Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips

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Pieday Friday – Bottomless Harvest Pie

After going foraging on a blackberry walk last weekend, today’s blog post is the result of that walk. I decided to combine the blackberries with apples (cooking apples are abundant in the garden at the moment) and make a bottomless pie. What does that mean? It means that I made a blind-baked pie base and it shrunk so much that I couldn’t use it! I therefore went for just a pie crust on top of the filling in a pie dish. Don’t worry, it tasted just as yummy and actually it’s a little bit of a healthier pudding, because there’s about half the amount of pastry!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-7 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-3Ingredients: 225g plain flour, 100g butter, 25g caster sugar, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of salt, 100g sugar, a dash of amaretto, plus as many cooking apples as it takes to fill your pie dish and as many blackberries as you can gather!

The pastry: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Add the cold water and stir with a knife until it comes together into a stuff dough. Roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. By the way, my pretty rolling pin is from The Caravan Trail if you’re interested. I like to use it for pastry as it’s ceramic so stays cool – very important in pastry-making!diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-2The filling: Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill your pie dish. Put the apples in a pan over a medium heat and add 100g sugar to sweeten the tangy taste of the cooking apples and a splash of water (or a dash of amaretto if you like the flavour). Allow to cook down (keeping some chunky bits) and allow the apples to become a little mushy. Taste the apples and add more sugar if needed. diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-4 diy-recipe-baking-harvest-pie-cooking-apple-and-blackberry-pastry-dessert-pudding-5

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Pieday Friday – A collection of fruit pie recipes

There’s no better pud than a pie, I reckon. A generous slice of hot fruit pie served with slowly melting vanilla ice-cream is a dream come true. Or on chillier days, a steaming stream of custard poured on top of the crisp pastry is just what the doctor ordered. And when you’ve finished your pudding, you know that leftover slice is going to taste amazing cold out of the fridge the next day. Fancy baking a fruit pie? I do!fruit pie filling pieday friday cooking recipe pies-3In fact, I did make a fruit pie for Sunday lunch last week. These photos are the result of a few minutes of pastry-making and about as much time cutting out the letters with my new cookie cutters! So after enjoying a tasty sliver of my deep-filled fruit pie, I decided that I couldn’t keep it to myself and conjured up a way of sharing it with you via this ‘collection’ of fruit pie recipes. Read on to get some filling inspiration and tips on getting the crispiest pastry.fruit pie filling pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-2Filling 1 – Apple and mixed summer fruits. This is the filling I used in my pie last week. We simply peeled and sliced the apples and popped them straight into the pie case – no pre-cooking needed here. We then threw in as much frozen mixed berries as possible and covered with the pastry lid.fruit pie filling pieday friday cooking recipe ideas-3

Filling 2 – Blueberries and ginger. I found this recipe (and many other fruit pie fillings) on This one calls for 2lbs of blueberries, 1 and a quarter cups of sugar, a quarter of a cup of cornstarch to thicken, a tablespoon of grated ginger and lime zest, a quarter of a cup of lime juice. Mix together and pour into the pie crust uncooked.fruit pie filling pieday friday cooking recipe pies-2

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The Great British Bake Off ~ My recipe for beef & ale pie

Today I’m a little later than usual sharing my recipe for the Great Blogger Bake Off, but here it finally is! Today I’m enjoying a delicious beef and ale pie which I’ve made (with a lot of help from my husband – the king of beef!) using a great local ale and tasty seasonal ingredients to create a delicious winter warmer pie with a crispy puff pastry lid. This kind of dish is one of my favourites during the colder months, and you can easily stew up double portions of the pie filling, and have pie one day then casserole the next!

I went to the local farm shop to pick up my ingredients – oddly enough I’ve not yet grown any of these vegetables in my garden, but I now know that they are a must for the veggie patch next year! It was loads cheaper to buy my fresh veg from the farm shop than I had imagined, my carrots were 50p, a massive bunch of leeks were 80p and a big bag of mushrooms were about the same price. As I made my purchases I was even told where the leeks had come from (just up the road) and the name of the chap of grew them (Don)! I made double portions so that hubby and I have a casserole to enjoy tomorrow, and I still didn’t even use up all the veg, so it was a super-cheap way to cook a filling meal!

