Pie’s the limit for Saffron Walden food journalist

Andrew Webb holds up his favourite recipe from the draft of his new book, Men’s Pie Manual, out on O

Andrew Webb holds up his favourite recipe from the draft of his new book, Men’s Pie Manual, out on October 19 - Credit: Archant

There will be no Great British Bake Off drama for culinary whizzes who pick up a copy of a Saffron Walden foodie’s new book.

Unlike the controversy generated by the amusingly dubbed ‘bingate’, which saw a contestant accused of sabotaging a rival’s baked alaska after taking it out of the freezer, those who follow the Men’s Pie Manual by food journalist Andrew Webb should have no such problems.

The book has been described by its author as ‘a love-letter’ to the flour and butter-based foodstuff.

“I love a pie, and everyone loves a pie,” said Andrew, in his Newport Road kitchen.

It’s not an idle claim, though, taking stock of Andrew’s pie-based collaboration with Heston Blumenthal and his status as judge at the British Pie Awards, which take place every St George’s Day in Melton Mowbray.

“With a pie, you’ve essentially said ‘I love you so much that I’ve made a stew, I’ve let it go cold, then I’ve put it in pastry to make it even better and then I’ve given it to you’,” he said.

Andrew can barely contain his enthusiasm for pies, and has even, for a joke, created a recipe for a Snickers bar in pastry, for the benefit of his five-year-old daughter Matilda, who goes to RA Butler Academy.

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Her father has a lot of affection for the area, which he and his wife Kate moved to a year ago, and has been inspired by its local butchers and breweries alike.

“If people make just one pie from this book, it’s got to be steak and ale,” he said, referencing a recipe he got from Chris at Humphreys butchers on George Street.

“It’s a really interesting, two-meat technique. Ale can also be sourced locally, at Elder Street Farm Shop in Wimbish. It’s like a beer library – with beers from Saffron Walden, Cambridge and all over.”

The book is not just for men, despite its title.

“It is not at all exclusive,” said the 39-year-old. “But it is quite a good dad, husband, brother gift at Christmas as well.”

For all those whose stomachs are now rumbling, let’s thank our lucky pies it’s not long until the book’s publication. The secret to great fillings, gravies and pastry is revealed in the Men’s Pie Manual, priced £14.95 on Amazon, when it is published on October 9.

Visit Andrew’s website foodjournalist.co.uk for more information.