I would go around there for my tea every Friday evening and while my grandad read the paper my granny would tirelessly play games with me, she loved card games, but would learn anything new, so we added cludo, game of life and ker-plunk to the game repertoire.
Her life ran like clockwork, literally. Lunch was on the table at 12 precisely and would be a hot cooked lunch. Tea would be on the table at 5 and would consist of sandwiches and home made cake with a cup of tea. They would have an apple at 7 and a mug of hot chocolate at 9 before bed. Not many of us nowadays are able to run meals with this much precision because of working hours and commuting (my grandad, when he was working, owned a garage nearby and so was able to come home for his lunch and tea).
She was the original make do and mender.
Now my biggest treat of all when I was growing up was her meat and potato pie. I absolutely loved this, more than any other food and she would make it for me if I was ever able to get there at lunchtime instead of tea, so it was mainly school holidays that I would have it. When I was older I got her to show me how she made it so that I could do it myself and although it was a few years still before I left home and had to start to cook for myself, I stored away the knowledge of exactly how it was made. Now, I think I am the only one left in the family who knew her exact method and this last week when I was visiting my parents I made it for my mum. It is strange that somehow she never had known how to make it and was delighted when I presented it to her.
So now I am back in London and feeling a bit stressed with house moving issues, I decided to make myself one last night and thought that I would share the method. It is cheap and cheerful and real comfort food.
Granny's Meat and Potato Pie
a pack of mince beef (500g)
450ml beef stock (made from a cube in my case)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
3 largish potatoes, peeled and chopped to bite sized pieces (the sort that don't collapse too much when cooked)
250g (ish) of frozen mixed veg
Pastry (either home made shortcrust or shop bought shortcrust if you can't be bothered - sometimes I do either depending on how lazy I am feeling)
The pie can be baked in a large casserole dish with the crust covering or sometimes I make 2 or 3 smaller ones which can be frozen.
Chop and fry the onion until soft. Add the mince and fry to colour. add the potatoes, the quantity should look an equal mix of potato to meat so adjust to your own taste.
Add the beef stock and if necessary, top up with some hot water so the potatoes are not sticking out too much. cover and simmer for about 15/20 mins. Season well with salt.
When the potatoes are all but cooked, add the veg and remove the lid, crank up the heat so that most of the liquid can get boiled away, and it should hopefully leave you with a pie filling that is moist, but not wet, thick and lovely. Check the seasoning and add more if you think it needs it.
Place the filling into a dish or two, depending on how many and what size you are making and having rolled out the pastry to accommodate this, place the pastry on top, putting two holes in and brushing with egg or milk. Place in a 200degree oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
This particular recipe and quantity has made enough for 5 portions, so as you can see, it is very economical.
My granny had other wonderful recipes that have been lost in the midst of time, I have never tasted biscuits as nice or a sponge cake as moist. If only they had all been written down.