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Steak Pie

The good news last week that the foot-and-mouth restriction on the export of beef, lamb and venison to Europe has been lifted from most of Scotland must have come as a welcome relief to hard pressed Scottish farmers. For those in Europe who enjoy good quality meat this must also be good news, and quality comes no higher than in the shape of the famous Aberdeen-Angus breed. Aberdeen-Angus has become a by-word for quality world-wide. The story of the breed goes back in time to a farmer, Hugh Watson, born in 1789, who had a good eye for picking the best characteristics of the small black cattle ( the usual Highland sort at that time ). During the first half of the 19th century, he set out to build a champion herd at his farm at Keillor in Angus. He knew the publicity value of the show ring and his animals built an impressive reputation. The Aberdeenshire connection came from another farmer, William McCombie of Tillyfour, who was pursuing similiar aims in breeding the highest quality beasts from native stock. Though Hugh Watson in Angus did vital pioneering work in bringing together the best strains it was William McCombie who was to strengthen the strain and actually improved upon Watson's record in the show ring. Indeed McCombie's work consolidated the new breed and by the late 19th century the Aberdeen-Angus breed was world famous. In this century the breed is still popular and a new Aberdeen-Angus Beef Club has just been formed and is putting 150,000 into an integrated promotion campaign for the breed over the next three years to ensure that Aberdeen-Angus continues to be sold as top quality beef. This weeks recipe is steak pie which no Scot would ever refuse to eat!
Steak Pie
Ingredients: 1lb 8oz Stewing Steak, 1 onion
A little oil in a frying pan and gently brown the steak and soften the onion.
Put in a pan with 8 - 12 fl.oz. of gravy. Stew for 1hr 30minutes to 2 hours.
Flaky Pastry
8oz Plain Flour : 4oz Margarine: 2oz Lard: cold water
Sieve flour into mixing bowl, add margarine and chop into small pieces. Add water. Roll in a long strip and spread lard over evenly but not thickly. Fold in three; roll out again and spread lard repeating the process three times. Put steak and gravy in pie dish, putting a pie funnel (if you have one) in the centre to release the steam. Roll out the pastry 1inch larger than the pie dish and cut a half inch wide strip from edge. Lay this strip around the edge of the pie dish first wetting the rim, press it to make it stick. Lay pastry over the pie and poke a hole in the centre for the funnel. Press around edge to make pattern. Any remaining pastry can be cut in leaves etc. to decorate the top, and a cuff around the funnel. Brush with beaten egg. Cook for 30 minutes approx at Gas 7-8; Electricity 450 - 475 deg. F.

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