Ingredients for 1 pie: 1 large or 2 small diced carrots per person, 1/2 onion per person, 1 leek per person, 5 button mushrooms per person, 150g diced stewing beef per person. And for the sauce: a lovely local ale, 1 teaspoon garlic paste, 2 beef stock cubes, 2 tablespoons of flour, bouquet garni (containing rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano from my herb garden), salt and pepper

Toss the beef in the flour and cook in a hot oven-proof pan until browned, set aside. Fry the onions, diced carrots, leeks and mushrooms in a little fry light in the same pan, before adding the beef back in. Add the garlic paste, bouquet garni, beef stock dissolved in enough boiling water to cover the veg/beef and half (or all if you’re making double portions!) of a bottle of local ale. I chose the punchy ‘No Guts No Glory’ IPA from Station 119 complete with gorgeous pin-up girl label (no surprise why hubby likes it so much!). Pop the pan into the oven at 180 degrees for about one hour until the stewing beef flakes apart. Season with salt and pepper to taste then put your preferred number of portions into a pie dish and top with a pastry crust. Bake in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

beef and ale pie recipe

Okay, so I actually used bought puff pasty for the lid of my pie (argh, I can hear the cries of ‘cheat’ ringing in my ears – it was just a time-saving measure, honest!) but a shortcrust pastry would be equally as nice – here’s my recipe for a easy peasy shortcrust pastry. See, I can make the pastry too… I just didn’t do it this time. When it counts. Oops!

The obvious accompaniment to the pie was a delicious glass of No Guts No Glory which we are about to enjoy with our finished pie as we speak! And if you fancy trying out this local Suffolk beer, check out the Station 119 Facebook page. I’ve honestly never tasted such a deliciously rich pie and I love mushrooms cooked in this way! Please let me know if you try out this recipe but for now I’m off to enjoy my steaming-hot pie then watch The Great British Bake Off  to find out what the theme is for next week’s blogger bake off 🙂

Check out all the other Great Blogger Bake Off tart and pie recipes by following the links to these lovely blogs below:


Pieday Friday ~ Perfect pastry

As a savoury fan, I love pastry but it can be one of those recipes that either turns out great, or goes horribly wrong. It’s something that I’ve got wrong many times over the years but I’ve now found a recipe that never fails and it’s from my favourite Bero recipe book. The book offers recipes for rough puff and flaky pastry, but the type I love the most is shortcrust. It’s ideal for quiches and pies and can easily be converted into a sweet pastry for tarts and desserts. Here’s the famous recipe and how I like to use it:

perfect pastry recipe

Ingredients: 225g plain flour, pinch of salt, 50g lard, 50g margarine (though I like to use 100g margarine and it works out fine), approx. 2 tablespoons of cold water to mix, 25g caster sugar if making sweet pastry.

  1. Mix flour and salt in basin (add sugar if making sweet pastry), rub in fat

  2. Using a knife to cut and stir, mix with cold water to form a stiff dough

  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly

  4. Roll out and use as required

pieday friday - perfect pastry recipe and baking tips

When I’m making a pie, it’s fine to just line a greased pie dish with pastry, load in your pie filling and then pop a lid of pastry on top and pinch the edges together. I always brush with milk, or if you have a spare egg yolk you can brush this on to glaze the lid of the pie for a golden finish. When I make a quiche I like to partially bake the pastry in the flan tin before I add my eggy filling, so that it stays crispy and doesn’t absorb so much of the quiche mixture.

recipe for the perfect pastry and tips for baking
First grease a flan case and lay the pastry over it. Press the pastry into the sides of the tin and cut away the excess around the top edge with a knife. You can use baking beads while ‘blind’ baking the pastry case, or line it with tin-foil and weight it down with dried pasta or rice, like I do. Bake it like this for around 5-10 minutes, checking it regularly. The pasta will end up all crispy and inedible so chuck it out and remove the tin foil before filling up with your quiche mixture. This ensures that the pastry will be less gooey from the egg mix – and the thinner that you roll out the pastry, the crispier it will be!

pieday friday recipe baked quiche

This same pastry recipe can be used for pies, cornish pasties, quiches, jam tarts, mince pies, sausage or cheese rolls and anything else you can think of that uses pastry! Here are some recipes from my archive that I’ve used this wonderful pastry recipe with (images below, links in pink above). Please let me know if you try any of these recipes out!


