Dairy- and gluten-free pork pie recipe

This is quite a departure from the usual sort of content I produce on my blog, but I wanted to keep a record of this recipe so I could repeat it in future. Also, I thought it might be of benefit to others wanting to create similar pies, so here it is.

To create this recipe I originally started with the Doves Farm recipe for a gluten-free pork pie, then I made quite a few modifications of my own. Do feel free to modify the recipe further according to your tastes and needs (though please note you attempt this recipe at your own risk, and I’m not to be held responsible if you somehow manage to poison or injure yourself).

I use a cupcake tray for the pies so I get lots of little pies rather than one big one. The pies are nice when warm from the oven, but even nicer when eaten cold later.

Ingredients

  • Plain white gluten-free flour (Doves Farm if possible) – 300 g
  • Dairy-free margarine – 125 g
  • Water – 150 ml
  • Dairy- and gluten-free sausage meat (or sausages) – 450 g
  • Unsmoked bacon (lardons if possible) – 100 g
  • Large egg – 1
  • Dried sage
  • Salt and pepper

Oven temperature and cooking time

  • 180 °C
  • 1 hour

Procedure

  1. Put the sausage meat into a bowl; or, if you have sausages, remove the cases and empty the meat into a bowl.
  2. Chop the lardons or bacon into very small pieces (using scissors is fine with lardons) and mix into the sausage meat.
  3. Add salt, pepper and dried sage to the meat (be fairly generous with the seasoning; some trial and error will probably be required to get this absolutely right).
  4. Put the flour into a separate bowl with the egg and a couple of pinches of salt.
  5. Put the water and margarine into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  6. Mix the water and margarine into the flour mixture and knead into dough.
  7. Grease the cupcake tray with margarine.
  8. Take a piece of the dough and press into one of the cups in the tray to form the outer layer of crust (make sure it’s not too thick).
  9. Take some of the meat mixture and fill the pastry cup with it:

    dough, outer layer of crust

  10. Take a piece of dough, press flat, and place over the meat mixture to form the top of the pie (ensure that the top piece of dough neatly joins the dough at the sides – add or remove dough as needed):

    dough on top

  11. Repeat this process until all the cups are filled, or until the dough or meat mixture runs out:

    filled tray

  12. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C for 1 hour.

You should end up with something like this:

finished pies

And here are a couple of the tasty finished pies alongside some delicious salad from my father’s garden (and some coleslaw from Waitrose):

finished pies with salad

Comparison of keyboards for iPad mini with Retina display

At any given time I’m effectively on 24/7 support for a number of clients, but I don’t always want to carry my laptop with me wherever I go. I therefore decided it would be a good idea to buy a keyboard for my iPad mini with Retina display in order to have a light, very portable hardware solution suitable for most support situations without having to carry my much bigger, heavier laptop around.

Logitech Ultrathin

I firstly tried out a Logitech Ultrathin clip-on keyboard cover. The original version of this product (which is the version they’re still selling on Amazon, so be careful) apparently works well for the original iPad mini, but not for the iPad mini with Retina display (sometimes erroneously referred to as the iPad mini 2) because the Retina version is slightly thicker than the original iPad mini, and thus the viewing angle with the original Logitech Ultrathin is too steep.

I therefore tried the updated Ultrathin which has been redesigned with a flexible multi-angle stand to solve the problem with the viewing angle:

 

My initial impressions were very good, although I wasn’t keen on the fact that you can’t just fold the iPad down onto the keyboard when you’ve finished like you can when closing a laptop to put it to sleep – instead, you have to pull the iPad out of the stand then slot it into the flap at the rear, which is an awkward solution and doesn’t feel very robust.

A much bigger problem for me, however, is the lack of a CTRL (Control) key on the keyboard. This is unlikely to bother most regular users, but my support work mainly involves me connecting to Linux servers via SSH for which the CTRL key is heavily used, so this was a fairly major problem. (Apparently the original version of the Ultrathin had a CTRL key but it didn’t actually work much of the time, so the same problem potentially applies.)

ZAGG ZAGGkeys Cover

After finding Avi Freedman’s very helpful post regarding this issue, I decided to return the Logitech Ultrathin and buy a ZAGG ZAGGkeys Cover instead:

 

For me, this is a much better product. The way it clips on at the back makes it feel much more like a small laptop or netbook solution – there’s a much wider range of viewing angles, the keyboard is bigger because it stretches all the way to the rear of the device, and you can close the iPad onto the keyboard properly and without hassle when you’ve finished, making for a much more robust protective solution when you’re transporting it.

Even more importantly for me, it has a CTRL key in the right place, and as an added bonus – also unlike the Logitech – it has a Tab key you can hit without having to mess around with modifiers. Not only is the keyboard larger and fitted with all the keys I require, but it also feels a bit more intuitively laid out than the one on the Logitech. The keys are very solid, responsive and generally nice to use.

There’s one additional bonus: the keyboard is backlit, a feature not present on the Logitech. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, but there could be situations in which this is bit of a life-saver.

There are only two problems with the ZAGG keyboard. Firstly, when the iPad is tilted all the way back and you have it on your lap, sometimes it tips over due to the keyboard being much lighter than the iPad. Secondly, it can be rather awkward to touch controls right at the bottom of the iPad screen because the keyboard comes right up to the bottom of the screen. However, I don’t regard either of these problems as particularly serious when weighed up against all the benefits of this product.

Conclusion

All in all I’m very pleased with the ZAGG ZAGGkeys Cover. When it’s attached, the iPad mini feels like a proper little mini-laptop and is a really feasible solution for technical support and other situations on the go. This is definitely the better product for system administrators and developers, and for regular users it may well also be preferable to the Logitech Ultrathin.