted 29th Oct 2014
Inspired by his mum's delicious home-cooking, Paul Sykes decided to package up his childhood memories and launch his own range of tasty pies that bring good old-fashioned comfort food to the table. Now, having been going for three years, Paul's Pies are stocked in the likes of Asda and Budgens as well as in farm shops, delis and restaurants across the country, and he has no plans to stop spreading the love for a good pie
Paul’s Pies are delicious, traditional comfort food for the young at heart that fill you up and make you happy. Each pie is hand-made using only the very best quality ingredients and hand-crimped by pie-maker Paul (pictured left) himself. Poultry and game dealer Paul has always had a passion for great home-cooked food and delicious pies. Encouraged by his regular customers at his weekly Notting Hill Gate farmer’s market stall, who had tried some of his samples, Paul made his first batch of pies in 2011 at his home in Oxfordshire, and within just four months they were already winning awards. Today, several awards later, Paul continues to make every pie himself in the beautiful National Trust village of Coleshill in Oxfordshire.
Paul's delicious range of pies includes Steak and Guinness Pie, Paul’s take on a classic. The very best British beef, matured for 21 days, is combined with sumptuous stout gravy, slow-cooked for three hours and encased in suet crust pastry. Also in the range is Venison and Mushroom Pie, a truly seasonal pie well worth waiting for. The very best wild British venison is combined with rich gravy, slow-cooked until it is perfectly tender and encased in suet crust pastry. Paul's Chicken and Mushroom Pie is no less of a treat, filled with a mixture of succulent white and dark meat in a rich creamy gravy. In tribute to the Land Girls of the Second World War, Paul's Homity Pie is particularly special. Invented by the Land Girls themselves, the pie is a true delight whether you are a vegetarian or a carnivore. Light enough to enjoy with a salad in the summer or enjoy as a good comfort food dish in the winter, the pie is an all-season winner. Last but not least, Paul's Steak and Kidney Pie is his latest addition, created in support of The Royal British Legion and in dedication to all those who fought in the Great War, also inspired by the memory of Paul's grandfather, Corporal William Sykes RE MM. The delicious pie is made with slow-cooked mature British steak and tender kidney in a rich, succulent gravy encased in a delicious suet crust pastry – a signature of Paul's.
Paul and his small team, made up of family members and friends, expertly hand-make every pie in his dedicated pie kitchen (pictured left). As well as his usual collection of pies, you can also commission Paul’s Pies to cater for special events such as weddings, parties and corporate hospitality. For more information or to buy some of his delicious pies (retailing at £3.50 each) visit www.paulspies.co.uk.
As as special treat Paul has shared his recipe for the perfect accompaniment to his pies – good old fashioned mash:
Paul’s Perfect Mash
For me, the only accompaniment for one of my pies is mashed potato and peas. I always manage to make far too much mash but will always use it up over the next day or two, usually on a cottage pie. So feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your appetite. Remember the more liquid you use, the wetter or sloppier the mix will become.
1kg of good mashing potatoes such as Wilja, Cara or King Edward
200ml whole milk (the creamier the better), or if you only have semi-skimmed use that
130g unsalted butter
1. Peel and cut your potatoes into equal sizes, they will cook evenly this way. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add some salt. Put in the potatoes and let them gently boil until they are cooked through. Don’t let them start to break up or they will become like mush.
2. When the potatoes are ready, take them out and drain them in a colander, allowing them to cool slightly.
3. Gently heat the butter and milk in the pan, then add the potatoes back in. Mash like you mean it! Seriously no one likes lumpy mash so really put your back into it. Season with salt and pepper and remember to taste as you go. If you have a potato ricer, use it.
4. For the peas, don’t overcook them. As soon as the water has boiled that’s good enough for me. Season with salt and maybe a knob of butter if you aren’t feeling guilty, and enjoy.
By Natalie Crofts