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Pieday Friday ~ Make your own cook book… or read mine!

Ever thought of putting your favourite recipes into a beautiful book you can give as a gift or pass down the generations? Blurb is a company that lets anyone create beautiful books from their favourite content, and get those books shipped in any quantity (even just one copy). I had a go at making my very own Pieday Friday cookbook last year and I was so pleased with the result. It only took me a few hours to design and edit (using recipes from the blog, of course!) and pretty soon I had an actual physical cookbook that I’ve written in my hands. I was very impressed with the quality of the printing considering it was a printing run of ONE, and I even purchased a PDF version to share with my blog readers. So if you’d like a free e-copy of my Pieday Friday recipe book please email me and I will send you the PDF asap 🙂

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook

The best way to get started? Holding off a bit. It’s tempting to want to dive right in, but thinking a bit and getting organized is worth it in the end. Make the most of your time by dividing each step into chunks so you can tackle them at different points in your book-making process. Not a designer? That’s ok, Blurb’s free BookSmart software is an easy route to great cookbook.

And here we go:

1. Organize: Gather your recipes and do a process of elimination. Once you’ve narrowed your favorites down, you can gather accompanying images—just make sure you’re giving the recipe and image files the same name to make it easier when it’s time to upload. Keep everything in one folder on your computer.

  1. Flow it: Next, determine how you want your cookbook story to flow. Do you want to sort your recipes by age, popularity, or even something else? Once you’ve determined the order, you’ll have done the bulk of your creative decision-making.

  2. Get the tool: Download the free book-making tool, BookSmart, choose your book size (Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are the most popular for cookbooks) and input your title and author name. Then choose “Cookbook” as your starting point—this will give you the best layouts for the job. Then pick a source for your images—from iPhoto, your computer, even Flickr or Picasa. Last, choose a theme. Now you’re ready to put together your cookbook.

  1. Lay it out: This is where the real book-making comes in. BookSmart will provide you with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you’ll find plenty of alternate layouts in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left. You can also add additional pages­­—including photo pages—by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.

  2. Just add copy: Our layouts provide space for stories, introductions, and those all-important ingredients and directions. Paste in your copy and you’re golden. Then garnish with photos. Remember to run BookSmart’s spell check feature.

  1. Preview and review: Click “Review book” and go through page by page. If you’re not a natural-born proofreader, ask a friend to take a second look.

  2. Order: Make any last minute edits, click “Order,” and follow the prompts to checkout. Remember to order extra copies for friends and family—or sell it online to anyone through the Blurb Bookstore.

That’s it, you’re done. Give yourself a toast, a pat on the back, and a moment in the sun. Congratulations, you’re a published cookbook author! Here’s a sneaky peek inside my Pieday Friday cookbook and please let me know if you’d like a free e-book version of my recipes by emailing or leave me a comment below 🙂

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook cookbook

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Pieday Friday ~ British Pie Week

British Pie Week runs from the 3rd to the 9th of March and I see that as the perfect excuse to bake a pie over the coming weekend. I’ve listed a few of my favourite pie recipes so perhaps you’ll try out one of these tasty dishes below and treat the family to a hearty and sometimes surprisingly healthy meal – just click on the pink links for the recipe:

Ham and asparagus pie in a loaf tin

pieday friday ham and asparagus pie recipe on cassiefairy blog

Traditional fish pie with tasty cheesy topping


Slow-cooked beefy pie – stew in a crust!

pieday friday beef stewy beefy meat pot pie recipe cooking

Spiced turmeric chicken pie – surprisingly yummy!pieday friday turmeric chicken pie cassiefairy

Leftover roast dinner Cornish pasties – which could easily be a pie in the right dish!

pieday friday recipe for pastry and cornish pasties

Shepherds pie crammed full of veg

steaming shepherds cottage pie recipe pieday friday cooking method

And if you like the look of these recipes, you can find many more recipes on the blog AND in my new Pieday Friday e-book, which I have been working on using  Blurb’s BookSmart programme. I will be launching the book this week completely free and it includes tons of recipes including soups, snacks and sweet treats !


