James Street South Cookery School: Pork pie and haddock and herb fishcakes

Niall McKenna's homemade pork pie – complicated at first but you'll return to it again and again
Niall McKenna

MAKING a good pastry – central to one of this week's dishes – can be time consuming and a bit of a bother, especially when there are so many great products on the shop shelves.

That said, people love when we make pastry at our Cookery School, as the process has a great ‘old style' way about it and starts conversations about things like baking with grandparents when growing up. I was pleased to see Bake Off judge Prue Leith voicing her concerns that such cooking skills being lost, and not being taught in school.

So, if you have an hour to kill this weekend with the kids, why not get them to unplug those devices and make something delicious? I will post some recipes on our Facebook page for you to follow. If interested in classes for kids or teenagers, let us know at


(Makes four pies)

For the pastry:

225g lard

250ml water

500g plain flour

1 tsp salt

For the pork jelly:

500ml shop bought pork stock

3 tsp gelatine

For the filling:

500g pork shoulder, finely chopped

100g pork belly, skin removed and minced

55g lean bacon, finely chopped

½ tsp grated nutmeg

salt, black pepper

Glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tblsp water for egg wash

Place the lard and water in a pan and heat. Once boiling, remove from heat. Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl; make a well, add the warmed water; mix until combined into a dough. Knead until smooth and cut into quarters; cover in cling film; place in fridge.

For the filling, heat the pork stock and add the gelatine. Stir the gelatine until dissolved; remove from heat. Place all filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Season to taste; cover with cling film.

Remove pastry from fridge and, using your hands, soften the dough. Form into a circle; dust the work surface with flour and divide pastry into four. Flatten each piece using a rolling pin and place over a small pie mould, keeping a bit aside for the lid. Remove the mould and you should have an upright case. Repeat x 4.

Divide the pork mix into the four moulds and brush with the egg wash. Pour in the gelatine-stock mix until it covers the meat; place lid on top and brush again with egg wash. Pince with your fingers to ensure it's sealed. Make a hole on top for steam to escape. Refrigerate on a baking tray overnight to set pastry.

Preheat the oven to 230C, reduce to 190C after 15 minutes; bake pies for 75 minutes until golden brown.


(Serves four)

300g smoked haddock

1 bunch chives, chopped

200g boiled and mashed potatoes, leftovers are good to use for this

25g plain flour

50ml vegetable oil



Chop the haddock into small pieces and add to the chopped chives. Fold these together in a bowl with the mashed potato and season with salt and pepper and the flour in order to bind, using your hands.

These fishcakes are pretty flat, so place the oil in a frying pan and bring to a sizzling heat. Place the mix in your hand and, using a spatula, flatten and place on the heat and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Repeat until all cooked and serve with a green salad.

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