A few weeks ago I had three engineers to stay for a few days. Not just any engineers – these ones were at the top of their game, acknowledged experts in their respective fields. Their first day was a long and demanding one and I wanted to provide something easy and comforting for them when they got back. They were travelling back from quite a distance so it had to be something that would keep warm and be ready at an instant.

This is what I cooked for them. It goes particularly well with an apple and pecan salad.

See father-inspired Lancashire pork pie for some philosophy on the heavenly combination of pork and apple.


Recipe for Nick, Bob and Mark Pork and Apple Pie

Serves 6


  • 640g/1 lb 6 oz (2 x 320g sheets) frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 70g/2 oz Crespo stoned and dried black olives (or brined stoned olives you have soaked yourself – go here to find out how)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (or the oil used to soak the olives)
  • 6 tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • 6 tbsp red Martini
  • 500g/8 oz minced pork
  • 360g/12 oz diced chorizo
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic
  • 3 banana shallots
  • 180 ml/¾ cup chicken stock (made of boiling water plus one stock cube/1 tsp stock powder)
  • smoked salt and Indonesian long black pepper
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
  2. Crush the garlic with a tsp of smoked salt.
  3. Chop the shallots finely.
  4. Fry them and the garlic in a large saucepan for about five minutes.
  5. Add the pork and fry until brown, stirring all the time.
  6. Add the chorizo, olives, Martini, tomato puree, stock and about fifteen grinds of the pepper and bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce to a simmer (use the simmering oven of the Aga if you have one) and continue to cook for about half an hour. Leave to cool.
  8. On a floured surface roll one of the sheets of pastry out to fit the bottom of a shallow baking tray. Place the pastry in the tray.
  9. Roll out the other sheet to be large enough to be the cover. You should have a bit of pastry left over to make some decorations.
  10. Fill with the pork mixture.
  11. Cover with the other pastry sheet, add the decorations, make a couple of slits in the pastry, brush with the beaten egg.
  12. Bake for about twenty minutes.


This post is dedicated to Nick, Bob and Mark!


minced pork pie

Nick, Bob and Mark pork pie… comforting and interesting, not a contradiction in terms.


Below you can listen to Leveret playing Molly Apple Pye.