Pieday Friday ~ Seasonal asparagus & ham pie

pieday friday ham and asparagus pie recipe on cassiefairy blog

It’s that time of year again – Asparagus season! You can find it everywhere and there’s so much in our local supermarket that it is forever being reduced to clear at the end of the day. So I’ve been working out new ways to eat seasonal asparagus and I’ve concocted this summer pie recipe, including yummy smoked ham.

Ingredients: 125g/4oz plain flour, pinch of salt, 55g/2oz diced butter, 30-45ml/2-3 tbsp cold water, asparagus, cooked ham or gammon, parsley, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp butter, milk.

First make up your pastry by mixing the 2oz of cubed butter with the 4oz plain flour and a pinch of salt using your fingertips to make a crumb mixture. Add a little of the water to bring it together as a dough, then cover in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes while you make the filling. Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan then briskly stir in the 2 tbsp of flour to make a roux. Add in the milk, little-by-little, to turn it into a thick white sauce – then add chopped fresh parsley and stir through. 

pieday friday ham and asparagus seasonal summer pie recipe on cassiefairy blog

Steam your asparagus and slice into small pieces and shred your ham into similar size chunks, then add into the pie sauce and combine. Line a pie tin (I used a loaf tin which was plenty enough for 2/3 people) with the pastry, fill with the ham and asparagus mixture, then top with a pastry lid, leaving a couple of holes for the steam to escape. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes but keep an eye on it and remove from the oven when the pastry goes golden brown. If the pastry browns too quickly, cover with tin foil and continue to bake until the sides and base are cooked through too.

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Pieday Friday recipe – roast dinner pie

There’s nothing better than a great big Sunday roast, in my opinion. And Easter weekend is one of the times during the year that I can pretty much guarantee that we’ll be rustling up a roast dinner. We’ll probably have a lovely roast chicken (or even a small Turkey – hey, it’s practically another Christmas!), yummy fresh veg and oodles of crispy roast potatoes. I’ll do my best to eat it all, but inevitably there will be left-overs and you can’t just chuck them away; there are plenty of things you can do with your spare roast items. Of course, you can always have the (christmas classic) chicken and stuffing sandwich for tea, or can rustle up some of my cheesy pastry rolls with your left-over potatoes, but the ultimate re-using recipe is today’s roast dinner pie.

pieday friday recipe for leftover roast dinner pie baking cooking ebook

And really, the recipe couldn’t be more simple: use everything you’ve got leftover and put it in a pie, basically. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Spray a pan with Fry-Light and tear your cooked chicken or turkey into strips before adding to the pan and stir-frying with a sliced onion.
  2. After a couple of minutes, add any leftover veg you have – broccoli, peas, carrots etc – even potatoes and stuffing can be included – and stir-fry for another couple of minutes!
  3. Add a pint of chicken stock and mix up some cornflour with a little water into a paste and add to the pan while its bubbling away to thicken.
  4. Line a pie tin, add the filling and finish with the pastry top. Bake in the oven (following instructions on the pastry packet or recipe) until golden brown and crisp.

pieday friday recipe for leftover roast dinner pie chicken veg potatoes baking


My favourite Friday Pieday recipes for National Pie Week

This week is National Pie Week – what more of an excuse do you need to try out one of my Pieday Friday recipes and treat the family to a hearty and sometimes surprisingly healthy meal?

So I’ve pulled together my favourite recipes and here’s a summary of the best pie recipes below (just click on the pink links for the recipe!):

Traditional fish pie with tasty cheesy topping


Slow-cooked beefy pie – stew in a crust!

pieday friday beef stewy beefy meat pot pie recipe cooking

Spiced turmeric chicken pie – surprisingly yummy!

pieday friday turmeric chicken pie cassiefairy

Shepherds pie crammed full of veg

steaming shepherds cottage pie recipe pieday friday cooking method

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